Friday, 8 November 2013
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains....
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
and go to your God like a soldier.
Rudyard Kipling, Advice for the young British soldier.
The fate of a British Soldier who fell into Afghan hands was well known in the 19th century. Things do not change. The Marine Sergeant found "Guilty" of killing a wounded afghan would have been considered perfectly normal in those more realistic days. And it is a certainty that no Victorian "Peeler" (Policeman) would have instigated a prosecution of a Tommy.
However, one is reminded of the "Breaker Morant" incident in the Boer war where three Australian Officers were tried in South Africa for killing Boer Prisoners, even though they were obeying if not superior orders then superior policy. There were peace talks in the offing and the British had to show that they were even handed. Two shot colonial officers was considered a cheap price to pay for bringing a stubborn enemy to the conference table.
One cannot but wonder?