The actual quote

In following up the Rule 303 post, I came up on a blog entry that compares the Rule 303 scene from Breaker Morant to the current War on Terror.

From this post comes the following dialog from the movie. Lt. Morant is being questioned about the execution of a Boer guerilla due to his wearing British khaki. Morant had been told by his (recently killed) superior officer Captain Hunt that to deter Boer infiltration that guerilla’s caught wearing British khaki would be executed. The captured guerilla was wearing Captain Hunt’s uniform tunic. Upon discovering this Moran orders the guerilla’s immediate execution. Morant is questioned about the incident at his court martial:

PROSECUTOR: Lt. Morant? Captain Hunt was a particular friend of yours?MORANT: Yes- I mean, I was engaged to his sister in England.

PROSECUTOR: So his death was very disturbing to you?

MORANT: Well, it was more the way he died. He was mutilated.

PROSECUTOR: You were present at the actual incident where Hunt was killed?


PROSECUTOR: Well then, how do you know he wasn’t killed in a fair fight?

MORANT: Because I saw the body.

PROSECUTOR: Sometime Later! You can’t possibly know how Captain Hunt met hisdeath. So you cannot produce any evidence to connect Wisser with it. So then, why did you order him to be shot?

MORANT: It is customary during a war to kill as many of the enemy as possible.

JUDGE: And was your court at the trial of Wisser constituted in any way like this? What rule did you shoot him under?

MORANT: Like this? Oh no, Sir, No! It wasn’t quite like this. No, No, Sir! It wasn’t quite so handsome. And as for rules, we didn’t carry military manuals around with us. We were out on the velt fighting the Boer the way he fought us. I’ll tell you what rule we applied, Sir. We applied rule 303. We caught them… and we shot them under rule 3-0-3!

It takes little imagination to see this type dialogue occuring in regard to current military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere…


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