Sgt Roberts Enquiry Reports! Govt critisise.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by BuggerAll, Aug 2, 2006.

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  1. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    MODS I started this thread yesterday and for some reason it was merged with the thread on ECBA. Its acompletly different issue. This has to do with Govt interfearing in the procurement process and not allowing proper prep to made for TELIC because of political considerations.

    A report was published into the death of Sgt Roberts. Many of the papers carry the 'story' this from the Express:

    Iraq hero condemned to die by Labour’s failings
    A BRITISH tank commander died in Iraq after political meddling denied him the body armour that would have saved his life, an Army inquiry revealed yesterday.

    Sergeant Steve Roberts, 33, was killed in a friendly-fire tragedy in March 2003. He died when comrades opened fire with machine guns from Challenger tanks to save him from a stone-throwing Iraqi while the sergeant was on foot at a checkpoint.

    Four days before he died, he had to give up his enhanced combat body armour (ECBA) because there was not enough to go round. An Army Board of Inquiry concluded: "Had Sergeant Roberts been wearing ECBA at the time he was shot, he would not have been killed."

    It revealed the Ministry of Defence was warned as early as September 2001 that there were insufficient supplies of ECBA. But it said that in the summer of 2002 "constraints" were placed on military procurement, "which might have negatively impacted on negotiations with the UN".

    It charted how the then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon rejected a request in September 2002 for an urgent order of ECBA, only agreeing to it in November.

    But the contract was only agreed in December 2002 – three months before the war began. The result was that programmed delivery was not due to be completed until early April 2003, 16 days after the invasion began.

    When Sgt Roberts, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, went to Iraq about 40 per cent of his comrades in 2 Royal Tank Regiment were lacking ECBA.

    The report said: "Constrained by the rate at which the contractor could produce ECBA elements, the supply and distribution of ECBA was set against an unachievable time frame."

    It added: "The deployment timeline had been severely compressed due to political sensitivities over military preparations."

    It also found Sgt Roberts had not been covered, as would be expected, by a second soldier on foot armed with an SA80 rifle. It revealed the sergeant’s own pistol jammed and said machine guns used by his comrades were inaccurate at close range.

    Sgt Roberts’ widow Samantha said yesterday: "I was told that the fact that Steve would be alive today if he had had the body armour was beyond reasonable doubt.

    "It’s been a strenuous and emotional day – the events are not just technical – they involve the loss of my husband, loss of a son, a beloved family member."
    Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "This report proves what we knew at the time: Sgt Roberts lost his life because the Ministry of Defence failed in their duty of care to give him the protective equipment he needed."

    Defence Secretary Des Browne, added: "I would like to express my heartfelt regret over the death of Sgt Steve Roberts and pass on my greatest sympathies to all his family, friends and colleagues."

    sknn's comments:

    As damning an indictment on a Govt as one could want to make. Sgt Roberts is probably not the only person killed in Iraq because of Blair and Hoons game playing pre-TELIC. He's just the only one for sure. Not to mention the unecessary stress caused to 1000s of servicemen and women who deployed without proper protective kit (NBC as well as body armour)

    I hope that greasy t@sser Hoon can't sleep tonight or for a very long time to come!
  2. No it's not a different, issue, it's an expansion of the original. If you read the ECBA thread, you'll see that this is already being discussed.

    If you want to open it for wider discussion , I'd suggest posting on the original thread with a wider analysis , rather than "Hoon and the Government are tossers."

    We already know this :D

    What do you have to add?


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