PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Dennis Hutchings trial in NI
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Old 14th May 2020, 15:02
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: West Wiltshire, UK
Age: 67
Posts: 378
Being realistic for a moment, what should any rational person expect would happen when soldiers, who were armed and trained to kill people, are given the job of being policemen?

This goes back more than 50 years, when training for soldiers was pretty heavily focussed on killing and avoiding being killed, whilst keeping fit to fight, not making judgement calls as to whether a potential enemy was really trying to kill them or not. Soldiers then weren't trained the way we now train police firearms officers, to make near-instant judgement calls, neither were they trained like police officers with regard to the law. Putting young lads, trained as they were, in a hostile situation that was not a war, but where they faced snipers and bombers trying to kill them every day, was never going to end well. Trying to apply the standards we'd expect from a trained police firearms officer today, to the training given to soldiers, some of whom were little more than teenagers, all these years ago is absurd. They were, in the main, doing a near-impossible task that they'd been ordered to do, with kit that was wholly unsuitable for the environment, and with a bare minimum of protection. Let's not forget that one reason that the SA80 was changed mid-design to a bullpup was because of the need for a short weapon for use in NI (a decision that contributed to the many reasons that the SA80 ended up being unreliable - the gas port wasn't moved when the weapon was shortened and re-chambered for 5.56).

As above, if we're prepared to draw a line underneath the abominable acts of the terrorists in this conflict, many of whom were little more than gangsters, then we should do the same for young soldiers who were sent out there. If any blame needs to be thrown around, then it should be aimed at the government and the leaders of the paramilitary organisations, as they are the ones who are really to blame for all these unnecessary killings.
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