SAS squadron "struck from the order of battle"

After a bunch of soldiers got a bit killy.

I'm glad these guys are out there.  They're borderline nutjobs doing things I neither could not want to do.  I'd be the first to say "best not to know what actually happens in the field".

But then it turns out that it wasn't in the field.  No fog of war, no people shooting at them.  Impressionable soldiers in the thrall of charismatic psycho senior NCOs. Pretty poor form.  Looks like they actually thought about disbanding the entire SASR.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-19/afghanistan-war-crime-report-nec…

Isn't there a similar investigation in the UK at the moment, roving death squads etc 

it was why the government rushed in the immunity for government officers, brought in right as covid kicked off

I was all set to think it was a beatup over some unpleasantness on the battlefield.  But it really does look pretty bad.

Interesting that the report highlights a cultural shift in the SAS from "military excellence" to "warriors with ego and swagger" as being part of the cause.  Are they recruiting the wrong people or training them the wrong way?

There's a documentary on Netflix called I think Kill Squad which is about a rogue platoon in the US Army that shot people then planted weapons on them to justify it.  One of their number bravely blew the whistle on them and I think he was also jailed.

Sounds like these guys did something similar.

One bloke who served in 2SQN won the VC ffs.  They're not messing around.

Not sure what to think about this. I wonder if the fact they were fighting an unwinnable and pointless war affected their psychological st8?

This isn't really surprising is it. I mean people have watched the deer Hunter and platoon. War fooks people up and stupid wars even more so 

Shows just why its fundamentally misguided to talk about giving soldiers immunity from prosecution - these sort of things can and do happen, and must be deterred.

I tend to think we should give soldiers a wide margin of appreciation since none of us have been there. It is a totally different job for office wallahs like us, same with the cops. 

However, there have to be clear lines and murder should be one. 

It’s almost as if shooting goat farmers in the face every night for 6 months of the year isn’t good for you psychologically.

Plus soldiering has gone from being a job to some kind of devine calling with people waffling on about being sheepdogs and warriors all over social media.

"There's no such thing as a winnable war...

...it's a lie we just don't believe anymore..."

Highly recommend Sebastian Junger's book Tribe about this - you can read it in a couple of hours. The Vanity Fair longform article that he expanded into the book is even shorter. 

Some superb stuff about how other cultures outside the modern West (and even in the West until after WW2) did much better at respecting soldiers and their contribution without overdoing it and did far better at reintegrating them into society after a war. 

TL:DR: pointless posturing, Super Bowl homages and the like don't help very much. A pathway back to *normal* life and being part of society does. For eg in the USA (also elsewhere), soldiers returning from WW2 were mostly successfully integrated back. Soldiers returning from Vietnam: not at all. 

And it's not just that WW2 was a victory and Vietnam was a failure. Another counterintuitive finding: stress and psychological ailments in the US armed forces have *increased* (as a per capita thing) in each conflict after WW2 - even though the danger and number of deaths to the US armed forces has gone *down* in each conflict since then as the US army moved from taking on countries with equal capabilities to beating up on random third world countries. Even more counter-intuitively, the psych problems are far higher in the rear echelons and the support staff - the safest people in places like Afghanistan, whereas the special forces guys way out on the front line had the *least* issues. 

Didn’t Trump pardon some yank special forces guy who went a bit rogue? Sadistic and unnecessary killings - shopped by fellow special forces soldiers and completely disowned by them but celebrated (and pardoned) by Trump. Or did I make that up?

The UK SAS scandal smelt bad but was trigger happy in combat rather than cold blooded killing I think - not condoning in any way but the Aus stuff seems to be in a different league. 

I know someone well who served in Afghanistan in the SASR. He and his mates are the white supremacist types. In a KKK/neo-Naxi way rather than the current hyperbolic use of the term. I don't recall him being like that before he joined the SASR, so don't know if he just hid it well or was indoctrinated there.

 

I know plenty of servicemen and women who manage to avoid becoming racist murderers whilst in the forces. This is not about their duties fooking them up. 

Shocking story, but not surprising. It took 4 years of investigation to get to this point. Some of the alleged perps are still serving in the SAS. Innocent until proven guilty. Charges haven't even been laid yet. How long it take to get these people on the inside of a court room?

The thing I find surprising about this whole thing is that the report only found 30 something potentially questionable deaths.
 

