James Blunt is known for a lot of things: passionate and broken-hearted lyrics, a whining voice meant to tug at your heart, Mischa Barton looking hot and sad in his video “Goodbye, My Lover.”
What you didn’t know about Blunt is that he apparently helped stopped World War 3.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Apparently, back in 1999 when Blunt was in the military, he was ordered to seize an airfield – but the Russians had got there first.
In an interview with BBC, Blunt told them that he “was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there.”
“I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us … The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they’re obviously game for the fight.”
“The direct command [that] came in from General Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.”
Pristina Airfield, where Blunt was, is a highly-discussed topic, since there is much confusion regarding it’s part in the military conflict. However, this is the first time Blunt has given an account of his role in the incident.
Blunt was in charge of a column of 30,000 NATO troops with his unit. He told Pienaar’s Politics that, at the time, it was a “mad situation”.
Not only was he in charge of troops, but he was asked to be “party to the conversation” between senior officers in which Gen Clark had ordered the attack.
“We had two hundred Russians lined up pointing their weapons at us aggressively, which was… and you know we’d been told to reach the airfield and take a hold of it.
“And if we had a foothold there then it would make life much easier for the NATO forces in Pristina. So there was a political reason to take hold of this.”
“And the practical consequences of that political reason would be then aggression against the Russians.”
Blunt sees the situation to be both a turning moment and an incredibly grave one in his life. BBC asked if he felt following the order would have contributed to a third World War. He responded, “Absolutely. And that’s why we were querying our instruction from an American general”.
“Fortunately, up on the radio came General Mike Jackson, whose exact words at the time were, ‘I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War 3’, and told us why don’t we sugar off down the road, you know, encircle the airfield instead.
It was fortunate that both men held their ground on postponing any attack. Blunt points out:
“…After a couple of days the Russians there said ‘hang on we have no food and no water. Can we share the airfield with you?’.”
Still, Blunt says that without the General’s backing, he would have risked court marshall and refused the orders. He claimed: “There are things that you do along the way that you know are right, and those that you absolutely feel are wrong, that I think it’s morally important to stand up against, and that sense of moral judgment is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army.”
Blunt left the military in 2002 to pursue a career in music. The rest, is history.Tags: james blunt, military