Last October, I pointed out that things were getting so bad in the US under Bush that the British people are in an uproar over Iraq and Americans remain silent. I pointed this out because Britain, until very recently, was home of secret, non-jury Diplock trials and a shoot-to-kill-on-sight policy against suspected (yes, that's right: suspected, not convicted) IRA operatives.
It's getting worse, in a kharmic sort of way. Being an Irish-American, I am acutely aware of the role of the British Special Air Services (SAS) in fighting their "war on terror." It was an ugly and a dirty war (and let's not mince words) on both sides. But the Brits, and the SAS, engaged in more than a bit of terrorism themselves.
And so this story about a "para" who refuses to fight any further in Iraq is particularly disturbing to me, as both an Irishman and an American. Ben Griffin, 28, says that he will no longer fight beside US GIs because of the "illegal" tactics of 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. ...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.So I guess he's looking at a court-martial and jail time for desertion, right? That's certainly what he expected.
Unbelievable to me, who watched (from my 1988 vantage point at NBC News) Mairead Farrell, Daniel McCann, and Sean Savage gunned down, unarmed and unindicted, by SAS officers in Gibraltar on suspicion of being members of the IRA.
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".
Last night Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security, said: "Trooper Griffin is a highly experienced soldier. This makes his decision particularly disturbing and his views and opinions must be listened to by the Government."
Either the Brits have developed somthing of a moral compass, or we've lost ours completely. This is how bad things have gotten.