Have mixed feelings about this......1st one is they had a tough time out there, and its hard for anyone not there to understand.....2nd one is what they were doing was and is wrong, b ut hindsight is a great thing....too easy for people in their comfy armchairs back home critising what we do out there which is essentially a fecking hard job
You know the score when you go to war with this Army....ITDs have covered the treatment of civilains etc, so no excuse. The reason for the harsh sentence is partly politics but due to the fact that we as Soldiers have a greater responsibility during and after war than civilians....we are supposed to up-hold order and as such the sentence must be harsher
IMO the sentences were decided at a political level, on the grounds that we must be seen to be taking severe action.
The officer who instigated "Ali Baba" looks likely to get a slapped wrist.
Demotion & a term of "Corrective Training" for those involved would have been sufficient, rather than wrecking these young men's careers.
Anyone know what the Iraqi thieves were sentenced to
The Iraqis have already been found; there was a predictably naive story in either the Independent or Grauniad yesterday. Naturally, they were all innocent bystanders, none of whome are members of the Army Council etc. etc.
The indesciscive found the victims of the abuse suprise surprise all
innocent workman who were rounded up by mistake soundly beaten all
had broken bones traumatised not able to work need compensation etc
etc etc .
I've done years and years of ITDs and the occasional OPTAG trg when required and I have to say that the instruction on how to handle POWs and civilians is very clear indeed, as is what vicious and nasty things are going to be done to you if you are caught (ranging from a good beating to a bullet in the back of the head).
What has never been taught, explained or even mentioned is where you stand if you are ordered to detain a civilian for what is in effect a civil offence, when there are no civilian police to hand them over to. I wouldn't have thought that being told to round up the looters and 'work them hard' was an illegal order, not until I sat down and had a good think about it anyway. Would I have had the oppertunity to do that thinking if I was given the order in the same situation? I don't think so.
The fact is, the guys where put in a situation that their training didn't cover. And at the end of the day they did wrong, but you have to ask yorself why the sentences were so harsh when much worse things can happen on a night on the town and although you'll be in the deep and smelly, lose a tape, get fined or even a spell in nick, it's only repeat offenders that would lose their career and spend that long in prison. They are being made an example of and it's the whole world that has to see that something's being done.
What sickens me, and right to the pit of my stomach, is that we are all told that there is a chain of command and when the guys do a good job, we see that chain working as the praise gets accepted by everyone in that chain, ending in commendations for those at the top, on the efforts of everyone at the bottom of the chain. I mean, how many promotions, awards or even knighthoods have been earned from other peoples effords (or blood?)
But when things go wrong, this oneway chain fails to work. In this case, the officer that gave the order is still going to leave the army with a pension even if he does not get any further. The sub-unit officers who should have been on the ground to supervise are nowhere to be seen. Not even an SNCO has been brought to book for failing to control the actions of his soldiers. I could understand it if it was out on the streets, but are we to believe that a camp was being run by full-screws with a Major giving the order?
Rank has it's privilages and the extra pay that goes with it. But with that goes responsibility to your men. If they mess up badly, it's your fault and you either jump on them while taking the flak, or you support them all the way and accept the flak that brings. You do not 'drop them like a stone' and leave them to be sh4t on. How can you expect your soldiers to risk their lives on your word if they can't rely on your support if things go wrong?
Scrapping down town is vastly different to being in a position of authority, armed with a gun, en masse, over an unarmed civilian. I would also like to see a bit more about what the Officers were doing and their involvement.
However, these guys ABUSED people in their charge. They did not get drunk and get into a scrap. I've torn guys in my charge apart for fighting before - it is wrong and nasty and I despise it (before you say anything - my current job is the only one I've done longer than being a bouncer in Newcastle). Actually abusing a human being is way out there. These lads knew that what they were doing to the Iraqis was degrading - they'd not have done it or taken pics of it otherwise! Tough to teach basic human decency really.
I do think that we need more guidance and collective thought on 'non warfighting operations'. 2p of my thoughts there.
Having had a great deal of respect for Jacko, I was disappointed to find such a good soldier turning into a true politician. He certainly wasn't apologising on my behalf - I don't recall any Iraqi apologising for Majar al Kabir or the 2 sappers who were lynched and disembodied on Day 3 of TELIC.
After 18+ years it does make me wonder what hope there is for the future - maybe we should all join the Royal Corps of Lawyers.
Hear, hear. Having just read the Guardian article linked above I've really just had to restrain myself from emailing it's author (probably be labelled a neanderthal by her anyway). Bullying and abuse is NOT widespread in the British Army any more than it is in any other walk of life. When it's exposed the bullies are dealt with and punished - to compare the modern British Army with the bloody American Army in Vietnam and quoting a line from Full Metal Jacket just shows the lack of understanding that the media has of the military.
I read the article as well and I was so disgisted that I emailed the so called proffessor of history the following
I have just read your article on http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,11816,1425905,00.html and am to be honest disgusted. You are supposed to an academic and a historian and I have always assumed that historcal work is by its very nature accurate. Your comments and conclusions could not be more wrong. Soldiers may be expected to endure hardships and dangers that most people would never want to endure, let alone volunteer to do so. There is a bond between soldiers, even between soldiers of opposing sides. But soldiers are only, and can only be a cross section of the society that they are recruited from.
Your wholly inaccurate conclusions that soldiers are some sort of uncontrollable animal mob are offensive to veterans of past conflicts, serving soldiers and the families of solders lost in operations that, like it or not, are undertaken in the name of your elected government. These men and women have volunteered to serve their country and sometimes pay the ultimate price with their lives.
No organization is perfect, esspecially one as large and geographically distributed, but to pick out a few examples, some of which are from a different army in a different era and even quoting a character form a âHollywoodâ, and then concluding that the whole army are ârottenâ cannot be classed as an academic work. May I sugest that at very best it is a bad piece of sensationalist tabloid rubbish which I am surprized you have the nerve to publish.