Warrior culture among Norwegians in Afghanistan under scrutiny
Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan unofficially use the "Punisher-skull" (from the comic/movie The Punisher) as an emblem. It’s got the text "Jokke, we will never forget!" as a tribute to the fellow soldier who got killed by a roadside bomb in January 2010. The senior Taliban leader and bomb making expert suspected of arranging the ambush that killed Claes Joachim Olsson, was himself killed this summer in an operation by Olssons unit.
Soldiers of the "Mek 4" are spray painting the skull on buildings of suspected Taliban members as warnings to them. There are reports of several irregualar patrols, where the Norwegian soldiers seem to be seeking fire fights in order to kill enemies "without a clear mandate to do so" by the Army High Command (government/establishment).
Soldiers have also expressed a great feeling of joy (better than ***) when involved in combat: "[I]Seeing the "red mist" in your optics is an incredible feeling[/I]"
(a soldier quoted by the newspaper VG [URL]http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10036779[/URL] )
[I]"You become so high on adrenaline before you draw the trigger. You want to shoot all the time when you have "verified weapon" and know that the enemy is a legitimate target. When you finally get to fire, you become blood-focused. We do anything to hit, to kill. Sometimes you're lucky, I hit a Taliban warrior in the neck from 2770 meter on february 2 this year - Man, there was cheering!"[/I]
The company commander, major Kristian Simonsen, has expressed:
[I]I have utilized the troops with the intention of killing, and we have been successful. I don't reflect on having killed someone. They have chosen to enter the battlefield with the intention to kill us, that makes us equally guilty of the outcome. We are the two parties of a war".[/I]
The Telemark Batallion 4th mechanized company's warcry is "Til Valhall!" (To Valhalla!). The warcry was shouted three times by the unit after a flaming speech by an officer in a closed ceremony in relation to Olssons death.
The unit's field priest reacted when he heard about the incident and reported the soldiers "warmongering ethics and dangerous behaviour" to senior officers a while ago.
The Norwegian gouvernment is in flames over this, claiming it to be "a vengeful, and dangerous path" that the soldiers should stop following.
The subject has been a hot potato in the Norwegian press today. The defence minister (labour party) Grete Faremoe is strongly regretting the trend and calls for reactions. The leader of the moderate opposition, Erna Solberg, sees on the other hand no need to panic over the soldier's conduct.