The whole mentality of the Australian military is highly questionable. And I say that as someone who has served in it (albeit a long time ago now) 
 

If you want to find the absolutely worst of Australian racism, misogyny and entitlement you don’t have to look any further than the military. 

I think that's something that has become worse over time, Scy. Another mate joined the army 30 years ago and said it became markedly different in the noughties.

Charges haven't even been laid yet. How long it take to get these people on the inside of a court room?

This shit is the tip of the iceberg. I hope to Christ this doesn't get buried.

I'm glad to see some former SAS chaps have been challenging the "small minority" shit that the leadership seems to be coming out with. 

Well it was pretty awful when I was in Orwell... (early noughties) ... I can only imagine that repeated deployments to brown countries after that would have exacerbated the racism part. 
 

And this kind of mentality it’s not just in the SAS.. it’s everywhere.  The SAS were just the ones with sufficient autonomy to get away with this sort of shit. I.e small groups working well away from the main body of force.

 

The other thing people don’t seem to realise is that the Australian military actually looks down on the Australian people... they have this attitude that civvie scum are lesser than them, undeserving of respect, and are just softcocks who don’t know what it’s ‘really’ like. 
 

 

Scylla, I’m guessing most country’s armed forces have that attitudes towards civvies. From my own experience you are told right from basic that civilians are lazy and weak etc. Comes as a shock to many when they find out what an unrelenting thrashing civilian life can be.

Exactly Square. Exactly. 
 

However I don’t think many people in civvie street understand that is exactly the indoctrination that their armed forces receive though. 

It’s like Jack Nicholson’s character in a few good men... on speed. 

The only reason I confined my comment to Australian forces is because that’s my only experience. I can’t speak for anywhere else. 
 

Very interesting to know that your experience was the same though. 

Interesting perspective.  

When I grew up it was a bit non-PC to have a close connection to the armed forces.  

Now you see a real swagger among the guys getting around the local supermarket in their camouflage (sorry, but you work behind a computer screen and while your building might be surrounded by cow paddocks, I don't think you're needing to hide in them).  It's a clear way to say "we are not the same as you".  People I know who served a generation ago say they weren't permitted to strut around town in uniform (and that's putting aside the fact that they wouldn't have worn camo in any context outside of the bush...)

 

 

Even when I served we weren’t allowed off base in uniform Coffee. 
 

Unless it was for official duty. 

Ha.  You walk into our local supermarket and you'd think it was an AAFCANS sometimes.

exactly wot Scylla said about the risk of small autonomous units.

20 years of unlimited resources, blanket support and secrecy always carries a risk. 

Small r, racist attitudes were always prevalent in many private views throughout the 90s but not in the work

My UK involvement included work with multiple NATO military (US French Belgium Italian Spanish blah blah ) and its a universal “us” and them thing re civilians but TBH it’s hardly surprising cos on operations , military discipline applies and there is usually a massive shoite sandwich in front of you that you know most civilians would just walk away from. 

Similar to Scylla my involvement ended in the naughties and yes with notable exceptions (US etc) it was simply a commonplace order that kept uniform off when outside base.

Personally I came across nothing but extremely tightly controlled professionalism but there were some exceptions and it’s the  never ending job of a democratic system to prosecute (or protect) when it goes wrong. as the quote goes “ the past is another country “and I’ve no idea what happens now 

 

 

Well Asti... when I was serving there was another report done into sexual misconduct in the military. 
 

It was a huge thing. Similar in scope and horror to this report. Except it was male soldiers and what they were doing to their female counterparts. 
 

The official line from the senior staff to the media and government was the the report was horrifying and required urgent action to rectify the issues... 

The reality was that at the next base large event they showed a video taking of a copy of the report to the local range and blowing it up with explosives. In a HUGE explosion. 

Given the restrictions that apply to using the range and who can sign out and authorise explosives the message was quite clear... And coming from the very top. 
 

Scylla m8, sorry to hear that, obviously there’s some stuff I can only sympathise with, I was the well meaning but clueless fecker permanently looking for the next shiny course or work ( and expecting to get it cos of my charm, niche skills and privilege) 

Without detracting from your experience I would also mention one of my old bosses (who now runs security for a v well known global brand ). I could wax lyrical about how fundamentally scary she could be back in the day when working with Big Boy Rules types but thats another sandbag. I want to speculate that shoite as it undoubtedly was for junior female soldiers in the 90s she was IMHO born out that crucible . 
 

cliche or not , female soldiers now owe a debt to those that went before 

 

PS any update on your house project off board welcome 

 

@ Scyllla @ 00:06

Your report does not surprise me at all. Sadly. 

