The Protocols of War!

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The Geneva Conventions. The protocols, that established the standards in international law for humanitarian treatment in war, devised in 1949 following the second world war, and signed by 196 countries. If these protocols had been devised prior to that said war, would Germany have signed it, that is unknowable. But it is a certain historical fact that she, Germany, like Afghanistan, Iraq and other marauding Islamic nations, have observed no such niceties in prosecuting their godless aims. But the question is, is it fair to ask our own military, or that of our allies, who do subscribe to the protocols of Geneva, to abide by them, when engrossed in warfare with these barbaric forces? That the rules of Geneva have been broken, and are broken, we cannot deny. There have been times when they have been broken and a blind-eye turned, as we say. There are times when they have been broken by military personnel, deliberately, but unknowingly to their superiors, hence no action taken. And there are also times when they have been broken, where retribution has been exacted, whereupon  the general public would feel, justly so.

An instance of this has been brought to our attention recently. One Sergeant Blackman, serving I believe, his third tour in Afghanistan, fighting against Taliban insurgents. He was indicted and charged with contravening those Genevan protocols we speak of. The story goes like this, he had a wounded and dying Taliban fighter at his feet, whilst with two of his comrades, he shot and killed the terrorist. One of his colleagues had a camera on his helmet. The whole incident was recorded, which led to Blackman’s subsequent arrest, indictment and being found guilty of the said contravening of the protocols of war, was imprisoned for life. The general feeling of the public was, he should not have been imprisoned, even treated like a felon. Do remembered will you please, had the boot been on the other foot, the soldier would have been shown no mercy, none whatsoever.

I attended a lecture at Keele University, here in England a few years back. The young lecturer was from Aberystwyth University. He had been to school, college, university, and he was still there. He had had no employment in the world of commerce or yet even the military. He waxed very eloquently on the subject of the evils of torturing Iraq prisoners in order to get vital information from them, necessary to win the war against terror. He condemned it strongly. His reasoning was good as far as it went. But, I could not help but feeling that if the young lecturer had ventured outside of the university walls, into the domain of the real world, even better, to have joined the military for a season. Then, having given his lecture on the same subject, his conclusions would have been a lot different. He would have been expressly moved by the very special camaraderie that is shared amongst service personnel. They will fight each other, but woe betide outsiders who seek make war against any of their number. He would have found, and especially so, amongst those who have been engaged in the conflicts of Afghanistan, Iraq and the like, those who had done the actual fighting, an even closer bond. He would have encountered men who had seen brothers-in-arms scythed down in the prime of their lives. He would have found himself alongside men who had seen their fellows murdered in cold blood, in the most cowardly ways. No, not open warfare, not a fair fight, but suicide bombers, ID-layers etc. No, not by soldiers of the other side, but craven cowards who are in the habit of murdering men and women, mercilessly in cold blood. Believe me, his lecture would have been different, in its conclusion.

My point with regards to that last paragraph is this. It is likewise men and women, trained in universities, who know nothing about war, or the fighting, the emotions of it. We call them professional politicians nowadays. Most are still wet behind the ears. It is they who stand in judgment over men such as Sergeant Blackman, a man who apart from the above incident has an exemplary record. There were similar incidents that took place during the second world war, prior to the protocols of war being devised. Incidents that no one, but no one, would have at the time, raised an eyebrow at. The British SAS who were working in front of the main army after the Normandy landings, discovered some of the atrocities performed by the Wermacht. A member of the SAS, James McDiarmid, came across a group of the SS who were liberally and randomly shooting unarmed French civilians. Two days later he found a group of these Germans, put them against a wall and machine-gunned them. Hardly in accord with Geneva’s protocols. But nobody was for condemning him, nobody, no not then. Members of the SAS, though in uniform, if captured were summarily executed on the orders of Hitler himself. In the volume, “The last Gentleman of the SAS” the accounts of John Randall during the second world war, tell of many other such accounts. Including the discovery of the Belsen concentration camp. They happened upon a village in France, where an SS firing squad were lined up, and with six civilians in front of them, ready to execute them. Brave soldiers, huh? The SAS machine-gunned the firing squad, so John Randall reports. He tells us, that is how it was, it was war. There were no heroics, nothing gung-ho, no sentimentality. A job to be done. There was another occasion when all the men of a village, again unarmed, were taken into the woods and shot by the German soldiers. The women and children were placed in a barn, ready to be burned alive. The SAS intervened in like fashion. Nobody, back in those days complained, justice was done. It was war. Not glorious.

