‘Marine A’ named as Sgt Alexander Blackman R.M. Today sentenced and jailed for at least 10 years for executing injured Taliban insurgent… As Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett said ’You have betrayed our troops and tarnished their reputation’
A little bit about Sgt Alexander Blackman RM. Sgt. Blackman was a model Royal Marine, a war hero with an exceptional record who had served in a number of conflicts. He proved his courage on six gruelling tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. And in 2001 he was part of the hunt for Bin Laden. He was among Royal Marines flown in to help Special Forces as they fought Al Qaeda gunmen in Bora Bora. Sgt Blackman’s closest brush with death came on his tour to Iraq, when he miraculously survived being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the assault on Basra. Fighting had been intense, with an officer describing the area as a scene from Dante’s Inferno.
While leading the assault on Basra in a WMIK Landrover, his rucksack containing ammunition, water and rations was hit by the warhead of an RPG in an ambush, deflecting it just past his head while bullets burst around him. Marines dived for cover as incoming fire and further RPG’s rained down on them. After the attack was repelled, his fellow commandos could not believe that Blackman had not been killed. Below; Sgt. A Blackman RM
Despite the difficult campaign – which saw Marines locked in some of the fiercest fighting experienced by British forces – his combat report is said to have been ‘exemplary’ and he was recommended for promotion. He had previously seen action in Afghanistan during the quieter winter months. But this deployment – later named the ‘Tour from hell’ by his colleagues – saw them attacked almost daily. Despite this hostility, the imposing 6ft 3in Blackman was credited with fostering ‘hearts and minds’ of the local population and helping oversee projects such as the building of a school. But the gruelling impact of losing friends and colleagues was to take its toll during the proceedings leading up to his conviction for murder,
Around 20 of his friends-fellow Marines had been killed or maimed during the tour, including a popular young officer and a Marine who had previously won a Military Cross for courage under fire. Blackman said ‘other comrades had suffered life-changing injuries’ and described the effect the deaths had on commandos after the body parts of friends were hung in trees by insurgents. ‘It’s not a nice thing for the lads,’ he said. ‘Close friends they have lived with have been killed, and parts of their bodies are displayed as a kind of trophy for the world to see.’ The Marines returned home as heroes, with Blackman earmarked for promotion to Colour Sergeant. It would have remained that way had a fellow Royal Marine not been arrested by civilian police more than a year later, and chilling head camera footage of the Helmand execution discovered on his laptop. The rest of the story is now legal military history. End.:
For me the act of betrayal by the British Government and the military legal system is summed up in these words, taken from a passage of President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ 1910; The Critic.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
It is my own most humble opinion… That the ‘critic’ Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett (ex RN) is a pompous arrogant arse, who has acted out of pure ignorance of true military combat expectations, and worked within the boundaries of civilian political correctness. Sgt. A Blackman RM has not betrayed our troops and tarnished their reputation, far from it. This Marine carried out his duty as is expected of every Royal Marine within the Corps, whilst deployed on operational duties-as in the incident described. The cold and timid souls of Government, will never know what true victory or defeat tastes like. Today I am ashamed to call myself an Englishman. Yours Aye.