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Aussie SAS report

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Aussie SAS report

Old 19th Nov 2020, 14:31
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The problem with Afghanistan during Herrick is that the 'justice' system did not work! When I was in Kandahar 10 years ago, suspect insurgents ($10-a-day-Taliban - casual fighters) were picked up in raids, handed over to the Afghan National Police, held for a day, and then released due to lack of evidence, a bribe, lack of interest or a corrupt chief of police. Then released right back into the population like a conveyor belt.

Looks like this is another witch hunt against troops who were trying to sort the (r@p system out.

Let's hope these guys don't suffer the same fate as Sgt Alex Blackman, whose conviction from a badly-run biased court-martial system was eventually quashed.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 15:04
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Killing innocent civilians? Not OK as SF in Afghan but fine if you were in a Lancaster, eh?
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 15:08
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We haven't had Total War since the end of WW2...so yeah, not the same.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 15:36
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Originally Posted by AfricanSkies
Killing innocent civilians? Not OK as SF in Afghan but fine if you were in a Lancaster, eh?
About as fair as in a Dornier.

Something about reaping the whirlwind, as Butch Harris said.

Having been bombed, machine-gunned, and doodlebugged I have a dog in the fight.

There is not a shred of moral equivalence.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 15:42
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Here's the simple question that needs answering...

Is it ever justifiable to torture or kill civilians or enemy combatants who have been subdued or have surrendered?

What about if having to (can't think of the word) supervise them or return them to the rear would compromise the mission?
What if they had been complicit in the injury/killing of a comrade?
Do the ROE give examples of exceptions to the 'do not kill prisoners' rule that I assume is in place?

And so on?

Can anyone say when when it would be ok, in their opinion?

I can't.

CG

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Old 19th Nov 2020, 16:26
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Here's the simple question that needs answering...

Is it ever justifiable to torture or kill civilians or enemy combatants who have been subdued or have surrendered?

What about if having to (can't think of the word) supervise them or return them to the rear would compromise the mission?
What if they had been complicit in the injury/killing of a comrade?
Do the ROE give examples of exceptions to the 'do not kill prisoners' rule that I assume is in place?

And so on?

Can anyone say when when it would be ok, in their opinion?

I can't.

CG
Like all the good questions, there is no good answer.

Historians have stressed that the most dangerous time on the battlefield is at the moment of surrender after inflicting casualties on the enemy. Once clear of those few seconds, the risk decreases rapidly, but never disappears. War makes murderers of combatants.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 16:40
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Originally Posted by langleybaston
Like all the good questions, there is no good answer.

Historians have stressed that the most dangerous time on the battlefield is at the moment of surrender after inflicting casualties on the enemy. Once clear of those few seconds, the risk decreases rapidly, but never disappears. War makes murderers of combatants.
There is a good answer:

In non-international armed conflicts, Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II provide that persons deprived of liberty for reasons related to the conflict must also be treated humanely in all circumstances. In particular, they are protected against murder, torture, as well as cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment. Those detained for participation in hostilities are not immune from criminal prosecution under the applicable domestic law for having done so.

My emphasis, Taken from https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/war-and-...ed-persons.htm

Whilst I don't disagree that, in the heat of the moment, being taken prisoner is extremely dangerous for the prisoner, the law of armed conflict on this matter is entirely clear. If it is not possible to continue your mission with detainees, then it is definitely not acceptable to kill them. Simple.

Note : the above quote pertains to non-international armed conflict, but the law pertaining to international conflict is near-identical, with the only difference being that combatants may not be prosecuted simply for taking part in hostilities if they have remained within the law of armed conflict, but may only be prosecuted in the event they have committed war crimes.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 16:40
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Poor leaders always find someone else to blame for their errors and omissions .
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 17:02
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Originally Posted by fitliker
Poor leaders always find someone else to blame for their errors and omissions .
We elect and promote them though, so where does the responsibility lie?
It does seem egregious to me that the rank and file are getting railroaded while those who put their charges into these no-win situations get cushy pensions and perks.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 17:14
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Here's the simple question that needs answering...

Is it ever justifiable to torture or kill civilians or enemy combatants who have been subdued or have surrendered?

What about if having to (can't think of the word) supervise them or return them to the rear would compromise the mission?
What if they had been complicit in the injury/killing of a comrade?
Do the ROE give examples of exceptions to the 'do not kill prisoners' rule that I assume is in place?

And so on?

Can anyone say when when it would be ok, in their opinion?

I can't.

CG
Didnít that happen 8n the Falklands where they were worried about having an armed enemy to their backs so took no prisoners.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 17:30
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AfricanSkies
Killing innocent civilians? Not OK as SF in Afghan but fine if you were in a Lancaster, eh?
You can not be serious?
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 17:47
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No idea Nutty.