What, I fear is, that this generation of puppy politicians do not understand the vital principles of war. “There is no glory in war”, General T. Sherman, General Ulysses Grant’s right-hand man, during the American civil war said. There is only one objective said Sherman, and that is to beat the enemy, to bring him to utter and complete submission, at all costs, whatever it takes. If a leaf were taken out of Grant and Sherman’s book, I think maybe these eastern wars, if indeed they should ever have been engaged in at all, would be over by now. The professional politicians send our soldiers to do the job of glorified policemen, not soldiers. They expect them to watch their comrades getting blown to bits, left for dead, limbless, and treat these Islamic cowards with kid-gloves. That is not warfare. If you are going to send an army to war, then loose it to do its proper job. To fight and win, to bring the perpetrators of the war to utter submission. You do not accomplish this wearing kid-gloves. Alas, we have seen this for years, we saw it in Aden, in Northern Ireland, and now again in these eastern regions. Where spineless politicians have withdrawn the military’s mandate to do the job their countries trained them to do. War is an awful thing, it brings either the best or the worst out in human nature, but it cannot be accomplished by politically correct policemen dressed in military garb. So many times, as in the case of Sergeant Blackman, and no he is not alone, we have seen our brave soldiers do the bidding of their political masters, only to be told years later, they will face trial for their actions. A prize example of this we have ongoing at present, in regards to the British Paratroop Regiment who fought the cowardly IRA thugs on the streets of Belfast, some years ago now. Now there are politicians who want them to be tried for murder. That, if ever it happens, would be the greatest travesty of justice, apart from Golgotha, ever perpetrated.

The other injustice I might suggest is the incarceration of Sergeant Blackman, this brave, exemplary soldier should not be in jail. A reprimand for breaking the one-sided protocols of Geneva, perhaps, but no more. I say one-sided because Geneva Conventions only apply to our men, and our allies. They do not apply to Islamic terrorists, the IRA, and of course to such as Das Reich, such would simply laugh scornfully at such protocols, and carry on slaughtering our soldiers. The rules, the protocols of war only apply to us, it seems. The conventions were devised to set humanitarian standards in the midst of war. If there is anything humanitarian about war? But I ask you what, or rather who, is more humane, the German SS, for executing defenceless civilian men, with intent to burn alive both women and children? Or the insurgents of Iraq and  Afghanistan, who torture, cripple, and behead publicly, even their own people, as well as our military personnel? Would the Taliban terrorist have survived if Sergeant Blackman had not killed him? We don’t know for sure. But just say he had survived. He would have been left free to torture, cripple and kill other men and women. There is an incident in the film “Saving Private Ryan,” where one of the squad searching for Private Ryan, baulks at killing a German machine-gunner they had caught. Because of his objection, the platoon leader (Tom Hanks) lets the German soldier go. Towards the end of the film, in the major battle scene, the objector comes across the same German soldier again, after the German had killed a number of his comrades. This time the objections are gone, he has no problem putting a bullet in his head. How, one imagines, he wished he had not objected, first time round. How many more of our soldiers would, yes only perhaps, would have been brought back in body bags, if the said Taliban insurgent had been left by Sergeant Blackman?

The actions of Sergeant Blackman were an act of war, albeit against a set of protocols that none but the allied forces recognise or even try to keep. But they do do a very good job, most of the time, in keeping within those given bounds. Especially so in the light of what a man such as Sergeant Blackman would experience in three tours of duty in Afghanistan. Sergeant Blackman ought to be set free immediately! There are always exceptions to the protocols. The following ode was respectfully written for Sergeant Blackman, who I thank, along with all our servicemen and women, for their brave service wherever it has been:

He was trained by queen and country,
To fight and kill, to defend the realm;
The reason he joined, the infantry,
A task for most, that would overwhelm.

Our Sergeant Alex Blackman,
Inspired his men, with courage and skill;
In the raging battle against the Taliban,
Fulfilling his masters will.

With hands tied behind his back,
He fought the cowards of Afghanistan;
Their roadside bombs, planted in the dark,
He kept his cool, Sergeant Blackman.

He saw his buddies crippled and die,
At the hands of terror and the evil of Islam;
Wouldn’t you sometimes ask, why?
But for his masters back home? It’s no harm!

They send them to Ireland, Iraq and elsewhere,
To fight in wars without just cause;
But to shoot and kill, what soldier dares,
That’s against their political laws.

Sergeant Blackman shot and killed,
A terrorist coward and religious thug;
Now he’s in prison, as a murderer billed,
By his political masters, who started the gig.

Our brave young soldiers, set to defend,
Deserve much better, treatment than this;
So for the cause of Alex, and other men,
Lift up your voice, and cry for his release!

(© James R Hamilton, 6th, May, 2014)
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