Dr John Cameron (Letters, 11 November) professes “unease” over the trial of a British soldier for murdering a wounded prisoner. Unfortunately, he makes no proposal as to a more suitable response to this extremely serious offence. Are we to accept it because the enemy behaves equally badly, or even worse?
Dr Cameron also believes that “something was bound to give” because of battle fatigue. However, the helmet recording of the incident gave no evidence of men losing self-control.
On the contrary, the killer seemed to me to be completely cool, indeed off-hand, about the incident, calmly discussing the most suitable place to shoot the man.
I’m frankly appalled that Dr Cameron suggests we should pick and choose whether to observe the Geneva Convention, be the combat within a “filthy little war” or a major conflict.
Humans are not typically unbiased, and it requires agreements like the convention to control latent savagery.
In the end, although the marine is self-evidently guilty of the crime, true responsibility lies firmly with the British government for once again invading a foreign country without just cause. Have we learned nothing at all from Iraq?
Of course we cannot condone what “Soldier A” did in the heat of the desert in Afghanistan. However, just stop for a minute and spare a thought for the state of mind and the unbelievable pressure this unfortunate soldier was experiencing having witnessed the “tour from hell” that claimed the lives of 23 of his colleagues with several of their bodies hanging from trees as Taleban trophies.
Even with all their training in the forces, nobody is prepared to act normally in such carnage.
Please be merciful to “Soldier A” and his family – they deserve nothing less.
The attempts by some to mitigate the actions of Marine A are nullified by the harrowing nature of the published transcripts: a seriously injured prisoner of war is dragged back into a place of concealment and a debate had about where to place the bullet that will murder him.
John Cameron’s suggestion that battle fatigue or precedent excuses the subsequent atrocity is surprising, as is his proposition that it is naïve to expect British soldiers to abide by the Geneva Convention.