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Aussie SAS report

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Aussie SAS report

Old 20th Nov 2020, 15:33
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I don't know if you've heard, but Afghanistan and Crimea called, they want you to know that Queensberry rules are no longer fit for purpose...
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 16:51
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Originally Posted by dr dre
The culture they’re referring to is to do with an obsession with ...disobeying orders and rules, allowing a culture of illegal actions and cover ups to occur.
I'm sure I've heard of that sort of culture before...I wonder where?
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 18:53
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My apologies for the length and numerous quotes in this post.

I assume Aussie commissions include something along the lines of : "you are in such manner on such occasions as may be prescribed by Us to exercise and well discipline in their duties such officers, men and women as may be placed under your orders from time to time and use your best endeavours to keep them in good order and discipline.
And We do hereby Command them to Obey you as their superior Officer and you to observe and follow such Orders and Directions as from time to time you shall receive from Us, or any superior Officer, according to the Rules and Discipline of War ..."

However, Chapter 3.03 of the report states:
The Inquiry has found no evidence that there was knowledge of, or reckless indifference to, the commission of war crimes, on the part of commanders at troop/platoon, squadron/company or Task Group Headquarters level, let alone at higher levels such as Commander Joint Task Force (CJTF) 633, Joint Operations Command, or Australian Defence Headquarters. Nor is the Inquiry of the view that there was a failure at any of those levels to take reasonable and practical steps that would have prevented or detected the commission of war crimes
Gen. Campbell's full statement includes "It's my duty, and that of my fellow chiefs, to set things right. Accountability rests with those who allegedly broke the law and with the chain of command responsible for wider systemic failures, which enabled these alleged breaches to occur, and go undetected."

However, no criminal responsibility of commisioned officers for the actions which can result in a trial is one thing. Moral and command responsibility within the SASR is something else which the report does not fail to highlight.

Chapter 3.03 also says:
  • There is no credible information of a failure by any troop/platoon, squadron/company or SOTG commander to take reasonable and practical steps that would have prevented or discovered the commission of the war crimes referred to in this Report.
  • However, SOTG troop, squadron and task group Commanders bear moral command responsibility and accountability for what happened under their command and control
  • ...
  • Commanding Officers of SASR during the relevant period bear significant responsibility for contributing to the environment in which war crimes were committed, most notably those who embraced or fostered the ‘warrior culture’ and empowered, or did not restrain, the clique of NCOs who propagated it.
Findings
  • However, SOTG troop, squadron and task group Commanders bear moral command responsibility and accountability for what happened under their command and control.
  • Commanding Officers of SASR during the relevant period bear significant responsibility for contributing to the environment in which war crimes were committed, most notably those in SASR who embraced or fostered the ‘warrior culture’and empowered, or did not restrain, the clique of non-commissioned officer who propagated it
Recommendations
  • ... failed in his duty as an officer, in ... The Inquiry recommends that Army give consideration to administrative action in respect of ...
  • The Inquiry recommends that the award of decorations to those in command positions at troop, squadron and task group level during SOTG Rotations ?, ??, ??, ?? and ??? be reviewed.
  • The Inquiry recommends that the award of decorations to those in command positions in SASR during the period 2008 to 2012 be reviewed.

Those who decided to deploy SF repeatedly on "conventional military operations" don't escape censure:

While, because of the standard of their training and their professional skill levels, as well as their high degree of readiness and their flexibility, the Special Forces provide an attractive option for an initial deployment, it is a misuse of their capability to employ them on a long term basis to conduct what are essentially conventional military operations. Doing this on a protracted basis in Afghanistan detracted from their intended role in the conduct of irregular and unconventional operations, and contributed to a wavering moral compass, and to declining psychological health. (Chapter 3.01 STRATEGIC, OPERATIONAL, ORGANISATIONAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS - Executive Summary)
The report has no doubt things went very wrong ...

