"A Few Good Men" is a terrific movie IMO. It tells the story of a Marine who is killed by his comrades while carrying out an unofficial internal punishment. This was ordered by the Colonel of the regiment Nathan Jessop ( Jack Nicholson ) who is questioned in the military court by young Naval Lawyer Daniel Caffey ( Tom Cruise )
The climax of the film sees Cruise thundering at Nicholson "you ordered a 'code red' didn't you, and Nicholson roaring back "you're god damn right I did, I'd do it again" The "Code Red" is the unofficial internal punishment inflicted on marines by their comrades, in the movie it leads to the death of Pte. William Santiago. It's just a movie though !
British Army Pte. Gavin Williams age 22 on July 3Rd. 2006, died due to an informal Army punishment known as "beasting"
His 'Comrades' Sgt Russell Price, 45, Sgt Paul Blake, 37, and Cpl John Edwards, 32, all deny manslaughter.
During the punishment Pte Williams pleaded with his tormentors that he was "cooking up", to no avail.
Beasting it was explained was "a form of summary justice" used by the Army, designed to humiliate, push to the limit and hurt the recipient,
Sgt Price, supervised this, he said he regarded Williams as "a disgrace to the regiment"
He also said he was 'willingly' assisted by Edwards and Blake
The jury heard how Sgt Price said in a police interview that his job was to stamp out ill-discipline in the battalion.
Price boasted later to a fellow corporal in the mess that Pte. Williams had got 'the best beasting of my/his life'."
A soldier who saw the beasting taking place said: "I heard the soldier (Williams) say 'I can't go on, I've got to stop'." Sgt. Blake carried on.
Marine Pte. Willie Santiago's death was in a movie, Pte. Gavin William's death was not.
These things go on in the Army, it's a badly kept secret, it is also a disgrace, it is met with a shrug and the phrase 'it's the Army what do you expect' it leads to a complete disregard for people and that in turn leads to the behaviour of some soldiers in action who show no respect for their enemy or the people of the country that they are in.
Who is to blame ? is it Pte. Williams tormentors ? they have probably been 'beasted' when they were young soldiers, it's part of the macho Army culture, they are about to find out exactly what they are worth to the Army.
My guess is that some 'brass hat' will publicly bluster that these things are discouraged and it will carry on, think about "Deep Cut Barracks"
I have shouted often enough about our military leaders and this, along with other incidents shows IMO that the top of the Army tree is rotten, they are the guilty ones not the three vigilanties who carried it out.
I have deliberately not mentioned the reason that Pte. Williams was killed by these events, that is because there is nothing that he could have done that remotely justifies such institutionalised barbarism.
We continue to show the world how to behave the British way, as our soldiers bring civilisation to Afghanistan and Iraq.