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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Tank commander Steve Roberts died because he didn't have body armour. OK, there has never been a war where the soldiers at all times had everything they needed. As Clausewitz said "in war everything is very easy but the easiest things are very difficult" & coming up with as much of every sort of equipment possible would never be easy. Thus I was perfectly willing to accept that casualties are inevitable & must be accepted.

However it turns out that him not having body armour wasn't a cock up - it was deliberate policy, the automatic result of the government's decision to lie to us.
The inquest into Sgt Roberts' death heard he was left exposed by "serious failings" in the army's supply and training methods which meant he had to give up his personal body armour just three days before.

Had he been wearing the £167 enhanced combat body armour (ECBA) he would have survived.
which could be cock up except
The week-long inquest in Oxford tried to determine why more than 2,200 troops were sent into combat without ECBA. Sgt Roberts' fears were recorded in messages to his wife.

Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary at the time, was told six months before the conflict began that 37,000 extra sets body armour were needed.

But the hearing was informed by the MoD's director of capability that tendering for contracts would have revealed preparations for an invasion.
At the time Blair & his cabinet were pretending that they were not preparing for an invasion. They were telling us that they would only attack with UN approval & if the WMDs existed. We know that they lied to us & to Parliament. We now know that they deliberately interfered with military decisions to support this lie. We know that that, not ineptiude, not bad luck, not the proper risks of war, is what killed Sergeant Roberts.

It won't make a difference because we are all tired of yet more proof that our government lied but this is an important point. Blair should have told the truth - that we were going to war to help an ally on whom we depend - the British Parliament might have gone for it or they might not. Seeing the results we may prefer not. In either case Sergeant Roberts wouldn't have died of our government's moral turpitude.
This letter, editied & toned down has been published by the Scotsman. It went out some other papers & will say if I find any of them use it.

I found out subsequently it was also in the Daily Record.
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