“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

When the wheels come off.

A British Coroner has ruled that the killing of a British Soldier was a criminal act.
From the Telegraph UK:

The killing of a British soldier when American planes opened fire on his convoy in Iraq was unlawful and an act of criminality, a coroner decided yesterday.

Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25
LCoH Hull's vehicle was shot at despite clear markings

At the end of a lengthy and controversial inquest into the death of Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25, Andrew Walker, the assistant deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, said: "I don't think this was a case of honest mistake.

"I find there was no lawful authority to fire on the convoy. The attack on the convoy therefore amounted to an assault. It was unlawful because there was no lawful reason for it and in that respect it was criminal."

LCoH Hull's widow, Susan, 30, burst into tears as the coroner delivered his verdict. Afterwards she said it was the right decision and demonstrated that her husband's death was "entirely avoidable".

Mr Walker repeated his criticism of the US military authorities for failing to co-operate with his investigation. It refused to allow witnesses to attend, despite repeated requests, and cockpit film of the attack was provided to the inquest only after it had been leaked to the media.

The good news is that the Widow will not "be seeking legal redress against the pilots or the US military. Referring to the pilots, she said: "I hope that they are at peace in themselves and that they can move on with their lives. I'm sure they are full of remorse for what they did, I hope so, anyway."


  1. That's what happens when Wars become policing enterprises against "criminal elements", soldiers & airmen will be held to the same standards as civilian Police.

    Police do fire unless fired upon, or to save an innocent from a deadly threat. The planes took no incoming fire from the British convoy, of that we can be sure. The convoy poised no immediate threat to the innocent, either.

    Seems the coroner came to a reasonable conclusion in regards to the Standards of War we've allowed to be set.

    We've painted the signs, now will we get upset when others read them?

  2. That's what happens when fools and demagogues try to score cheap points at the expense of honorable men, whose lives will forever be scared by one of war's inevitable tragedies.

    Oh, and since when does a foreign, civilian "coroner" have jurisdiction over the military affairs of the United States? Other than in his own little bailiwick, obviously, he has none. His finding will have no impact other than the political one he set to prove.

    Hell, let's dig up the newly dead at Arlington, since at least 15% of the dead were probably lost to friendly fire. Let the inquests begin! Let's denigrate, dishonor, and destroy the last shred of patriotic decency! No sacrifice is too great to shame the evil, liar Bush and America’s vicious, unlawful, neo-colonial war.

    Compensate the widow. Move on.

  3. The Brits have a thing about investigating the deaths of their Nationals overseas.

    Look at the time that they have been spent on the Coroner inquiries into Princess Dianas' demise.

    They've had, what, two or three coroner investigations into a death that occurred in Paris, France.

    So it does not seem out of character to investigate a subjects' death in Iraq.

    When Wars are not wars, but constabulary actions, that's when the lines between accidents and negligence can become blurry.

    What is an acceptable risk at war becomes a negligent violation of Force Protection procedures in a constabulary enviorment.

  4. Desert Rat: What is an acceptable risk at war becomes a negligent violation of Force Protection procedures in a constabulary enviorment.

    In Kansas City the constables are up-arming to M16s to give them a fighting chance in the ongoing gang war.

    Exceptions to the rule that British constables are not armed:

    Every territorial force maintains specialist armed response units, while one territorial force (the Police Service of Northern Ireland) and two of the national, special police forces (the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police) are routinely armed.

    In other words, each force has one special unit permitted to actually have guns, with actual bullets, plus special allowance is made to give the police in terror-torn Ulster guns, along with the guys who guard the nuke plants and the MPs.

    The Iraq War became a police action by 2004. Three years later, here comes the "surge" where Bush shifted from the UK paradigm to the Kansas City paradigm.

  5. I would venture to guess, Ms T, that the rules of engagement for the Kansas City M16s are reasonably stringent & restrictive.

    I doubt the Kansas City PD fires first, by Policy.

  6. Lance Corporal Matty Hull: RIP

    My response was not intended to be coldly callous. This young man is deserving of all honor. His widow is owed our sympathy, prayers, and generous, unsolicited compensation.

    We must guard the memory of this fine young man and the equally honorable men who inadvertently caused is untimely demise. That will not be done within a politically driven kangaroo inquest. Doubtless, within such a circus, the cause and service of these men will be dishonored.

    Order Arms! Salute!