The legal persecution of British soldiers now threatens the Armed Forces' ability to
The legal persecution of British soldiers now threatens the Armed Forces' ability to defend us
The letter written by General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the General Staff, about the “hounding” of British Service personnel by “unscrupulous” law firms over alleged wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan is an extraordinary document, and not merely because of its extremely frank language.
More striking still is the picture Gen Carter paints of the damage being done to the mental health of the men subjected to investigation and interview. That harm to morale should be unacceptable on a human level alone: people who have risked their lives for their country simply should not be treated as many have, subject to dawn arrests and other humiliations. Yet the consequences are felt not just by the individuals but by the organisation. Undermining the morale of his soldiers could leave the Army’s very “fighting power” diminished, the general suggests.
That is as stark and shocking a statement as anyone could make about how badly wrong the Ministry of Defence has gone in allowing the legalistic persecution of Service personnel deployed on operations. It is also a reminder that despite the welcome and sensible decision of Theresa May to ensure that inappropriate human rights laws will no longer apply to future deployments, pre-existing investigations continue, to the detriment of many serving and former Armed Forces personnel.
Having shown themselves open to common sense arguments against the damaging legal harassment of British troops, we trust that ministers will consider Gen Carter’s very serious conclusions and take further action to put an end to the appalling mistreatment of people who deserve much better from the nation they serve.