I'm in a forum made up 95% civilians who seem to have little association with military matters. I posted this today in response to a thread raised by one of the older guys. I hope I have answered this in a manner which does in fact reflect the attitudes and opinions of the guys at the sharp end. I soldiered in some dodgy places at dangerous times. This undoubtedly caused me to form an opinion about how to treat those people who crept up behind me whilst dressed in civilian clothes and tried to kill me. I am therefore a trifle concerned to see the attitude to our blokes in Afghanistan when dealing with those who have a similar murderous intent. An investigation is under way after British troops killed four Afghan civilians - including women and children - in a rocket attack. Experts say the situation in Afghanistan has got worse for British soldiers. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment were involved. A spokesman added: "A full investigation will be carried out, and our sympathies are with the families of the killed and injured civilians at this time." The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the four were "accidentally" killed in the Sangin district of Helmand province. Three other civilians were wounded when three rockets were fired. An Isaf spokesman said: "The patrol identified insurgents with weapons on the roof of the compound preparing to attack, and in order to protect themselves, launched three rockets all of which hit the target. "Unbeknown to the patrol, the civilians were inside the compound at the time" This is an initial report and the purpose of the inquiry will be to fill in the full story. As I understand it, the Rules of Engagement would allow the soldiers to act aggressively towards insurgents preparing to attack. Should they have waited until their attackers had used all heir ammunition and then inquired "Are there any civilians near to you? Is it our turn now?" I know some will claim that we are bringing ourselves down to 'their' level if we act with discrimination. Hello? We are there to deal with the AQ or Taliban. We are not descending to their level; 'their' level includes using women and children as cover and sending kids and mentally defective women into battle with suicide vests. They care not how many innocent bystanders are blasted apart. We need to stand aside and let the troops respond. If I call the plumber to deal with a blocked lavatory, I know just what he may have to do to clear it. I do not say "Don't bother mate. I don't want you to get sh*t on your hands" I close the lavatory door and let him get on with it. I knew the Parachute regiment ethic a long while ago and doubt if it has changed much. If we did not want firm patrolling and quick reaction to ambushes, we should not have sent them. To follow my example, they are not afraid to get sh*t on their hands. This prissy attitude to the facts of life where terrorism is involved seems to be becoming stronger. Maybe the Scots moral attitude of the part-time Sec of State for Defence are getting in the way of his professional judgement. There have been reports that we have identified gatherings of important Taliban leaders but been denied authority to take them out of the equation. Support from home is part of the morale package. I am sure some of the Toms will remember instances where we have lost lives to actions by other members of the coalition. No inquiry there beyond recording what happened. No search for malice in the actions of the blues who fired on blue. There have even been instances where a partner has refused to release their side's tale or tried to withhold embarrassing evidence from a coroners court. No disciplinary inquiry followed these events. There is another penalty for washing our dirty linen in public. Just as the death of one Iraqi in custody has been used to cast every single soldier as a murderer, this will go into the armoury of those who pontificate from a place of safety as to how one defends oneself. The general public accepts that hard times make hard laws and, I suspect, cares little for what happens in a country where they know little - and care less - about what we are doing out there. Given the filth and mire in which many politicians fester, it does seem a bit rich for them to seek to show they are whiter than the driven snow on the 'human rights' of a 3rd world and corrupt country.