'The accused' and I don't mean me...

The Accused.
Anyone that ever dogged school in the 1970s knows from Crown Court that two-scaled- justice is a fickly bitch. That’s two accused in Jimmy Mc Govern’s stable so far and 2-0 to the prosecution. There’s only four programmes to go so I’m hoping for a late run of not-guiltys so that we are left with a cliff-hanger finish. Monday nights was the better of the two shows so far.

Two lads, best mates, join the same regiment and get posted to Afghanistan. They come under fire and one of the two hides behind a rock and despite being manhandled by his corporal refuses to show face and fire back. This is standard war-fare. The alpha male, boxing champion, crumbles whist others look on and cringe, not because they don’t understand, but because they do and realize it could be them and are simply glad it is not. Fear is contagious and Freud’s notion of Thanatos tied in with the more modern notion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is perhaps useful.

Disgrace comes in many forms, hence the number of prophylactics that were used to stop soldiers shitting themselves before going over the top in the First World War. McGovern’s alpha male also reminded me of a similar story of a soldier six foot six and built like a brick shit house was always first in when UK soldiers went on raids into households in Iraq during its ongoing insurgency. Bombs and bullets of course are no respecter of size and that soldier broke down. Pat Barker of course dealt with many of these issues in her First World War trilogy. The effects of war are often played out on the body long after the last battle.

Army drills are simple Stimulus-Response mechanisms so that behaviour becomes automatic and any exceptions are hit hard. Catterick barracks, for example, has a history of a number of ‘suicides’ similar to that of McGovern’s drama. But it was taken to a new level with the suicide soldier being brought home by his best mate and the coffin being opened in the back room. The father had been in the same regiment and questioned his son’s best mate about the bullets entry and exit point and poignantly whether he’d been ‘the bitch’. There was no Rambo style denouement, but there was a satisfying crunch when the corporal from hell was knifed to death by the accused.

It reminded me, for some reason of my dad’s refusal to shoot at civilians and getting busted c1944. Sometimes doing the wrong thing is the right thing. Must run in the family;I'm usually half way there.