English Prime Minister Suggests U.S. Military May Have Killed Linda Norgrove

Prime Minister David Cameron told the public this week that British aid worker Linda Norgrove may have been accidentally killed by U.S. forces during a rescue mission in Afghanistan. He attributed the death to the possible use of a grenade by U.S. forces in the rescue effort.

Cameron emphasized that the rescue mission had his full support and that of the family since they believed that Norgrove was in “grave danger”.

There is an investigation pending.

We discussed such cases in class recently and how, under the common law, such alleged mistakes do not result in liability under the public necessity privilege. Even when countries waive sovereign immunity (which in our country originated in the English rule that “the King can do no wrong”), public necessity normally does not create a duty to compensate. The case of the bombing of Coventry is often cited in this area. In that case, the British declined to warn Coventry of a planned bombing attack to hide the fact that the English and Americans had broken the German Enigma-based code under Operation Ultra. Later claims were denied by English courts.

The tragedy of Norgrove’s death (particularly at the hands of our own forces) is incredible. She was clearly a wonderful person who cared more about others than herself. She was a force for love and charity — a force that was destroyed by extremists who viewed her as little more than an object in their hateful crusade. If this report is true, it is important to keep in mind that every U.S. soldier in this operation was willing to lay down his own life for Norgrove in participating in this mission. It is of course little solace for this family who lost an angel and an inspiration to the whole world.

Source: here

Jonathan Turley

50 thoughts on “English Prime Minister Suggests U.S. Military May Have Killed Linda Norgrove”

  1. W=c,

    Hence the qualifier “by itself is simply an abstract”. That money has concrete impact on the world in unquestionable. A medium of exchange was a revolutionary concept in economics, perhaps the revolutionary concept that enabled what we now call economics. The thing itself though is ethically neutral. The actions people take because of it are not. Justice is also an abstraction, an ideal. The Iraq “War” was all about making Bush, Cheney and their Saudi buddies money, not justice. If it had been about justice? We’d be occupying Riyadh instead of Baghdad.

  2. yes, and a little bit twisted can go a long way 😉

    “Money by itself is simply an abstract concept – a tool with neutral ethical value like a hammer.” I don’t buy this. I get what you are saying, and I agree in some part with the ethical sense, but money in our society is not an abstract. Money in our society is a measure of value. It is exchanged for labor and it is exchanged for goods. There are tangible consequences (for most people) if they steal it or commit fraud to acquire it. People on the other end of theft of fraud are in truth harmed. It is the tangible used as basic to many contracts. In todays world it is a very concrete thing. In fact, take it out of our societal equation and theres your shadenfreude…in the germanic sense…

  3. I am somewhat skeptical about the assumption that the soldier who threw the grenade did “put his life on the line” in the commonly understood sense of that phrase. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. If I had to bet, I would say that he threw the grenade to avoid putting his life on the line. Not saying there is anything wrong with that, all things considered, but let’s not assume that throwing the grenade was a heroic act, as opposed to a merely morally acceptable act.

  4. W=c,

    You are correct in the lexicographical sense, however, in non-Germanic usage the term is not inapplicable to comedy. The very darkest of dark comedy is usually a bit schadenfreude upon dissection. I submit the examples of the cannibal comedies “Eating Raoul” (directed by Paul Bartel) and “Parents” (directed by the wonderful actor/director Bob Balaban, perhaps best known for his role of Dr. Chandra in “2010”). Very grim. Almost frightening. Very funny in a very twisted way.

    A movie series that is pure schadenfreude without humor or any redeeming qualities at all are the “Saw” films and the films of Eli Roth, which while ostensibly are horror movies are actually more like murder porn. Also see the series “Faces of Death” and the various copycats where actual footage of people dying is considered entertainment. Pure trash for the consumption of sociopaths and psychopaths is what that is, but it is probably closer to the German definition than the English usage.

  5. @Byron: You are happy with your car insurance company until it goes out of business, or bankrupt, and you have to get a new one, that may deny you insurance.

    The short answer is that I trust the government to provide this insurance and still be there for the 50 years I will have been working when I turn 65; I do not trust any company to be there fifty years hence.

    On top of that, I like that the government can run an insurance company at true break-even, that nobody can be caught with their hand in the till taking a ten million dollar salary or embezzling money (like Madoff), and that there is no inherent conflict of interest between paying claims and pleasing shareholders that are looking for a profit.

    Your car insurance company is run for a profit, and the amount of profit your premium covers (about 25% of it) plus the amount of over-compensation for glorified accountants (about 5% of your premium) is how much your premium would be reduced if it were run as a break-even enterprise with compensation limited by civil servant rules.

  6. Sschadenfreude IS uniquely German; i.e. there is NO synonym in any other culture.

  7. Bob,

    One of the roots of comedy is suffering, be it of other or one’s self.

    Examples in extremis:

    Don Rickles has made a great career out of insulting everyone. His comedy is rooting their suffering.

    Steve Martin has made a great career out of insulting no one but himself.

    Both are really nice guys off stage and very funny on stage.

    Short answer: Yes, but schadenfreude isn’t the only thing that makes me laugh. It’s also the my favorite German word next to “bier” or “Fraulein” (not in that order).

