Media

The answered prayers of the great and the good

The Spectator has carried out a Christmas survey, which solicited “answered prayers or wishes”. Presumably ‘wishes’ were included for those who don’t pray. So we have a Christmas survey sent out to… well, who precisely? We don’t know how many people were surveyed, but the Speccie received responses from Justin Welby, Amber Rudd, James Dyson and 12 others. We know this because the article is headed: ‘Answered prayers, by Justin Welby, Amber Rudd, James Dyson and 12 others‘. It’s an interesting piece, not least because of the headlined chosen three and the supplementary “12 others”. Perhaps one can understand the higher profile of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Home Secretary – they are the Establishment, after all. But why does Sir James Dyson outrank Cardinal Vincent Nichols? Does a knighthood trump a cardinalate? If so, why that particular knight? Why not Sir Anthony Seldon or Sir Tim Rice? Or is the compiler of this list not particularly favourable toward the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster?

It’s really quite interesting to observe how the Speccie discerns worthiness of inclusion in an article about answered prayers. It’s basically a list of the great and the good mingled with a few Speccie mates – irrespective of faith – and the list inclines toward the Establishment:

Justin Welby
Frederick Forsyth
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Dan Snow
Helen Lederer
Tim Rice
Tom Holland
Peter McKay
Anthony Seldon
Taki
Christina Lamb
James Dyson
Amber Rudd
Darius Guppy
Libby Purves

It’s even more interesting in the context of the imminent announcement of the #CranmerList2016 (in about a fortnight) – the ‘Top 100’ UK Christians of the year. Every year there’s an outpouring of disgust and dismay that such a list should even be contemplated, but what’s this Speccie list if it isn’t some subjective ‘survey’ of people whose answered prayers are considered more interesting to read about than, say, those of 15 Christians from all walks of life in all levels of society? What’s wrong with that? Too demotic?

And then we get the ‘Catholic of the Year‘. This year the Catholic Herald have decided that this honour goes to Bishop Philip Egan:

catholic-of-the-year

The enclave which determined this denominational insularity is composed of the editorial staff and board of directors of the Catholic Herald. That’s cosy. Were they eligible for inclusion themselves? Did they solicit nominations? Were they inspired by the Holy Spirit as they voted? Did they actually vote, or did the Bishop ’emerge’? But what of ordinary Roman Catholics – you know, the laity who feed the poor or house the homeless, or those who are being martyred in Iraq and Syria (‘Catholic of the Year’ doesn’t specify UK citizenship). And is a bishop not already honoured by men? Does he not already have his reward in full? Is Bishop Philip Egan really more worthy of being named ‘Catholic of the Year’ than, say, Sr Catherine Wybourne, whose digital fragrance and daily Twitter prayers (while she endures her own cross of suffering) are a blessing to the world? At least The Tablet extends its Catholic list to a ‘Top 100‘ and focuses on laity, though, again, it isn’t clear how these are selected.

The #CranmerList 2016 will be released to coincide with the New Year’s Honours list. Everyone named has been nominated by ordinary people: it is your list. If you’re not happy about the sex / ethnic / denominational make-up, it’s because you didn’t nominate enough intersex Asian Quakers. Perhaps next year it’ll be worth writing a piece about the answered prayers of nurses, teachers, cleaners, farmers, dustmen and white working-class boys. Wasn’t the faith preached in the first instance to poor, ignorant, illiterate men – a college made up, for the most part, of uneducated but inspired fishermen? Perhaps not enough of them read the Spectator.

  • Martin

    They’re just as silly as Cranmer’s List.

    • Why?

      • Martin

        HJ

        Because it matters not what men think of you, what matters is God’s opinion.

        • Agreed but where’s the harm in offering role models for Christians in todays morally relative and secular world?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I wouldn’t want to put anyone on a pedestal – too easy to fall off.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The harm it does to those selected as role models.

          • Jack understands your point, but one doubts being offered as a role model harms a genuinely humble and sincere Christian.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Can you find one?

          • The Rev’d Canon Andrew White?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I doubt it.

  • Anton

    Makes me think of Clark Gable’s last line in Gone With The Wind…

    • Christians should celebrate champions of their faith in Britain. Why not? Bishop Egan is a fine Bishop. God Bless him. The Tablet, known as the “poison pill” by some, is not so orthodox.

      • Anton

        Celebrate them by all means, but please don’t tell me that I “should”. (May I borrow your ‘Grumpy’ icon, as you aren’t making much use of it nowadays?)

        • Grouchy Jack

          It’s Grouchy Jack, pin head.

          • Anton

            Good to see you back. Should I try to elicit further appearances?

          • dannybhoy

            Go for it….

          • Grouchy Jack

            You can button it too.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, whaddya know, a talking blueberry….

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrrr ….

            That’s the Yanks influence.

          • Grouchy Jack

            You don’t have to try, Anton.

          • Anton

            Some say I’m very trying…

          • Grouchy Jack

            Just “some”? The others must be comatose.

        • Feel free.

          Saint Paul commended the efforts of particular Christians and offered them as an example. .

          • dannybhoy

            So then, why didn’t he institute an Early Church Top 100?
            You’re backing a loser here Jack.

          • Well, He chose twelve from His disciples, didn’t He?

      • dannybhoy

        Perhaps because it goes against everything our Lord taught?

        • Jesus taught against spiritual boasting and pride – not recognising the humility and faith of others.

          • len

            The RCC has all the pomp and pride and the icing on the cake is a man sitting on a golden throne lording it over humanity.

          • We’re a tad more discrete these days, Len.

          • len

            Not wearing those pantaloons your’e not.

          • That’s just a distraction to make us look harmless.

      • Thought it was called the “Bitter Pill”, Jack? Or has the nickname become even less charitable these days? 🙂

        • Perhaps he’s just a bit too orthodox for you, Sister Tibs.

          “When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion ….

          “Nobody is forced to be Catholic. We’re called by Christ and He’s chosen us, it’s a free choice. We live under the word of God. It’s not my truth, its God’s truth. One would hope that in that case it would encourage someone to come back to seek communion with the Lord with the truth and say I’m sorry I got lost.”

          https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-bishop-denying-communion-to-anti-life-family-politicians-is-an-act-of-me

          • Olivia Cook

            I tend to disbelieve black/white arguments in general since people who think of things that way have rarely studied the depths of the argument. I go far more with Pope Francis’s “field hospital” metaphor – start by stopping the bleeding and giving the emergency treatment, then we’ll discuss the colour of the bandages 🙂

          • I did say he wasn’t wrong about everything. I do think he isn’t always wise about how he goes about things. You and I will rarely disagree about the unborn. But you can’t reduce every argument to the unborn. The American elections showed that.

          • He’s an orthodox Catholic on sexual morality, the indissolubility of marriage and a range of other issues too. He’d make a fine Archbishop of Westminster and, in time, a Cardinal.

          • Not sure I rate his chances under the current Pope 🙂 He’s have had a better shot under Benedict.

        • IanCad
          • Interesting link.

