Marine A. Was he right?

  • There isn't a story about Marine A here, so I thought I would give it a mention.
    Latest BBC story here:

    A Royal Marine convicted of killing a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan has been jailed for seven years.

    Sgt Alexander Blackman, 42, will be freed in weeks as he has already served more than three years in jail.

    I'm usually pretty certain on my opinions on stuff (whether they be right or wrong) and was on this too, until I saw the BBC documentary the other week on this.

    Showing the pressures that he was under. He had younger soldiers to think about. A command that wouldn't want the expense or risk of sending in a helicopter to evacuate a wounded enemy soldier. The fact he had been under intense military actions for days/weeks on end. etc etc. Did this justify his action?

    But, I still come back to his own words said calmly that he knew he was breaking the Geneva convention when he shot the wounded Taliban fighter.

    So, should he have gone to prison and should he be released now?

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  • I don't think people in civvie street understand what soldiers undergo in combat. They change, they are subjected to unusual stressors and they have enemy opposition who is trying to kill them at every turn 24/7.

    This is why so many return with PTSD. I just don't think the ordinary citizen comprehends what it's like to be far from home in hostile territory, often far from civilization and always in imminent danger of being blown to bits in these sort of skirmishes.

    You can't judge soldiers under these conditions as "murderers" the way you might judge someone in civilian life. And even in civilian life, many people who kill do so for a number of reasons and often under extreme duress, so I'd go further and say that many "murderers" in that context are also overtly severely punished.

    It isn't so much the deed as the way in which it got to be accomplished and by whom it was perpetrated and under what conditions.

    I think the soldier in this case has an amazing wife who has fought for his release and I'm glad the judge hasn't been one of those who like to peer down at the dock and tell the defendant what a nasty evil miscreant he thinks he is. That is so outdated and unacceptable that it should not be permitted to go on as frequently as it does.

    There, in a mauve light of drifted lupins,

    They hung in the cupped hands of mountains

    Made of tingling atoms.- Ted Hughes

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