Sunday, 25 October 2009
Sir, I Stand Corrected.
A friend who is an ex army officer read my piece below about the conversation I had with the young fusilier, "The Hackle of Victory", September '09.
"Beware of believing everything you are told by young soldiers," he said to me.
"In my experience, most troops are extremely well informed about their role in Afghanistan. What's more, their food and clothing is generally of a very high standard. NCOs and officers are always on hand to hear gripes and complaints. Only very rarely is leadership not up to the high standard which permeates throughout the Army."
"Furthermore, great store is set by ensuring that the troops are looked after as well as is humanly possible in the circumstances.
I used to read some of the letters sent home by a few of my soldiers. I would always ask them to re-write letters which started with: 'Our plane was machine gunned as we came in to land at Akrotiri (Cyprus).......we returned fire and killed hundreds of the enemy......'
"This is not to say that service in Afghanistan is not at times, extremely dangerous. Nor am I saying that equipment is the best that it should be. There is always room for improvement and likewise there is always a case for increased spending on defence.
But beware of the individual's account in isolation.
Better to hear it from a platoon, on the ground."
Sir, I stand corrected.