Annex A to
Chapter 3.03

Special Operations Command: Leadership and Ethics Review


Professor David Whetham, King’s College London, Assistant Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, July 2020

Executive Summary
This review into the leadership and ethics of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) personnel during the period 2007 to 2014 draws a picture of a gradual erosion of standards over time resulting in a culture within which, ultimately, war crimes were tolerated. This was contributed to by:the character and tempo of the deployments (and redeployments); inadequate training and support ;inappropriate metrics of success imposed from above warping behaviour within the Special Forces (SF) Task Group; a lack of clarity about purpose and gradual loss of confidence in both the mission and the higher chain of command; a fractured, compartmentalised and dysfunctional leadership, and; a general lack of effective oversight aided and abetted by the very people who should have been providing it. This combination of factors led to a normalisation over time of behaviours that should never have been considered normal and ultimately, the effective covering up of, or wilful blindness to, the perpetration of war crimes by some soldiers.
  • The Inquiry recommends that every member of SOCOMD should receive education on the causes of war crimes. This education to be delivered by SOCOMD soldiers themselves andr eviewed by appropriate external (ie, non-SOCOMD) reviewers who can act as critical friends.
  • The Inquiry recommends that basic and continuation training should reinforce that not only is a member not required to obey an obviously unlawful order, but it is the member’s personal responsibility and legal duty to refuse to do so; and
  • The Inquiry recommends that both selection and continuation training should include practical ethical decision-making scenarios in which trainees are confronted in a realistic and highpressure setting with the requirement to make decisions in the context of incidents of the kind described in Part 2.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 21:33
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Originally Posted by exrivofrigido
You do realise that, when attempting to fight insurgents, we apply our standards, not theirs?
Well, you should tell the guy I was replying to.
He is the one that was happy with that kind of behaviour.
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Old 20th Nov 2020, 22:19
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Originally Posted by NutLoose
I must say it's always the way, those that sit and judge do so from the comfort of a nice warm office and have never actually been out at the sharp end.... and I mean the sharp end, foot patrols and in contact in the theaters involved, not inspecting mess halls and issuing dress regs.
War is never going to be an all action hero film set, its real and just as somethings went on that shouldn't have on all sides. that will have been happening since man or women picked up a Tyrannosaurus Rex bone and belted his or her neighbour with it.

IMHO
you really do make some absolutely like chimp like comments, and then quickly have to back pedal. Don't you ever think there are times when it is better to say nothing than to say something effing stupid?

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Old 20th Nov 2020, 22:22
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Originally Posted by NutLoose
Didnít that happen 8n the Falklands where they were worried about having an armed enemy to their backs so took no prisoners.
And here you go again. At least you didn't bang on about someone you once bumped into the NAAFI bop being shipwrecked this time!
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 00:53
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Australian SAS Report

Well, that's that, tried, judged, and convicted on PPRUNE. Pffft!

Kind of like folks who write "as if" authoritatively about Aviation matters on this forum who are not even Pilots or Aircraft Mechanics.

Of all who has had something to write, how many have served and I do not mean Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, or Sea Cadets?

I think one thing we overlook is the state of mind of each one who has "allegedly" committed war crimes.

During my 13.5 years in the Army, I found it populated by four distinct personality-types: the ambitious, the obstructionist sycophants, the jealous under-achievers, the indifferent shirkers.

Before you judge these SAS soldiers too harshly, please consider history, more than five decades ago, 16 March 1968, in the village of My Lai, Vietnam, where Lieutenant William Calley "assumed that his order by Captain Medina to 'kill the enemy' meant to kill everyone." At his trial he stated, "That was my job, that day." He did not discriminate in his 25 year old mind who or which man or woman or even child has a hand grenade or simply a bowl of rice.

I am not condoning their actions, at all. This situation cannot merely be attributed to the reasoning, "I was following orders." As an enlisted man, following orders and "rules of engagement" is only a small part of the mental challenges to sound decision-making. Believing in one's own mind (real or imagined) about what is expected by a Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Leader, the Commander, must certainly play a part. The need to be seen as doing your part. The need to earn respect and approval and trust. The need to earn promotion or sufficient points for promotion. The need to prove one can do a better job than anyone else around them. All of these are a factor and plays on the mind. Perhaps the "Green on Blue" killings of Australian diggers factored in.

IF we were not there, on the day, witnessing it with our own eyes, then we do not really know.

I dare say, they did not exhibit a "Warrior Culture", but they, themselves are the victims of a Culture of War. Every war, throughout history has endured the same tragedies with Prisoners of War and innocent non-combatants being killed.

December 1937 and the following six weeks 300,000 men, women and children were butchered by the Japanese Imperial Forces, in Nanking, China with 20,000 to 80,000 young girls and women raped by them. Who cries for them? The perpetrators are enshrined national heroes.

February 1945, 2700 tons of bombs were dropped by 800 bombers of British Bomber Command, on Dresden, followed by 400 tons by the U.S. 8th Air Force, the following day. Estimates as high at 250,000, including refugees, mostly women, children, and the elderly were victims -not merely 39. Is anyone aghast by that loss of life?

