When Soldiers Stop Soldiering
There is a good reason the United States refuses to sign on to the International Criminal Court. Witness the effect such a mindset has on British troops, evidenced in a 'secret Ministry of Defense report', according to the UK's Telegraph. While none of the investigations cited have risen to the level of prosecution in The Hague, it is clear that the same mindset is what drives the mentality.
Britain doesn't even need The Hague. Fear of it drives self-policing to levels that get into the minds of soldiers so pervasively that they fear action for legal reasons. This mentality of legal fear neutralized a military force, rendering it ineffectual.
From the article headlined British troops in Iraq are afraid to open fire, secret MoD report confirms...
British troops in Iraq "lack the confidence to open fire" because of a "fear of prosecution", says a confidential Ministry of Defence (MoD) report seen by The Sunday Telegraph.
It confirms that soldiers believe that if they shoot dead insurgents they will become embroiled in a "protracted investigation" and if prosecuted will receive "no support from the chain of command".
There are incidents that warrant investigation and, at times, prosecution. But it is clear that, for British troops, they believe their trained warrior instincts are no longer compatible with the legal nature of warfare today.
This, clearly, is an aspect our enemies are not hindered by. It is a sign of our character in the West. But, it clearly can be carried to self-defeating extremes.
I met several British Royal Marines during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. They were intelligent, alert and tough as nails. It is hard to imagine those same men pausing for legal considerations in self-defense or amidst legal operations. Their warrior instincts were surely as good as any around. Yet, clearly this is no longer enough or trustworthy, for the non-warrior bureaucracy is currently getting into their heads at a level that can arguably be described as nothing short of debilitating.
Imagine American Marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors prosecuting a war where the primary objective is to avoid prosecution for executing warfare, and the secondary objective in the mind of the trigger-puller is victory.
Perhaps those who support the ICC in The Hague have thought of precisely this.