Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Human Shield.

This is coolbert:

Yesterday the TV reporter Kimberly Dozier was badly wounded in an Iraqi insurgent IED [improvised explosive device] attack on U.S. troops. In addition, two cameramen accompanying Kimberly were killed, as was one American soldier.

Of course, in Iraq, the IED has been a main weapon and a very effective weapon used by the insurgents/terrorists.

Weapons of that sort, explosives detonated from a distance [command detonated], at a passing convoy of troops, has been a weapon used not only in the current war in Iraq.

Over one hundred years ago, such a weapon was used by the Boer Commando against British forces in the Boer War [1900].

Used against military railroad trains of the British in that specific conflict.

Boer guerillas would lay in wait to ambush a British military train, rigging the rails with explosive. As the train passed over the explosive, the explosive mine would be detonated and the train derailed, a general gun battle type melee' ensuing.

The English did devise a way to counter attacks upon their military trains.

Human shields.

Boer prisoners, tied, would be placed atop a flatcar at the very head of the train, forward of the engine.

If the Boer wanted to derail the train by an explosive mine attached to the tracks, they knew they would derail the flat car, killing or injuring their fellow guerillas that were now prisoners of the British. This they were loathe to do.

The derailings stopped.

Such a method could NOT and should NOT be used in Iraq.

Taking captured jihadis and placing them in U.S. vehicles would NOT stop the insurgent from attacking. The jihadi would not hesitate to kill their own. They would reason the jihadi killed by an IED aimed at the American convoy is now bound for paradise. "He would want it this way!!", would be the reasoning of the feverminded Muslim fighters.

Such use of jihadi prisoners by the Americans would be a violation of the rules of land warfare. American troops using Iraqis as human shields would be subject to prosecution.

The use of human shields by the British in the Boer War is specifically mentioned in the excellent war movie, "Breaker Morant"

The Australian Harry "Breaker" Morant and his compatriots were part of a English "special" anti-guerilla unit, the Bushveldt Carbineers. Men that were excellent horsemen [Morant was given the name "Breaker" as he had worked earlier in his life as a man who "breaks" and tames horses], rifle shots, hardened and combat experienced. Men that did not hesitate to shoot prisoners, use human shields, and killed when they felt it was necessary.

[Morant was found guilty of killing the German missionary who they believed [probably rightly so], of spying for the Boer guerilla. Denying the missionary due process was the charge. Morant seems to have been guilty!! This of course is a debatable issue.]

"Special" anti-guerilla units seem to generate a lot of controversy. Whether they are the Bushveldt Carbineers, the French Foreign Legion "SS" German battalion in Indo-China, or the Nung mercenaries fighting for the U.S. in Vietnam, such folks are always "controversial". Methods used by such units are always on the edge between legal and not so legal.



Anonymous Sherman made Georgia howl. said...

Are rules of land warfare the same as rules of engagement, or are they more general?

As for the jihadis, why should we not find ways to make them shriek with agony? What does war mean if not killing until the need for killing is over? Recall that Pablo Escobar was brought to his knees by Los Pepes before being finished off by the Colombian National Police. They killed his associates, his kept politicians, his close friends, his relatives, and they promised to kill his wife and children too, forcing them to flee. This last had the effect of smoking Pablo out. Los Pepes bombed Escobar's businesses and vandalized his homes, drying up the drug kingpin's remaining resources.

You are correct that merely putting in harm's way captured suicidal jihadis lusting for seventy virgins in paradise is not enough. If it were my responsibility and on my authority, I would find a method of delivering some deadly home truths to them, their apologists and their enablers, Los Pepes style, particularly with Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden in mind, and implacably so deliver.

11:03 PM


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