          • IanCad

            Egg on my face!!

          • I sometimes think there’s no discussion here, Ian, that we haven’t already had a hundred times. Mind you, as we all get older, we’ll probably all forget them and have the fun of the same argument for the hundredth first time 🙂

          • IanCad

            Sister Tibs, and Jack, You are kind people, gracious and polite; Gently overlooking my completely irrelevant link. I must learn: Read the OP in its entirety before posting a comment.

        • CliveM

          Tried the link got a messages that the page no longer exists?

          • For some reason the link truncated – you can get it from the main page of my blog, in the archive entries for March 2014 🙂

  • David

    Well done Cranmer for organising a ecumenical list of 2016’s top Christians.

    • dannybhoy

      Perhaps he was miffed that no one (quite rightly imo), didn’t subscribe to

      “Top 100 UK Christians – nominations now closed
      December 12, 2016”
      ?

  • “The Tablet’s list of the top 100 lay Catholics reveals how a relatively small faith community has come to obtain a leadership presence in virtually every part of British society.”

    You’ve been warned.

    “Our Top 100 lay Catholics portrays individuals who are part of a vibrant faith community that has become fully integrated into British life. It includes individuals who have reached the highest levels of the Establishment but have never forgotten their roots, nor the gospel imperative to love their neighbour. The Church – and Britain as a whole – can rightly be proud of them.”

    It’s an interesting list of Papists.

    • Martin

      HJ

      Like Islam? After all, Popes once tried to rule this realm.

      • We’re taking over again, Martin. Today the Bank of England; tomorrow the Crown.

        • len

          Ah the Papists, they are everywhere and they are nowhere. (as Clouseau once said)

          • Cressida de Nova

            I will let this one pass as you cannot possibly know whose leg it is that you are pushing.

          • len

            I know nothing and I know everything.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Len, you have your moments but I see it as my duty to inform you…you know nothing.
            I, on the other hand know a lot of things.If you listen and do as I say you will be much happier. These words may ring a familiar bell. Merry Christmas and remember Santa does not give presents to grumpy folk. Santa is a Catholic,you know!

          • len

            I am (mostly ) a very happy person, whatever people say.
            Still Protesting, len.

        • Martin

          HJ

          You’ll make me vote for a republic?

          • Evan better. The task will be so much easier.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Disestablishment & a republic, I think that pretty much handles it.

          • All the better …..

        • Cressida de Nova

          Woohoo!.

  • carl jacobs

    answered prayers or wishes

    That’s a revealing frame, rather like an inside joke for the enlightened and sophisticated. Perhaps it might be better expressed as “A List of Fortunate Happenstance, or what Simpletons might call Answered Prayer.” Shared smirks can be exchanged between sips of wine at the expense of those who declare what “God has done”.

    It is an article of modern faith that Happenstance is the essential nature of this universe we inhabit. A wish is nothing more than a hoped-for event, and sometimes by chance that event happens to occur. Some people insist on slathering a veneer of Theism on top of this essentially random nature, and call “chance” by the name of “God”. To the Sophisticate, this act of renaming is itself just a hopeless wish for meaning in the face of meaningless probability densities. “Time & chance happeneth to all” he will say. “There is nothing more.”

    But inevitably the marble falls to black when we have bet red, and suddenly the nature of Happenstance does not look so benign. Men who no longer read the Scripture start to read the Book of the Dead looking ancient wisdom. They start to carry charms, and buy crystals, and cast incantations in order to seek some measure of control over the blind forces to which they feel subjected. They can’t quite accept that meaningless force produces meaningless outcome, because they themselves are the meaningless outcome. Surely the origin of their suffering must have more content then a bad spin of the roulette wheel.

    Thus do men crawl back to paganism. It’s an expression of man’s desire to control his own destiny; to act as his own Sovereign with authority over his own Providence. He rejects God. He fears the darkness. What is left to him but magic spells against the night?

    • dannybhoy

      Interesting developments seem to be happening along these lines in what were once grounded in Scripture evangelical movements..
      Anyone heard of the New Apostolic Reformation, http://bereanresearch.org/dominionism-nar/
      the Kundalini spirit, http://www.girdedwithtruth.org/kundalini-spirit/
      and various manifestations purporting to be of the Holy Spirit?
      All seem to be linked by a desire to see God move and manifest but in some cases by employing New Age/Hindu/Buddhist teachings, which effectively show how to provoke these “proofs”. Some I have to say are quite disturbing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHjCa3Zw7go

      • David

        I’ve noticed that Buddhist practices, if not teachings, are almost regarded as de rigeur amongst a wide spectrum of the middle class. Many see it as absolutely normal, and its efficacy almost unquestionable; whereas if one spoke out with confidence regarding say, the benefits of a prayerful study of Scripture, or the use of The Rosary, one would undoubtedly receive puzzled looks. Such is the extent of the de-Christainisation of swathes of our society.
        Not wishing to sound complacent, because I am most certainly not, but I do see the hand of fashion working in this. I wonder what fashion will replace Buddhist practices or not ?

        • bluedog

          Blame Yoga.

      • Anton

        It has become fashionable among its detractors to call the spirit behind the uncontrolled-laughing stuff going on in some churches, which appears to have begun in the “Toronto movement”, by the name Kundalini. I am aware of the arguments for this name but I think they are a distraction. The point is whether this spirit is the Holy Spirit. So far as I can tell, No.

        • dannybhoy

          My main concern is whilst recognising the genuine enthusiasm and devotion of some who are advocating these teachings, getting across my concerns about their Scriptural/spiritual origins..

      • len

        There is some seriously bad stuff going on in the Church today(well ,in the past as well come to think of it.)
        Mix Christianity with paganism and the mix becomes toxic.

    • writhledshrimp

      carl jacobs write a book please, I’d read it.

      • Noooooooooooooooooo ……………….

        • writhledshrimp

          Why not? He has ideas and communicates them well. It would be interesting.

          • Grouchy Jack

            He’s American, for one. For two, he needs to develop humility. Plus, he supports Manchester City.

          • carl jacobs

            You know what? Grumpy kind of reminds me of …

            “Blue Moooooooon! You saw me standing alooooone.”

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrrrr …..

          • Cressida de Nova

            Careful Jack ! When a Calvinist starts crooning love songs to you there is something amiss:)

          • He’s trying to wind Grouchy up. That song is the anthem of a football team Jack prefers not to mention.

          • Martin

            GJ

            He supports a FOOTBALL TEAM??!!!

          • carl jacobs

            Soccer team.

          • Martin

            Carl

            No, football, as in kicking a ball with one’s feet. A nasty sport.

          • Grouchy Jack

            After a fashion, yeah.

          • Martin

            GJ

            Like any sport, nasty.

          • writhledshrimp

            1. A world without Americans who write books would be a poorer place. 2. Even if it were true, it isn’t a reason not to write. 3. Fair point. Not in my opnion a deal breaker, but close.

      • carl jacobs

        Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them.