Time to wake up to the realities of war. These SAS soldiers are not fallen angels. They were specially selected for certain personality attributes, then trained by designed to be efficient killing machines.

All that written, I am not condoning what they did. I am merely analyzing it from my military experience and history.

Have a go. I have thick skin and basically don't give a sh_t what you reply.




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Old 21st Nov 2020, 02:04
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"the ambitious, the obstructionist sycophants, the jealous under-achievers, the indifferent shirkers."

You missed off the those who just want to do the job, the can-do force-multiplier, the confident over-achievers, and the quiet supporters who do not seek recognition.

I certainly think there are more than just four distinct personality types. You seem to fit into the disillusioned, jaded and cynical Pfft category.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 03:22
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Originally Posted by FWRWATPLX2
IF we were not there, on the day, witnessing it with our own eyes, then we do not really know.
This is where your argument falls apart. There were plenty of soldiers there, on the day, witnessing it with their own eyes, who eventually decided those acts were immoral and criminal and blew the whistle on them.

Every war, throughout history has endured the same tragedies with Prisoners of War and innocent non-combatants being killed.
But not to similar degrees. Look at how Allied forces treated German and Italian POWs vs Japanese POWs. Or how Germans treated Soviet POWs vs Allied POWs..

Who cries for them? The perpetrators are enshrined national heroes.
You could say thatís a bad way to memorialise perpetrators of evil deeds, but on a national conscience level maybe the correct way to do it is how the Germans did it. The only people from the 30ís and 40ís the German military bases any ethos on is the resistance leaders like von Stauffenberg. Soldiers killed are remembered for their loss but acts of valour are not commemorated, even those conducted by troops who had no Nazi links.



Time to wake up to the realities of war. These SAS soldiers are not fallen angels. They were specially selected for certain personality attributes, then trained by designed to be efficient killing machines.
Iím sure those personality attributes would have included having above average intelligence and discipline above the the standard soldier which would ensure they are less likely to commit illegal acts. It would include being very precise with their output of force to ensure only necessary targets are engaged. Iím sure it would have included not carrying throw downs to plant on bodies to deceive investigators.

Have a go. I have thick skin and basically don't give a sh_t what you reply.
It doesnít matter what you post either, because it wonít be used as a legal defence for alleged murderers who are facing life in prison.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 04:53
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But not to similar degrees. Look at how Allied forces treated German and Italian POWs vs Japanese POWs. Or how Germans treated Soviet POWs vs Allied POWs..
I'm not sure there's any consistency to this point. Treatment of POW's varied depending upon the battlefield or theatre of operations.

The treatment of Japanese troops would be impossible to measure by "similar degrees" . Didn't stop folks trying- I recall calls for RAAF pilots to be tried as war criminals in the 80's for strafing Japanese soldiers from sunk troop transports in the Battle of the Bismark Sea.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 08:12
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The U.K. and US have had similar allegations of war crimes, but when you have an enemy who are killing and maiming your mates with sniper fire and IEDs you are going to get angry troops with battle stress and post traumatic disorders sent out next day to face the same risks. It’s easy for us sitting at home to criticize, my brother in law was a squaddie in Ireland, he came back with real problems, the only solution is not to get involved in this type of war.
The West should never have got involved in these Arab and Afghan wars, the leaders were despotic certainly, remove them and you have either chaos or a guerilla war, dont we ever learn from history Britain fought 3 Afghan wars, won one by bribery, lost two, the Russians lost theirs, the current war was lost years ago.
I particularly criticize the US for their mindset that every country should be democratic on the US model, it doesn’t work and they have lost every conflict since WW2. That’s not to say that eliminating Bin Laden was not justified, go in bomb the hell out of him then go home, job done.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 08:39
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“February 1945, 2700 tons of bombs were dropped by 800 bombers of British Bomber Command, on Dresden, followed by 400 tons by the U.S. 8th Air Force, the following day. Estimates as high at 250,000, including refugees, mostly women, children, and the elderly were victims -not merely 39. Is anyone aghast by that loss of life?”

Dresden was bombed because the Russians wanted it destroyed, if it hadnt been bombed they would have spent a month to two doing it, causing likely just as much loss of life, they had very little regard for civilians or even their own POWs that were being used as slave Labour in Germany.

It was total war, the US and U.K. had “relatively” few casualties compared with Russia 25 million, Germany 4 million or any of the occupied countries
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 11:25
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On ROE, pg 292 of the report.

