That is my takeaway from this tale, although unsurprisingly the authorities have a more horrified view.
Just picture the scene as a soldier returns
from hunting an arch-enemy. Commanding officer: 'Did you get him?'
Soldier: 'Yes, sir.' Commanding officer: 'Are you sure?' Soldier: 'Yes,
sir.' Soldier reaches into rucksack and places severed head on table.
officer: ' ****!' If it happened in a Hollywood movie, the audience
would either laugh or applaud. But there was no laughter the other day
when this happened for real in Babaji, Afghanistan, current posting for
the 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles.
The precise circumstances
will not be determined until an official report has been completed, but
reliable military sources have confirmed that a Gurkha patrol was sent
out with orders to track down a Taliban warlord described as a
Having identified their target, a fierce battle
ensued during which the warlord was killed. To prove that they had got
their man, the Gurkhas attempted to remove the body for identification.
Further enemy fire necessitated a fast exit minus corpse. So, an unnamed
soldier drew his kukri - the standard-issue Gurkha knife - removed
the man's head and legged it.
Ten out of ten for initiative.
Nought out of ten for diplomacy.
Now in this case it doesn't even appear he was trying to show dominance or cop a trophy, he was just trying to bring back positive ID, the man's melon is better than dog tags eh? Should soldiers go about lopping heads off their enemies as regular practice? Of course not. We like to pretend that we have progressed beyond spectacles and mutilation as tools to cow an enemy. But you gotta admit it's a pretty bad ass thing to do, and if you never seen a kukri you need to. I have worked w/ the Gurkhas and no one needs to embellish any story about them. I Imagine the Talibs will be telling campfire tales about them in between bouts of child and goat molestation.