Military rigour doesn't mean sanctioned bullying

I read this in the torygraph and feel that it sums up the problems with yesterdays deepcut/bullying report quite well

In yesterday's report into bullying in the Services, the Commons defence select committee was right to say that the Armed Forces had failed in their duty of care. The list of failures is a long, painful one; their revelation is admirable testimony to the doggedness and affection of the families who pressed for details of their relatives' deaths.

It is unacceptable that, for example, Elaine Higgins, whose son Aled died in Germany, was reduced to collecting a box of her son's possessions from a neighbour's doorstep. It beggars belief that Mr Higgins's watch was still covered in blood.

Most of the shortcomings come down to a slapdash interpretation of perfectly adequate regulations, rather than being an indictment of the regulations themselves. Repeatedly, the letter of the law was followed, but no more; while staying within legal requirements, those responsible fell outside decent moral requirements. To put it bluntly, there is no need for a new rule dictating that all watches belonging to dead soldiers should be cleaned of blood; rather, any moral human should take such matters into consideration as a matter of course.

The committee's recommendations are for the most part eminently sensible, particularly its suggestions that families should be allowed to attend all army investigations and that there should be an independent military complaints commission to deal with bullying. Victims of bullying have to be sure, before they report their ordeal, that they will not jeopardise their position by doing so.

That said, it would be foolish, while condemning the unforgivable behaviour of certain service personnel, to damn the whole institution. Sixteen-year-olds can marry, have children and do most jobs; there is no reason why they should not join the Services, contrary to what the committee suggested. In other areas, the Services are distinctly unlike civilian organisations and therefore should be treated differently. There is an absolute need for a hierarchical structure (condemned by the committee yesterday) where orders are sacrosanct. There is a need, too, for a rigour and robustness that instils uniformity and the ability to respond swiftly and readily to the call to kill or to die.

That rigour and robustness cannot sit alongside the professional counsellors that the committee demanded yesterday. But those qualities can and must coexist alongside the decent treatment by superior of inferior.
I read this this morning and harrumphed in a very crusty fashion. whoever supervised the packing of the lad's kit ought to be stood with his feet in someone's in tray as we speak. If he isn't then I hope he is easily distinguished by his very bright "aiming point embarrassed person" red face.

As for the leaving the stuff on a neighbour's doorstep, well if it isn't tabloid-esque enhancement of the truth then there should be serious action taken. Recent military penalties indicate that no less than three officers should be promoted and three Toms punished intensively!!

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