Singer James Blunt has told the BBC how he refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo.
Blunt said he was willing to risk a court martial by rejecting the order from a US General.
But he was backed by British General Sir Mike Jackson, who told him “I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3″.
Blunt was ordered to seize an airfield – but the Russians had got there first.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5Live, to be broadcast later on Sunday, he said: “I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there.
“I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us … The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they’re obviously game for the fight.
“The direct command [that] came in from General Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.” …
“Fortunately, up on the radio came General Mike Jackson, whose exact words at the time were, ‘I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3′, and told us why don’t we sugar off down the road, you know, encircle the airfield instead.
“And after a couple of days the Russians there said ‘hang on we have no food and no water. Can we share the airfield with you?’.”
If Gen Jackson had not blocked the order from Gen Clark, who as NATO Supreme Commander Europe was his superior officer, Blunt said he would still have declined to follow it, even at the risk of a court martial. ….
Interesting story. I’ve heard independent thought is encouraged in the modern army. That can cut both ways, of course. Good thing things went the way they did. General Clark “currently serves as the co-chairman of Growth Energy, an ethanol lobbying group”.