  • dannybhoy

    I carry no torch for eminences, bishops, popes or even the Governor of the Church of England.
    The only people who command my respect are those who have/are suffering for their faith, or have sacrificed of themselves in serving God and building His kingdom. “For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever (actively) believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life..”

  • dexey

    If Dyson is a Protestant Sir I’d be happy with him trumping a Cardinal.

  • dexey

    “Wasn’t the faith preached in the first instance to poor, ignorant, illiterate men – a college made up, for the most part, of uneducated but inspired fishermen?”
    Forgive me if I am wrong on this but wasn’t the earliest record of his teaching as a boy in a synagogue where I assume he was teaching the clerics?

  • Grouchy Jack

    Listen you knuckle headed colonialist. It’s Grouchy Jack. Goody two-shoes has been attempting to repress Grouchy and pretend he no longer exists, so one has been humouring him. And what Grouchy does in private is none of your business.

    • carl jacobs

      You’re much too benign and harmless to be a “Grouchy Jack”. It’s all a front. “Grumpy ” is much more fitting for you.

      • Mad Jack

        They’re both pussies ….

        • carl jacobs

          Uh oh. Looks like someone fed Grumpy Jack after Midnight.

          • Mad Jack

            Has someone just farted?

          • Profuse apologies for this crudity. He’s going back in the box.

  • Andrew Holt

    I confess, I read the Spectator. The list, supposedly of answered prayers was disappointing. It even included one Dan Snow who seemed to be claiming it was hard work that got him where he is today. And there’s me thinking it was nepotism.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Dan Snow may well work hard and seems to be both clever and very fit physically. However there are lots of people who share those criteria but who lack his connections. I did not know until very recently that Dan Snow’s mother is a great granddaughter of David Lloyd George.

    • magnolia

      Maybe it was the prayers of Bishop Snow to whom he is related; grandson, nephew?

      Who knows? But I very much doubt he has never been prayed for, so makes a poor example of someone who has made it on his own with no prayer in sight. Next…..

  • David

    Is the eyes closed, hands clasped, long-faced, praying gentleman wearing a yellow suit and viewed against a backdrop of more yellow, meant to imply that Archbishop Welby supports the party that uses this colour ?

  • Dreadnaught

    With your kind permission Cranny:
    On the topic post of prayer, the campaign for the release of Sgt Alexander Blackman, he and his comrades would be grateful for your support and prayers if appropriate, for the release of this soldier who is currently languishing at the end of the third year in a British prison.
    Royal Marines of all ranks and cap badges will be assembling tomorrow at the Royal Courts of Justice in London at 1400hrs.
    http://www.justiceformarinea.com/

    • David

      The Human rights regime is incompatible with combat. His case should be reviewed, The sentence was either plain wrong, or at best, disproportionate.

      • One thinks shooting an unarmed and injured enemy is wrong by any moral or legal standard. Whether it was murder or manslaughter, and whether his sentence was just, is worthy of debate.

        • len

          This matter is certainly worthy of debate.Until the circumstance are know(if they ever can be fully known?) Shooting [apparently]unarmed men became a practice in WW2 after surrendering enemies were found to have explosives concealed about their person and detonated them when once within range.
          ISIS sent out suicide bombers to slow down the Syrian army and took out quite a few soldiers.
          I am not saying its right or wrong to shoot [apparently] surrendering insurgents but it is a matter worthy of debate.

          .

          • The man was on the ground, unarmed and wounded after engagement. He was shot dead in cold blood.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Your statement though true, does not take into account the terrible circumstances that led to this desperate act. Let’s have all the facts please.

          • Jack is judging the act – not the man. There may well have been mitigating factors diminishing personal responsibility. Presumably the Court considered these in reaching a verdict and passing sentence.

          • Anton

            What strikes me as odd about your position is this: apparently it’s OK to shoot at him with intent to kill; it’s OK to kill him outright thereby; but if you merely incapacitate him, it’s not OK to finish the job. Might I ask you why not? (I’m asking you, not asking what the Geneva convention says; war is a bottom line and as far as I’m concerned the only genuine constraint is that you have to live with yourself afterwards.)

            I’d apply to Sgt Blackman whatever be the standard Army discipline for letting the wounded Talib be kicked by the men under his command, and for swearing at him, but not for shooting him dead.

          • You shoot to kill because the enemy is intent on killing you. Once he’s injured and disarmed, he poses no threat. What justification is there for killing him? What Sgt Blackman did was cold blooded murder with malice aforethought. Astonishing you think kicking this man and swearing at him was unacceptable but killing him was okay.

          • Anton

            See what Carl said. Not true he’s no further threat. Either in the short term or the long.

          • A threat? Loaded onto a helicopter and, if he survives, shipped off to Guantanamo Bay?

          • Anton

            Those suicide bombs that might have been strapped to his body.

          • You’re kidding, right. He’d been receiving first aid until Sgt Blackman ordered it to end. Then he was dragged across ground, whilst being kicked, out of sight of surveillance. Then shot in the chest.

          • Anton

            Please provide a reference for first aid. But as I’ve said elsewhere to you on this thread, the aim was not to take territory, which is an assumption underlying your position, but to kill Taliban. If we were not prepared to do that – which is a perfectly respectable viewpoint – then we should not have put men like Blackman in an impossible position. We should simply have stayed at home.

          • “Please provide a reference for first aid.”

            On 8 November 2013, the Board of the Court Martial found Marine A guilty of murder but acquitted Marines B and C. The findings of the Board in relation to Marine A were set out in the sentencing judgment given on 6 December 2013:

            “Having removed his AK47, magazines and a grenade, [Marine A] caused him to be moved to a place where [Marine A] wanted to be out of sight of your operational Headquarters at Shazad so that, to quote what [Marine A] said: “PGSS can’t see what we’re doing to him”. He was handled in a robust manner by those under [Marine A’s] command, clearly causing him additional pain, and [Marine A] did nothing to stop them from treating him in that way. When out of view of the PGSS (Persistent Ground Surveillance System) [Marine A] failed to ensure he was given appropriate medical treatment quickly and then ordered those giving some first aid to stop. When [Marine A] was sure the Apache Helicopter was out of sight [Marine A] calmly discharged a 9mm round into his chest from close range. [Marine A’s] suggestion that [he] thought the insurgent was dead when [he] discharged the firearm lacks any credibility and was clearly made up after [he] had been charged with murder in an effort to concoct a defence….. [Marine A] intended to kill him and that shot certainly hastened his death. He then told his patrol they were not to say anything about what had just happened and [he] acknowledged what [he] had done by saying that [he] had just broken the Geneva Convention. The tone and calmness of [his] voice as [he] commented after [he] had shot him were matter of fact and in that respect they were chilling.”

            http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2013/2367.html

            His words: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c*nt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us … Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”

            https://web.archive.org/web/20131206223730/http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-marine-sergeant-alexander-blackman-2897775

            This all came to light because a Marine had stored the recording on his computer and this came to the attention of the military police several months later.

