Monday, February 1, 2016
Unjust Geneva Convention - Soldier Rots In Prison Warmonger Stays Free
When it was revealed that Her Majesty's Shadow Secretary of Defence, Emily Thornberry, has received political donations from a dodgy law firm, Leigh Day, who scoured the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan searching for 'victims of abuse' supposedly perpetrated by British soldiers with a view to suing them, it raised the age old issue of what are acceptable or unacceptable actions during warfare.
(Dodgy law firm get busted here)
It came as news to millions of people, myself included, that there exists a 145-strong department called the Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) charged with investigating these allegations and who's caseload has exceeded 1,500 cases. The investigation into whether Iraqi's or Afghans were ill-treated or unlawfully killed by soldiers will drag on until 2019 at the earliest and cost at least
How that affects soldiers efficiency on the battlefield is anyone's guess but it can hardly be conducive to their morale.
Law firms like Leigh Day and the IHAT who together swim in the fetid swamp of the recently created human rights industry would serve justice better if they investigated with equal vigour those who send soldiers into battle in the first place.
The infamous case of jailed-for-life Royal Marine Sgt Alexander Blackman, previously designated Marine A and the man who got him involved the war, Prime Minister Tony Blair is a case in point.
(Marine A prosecution here)
No one could have put the issue in clearer language than author and journalist George Orwell who opined on the issue way back in 1943. It's worth quoting part of his article from his Tribune newspaper column, As I Please, to illustrate the point:
"I note the surprise with which many people seem to discover that war is not a crime. Hitler, it appears, has not done anything actionable. He has not raped anybody, nor carried off any pieces of loot with his own hands, nor personally flogged any prisoners, buried any wounded men alive, thrown any babies into the air and spitted them on his bayonet, dipped any nuns in petrol and touched them off with church tapers - in fact he has not done any of the things which any enemy nationals are credited with doing in war-time. He has merely precipitated a world war which will have cost twenty million lives before it ends. And there's nothing illegal in that".
Since this was written the Geneva and Hague Conventions have been updated and re-written to clarify the laws of war with the noble intention of protecting prisoners and non-combatants among a myriad of other things.
In light of the fact that the war which resulted in Sgt Blackman being jailed for finishing off a fatally wounded Taliban terrorist was justified by Tony Blair using doctored intelligence reports and outright lies and also by the fact that he is free as a bird, it is abundantly clear that the Geneva and Hague Conventions make the serving soldier doing what he is trained to do liable to prosecution while absolving the warmonger from any responsibility or guilt whatsoever.
Blair lied to Parliament and along with his communications chief Alastair Campbell deliberately 'sexed up' the dossier on weapons of mass destruction and other matters in order to justify waging war on Iraq which posed no threat to Great Britain or it's people.
( One dodgy dossier story here)
In the context of Orwell's quote Tony Blair was party to precipitating a war which has so far cost the lives of anywhere between two-hundred thousand and a million souls, most of them civilians and it appears he has done nothing illegal.
Blair's actions have not justified prosecution under the Geneva and Hague Conventions therefore they are not fit for purpose and consequently they should be considered invalid for deciding guilt for the causes and actions in modern international armed conflicts.
It must also be acknowledged that in addition to the appalling casualties resulting from Blair's war it has also precipitated the rise of ISIS which in turn has resulted in murder and mayhem across the world and a further untold increase in casualties.
Orwell ended his article thus:
"Nevertheless, a world in which it is wrong to murder an individual civilian and right to drop a thousand tons of high explosive on a residential area does sometimes make me wonder whether this earth of ours is not a loony-bin made use of by some other planet".
In conclusion, Sgt Blackman's action of dispatching a single terrorist to claim his virgins in paradise was done under unimaginable stress in the heat of battle and is trivial compared to horrendous casualties caused by the illegal actions of Tony Blair which were decided at his leisure with no stress at all.
Sgt Blackman is a hero who did what he was trained to do and therefore he should be released forthwith with his rank and benefits restored.
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While I whole heartedly endorse you final paragraph, I can see a dangerous trap in the premise of your argument.ReplyDelete
Now I know that the thrust of your argument is to the sheer hypocrisy and double standard involved in the juxtaposed people and events, but it does inevitably lead to a dangerous end.
I am no fan of Tony Blair by any stretch of the imagination; I thoroughly despise the man, everything he stands for and every so called accomplishment he has ever achieved. He is the most destructive leader Britain has had in hundreds of years, and maybe even ever, (with events yet to unfold, brought about by his foolish policies).
No, the flaw in your reasoning is that by formulating into law restrictions regarding actions taken by political leaders, by intent or unintentional consequence, the actions of leadership will be bound by legal dictat. Now, on the surface this may appear a wise and just move, forestalling actions leading to conflict and destruction, on the face of it a noble goal. However, it falls into the same trap that unseats the pacifist's argument, namely, how does one confront an aggressor, intent upon forcing his will upon the object of his designs. Is the appointed leader bound to inaction until the aggressors forces storm across the defenders borders, indeed, should he ever be allowed to call for military action of any sort ....the pacifist would say - NO, the pragmatist would say that that would be too late.
For to allow the legal profession dominion over the actions of all political action, binds the leader(s) to irresolute inaction in the face of impending aggression.
Lord knows, over these past few decades we have seen enough legal gerrymandering to persuade us to not grant sole authority to members of the legal profession. The fact that much of the political class is drawn from members of the legal profession and the concomitant social decay brought about by their endless social engineering policies and foolish adherence to faddish dogmas must leave open the question as to their fitness for high office; an argument of course which lends support to your contention. However the leader so constrained, is left with no room for maneuver in protecting the welfare of that state when confronted with hostile action.
The whole premise of the democratic structure is founded on the constraint on individual ambition to dictatorial control, where a gathering of minds form a consensus, a body of wise opinion formed out of reasoned discourse, hopefully entrusting the directions of state power towards the benefit of the collective citizenry.....yes, badly served of late I know!
This is not an argument against Law, for indeed, Law is the foundation stone of any civilized society. But a Law too far can have such a deleterious effect that it can spell total disaster for that society which allows such legal overreaches.
Beware of the power of well intentioned legislation, it often has so many unintended consequences.
Yes, Tony Blair is a lying scumbag, but, given he was elevated to the highest position in the land by the legal processes of the day, and given the latitude which must be accorded to that office in order to grant to the holder the necessary powers to perform those duties mindful of the best interests of the state, we can only hold him to account before the Bar of Public Opinion. Yea, a bummer I know, but....
I realise that you did not directly advocate a direct legal change to bring down upon Mr. Blair's head, but the logic of your position leads toward that inevitable conclusionReplyDelete
Thank you for your comprehensive comments. Allow me to clarify.Delete
I am not advocating amending the Geneva Convention to cover political leaders like Blair. I agree with you that the world doesn't need any further involvement from the legal profession.
I would advocate downgrading the Convention from legally binding to advisory, after all it would appear that our current enemies ignore them anyway. Rules are only valid if both sides abide by them otherwise one side is at a distinct disadvantage.
Secondly I would remove all lawyers from the battlefield and the war rooms with the intention of allowing soldiers to do the job they were send into battle to do. i.e Win