Armies, combat – and lawyers

It seems that political correctness has now invaded the battlefield by way of civilian lawyers and unelected bureaucrats. The Telegraph reports:

‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,’’ cries Shakespeare’s King Henry V before Harfleur, ”Or close the wall up with our English dead.’’ We are brought up to believe that these were fine words.

But was the king human-rights compliant? Did he have due regard to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007? As he called on the ”good yeomen,/ Whose limbs were made in England’’, did he not understand that the MoD’s ”duty of care’’ extends to procurement and that he was therefore liable for litigation over any body armour inadequate to protect those English limbs?

Did he not recognise that, once the bodies of the English dead had been removed from Harfleur’s wall and repatriated, his actions would be judged by the ”narrative verdicts’’ of a coroner from Brize Norton? In ordering his men to ”Follow your spirit, and upon this charge/ Cry ‘God for Harry, England and St George!”’, was he inciting them to disregard the Right to Life as laid down in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), written by Tony Blair’s government into British law and amplified in a series of judgments by our Supreme Court and the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg? Nowadays poor Harry would be a war criminal, not a national hero.

If you look at a well-named pamphlet, The Fog of Law, published by Policy Exchange, you will see what has happened. Its authors, Tom Tugendhat and Laura Croft Klein, take the reader painstakingly through what they call ”the legal erosion of British fighting power’’.

. . .

The arrival of risk-averse military leaders is now not a future danger, which is what one usually hears, but a present reality. The people in charge are no less personally brave than their predecessors. But the encroachment of law forces them to turn their faces from scanning the horizon of potential conflict and look over their shoulders instead.

The problem is not the existence of law in military affairs as such … The threat lies in the takeover of the military sphere by law designed by and for civilians. Worse, this takeover is carried out not merely by our judges acting under the ultimate authority of our elected Parliament, but by a melange of judges, domestic and continental, answerable, thanks to the ECHR, to no entity but themselves.

There’s more at the link.

If things have got this bad in formerly great Britain’s armed forces, it’s a certainty that they’re getting that way throughout the rest of Europe too;  and if they’re that way on that side of the Atlantic, how bad are they getting on this side?  I’m willing to bet that Canada’s armed forces are more affected by them than ours are at present, but given reported decisions by some of our senior commanders, I’m fairly sure the US armed forces are headed in that general direction as well.

My combat service was in a simpler time and culture.  You shot fastest and straightest, or the other guy did.  Sometimes I came out ahead on that equation.  Other times, as attested by the scars I bear, I didn’t.


1 comment

  1. OTOH, one wishes that the generals in The Great War had been a bit less eager to throw English (and French, German, American, etc.) bodies into a wall, which was made of machine gun fire in that horrific time.

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