'Marine A Has Finally Got Justice. Let's Not Forget The Other Soldiers.'
28 March 2017, 14:08
Marine A, who killed an unarmed Taliban fighter in the Helmand province, could be free within weeks after his conviction and sentenced were reduced. This was James's powerful reaction as the news broke.
It's three and a half years since Royal Marine Alexander Blackman was sent to a civilian prison, but today a court martial appeal court ruled that his sentence be reduced. In effect, that means he could be out within two weeks.
For James O'Brien, this was justice being served. He quoted World War II statistics to show the real impact on the mental health of soliders who are told to kill their enemies on the battlefield.
"98% of soldiers who shot to kill suffered afterwards from some form of post traumatic stress disorder.
"And do you know what we're going to do now? We're going to celebrate the release of Marine A, we're going to read and enjoy the reunification with his family, with his wife.
"And then what? A month down the line, we'll be stepping over the prone form of a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder sleeping in a doorway round the corner from wherever you are now.
"And if you suggest we do more to help them?
"Remember, we now live in a country in which the correct response to a suggestion we should do more to help someone who's vulnerable is: why don't you let him sleep in your spare room then?"
James wasn't done there: "We'll have a celebration today. We'll have a moment of reflection, gratitude, revelation and then we'll just go back to putting our soldiers in substandard housing.
"Treating them like cattle.
"Sending them off to fight wars they don't really understand."