I\’m usually against the death sentence but….

A US soldier who pleaded guilty to the murders of three Afghan civilians has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after saying \”the plan was to kill people\” in a conspiracy with four fellow soldiers.

The military judge said he initially intended to sentence Jeremy Morlock to life in prison with possibility of parole but was bound by the plea deal.

I think I\’d make an exception here.

No, not because the murder of Afghan citizens is worse than the murder of anyone else. But because he was a soldier. Something which carries with it certain liberties (you get to kill bad guys and are praised for it), certain excuses (killing people by mistake is excused) but also certain duties (you only get to kill bad guys or make mistakes).

Actively going out to kill people for the fun of it is worse when done by a soldier than when done by anyone else.

For, among other things (leaving morals entirely to one side), the reason that it endangers all of your fellow soldiers by mightily pissing off all the relatives, friends, and possibly half the nation, of those you have just murdered.

Therefore I would hang him and his buddies.

For reasons of state even if not for reasons of natural justice.

Military law is notably harsher than civilian in cases of rape for example, for much the same reason.

9 comments on “I\’m usually against the death sentence but….

  1. Since soldiers go into war zones half expecting to die anyway, I wonder if executing them for such crimes is any more of a deterrent than life imprisonment.

    Also, whenever a case like this comes up it’s always in a tense international atmosphere, with foreign governments clamouring for the military to punish someone. It’s easy to see how the need to keep a would-be ally on side could lead to an individual miscarriage of justice.

  2. Spot on. War crimes offend me as a (former) military person as much as rape offends me as a man. Both are sufficiently gross abuses of power that they should attract the highest penalties.

  3. Absolutely right. In this specific case, death sentence or life with no possibility of parole. But for another reason than those so far cited.

    The very concept of military capability and the very ethos of military service per se are both under attack from leftists in Western democracies, and cases like this are ammunition for them to make political capital from.

    It’s therefore vital to send a strong message that the military coade of ethics must be higher and violations dealt with more harshly when found to be justified.

  4. Does the same apply to our “police”> When we took over Kosovo we immediately deliberately violated the occupation agreement by appointing the KLA as police. Among many other things they then murdered at least 210 unarmed civilians in the Dragodan massacre , where Britain’s military HQ was set up.

    Personally I would hang not only our police but all those who decided to appoint them to that role, starting with Blair. Leave a lot of empty seats among the “great and good”. I incline to hanging the journalists who, even after it was discussed in Parliament, censoerd any mention af an atrocity comparable to Lidice or My Lai.

  5. He should hang like “Danny Deever”, preferably in public.
    Soldiers with guns to fight enemies shooting innocent (or at least not guilty) civilians is comparable, on a smaller scale, to Pol Pot/

  6. I’m a retired soldier. I agree with Tim. I suggest that some of the above try it before they venture ignorant and over-heated opinions. For instance, a soldier goes into battle prepared for death. No-one I served with expected to die, except those who had been under too much strain too long, like the bomb disposal guys.

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