London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson had his usual Sunday routine interrupted yesterday as he was forced to actually perform an official duty, rather than prepare for luncheon at the host of his choice while dashing off his “chicken feed” generating column for the Maily Telegraph. And clearly attending the act of remembrance at the Cenotaph focused his mind.
Cripes readers, rumbled again! Yikes!
“Marine A must face justice, but the law has its limits in warfare ... Unlike other countries, Britain is allowing its soldiers to be hobbled by the 'right to life’” protests Bozza, falsely equating acts of bravery and fortitude in two World Wars, and a variety of other conflicts, with the actions of one soldier in Afghanistan, who premeditatedly shot dead an injured Taliban fighter.
“This didn’t take place in some suburban living room. This was on a field of battle, and the man who died was an enemy combatant, a jihadi who would almost certainly have rejoiced to blow the whole British patrol to smithereens” splutters Bozza, seemingly unaware that the incident in question did not actually take place on the “field of battle”. No “battle” was taking place at the time.
What is Bozza getting at? “There is now an intensifying rhythm of cases in which the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces are ticked off by the courts for their failure correctly to observe this or that article of the European Convention on Human Rights – and especially Article 2, the ‘right to life’”. Ah, so that’s just another attack on those rotten “Yuman Rights”, as his pal Dicky Windbag puts it.
That leaves Bozza with a problem of non-trivial dimensions, as he has already conceded that “It is pretty clear, also, that Marine A is aware of the gravity of what he has done, because he explicitly urges his fellow soldiers to keep quiet about it, and accepts that he has broken the Geneva Convention”. That would mean that the man who was killed was not an “enemy combatant” at the time.
And indeed he was not, as Bozza effectively admits, by rambling on about the history of the Geneva Conventions, and the idea that those who are “hors de combat” should be spared. On top of that, Nick Houghton, currently Chief of the Defence Staff, appeared on The Andy Marr Show (tm) yesterday to stress that due process must be allowed to run its course.
Houghton made the very valid point that, in applying the highest standards to the behaviour of our own armed forces, we thereby occupy the moral high ground, something which was often forgotten during the long years of the Northern Irish Troubles. Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. However, the minimum tariff that must be served may be reduced, and that may well happen in this case.
But it has bugger all to do with Human Rights law. As Boris Johnson well knows.