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Teflon

Anonymity can hide a multitude of sins. The Crown Prosecution Service in Wales has announced that there is insufficient evidence to lay negligent manslaughter charges against two members of the Special Air Service following the deaths of three reservists during a mountain route march on one of the hottest days of last summer. I can understand why the two men are not being publicly identified - they are innocent until proven guilty and as they were never charged, the extent of their guilt, if any, cannot be established in a court. What interests me is not the names of the men but what their part in the events was. Are we talking about two instructors who failed to pull the men out of the march, one of the main tests would-be SAS troopers have to pass, when they were obviously in distress or are we talking about the senior members of the regiment who may have failed dismally to meet in their supervisory responsibilities. Say that the men at the checkpoints the three reservists had to pass through took rather too macho an attitude to what the three should be able to stand in the way of heat exhaustion, which may or may not be so. Are the men at the checkpoints to blame for that or does the blame lie with the senior soldiers who put those men on the checkpoints? Soldiers cannot be wrapped up in Health and Safety regulations, soldiering is inherently dangerous and until recently the British Army used to lose more members in training than it did in action. But one cannot help but feel that Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, Corporal James Dunsby and Trooper Edward Maher need not have died in July 2013. A Coroner's Inquest is to be held later this year which will no doubt make some systemic recommendations along the lines of more medics on the course with the power to pull people from the march against the wishes of both the candidates for selection and the instructors. It remains to be seen if the Army will hold those truly responsible for the three deaths to account. Anyone remember Teflon?

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