CG
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 17:48
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War is never pretty . Berlin and Tokyo were fire bombed . If Kabul and the poppy fields had of been fire bombed the Taliban would be building girl schools by now .

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Old 19th Nov 2020, 18:11
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@Fitliker:
I don't think so. It will take more than fire bombs and dead bodies to get the Taliban to cave.
They tend toward being very stubborn and very focused in their world view.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 18:53
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Poor leaders are quick to grab the glory and gongs , but disappear quicker when blame for failure is being discussed .
If you are going to take credit for the success of your people , you had better be ready to accept some of the credit for failures , errors and omissions that happen .


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Old 19th Nov 2020, 20:32
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There seems no doubt some of the TL's were out of control, but I cannot reconcile the blaming of a culture, and absolving the officers; who was setting the culture? If those in command genuinely had no idea what was going on at TL/PC level then their competency and ability to command should be on trial.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 20:35
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What has happened to the once proud SAS? During my initial training, our CO, RSM and Chaplain were all ex-SAS, and as would be expected, were hard men (the Chaplain had seen combat during WW II). However, if any one of them had caught a whiff of anything like the events reported, and they would have, it would have been nipped in the bud.
While the report states that the criminal acts were limited to NCOs, it seems that attempts to report them up the chain of command by junior soldiers were unsuccessful. If officers up the chain were aware of the crimes and either took no action or blocked reports going up the line, they were complicit. If they were unaware, they were negligent.

The actions of the soldiers who did push the issue, often to the peril of their careers and health, is to be commended.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 20:36
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The trouble is, when you train people to be killers and they become very good at it, sometimes they can take it to extremes.

I suspect that the training concentrates more on the killing and less on the rights and wrongs and where to draw the line. Of course you can say that they should know better (and perhaps they should), but I imagine that it’s a line that is not difficult to cross for some individuals, especially when peer pressure is prevalent.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 21:16
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Here's the simple question that needs answering...

Is it ever justifiable to torture or kill civilians or enemy combatants who have been subdued or have surrendered?

What about if having to (can't think of the word) supervise them or return them to the rear would compromise the mission?
What if they had been complicit in the injury/killing of a comrade?
Do the ROE give examples of exceptions to the 'do not kill prisoners' rule that I assume is in place?

And so on?

Can anyone say when when it would be ok, in their opinion?

I can't.

CG
I believe it was Winston who stated something along the lines that "there is nothing so silly as a man that has tried to kill, shot at you and missed, and now wants to surrender".Shades of Vietnam. Who is the civilian? When children carry guns and are strapped with explosives than what?. If atrocities have been committed than the proven guilty should be held accountable. But who. You have witnessed bits and pieces of your brothers and sisters spread across the field and begin to treat the value of life as your enemies do. There is no straight forward answer.

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Old 19th Nov 2020, 21:23
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
Here's the simple question that needs answering...

Is it ever justifiable to torture or kill civilians or enemy combatants who have been subdued or have surrendered?

What about if having to (can't think of the word) supervise them or return them to the rear would compromise the mission?
What if they had been complicit in the injury/killing of a comrade?
Do the ROE give examples of exceptions to the 'do not kill prisoners' rule that I assume is in place?

And so on?

Can anyone say when when it would be ok, in their opinion?

I can't.

CG
I'll pop up from long-term lurking to answer this one. As you intimate, the answer is, of course, 'never, under any circumstances'. Reality is, of course, that soldiers are - like everyone else - subject to the failings of the human condition, and are perfectly capable of giving in to anger, fear, malice or a host of other 'dark side' traits. But the ROE, and LOAC, are entirely unambiguous in this area, and there's no excuse for anyone not knowing that. CSgt Blackman was convicted on his own words: he knew at the time that he was committing a crime. He didn't subsequently have his conviction quashed: it was reduced to manslaughter in recognition that his actions were not those of someone in full control of their faculties: i.e.diminished responsibility. A great deal else went wrong to get him to that point: he was evidently unwell, and was (in my opinion) let down by those in command who failed to recognise it. Again, not easy, but some pretty well-reported criticism of that unit at the time.

And that is what causes me such disquiet concerning the SASR. Commanders from 'Lt to Lt Gen' might well have known nothing about it - but they damn well should have done, and if the 'warrior culture' (a fetish I despise) had become out of control it was because officers allowed it to, through sins of omission or commission. I don't for a minute imagine it couldn't happen here, either - to units of all sorts. That's rather the point: it's on us to lead and keep leading, and to keep ourselves honest. Either way, very painful times for our Aussie brothers. There but for the grace of God etc.

Edit to add: there is a world of difference between the true heat of battle, in which there are many documented cases of the surrender coming 'just too late' as troops with their blood up sweep in with bayonets, and the cold-blooded acts that are the subject of these allegations - no weapons, bound and helpless.

Last edited by exrivofrigido; 19th Nov 2020 at 21:27. Reason: Expansion
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