          • Anton

            Thank you for the first aid reference. Yo avoid duplication, please let’s continue this exchange where I’ve asked you why it was not OK to finish him off but apparently OK for our helicopter gunship to try to kill him a few minutes earlier.

          • Jack has already answered that one – twice. Do keep up.

          • Anton

            Third time lucky in coming up with a cogent response, Jack!

          • It’s not my answers that lack cogency, Anton.

          • carl jacobs

            This btw is unquestionably the strongest argument you have. This bothers me. Especially the kicking part. But he was fighting the Taliban and I don’t know what he had seen the Taliban do. To be frank, that makes a difference. War against a hard enemy is going to get hard. That’s just reality. So I would give him latitude.

          • CliveM

            I think it is significant that his defence isn’t trying to suggest these events didn’t happen, or that they were justified, or that it wasn’t covered by the normal rules of war, but that he was suffering from battle stress, which led him to behave in a non typical manner.

            Is this defense credible? As this is a criminal matter any doubt should be to the benefit of the defense I feel and I would give him it.

            Otherwise he is guilty.

          • It’s a shame then that you don’t extend the same “latitude” to civilian murders too. But for this, Pope Francis would be proud of your pastoral approach and inclination towards mercy, btw. Life is hard, not just war, that’s just reality” and we all face choices and can find rationalisations to justify them.

            The greatest evil act mankind committed took place because of the moral consequentialism of Caiaphas and Pilate.

          • carl jacobs

            Is it worth the risk of losing a helicopter to evacuate him? Would you triage him before one of your own men who might not be so badly wounded?

          • Were any injured? And wasn’t the helicopter coming for the soldiers? It was monitoring their actions. What risk?

            Your empathy for service men appears to be blinding you to the facts in this particular case. Yet, you never seem to apply such “understanding” to murderers more generally. Sgt Blackman’s appeal is based on new evidence about his mental health at the time of the killing. It seems he may have been suffering from combat stress. You see, this is something Jack can understand as a possibility in homicide. Can you? Or is it just pseudo-science seeking to excuse behaviour?

            In Jack’s faith, three conditions have to be satisfied for a man to be personally culpable for objective grave sin. First, grave matter – the act itself is intrinsically evil and immoral. Next, full knowledge – the person must know what they’re doing or planning to do is evil and immoral. And, finally, deliberate consent – the person must freely choose to commit the act or plan to do it.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, I have said this twice. I will say it a third time. I don’t know enough about Sgt Blackman’s case to have a good opinion about it. I will go so far to say that your case is reasonable if not convincing. However, I am not discussing that case. I am discussing the general principles that go into decisions like this. I am specifically rejecting your rather naive assumption that these decisions can always be made without reference to the larger impacts they cause.

            If I am the commander, and there is a Taliban in my custody who will die without immediate evacuation, then he had better hope that there is no risk to an incoming helicopter. If there is any risk, then he is going to die. I wouldn’t risk a helo crew to save him. That means I am prioritizing the potential threat to that crew over his life. Why? Because I want that crew available to evacuate one of my guys who will die without immediate evacuation.

            This isn’t about murder. It’s about war. It’s specifically about the fact that the military obligations a commander holds to his mission and his men are more important than the generic humanitarian obligations he holds to preserve his enemy’s life.

          • Here’s a good summary of the facts. It’s the judgement of the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) decision:

            http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2013/2367.html

            “This isn’t about murder. It’s about war.”

            No, it’s about both.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t want to talk about the case, Jack. I want to talk about the means by which you reached your conclusion.

          • By considering the actual facts in this particular situation, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            So then if I changed the facts, you would change your judgment. Like, say, a LRP unexpectedly catching a prisoner.

          • Not necessarily. That would depend on the strength of the arguments and the
            tangible risks entailed.
            Jack’s off to bed now.

          • carl jacobs

            You have ignored almost every argument I have made by the expedient of particularizing the case.

          • And Jack can understand those arguments. Yet, each situation has to be judged on its particular merits. You want to generalise this case. Jack doesn’t. There is a moral line that should not be crossed, even in war.

          • bluedog

            The case should never have been tried in a court of law. It is impossible to recreate the circumstances of combat and the pressures on men who may have had very little sleep for days while fighting for their lives. Very few lawyers would make the grade as marines or soldiers, they have different qualities appropriate to their profession. To judge Blackman’s eff-off moment in a court-room is frankly obscene, it’s torture by trial, and in the long-term massively damaging to the morale of the military. This whole IHAT thing has gone on far too long and is an utter disgrace; the fraudulent nature of the exercise should have been realised years ago. In a sense it’s the same symptom that we saw at Rotherham, one law for the third worlders, another for the whites. We now have a situation where very few politicians have military experience, and it shows, yet they’re happy enough to grandstand and put military lives at risk for no gain. Cameron’s heroic advance into Libya being an excellent example..

          • He was tried by a panel of nine service men and sentenced by a military judge – not by civilians.

          • bluedog

            Woops! Must admit I haven’t followed the case closely enough. Surprising that a military tribunal didn’t let him off with a caution. Can’t retreat from other comments, though. The long running persecution of men and women who tried to do the right thing in the ME is a complete disgrace.

          • bluedog

            I have had another look at this thing and it seems the court martial was applying peacetime and civilian legal precedents to a combat situation – ridiculous. The transcript makes the patently false statement that the severely wounded Talib was not a threat despite having a grenade and a loaded AK47. Huh? That actually makes the man a potentially greater threat. If you are a jihadi and think you are about to enter paradise, why not take a bunch of kuffars with you?

          • He was, of course, disarmed before being kicked and dragged across the ground out of sight of surveillance cameras. Before being shot, he was also given some first-aid. No threat at all.

          • bluedog

            Wrong. The Talib’s presence remained a threat to the unit in two ways. Firstly he was a physical burden that demanded continuing medical support and diversion of rations. Secondly he could possibly have drawn attention to the unit ,operating in hostile territory and potentially facing the risk of being overwhelmed and annihilated, as it seems may have been the case.

            With the benefit of hindsight, a better option would have been to leave him to die. It was clearly a mistake to put the Talib out of his misery. One doubts that British troops will repeat the error of offering first aid to a wounded enemy combatant. Wounded enemy troops wishing to surrender may find their gestures of submission misinterpreted as being evidence of continued aggression. Lessons learned.

          • You shoot to kill because the enemy is intent on killing you. If he’s disarmed and injured, as in this situation, and poses no threat, where’s the justification for killing him?

            Odd that you think kicking an injured man or swearing at him is unacceptable but shooting him in cold blood is somehow acceptable. Want to reconsider that?

          • Anton

            No. What I want to reconsider is whether our boys should have been there at all. Your arguments are predicated on a war over territory, eg the Germans invaded France, so the objective is to push the Germans out of France and any Germans we capture are permanently out of that battle. In Afghanistan the battle was not over territory. The aim was to find and kill the Taliban, as many of them as possible. If we are not prepared to do that, our forces should have stayed at home. THAT is the real debate, and I can see both sides of it – far more than I can see both sides of a debate about hanging a Royal Marine out to dry. I’d welcome Carl’s view, as well as yours of course.