DPH = Direct participant in hostilities

"Consequently, their liability to targeting is only within the ‘bubble’ of time bound by the lead up to their attack on ADF and friendly forces, during that attack, and for a period of time after that attack. Once the DPH has concluded, however, that person once again re-gains the protections that attend their underlying status as ‘civilians’ – including the protection from being made the target of an attack."

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Old 21st Nov 2020, 11:46
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The ,"They killed my mate, I'm going to kill them all" blue mist in the heat of battle I get. For that action, forgiveness is an option. But not if it shapes tomorrow in advance.

CG
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 12:48
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Some very ambivalent attitudes being expressed here. One of the most important rules drummed into us when in basic training was that you had a duty to obey all legal orders, but only legal orders. Not doing so leads to bad things happening to good order and discipline and to those who suffer the effects of any illegal acts. Not only were we not to obey illegal orders but we were duty bound to report them up the CoC. They didn't actually issue government advice that, "Caution! Acting in this manner may well adversely affect your career prospects", but it was clear that is the case. Tough! Your duty is your duty, and if you are not prepared to carry it out then you are part of the problem and should just go.

Likening the cold blooded executing of bound prisoners, fighters or not, to the RAF bombing German cities in WWII is so wrong that anyone serving who shares that view should again just go. Harris might have been nicknamed Butcher but that was a comment on the losses sustained by his aircrew. He and they carried out the legal orders of the wartime coalition government. That he and they were betrayed by the then PM, and by the post-war government, is a comment on the politicians involved as well as of his fellow RAF VSOs. Bomber Command has been an easy Aunt Sally to aim at, especially by those who haven't served but are 'against war'. The words cake and eat come to mind!
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 20:27
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2
Some very ambivalent attitudes being expressed here. One of the most important rules drummed into us when in basic training was that you had a duty to obey all legal orders, but only legal orders. Not doing so leads to bad things happening to good order and discipline and to those who suffer the effects of any illegal acts. Not only were we not to obey illegal orders but we were duty bound to report them up the CoC. They didn't actually issue government advice that, "Caution! Acting in this manner may well adversely affect your career prospects", but it was clear that is the case. Tough! Your duty is your duty, and if you are not prepared to carry it out then you are part of the problem and should just go.

Likening the cold blooded executing of bound prisoners, fighters or not, to the RAF bombing German cities in WWII is so wrong that anyone serving who shares that view should again just go. Harris might have been nicknamed Butcher but that was a comment on the losses sustained by his aircrew. He and they carried out the legal orders of the wartime coalition government. That he and they were betrayed by the then PM, and by the post-war government, is a comment on the politicians involved as well as of his fellow RAF VSOs. Bomber Command has been an easy Aunt Sally to aim at, especially by those who haven't served but are 'against war'. The words cake and eat come to mind!
Masterful. Brief, cogent, logical.

I wish that I had written it. I certainly agree.

Bravo sir.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 22:50
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Facts

Number of Australian troops killed in the Afgan Conflict - 41, including 12 killed by IEDs and 3 by an Afgan green on green attack on Aussie soldiers
Number of injured - 261..
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 23:38
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Originally Posted by charliegolf
The ,"They killed my mate, I'm going to kill them all" blue mist in the heat of battle I get. For that action, forgiveness is an option. But not if it shapes tomorrow in advance.

CG
The motivation for the murders may not have been revenge.

Whistleblowers have spoken about a rivalry been the SASR and 2nd Commando Regt. Soldiers who were obsessed with kill counts. New soldiers couldíve seen the recognition that soldiers like Ben Roberts-Smith got and decided they needed to emulate him to achieve similar success. Maybe those with a higher kill country got promoted quicker and that was an influence to boost their own kill counts?

Influence of drugs could have been a factor, the inquiry report mentions a culture of heavy drinking.

A long term prejudice had grown against the people they were meant to be protecting perhaps?




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Old 21st Nov 2020, 23:39
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Originally Posted by racedo
Number of Afghans killed ?
150,000 as a bare minimum
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 23:47
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Originally Posted by NutLoose
No of course its not acceptable, what i was trying to get across is it happens, it will continue to happen as long as we go to war against each other, and unfortunately those judging these things are doing it from the perspective of not being able to understand why it happens, and until they have been in that situation, then their ability to understand the problem and deal with it will never resolve it..
Have you seen the footage?

In my three tours of Afgan, two as JTAC one as FP for MERT I never saw anything close to what has been reported.

2006, was busy and cheeky. But no executions.

It must be nice delivering ordinance from your seat.
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