  8. Tony C:

    if that is how you see it then why not let private companies do it? What would be the difference between car insurance or life insurance and retirement insurance?

    I imagine it would work out well for all parties, I am pleased with my car insurance company.

  9. We do not agree on ownership.

    As I said, think of it as “retirement INSURANCE.” As you work, the social security tax is INSURANCE that if you get to retire, that work will contribute to your retirement income.

    It is not “your money” being “saved” for retirement. It is an insurance premium, and like ALL insurance premiums, most of it is being used to pay out existing claims. Every time you pay $100 in car insurance, about $85 of it is paying to repair cars damaged in accidents last month.

    The same with social security; your tax pays for claims being made today, they don’t belong to you.

    Think of it as insurance that will pay off if you get to retire. The opposite of life insurance that pays off only if you die; this is income insurance that pays off if you DON’T die.

  10. Tony C:

    “I have no problem with social security as retirement insurance;”

    I don’t either I want it to actually be put in some type of interest bearing account that cannot be used for anything else except possibly in a time of national emergency-say the barbarian hordes are invading and the survival of the nation is at stake but that would be about all.

    I agree that it shouldn’t go to anything but citizen retirement and it should be owned by the individual, if they die it should go to the persons heirs. I would even not be opposed to part of it being taken by inheritance tax-maybe 15 to 20%.

    There are many areas for compromise. I know there is no way we are ever going to have a completely private fund, too many people would make stupid decisions and others would end up paying anyway.

  11. @Byron: It looks like you already have some ideas. Any ideas on how to get greed out of all people? Anticipating your answer, my reply is “I don’t have any either.”

    We can pass laws for how much a public servant can earn, both before and after leaving office. Demand a vow of “income mediocrity,” say if a candidate earns more than the median wage of his/her constituents (or twice that, perhaps), he must donate the excess to charity, as a condition for being granted public power.

    Require every entitlement to be paid for through specific taxes that cannot be used for any other purpose. I have no problem with social security as retirement insurance; just like an insurance company premiums are used to pay claims; your house insurance premiums don’t go into some account that belongs to you and you alone at the insurance company. They are used to pay claims.

    But I DO object to my social security taxes being used to fund the military, and bridges to nowhere, and $1000 toilet seats, and then being told how Social Security is mysteriously going bankrupt.

    The problem with money in politics is the concept of the “General Fund,” meaning income the government can spend on whatever it wants. This is one reason I am opposed to all punitive taxes and fines, they give money to the government they can spend on whatever they want, and too often what they want is to put it in their pockets somehow. (Punitive taxes and fines also discriminate against the poor for the rich that won’t even notice the cost; either make something against the law or do not. I do not think it is the government’s place to favor the rich by making something prohibitively expensive for the non-rich).

    There are lots of ways to gain a significant amount of control over the money in politics, and that is my point.

  12. “We can go a long way in getting money out of politics, we will never make any progress in getting greed out of people.”
    oh I like this…..this would make an excellent t-shirt and I would love to post it. May I Tony C.? I’ll credit you as the author ….

  13. tONY C:

    so how do you take money out of politics? If you eliminate K St. you might have a chance but then something else will pop up. Maybe we need to pay politicians more and have serious consequences for bad actions in public office. I dont know how you can get the money out of politics, what we need to do is get the scumbags out of politics. Throw more of them in jail for a start.

    Harry Truman left the Whitehouse with nothing more than he had when he went in. Now you spend 6-10 years as a congressman and you have it made for the rest of your life. How about just your salary and constributions to a 401k and you get Cobra for 36 months after you leave office.

  14. Buddha: “Desire is once again revealed as the root of all suffering.”

    Is that why you’re laughing; schadenfreude?

  15. @Byron: So, what? Your objection somehow invalidates my entire premise that money is the root of corruption? I don’t think it does. I assert that if we had a political system where corruption could not siphon large amounts of money into politician’s bank accounts, there would be far less corruption.

    Such a system is at least imaginable in practice; what is not imaginable is any system that limits office holders to just the incorruptible, if such humans even exist.

    Your distinction moves the problem from the soluble to the insoluble. We can go a long way in getting money out of politics, we will never make any progress in getting greed out of people.

  16. @Addiction Analyst: That “projection” I talked about a few posts ago is the reason that most reasoning fails to work. People reason with the arguments that convinced *them*, not according to what will convince *others*. It is almost unavoidable, unless you can argue against somebody very simply (like a child).

    When you say “reason needs to be used,” most people think reasoning IS being used, it is just not “reasoning” you agree with. Citizens that truly believe most Muslims are inherently murderously evil suicide bombers come to a pretty logical conclusion based on that premise. (I shouldn’t have to say so but I will: It is a totally false premise I do not subscribe to in the least.)

  17. Byron,

    You are correct. Money by itself is simply an abstract concept – a tool with neutral ethical value like a hammer. Like the book says, the root of all evil is the love of money. 1 Timothy 6:10 states “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NIV)

    One cannot have a desire without an object of desire.

    Desire is once again revealed as the root of all suffering.

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