          • Cop out. The aim was to break the power and influence of the Taliban and replace them – not indiscriminately kill them all. You really think an event like this helped that cause? British soldiers were there and subject to military law, as well as God’s law about just killing. Lower ourselves to their level and what’s the point?

          • Anton

            Good question. Maybe we should have stayed at home. I know personally a fairly senior officer who while on leave back here had to attend two funerals of men killed under his command in Afghanistan, and who was insistent that his job was succeeding in making Afghanistan a better place. I did not dare tell him that I disagreed and that I thought he *had* to convince himself of that. Don’t tell me I’m copping out. Plenty of people posting here think you are.

          • You’re coping out of acknowledging the intrinsic evil of killing a man in cold blood without justification.

          • Anton

            Whereas the British air strike which had left him lying there wounded was OK? Please include a clear Yes or No in any reply, and if Yes then please explain the difference.

          • One is a legitimate use of force to render the enemy harmless by killing him and removing the threat to one’s own life and that of others. Once he was injured and disarmed, this was no longer the case.

          • Anton

            He’s not harmless. The problem is that he still a Taliban and will resume his activities as soon as he is able, unless we incarcerate him in Afghanistan under the British administration there, and that was not part of the British plan. The root of this problem is an incoherent British strategy, but when I explain this you call it a cop-out.

          • It is a cop out – morally and legally. It’s a “what if” justification for cold blooded murder.

          • Anton

            In which case why not accuse the helicopter pilot who badly wounded him minutes earlier of attempted murder?

          • Because he was armed, able bodied and, one can assume, intent on killing others. On that basis, it’s morally justifiable.

          • Anton

            By “he” I take you to mean the Talib. The UK helicopter pilot was clearly trying to kill him, not just incapacitate him. That being that case, you cannot complain that Blackman finished the job. You can complain only about how Blackman did it, as I said (and a much lesser charge).

          • Nonsense. The “intent” is to render him and his co-combatants harmless through the necessary use of lethal means. If non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety, as in the case of a wounded and unarmed man, then they should be used. This man had been rendered unable to cause harm and Sgt Blackman had no right, moral or legal, to make the decision to execute him in his injured state – and his actions show he was aware of this.

          • Anton

            He was certainly rendered harmless in the short term. That he remained harmful in the long term is verified by his willingness to be where he was. The British Army’s aim was to permanently stop people like that acting. In the absence of jails, that means killing them. Blackman is therefore being charged with doing what the Army was supposed to do – which is absurd – when he should have been charged only with letting his men kick the man.

          • Enough ….
            The authorities had provision for taking prisoners, treating and detaining the Taliban. Please prove these resources did not exist.

          • Anton

            I’d need to know also if that was a realistic alternative in that specific combat situation, which I don’t.

          • Anton

            So how would you break the power and influence of the Taliban and replace them? Round them up, point guns at them and tell them that the British are really very nice people and ask them politely?

          • carl jacobs

            The professional responsibility of a soldier does not change based upon the different missions that you describe. If they are there, they have to obey the rules of engagement. The overriding issue here to me is custody. Why did they take custody of him? If he was going to die anyways, then they should have left him alone. But again. In a fight like this, I am going to give wide latitude to the soldier on the ground. He isn’t fighting the Germans in France. He is fighting a savage who is bound by no law whatsoever. That makes a difference to me.

            If the British Army has to treat these people according to the Geneva Convention, then the man who made that decision is a first-rate ass. There is a reason that irregulars aren’t covered.

          • Anton

            Thank you Carl. It seems to me that they took custody of him in order to kill him out of sight of a UK drone. I infer that his rules of engagement disallowed him from killing him where he lay. Which is absurd, given that British forces had just been trying to kill Taliban at that spot. ROEs like that lead to impossible quandaries and if this is the case then higher-ups should be ashamed.

          • “He is fighting a savage who is bound by no law whatsoever. That makes a difference to me.”
            A “savage” who, nevertheless, is made in the image and likeness of God and who should be treated with dignity.

          • Kinder to kill him.

          • So’s euthanasia. Still doesn’t make it right. Besides, it wasn’t kindness that motivated this act.

          • I’m still a fan of euthanasia HJ, even more so now.
            How do you know it wasn’t a sort of warped kindness that motivated that particular act?

          • The facts indicate it wasn’t an act of kindness. Marie. It appears to have been vengeful. Jack is surprised to learn you support euthanasia.

          • When you’ve a long term illness that only gets worse you might change your mind.

          • magnolia

            “Only gets worse” is a largely mechanistic understanding. There is literally nothing beyond the reach of God, though I admit to having taken far too long to (75-80%) believe that.

            No illness whatever cannot be reversed. Not one. We are almost brainwashed from an early age into believing the body operates only like a machine. It is much better and more complex than that.

          • Well I’d be most grateful if God could reverse the Parkinson’s I have which is slowly disabling my movement and senses.

          • IanCad

            God Bless you Marie. You will be in my prayers for courage and healing to be granted to you.

          • Thank you.

          • And Happy Jack’s, Marie.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I am so sorry Marie. I am pleased you told us. Miracles do happen sometimes and I pray that one will happen for you.

          • Thank you, I hope so too.

          • magnolia

            He can. There are genuine- and orthodox- Christian healers out there but also a lot of scamsters, phonies, people who charge, and bullies, and hypnotists, who need avoiding like the plague. I pray that you are blessed through God arranging for you to come across exactly the right Christian folk to help.you.

          • magnolia

            Sorry not to have answered earlier, but I have now edited out the non-link. Not sure why a full stop appeared. All best wishes.

          • Dreadnaught

            For what its worth Marie, you come across as quite coherent, composed and competent. Sorry to hear of your illness.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Job never once considered killing himself – he did ask God to bring his life to an end – but that is a very different thing. He is a model for us.

          • I realise to kill one’s self is a sin, but when the symptoms become so bad it’s Dignitas for me I’m afraid. I don’t want to be a burden and mistreated in a care home.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I pray you don’t. Job’s wife wanted him to, and read what she said it means.

          • Parkinson’s certainly is one of Satan’s finest creations. One either shakes to death or turns to stone, the latter in my case. Cursing God is not helpful so I won’t be doing that. I know in life we have to take the bad as well as the good, but I can’t see the clouds lifting in my time.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Your comment indictes our society when the words care home are synonymous with mistreatment.How frightful the world is unless one has amassed enough wealth to pay for compassionate care. We can trust in God but unfortunately we cannot trust in the goodness or compassion of human beings when Mammon rules. It is easy for ‘lip servers’ to be judgemental Marie, when they are not confronted with your situation.

          • carl jacobs

            That was routine in WWII. Routine. You know that, right? And you should know why.

          • Jack is aware of reports it was an order given before D Day to American paratroopers and that it was carried out. Whatever the circumstances, it wasn’t moral or legal during WWII and it isn’t now.
            This didn’t happen in WWII. The resources and facilities to provide for the wounded and injured enemy was readily available without incurring any risk or threatening any mission. There is no mitigating factors besides that of battle fatigue.

