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December 10, 2006

Troop Compensation

At first this seems absurd:

Hundreds of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be awarded millions of pounds in compensation following a ruling by the Government that they are victims of crime not war.

Then I look at the reasoning:

The new ruling and expansion of compensation to the Iraq and Afghan conflicts means insurgents or terrorists launching surprise attacks and sabotage missions are also regarded as criminals and not enemy troops. It is thought the only circumstances where troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be eligible for criminal compensation is when they were involved in pre-arranged, offensive operations directly targeting insurgents.

But most casualties in Iraq have received their wounds through car bombings, sniping and rocket attacks — circumstances not dissimilar to most attacks sustained in Ulster. Defence sources say the ruling reflects the changing nature of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although both theatres of conflict are described frequently as war zones, in strict legal terms British troops are not at war.

OK, that all makes logical sense. But doesn't that also mean that there can't be any gallantry medals (except the George Cross) as there are no enemy combatants?

December 10, 2006 in Military | Permalink


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I believe that gallantry awards could be given for Northern Irish action. The Royal Irish Regiment received a collective Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in October this year, for instance.

Private T. O'Hea won one for extinguishing a fire in a railway car containing 2,000 lbs of ammunition at Danville Railway Station, Quebec, Canada, in 1866. We definitely weren't at war there. Five guys got another the following year for rescuing their fellows from a storm (and possible cannibal issues). This might be less likely today, now that we have the George Cross, but there's no reason for lesser awards to be tougher. Certainly, they were happy to give one to pvt. Beharry for his service in Telic in 2004. Also, 8 Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses for the same campaign.

The real difficulty with the ruling is that it makes it tougher to legally shoot the bastards. Also some issues over POW/ Beyond All Reasonable Doubt burdens of proof. POW is easier.

Posted by: James of England | Dec 11, 2006 12:54:39 AM