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You should probably expect to see the following happen in the US within the next few years.

In Great Britain, a high court justice has ruled that British Human Rights laws apply to soldiers while in combat, according to a report heard on Friday’s BBC NewsPod Podcast. While this may sound relatively benign on the surface, the intent and impact of this ruling is to hold the Ministry of Defense (MoD) accountable for situations where soldiers are injured or killed due to the failure of defective equipment, or due to insufficient supplies in their kit.

Mr Justice Lawrence Collins, LL.D., FBA made the ruling during a request for military inquest guidelines in the case of the death of a Scottish soldier in Iraq who died of heatstroke.

Mr Justice Collins said sending soldiers into action without proper kit could breach human rights. Ministers are appealing against the ruling.

The court also ruled families of those killed in conflict should get legal aid and access to military documents.

For example, sending a soldier out on patrol with defective equipment might be a breach of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act – the right to life, which in the event of death requires an independent inquiry.

Many believe the judgement will make it easier for the families of those injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to claim for compensation.

We could grant that the court is attempting to apply the Human Rights Act, HRA passed into British law in 1998, in an appropriate manner. It can be very concerning, however, to attempt to apply civil laws of this type into the realm of military action. Though one could applaud the attempt to help families gain access to information and appropriate compensation for loss of life, it seems that there are more appropriate and direct avenues to take in reaching this by passing laws that provide explicit clarification on these points. Further, this kind of application of the HRA has the potential to lead to much more obscure and wild applications that will make it nearly impossible to reasonably field an armed military exercise. And yet we’ve survived hundreds of years without this level of “protection”. While we are committed to protecting the lives, honor, and respect of those that serve us, and supporting them in every way possible, we must also be careful not to obscure or manipulate the laws and rights that they fight so bravely to protect.

For many years now, war itself has provided its own deterrent by being deadly, costly, and painful to wage. Not to mention more and more politically unpopular. Judgments of this sort, however, may make it nearly impossible for the most civilized societies to protect their own freedoms while those that would destroy us are not so encumbered.

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