            Are you intending to draw Jack into a consequentialist/realist argument and seeking to make the matter “grey”?

          • carl jacobs

            In the first place, soldiers are sent out under cover of authority to kill. If you think the boundary between lawful killing and unlawful killing is always black and white, you are wrong.

            I wasn’t talking about D-Day. I was talking about the fight against Japan. US soldiers found out that trying to help wounded Japanese soldiers was a really good way to get killed. Wounded Japanese soldiers would try to kill them. Japanese soldiers would pretend to be wounded and try to kill them. Japanese soldiers would pretend to be dead and try to kill them. So US soldiers stopped trying to help. They also started making sure the Japanese soldiers were really dead. Wounded, dead, or pretending didn’t matter. It wasn’t worth the the risk of getting yourself or your buddy killed. Same thing happened with Japanese soldiers appearing to surrender. There wasn’t much quarter given in the Pacific fight because of this. That “Duty is heavier than a mountain, but death is light as a feather” culture of the Japanese army bread this circumstance.

            There are Apache Gunship videos from Iraq on Youtube. You see a group of something like 12 Guerrilla fighters lit up on an IR scope running through the night. The gunner sights one and fires a burst of 20mm explosive cannon shells. The survivors scatter but they can’t hide from the IR scope. So the helicopter crew methodically hunts them down until they are all dead. And I do mean dead. The crew will check every body image and if they see motion, they shoot again. The engagement ends when all 12 are confirmed dead. Did the crew violate the laws of war?

            I’ve watched gun camera film from B-25 attack aircraft in the South Pacific. The pilot comes across a life boat filled with soldiers who survived having a Japanese transport ship sunk out from underneath them. The pilot strafed the lifeboat. Why? Because those soldiers if left unharmed could have arrived on New Guinea to fight American soldiers. Did the crew violate the laws of war?

            These aren’t clear cut issues. You want clear-cut rules where no clear-cut rules exist. You want people to accept risk for the sake of moral imperative without realizing (or caring) there are counter-imperatives at stake. And you think this way because you treat the subject as an intellectual problem to be examined in a sterile laboratory setting. That isn’t what war is like. A soldier isn’t going to impose risk on his buddy for the sake of an enemy soldier. He would be wrong to do so. Morally wrong. If you don’t understand this, then you need to consider what you lack in your understanding.

          • Anton

            Yes indeed. What strikes me as odd is that apparently it’s OK to shoot at a Talib with intent to kill; it’s OK to kill him outright thereby; but if you merely incapacitate him, it’s not OK to finish the job. Crazy!

          • carl jacobs

            Well, in Jack’s defense, he would assert that custody had been assumed. That does change things. I don’t know the particulars of this case. But I’m inclined to give soldiers wide latitude – especially against an enemy like the Taliban. If he says he thought the guy was dead, I would believe him. That includes the concept of dead but hasn’t died yet. If the guy had been shot by an Apache gunship, he wasn’t likely to survive. The point is that there aren’t and can’t be hard rules. You just have to ask yourself “What does a Long Range Patrol do with a prisoner?” Those are questions men don’t like to ask. Only a few men are required to answer the question.

            I would expend no supplies on a dying Taliban. Neither would I incur any risk on his behalf.

          • ” “What does a Long Range Patrol do with a prisoner?” Those are questions men don’t like to ask. Only a few men are required to answer the question.”

            Surely this is discussed before active missions, Carl?

            “If he says he thought the guy was dead, I would believe him. That includes the concept of dead but hasn’t died yet.”

            Interesting concept. We all die.

            “I would expend no supplies on a dying Taliban. Neither would I incur any risk on his behalf.”

            You’d apply the same conditions on any enemy – German, Japanese or Taliban. How do you know death is a certainty? And what about an injured opponent? Do they cease to be human because they are fighting you?

          • carl jacobs

            Surely this is discussed before active missions, Carl?

            You can’t leave him behind. You can’t take him along. You can’t extract him. You can’t stay where you are. He endangers you simply by breathing. Why? Because he knows what no one can know about you – that you are there.

            Talk about it before the mission all you like. It won’t change any of the above. What the hell are you going to do with him?

            We all die.

            We aren’t all going to die in the next 20 minutes from 20mm cannon rounds.

            Do they cease to be human because they are fighting you?

            No, Jack. His life just gets prioritized way below the other things a commander has to think about. Like the success of his mission, and the lives of his own men, and the lives of the people depending on his mission and a whole bunch of other contextual stuff.

            As a commander, am I going to expend medical supplies on him that I might need later for my own people? No. Am I going to call in an evacuation helicopter if there is a chance the personnel on the Helo would in danger? No. Am I going to expose my own people to any danger at all in order to save his life? No. I am not going to assume any risk on his behalf. Those men are important to my mission success. I want to keep them alive and healthy. I will not risk them for an enemy. I will treat the enemy when it is safe for me to do so, and only then.

          • “I will treat the enemy when it is safe for me to do so, and only then.”

            Fine. Then it’s down to judgement.
            “You can’t leave him behind. You can’t take him along. You can’t extract him. You can’t stay where you are. He endangers you simply by breathing.”
            That didn’t apply in this situation.

          • carl jacobs

            You are right. It didn’t apply in this situation. But I want you to apply your reasoning to this situation and provide a solution. I want you to face the fact that your neat and tidy little world is not at all neat and tidy. You achieve the illusion simply by shoving a bunch of unpleasant stuff into the closet. Then you close the door so you don’t have to deal with it. The soldier has to deal with the stuff behind that door, Jack. He doesn’t have the luxury of relegating it to an academic debate in a university hall.

            I want you to deal with it, Jack. I want you to open the door and deal with it.

          • Sarky

            Special forces never take prisoners, injured or not.
            They allow nothing to compromise their mission.
            Funny how you never see them in court.

          • “But I’m inclined to give soldiers wide latitude – especially against an enemy like the Taliban.”

            Agreed. So would Jack. However, not free reign or a lack of accountability.

            Jack wonders why a plea of manslaughter and a defence of battle fatigue and exhaustion wasn’t offered.

            “If he says he thought the guy was dead, I would believe him.”

            His prior action and words, (eye witnesses and video) contradict his account. He was judged by a military panel of nine servicemen (it’s usually seven) and disbelieved.

          • carl jacobs

            You have a much more benign view of military justice than I do, Jack. If the military found it politically expedient to throw this man to the wolves, they would do so in a heartbeat. Don’t ever kid yourself about this. Military justice is not about justice.

          • Anton

            Carl, I’d welcome any comment you wish to make replying to mine below that starts “No. What I want to reconsider is…” Respectfully: Anton

          • As Jack said, none of these circumstances applied in the situation being discussed. Do you have a view on the matter being discussed?

          • carl jacobs

            none of these circumstances applied

            So you admit then that the circumstances matter.

