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  UK Iraq War


Friendly Fire: Another Crack UK Soldier Quits the Illegal War

Posted: 2006-03-14
From: Chris Floyd
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SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq.


Written by Chris Floyd   
Sunday, 12 March 2006
Here's an important story that for some strange reason is not on the network news or splashed across the front pages of America's leading newspapers:

SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq.
Excerpts, from the Daily Telegraph: An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces. After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.

He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. The decision marks the first time an SAS soldier has refused to go into combat and quit the Army on moral grounds. It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan.

Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He added that many innocent civilians were arrested in night-time raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, or handed over to the Iraqi authorities and "most probably" tortured.

Mr Griffin eventually told SAS commanders at Hereford that he could not take part in a war which he regarded as "illegal". He added that he now believed that the Prime Minister and the Government had repeatedly "lied" over the war's conduct.

"I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy," he said. He expected to be labelled a coward and to face a court martial and imprisonment after making what "the most difficult decision of my life" last March. Instead, he was discharged with a testimonial describing him as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions". [End excerpt]

Oh, but wait until the rightwing war bloggers -- The Fightin' Anal Cyst Brigade -- get through with him. They'll soon have him turned into a craven, cowardly, pro-terrorist lunatic -- like Jack Murtha.

Meanwhile, "On Wednesday, the pre-trial hearing will begin into the court martial of Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a Royal Air Force doctor who has refused to return to Iraq for a third tour of duty on the grounds that the war is illegal." (Telegraph). And watch this space for more as the case develops. For background, see The Philosopher's Stone. Excerpt:

The flight lieutenant is no ordinary war protestor, and no shirker of combat - unlike, say, the pair of prissy cowards at the head of the Anglo-American "coalition." Kendall-Smith, who has dual New Zealand-British citizenship -- and dual university degrees in medicine and Kantian moral philosophy -- has served three tours at the front in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is not claiming any conscientious objections against war in general, nor do religious scruples play any part in his stance. It is based solely on the law.

Central to his case are the sinister backroom legal dealings between Washington and London in the last days before the invasion. Less than two weeks before the initial "Shock and Awe" bombings began slaughtering civilians across Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the UK's attorney general, gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a detailed briefing full of doubts and equivocations about the legality of the coming war, adding that Britain's participation in an attack unsanctioned by the UN would "likely" lead to "close scrutiny" by the International Criminal Court for potential war crimes charges, the Observer reports.

But Blair and Goldsmith withheld this report from Parliament, the Cabinet and British military brass, who were demanding a clear-cut legal sanction for the impending action. Then, just three days before the bloodletting began, Goldsmith suddenly produced another paper, this time for public consumption: a brief, clear, unequivocal statement that the invasion would be legal. This statement was almost certainly crafted in Washington, where Goldsmith had recently been "tutored" by the Bush gang's consiglieres, including the legal advisers to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Leading this pack of war-baying legal beagles was George W. Bush's top counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who had overseen the White House's own efforts to weasel out of potential war crimes charges by declaring -- without any basis in Anglo-American jurisprudence or the U.S. Constitution -- that Bush was not bound by any law whatsoever in any military action he undertook: a blank check for aggression, murder and torture that Bush has gleefully cashed over and over. Alberto and the boys leaned hard on Goldsmith, who finally caved in and replicated the Americans' contorted and specious legal arguments for launching the attack.

Of course, Kendall-Smith knew none of this during his first two tours in Iraq: Goldsmith's Bush-induced backflip was only divulged in April 2005. Nor did he know then of the "Downing Street Memos," the "smoking gun" minutes that record Blair's inner circle dutifully lining up behind Bush's hellbent drive for war - as far back as 2002 - and their conspiracy with the Bush gang to manipulate their countries into war. The memos -- which emerged in May 2005 and have never been denied or repudiated by the UK government -- show Blair's slavish acquiescence in Bush's criminal scheme to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" of unprovoked military aggression. Confronted with this newly revealed evidence -- and the revelations about the mountain of doubts and caveats expressed by American intelligence before the invasion but deliberately ignored by the Bushist war party -- Kendall-Smith took the only honorable course for a soldier who has been duped into serving an evil cause.
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