How James Blunt “Prevented World War III”

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James Blunt

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So here’s the dilemma: The unfortunately named British singer may well have been the reason the planet didn’t descend into chaos. But on the flip side, we would have been spared his music.

Before Blunt recorded seminal songs such as “You’re Beautiful” (“My life is brilliant/My love is pure/I saw an angel/Of that I’m sure”) he served as a soldier and has told the BBC he refused an order to attack Russian troops while in Kosovo. Indeed, he was even willing to risk a court martial by rejecting the order from U.S. General (and one-time Democratic Presidential hopeful) Wesley Clark. But Blunt was backed by British Gen. Sir Mike Jackson, who said: “I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War III.”

(See where James Blunt ranks in TIME’s Top 10 celebrity Sesame Street songs.)

Though the taking of Pristina airfield in 1999 has been widely written about and debated, no one has ever heard from the singer on the matter, which is obviously an oversight which will also be widely written about and debated. “I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there,” Blunt said on BBC radio’s Pienaar’s Politics. “The direct command [that] came in from Gen. Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.”

When asked if carrying out this order would have risked starting World War III, Blunt (a then 25-year-old cavalry officer) replied: “Absolutely. And that’s why we were querying our instruction from an American general.” Blunt also confirmed that even if Gen. Jackson hadn’t blocked Gen. Clark’s order, he wouldn’t have followed it, despite the possibility of a court martial.

(See pictures of then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pushing the U.S. into Kosovo.)

Blunt’s latest album, Some Kind of Trouble, hasn’t caused any conflicts as of yet though your ears might disagree.