          • Obviously circumstances matter but certain principles hold regardless. Where there is an ongoing tangible threat from an enemy, then action to defend oneself is permitted and if this means killing, then that’s the nature of war. Whether this applied to all the circumstances you’ve cited is another matter.
            So Sgt Blackman?

          • Obviously circumstances matter – but they require the application of principles. If one believes an enemy combatant continues to pose a direct threat to your life or to others, given the terms of a just war, it’s morally acceptable to kill him.

            Application of this relies on the integrity and professionalism of the soldier and his conscience, plus the quality of leadership provided him. This is where training, preparation and support for troops comes in. These principles can be reasoned through and discussed in what you disparagingly refer to as a “sterile laboratory setting”. Without such preparation, the nature of man being what it is and unleashed in war, will be given free reign and result in acts of savagery.

            So Sgt Blackman?

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know the operational circumstances behind Sgt Blackman’s actions. This is not a cut-and-dried case. If the guy was at the doorstep of imminent death, then I fail to see the point in prosecuting him. If this man had been taken alive, and was not facing imminent death, then I can see your point. But again. There are operational circumstances that could change my mind. Why? Because his life is not even close to a commander’s highest priority. That’s the problem you have, Jack. You are trying to de-prioritize mission for the sake of an objective principle when that principle can’t be objectively applied in war. It is inherently subject to these varying priorities.

            My primary point is that you can’t simply say …

            The man was on the ground, unarmed and wounded after engagement. He was shot dead in cold blood.

            … and have it be dispositive. All the examples I listed above involved incapacitated wounded men being killed for just cause. You have to deal with that reality.

          • “If the guy was at the doorstep of imminent death, then I fail to see the point in prosecuting him.”

            Well, we don’t know he was at death’s door. He was prosecuted because he committed murder.

            “If this man had been taken alive, and was not facing imminent death, then I can see your point. But again.”</i.
            There you go ….

            “All the examples I listed above involved incapacitated wounded men being killed for just cause.”

            Maybe. Maybe not. But we’re not discussing them.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Absolutely. The point of war is to win, and to win as speedily as possible; and to win involves killing the enemy. Brutal, but there is no other way to fight it.

          • Sarky

            Nothing I wouldn’t have done!

          • Dreadnaught

            It was a reactive and humane mercy killing decision made instantly under extreme circumstances. Preserve the safety of the Unit in a live fire-fight or draw attention to your men and position by calling in a bloody big helicopter to evacuate a good as ‘dead’ enemy. The Talib and his chums were armed and fond of a bit of butchery and he certainly did not surrender. He may have even been booby trapped or left as bait by his pals while lining their sights on our troops, in the enemy’s own backyard.

            If you had ever served, you would understand that decisions on the battlefield are made under the most extreme and adverse conditions imaginable and do not lend themselves to the niceties of an armchair debate.
            Sgt Blackman was offered up as the sacrifical lamb, once the details became public to appease the sense of deep, grievous offence claimed by Muslims in the UK.
            Its politics Len ‘but not as we know it’.

          • So this is lies:

            “The incident took place in Helmand Province during Operation Herrick 14, part of the British effort in the War in Afghanistan. Blackman, of 42 Commando, Royal Marines, was part of a Marine patrol that came across an Afghan fighter in a field wounded by Apache Helicopter gunfire. Blackman ordered the Afghan to be moved out of sight of the British Persistent Ground Surveillance System, a camera on a balloon above British Forward Operating Base Shazad, Helmand, covering the area Blackman’s patrol had been sent to. Video evidence played at the Marines’ subsequent trial shows some of the patrol dragging the man across the field and then kicking him. Blackman ordered Marine B and C to stop administering first aid to the insurgent and eventually shot the man in the chest with a 9 mm pistol, saying: “Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c*nt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.” He then added: “I just broke the Geneva Convention.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Helmand_Province_incident

            It’s all a matter of public record.

          • Why should a soldier of ours be obliged to care for an enemy combatant one minute and kill them the next? Execution was the best and only option. The fact Blackman uttered all that angry war talk that was caught on video was unfortunate, but he’s been punished enough now. I think Marine Blackman should be freed.

          • Dreadnaught

            What Sgt Blackman did was in a lull in the heat of battle. The Taliban are not signatories to the Geneva Convention but Blackman non-the-less reminds his troops of their obligations in that direction, to maintain discipline, credibility and morale all of which are necessary attributes of a good field commander.
            What kind of an army will we get if our troops are wary of repercussion for killing an enemy who had been trying to kill them, once they get home. Can you imagine relying on an army of Happy Jacks?
            The British Army has to be the only body with authority to make judgements of the actions of their troops: civillian judges and politicians have no place in these matters.

          • So Sgt Blackman broke the Geneva Convention and for that he was punished by going to prison, but that should be all he was guilty of. He has served long enough now and an example has been set. Free him and move on.

            I agree. We may as well not have an army at all then if their hands are so tied up in legal knots.
            Civilian judges and politicians have no business meddling in army affairs. The battlefield is a far different place from the high street.

            I’ve always said one can’t judge yesterdays behaviour by todays standards. Ambulance chasers are the scum of the earth. Law firms should not be able to claim for cases prior to the date of change in the law, and up to a maximum of three years arrears after the change in law if an incident took place but the victim did not report it at the time.

          • dannybhoy

            “What kind of an army will we get if our troops are wary of repercussion
            for killing an enemy who had been trying to kill them, once they get
            home.”

            This is the absolute heart of the matter. We know that our servicemen are taught to respect the rules of engagement. We in the West respect life and humanity. We try to get things right. It’s a part of our cultural heritage. We also know that this is not how it works in Islam, especially radical Afghani style Islam.
            We have to trust our military leaders that they are not only brave and disciplines, they also have integrity.
            We will not have a military force if the UK carries on like this. No patriotic young person can possibly be expected to lay their life on the line for a country which may reward them with a criminal record and imprisonment for some breach of political correctness..

          • Dreadnaught

            You are spot on Dan. If I was eighteen again I for one would not enlist under these conditions or encourage any of my agegroup to do so. The politicians treat our service people like expendible commodities for the casual benefit of their political egos. This has to stop.
            Having engaged with HJ several times on this thread (against my better judgement), he had found the man guilty and condemned him for a ‘cold blooded murder’ based on his own Wikipedial/moral judicial code. I suspect there would be quite a few more like him living in their black and white moral vaccuum, puffed up with righteous indignation practising preening the feathers to which they think they will be entitled because they ‘do God’.
            Meanwhile in the real world men like Blackman are strung out to dry for doing what they are trained for, then shafted by those who sit in detached judgement or for political expedience.
            But Tommy sees an’ Tommy knows… … …

          • dannybhoy

            I like HJ, he is a devout Catholic and also a clever and educated man. I suspect that he was perhaps being a little mischievous and pedantic, whilst making a valid point re moral consistency.
            That’s why I didn’t join in. :0)
            I am with you on this issue.

            “But Tommy sees an’ Tommy knows…”
            Lovely! Reminds me very much of “The Man who would be King…”

          • Dreadnaught

            I must confess my dislike for him goes back many years when he was known as DoDo and took to posting in many guises which ended in him being blocked – boy did he grovel.

          • dannybhoy

            News to me sir. DoDo was the brand name of a tablet to relieve asthma symptoms. I took ’em for years before the inhalers became available..
            How long have you people been blogging here??

          • Dreadnaught

            about 6/7 years I think for me.

          • Dreadnaught

            One of Connery’s best -not forgetting Billy Fish!

          • dannybhoy

            I have it on dvd and watch it usually in the early new year. Great stuff!

          • len

            I for one would not like to sit on the jury on this mans trial.And as such I will not comment further.

          • Dreadnaught

            Sounds a bit like Pontius Pilate to me Len; but like us all, its our conscience we have to live with.

          • dannybhoy

            No I think Len’s right. I stick with my original statement; the best placed to judge this is the Army -and those who decided how long he should be on active engagement should have been called as witnesses. I support our armed forces, and their right/responsibility to judge their own.

          • len

            ‘the best placed men to judge this is the Army’.
            Agree wholeheartedly, it is the commanding officers who are in charge in battlefield situations and their decisions must be respected.

        • Dreadnaught

          I suggest you get your holier-than-thou-self down there before 2pm and as they say – ‘Tell it to the Marines’. Where do you want your flowers sent to?

          • Well exactly. That last sentence just about says it all.

          • Dreadnaught

            You won’t be going then I take it; whether they give you a bouquet or not. Get over yourself. You couldn’t hold a candle to these Men.

          • All very macho but it avoids the issue of unlawful killing.

          • Dreadnaught

            You ignore every element of the reality of the moment to make pseudo legalistic arguments fit your tv experience of this side of life.

          • The facts are the facts – and you’ appear ignorant of them. The arguments are not mine but the Judge’s.

          • Dreadnaught

            The simplistic facts of his actions are not in dispute. ‘Facts’ are subjective if mitigating circumstances are ignored and direction options are not comprehensively explored.

          • Sgt Blackman offered no mitigating circumstances at his trial. He claimed the man was already dead. There was no threat to the men under his command. It looks like it was an act of sheer vengeance. His defence is now one of psychiatric disorder due to combat stress. Jack can understand this but given there were no indications of this before or after the incident and months later he was being considered for promotion, one must seriously question this.

          • Dreadnaught

            Sgt Blackman offered no mitigating circumstances at his trial.
            His legal representative’s failure to present his case effectively is exactly the reason for his appeal. That has always been the case.

        • David

          I believe that you have put forward your position on this previously, and I still disagree with you.

          • That’s why we have the moral law and temporal law. To make us aware of our obligations and to become better than we might otherwise be.

          • David

            That is obvious, indisputable, unlike its application, which requires difficult judgements.

        • carl jacobs

          I take it you have no familiarity with what happened on the Pacific Islands in WWII. The idea of a soldier being prosecuted for this in 1944 is laughable.

          In any case. If the Taliban had been left to die of his wounds, would that also have been actionable?

          • Jack doesn’t know if the Taliban are covered by the Geneva Convention. If there had been a reasonable opportunity to care for him, and the Geneva Convention applied, then probably. Besides, whether it’s actionable in a court is besides the point. God’s law is what counts.

          • carl jacobs

            A Taliban guerrilla is an unlawful combatant. He is not covered by the Geneva Convention.

          • But he is covered by British law.

      • dannybhoy

        As Christians we should pray for all people in positions of authority and responsibility in all areas of life – especially Christians.
        With that in place we should then accept that those serving the country in the armed services are mostly men of honour, some are men of faith, and all know and subscribe to the military code of conduct. They should be allowed to get on with judging cases such as these because they are best placed to do so.
        Just look at that odious man Phil Shiner, seeking to profit by bringing prosecutions against British soldiers…. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/08/iraq-human-rights-lawyer-phil-shiner-faces-struck-admittingrecklessness/
        No civilian can properly understand all the factors surrounding an incident in a theatre of war..
        I find it very worrying the way the legal system is being allowed to make rulings on all kinds of issues, apparently on the basis that because we all respect the rule of law we should therefore defer to those who interpret the law. That gives them a power and authority without accountability. A very dangerous trend.

        • David

          Exactly ! Very well said.
          The C of E practice for prayers of intercessions does this exactly, working downwards and outwards from the top people, remembering the armed services, holding world disasters before God, and then onto more local matters specific for our lives.
          Upholding law is essential for any civilised country but we live in a time when judges and lawyers, using these vague often unworkable european ideas associated with that far too ill-defined, malleable concept, human rights, are allowed too much discretion and power. Such laws are heaven for power hungry, greedy lawyers, but make for bad, uncertain law, easily misapplied. The judiciary and legal professions have become over mighty and remote from reality, partly because, with Parliament relegated to a mere backwater of Brussels, the quality of our politicians is very low, allowing unworkable laws to be approved.
          Military conditions can only be fully appreciated by those with military experience. Judging actions taken in the heat and confusion of battle sitting thousands of miles away in safe, comfortable court rooms is so obviously fraught with difficulties. These problems are compounded if civilian lawyers and judges, with no experience of battle, are involved.
          Our country needs to rebuild its deeply impaired relationship with the armed forces. It is civil society not the soldiers that have broken the relationship.

  • jsampson45

    Having prayers answered is not necessarily a blessing.

    • Royinsouthwest

      In that case wouldn’t it be better not to pray?

      • jsampson45

        It might be if prayers were all answered in the affirmative.

  • len

    Ask not what God can do for you,but what you can do for God.Then your prayers will be answered.

    • David

      Yes, well said. It is wrong to pray from a self-centred shopping list. Others must come first.

  • chefofsinners

    Having read the Spectator article, the contributors fall into two camps:
    For the facetious and Godless this is just an opportunity to self-aggrandise. But from the Godly, there is touching humility and genuine wisdom.

  • chefofsinners

    Cranmer
    Sorry if you’ve answered this already, but can we nominate Donald Trump for Christian of the year? How about Jesus? It probably should be him if you think about it.
    When do nominations close?

  • not a machine

    Your grace asks a more thoughtful question that one reading of this article can give. Answered prayer is a difficult thing , and grace perhaps even more so. awards run the risk of flesh rewarding flesh ,rather than recognition for spiritual perfection or prominence. All I can say is God and Christ is not an easy thing to understand ,answered prayer has arrived in most unusual wrapping ,and contents leaving much more thought than the initial prayer seemed to be asking.But I cannot deny prayer and its power works

  • dannybhoy

    Ephesians 6:18
    ” And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

    1Thessalonians 5
    “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    Luke 18 1
    “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart….”

    The thing about prayer is that we are commanded to do it. Regardless. Our Lord taught it, St Paul exhorted us to, and the Old Testament is full of examples of powerful prayer.

    I believe God uses our prayers and answers our prayers; but often not in the way we originally framed them.

    • So insightful. Thank you.