However, among Five Eyes [For want of a better word] 'special forces' ANY  laxation of control (or discipline) must be considered extremely seriously.

If soldiers in the field, under direct orders .[And make no mistake those individual soldiers know exactly what those orders are] cannot obey those orders then they should be court-martialled. And (depending upon the verdict) discharged or punished.

The commanding officers [Major and above] should be [upon conviction of a junior, of course] be dishonourably discharged. They have failed to maintain discipline. They are [by implication] murderers or not. In civil life a fella can be convicted for less.

Simple, but very serious issue, beyond that. If the civil population cannot have faith in the institution that will send them to serve and [perhaps] die then the civil population will not serve.

They will not serve. 

Australia had half a century of this discussion. Tens of thousands volunteered. But not to serve  outside Australia.

End of.

 

@Hip2BSquare 22 Nov 20 23:45

My brother had a somewhat weird military career. Well, a 'career' of sorts.

He was a longtime Territorial in the 1990s (as a student) and then at the outset of the Invasion of Iraq was called up. He was actually then a ' mature' student in the middle of his B.Eng. (He had done a B.Sc previously) when he got his call-up papers. Although he did not live with me he used my address as his postal address (for bank accounts etc.) 

Apparently he went to drill (his unit had their drill every Tuesday evening) and his colleagues asked him ' Did you get your papers. He said 'No'. Then he phoned me. 'Is there an envelope for me?' I told him "Yeah, there is actually. Quite a thick one." 

[I cannot remember what it looked like; I am not sure it was actually stamped 'OHMS' ( I think it was actually) but I am pretty sure it was 'buff' coloured and without a stamp]

He was at my place at about midnight to pick it up. 

That was Tuesday night. He was ordered to be in camp on the following Monday morning. A bit of a flurry to get things organised. 

He went off to camp on the Sunday. {My sister's husband drove him.] His colleagues left the UK on about the Tuesday for Kuwait, but for several reasons he did not actually leave until the following Monday or so. [So about a week after them. I will explain.]

He was simply a mature student. However, some of his colleagues had wives and families and children and civvy jobs. Then, within a week of call-up, they were in the desert beginning to prepare to go over the border into hostile Iraq.

The reason he was delayed because he was perhaps one of the few Territorials assigned to a 'combat' [artillery] unit. I can only suppose it was because he had quite some training in communications. Most of his unit were assigned as 'force protection' security for various medical units. Somebody has to do it. They were Territorials. Not professional soldiers

However, when the Colonel of my brother's regiment discovered this he was [according to my brother] absolutely furious. If my brother is correct the Colonel's actual words were "They are my men. We trained together. We fight together. I need them." 

So, in Kuwait, the Colonel took a convoy of vehicles around the various camps where his Territorial unit had been scattered and demanded they be released into his command. My brother tells me there were a succession of furious arguments with the CO's of other units.

So, for better, for worse, he was in one of the very first vehicles going across the border from Saudi. Even ahead of the USMC RCT that advanced to Baghdad (His unit drove over the border and basically turned left and set up their guns (so as to cover the US column going north.)

This almost led to disaster: The three batteries of guns were sat out in the desert. The Allied strike aircraft over Iraq were somewhat like a 'taxi rank' flying about ready to be called up to strike Iraqi positions. Mostly US aircraft but not entirely.

Apparently a couple of aircraft were returning to Saudi from further north in order to re-fuel and re-arm. One USAFNG pilot saw a RA battery and considered it an enemy position. He reported he was going to attack. During the day a single Apache helicopter had been flying up and down the Saudi-Iraq border as security support and realised what the USAFNG pilot was thinking of. He warned them off. That the position was an Allied position)

Anyway, my brother tells me that, aside from relatively brief periods of hostile fire toward Saddam's forces (briefly deployed toward Nasiriyah because the US wanted them) they swung a big right and occupied an oil refinery near the Iranian border. 

However, because their maps were so poor (basically from the 1950s) and the sat-nav etc was also lacking, on patrol they were never entirely sure if they had not strayed into Iran. [Yeah, I know minefields. That is another story]

Anyway, bro came back to London. He had to repeat his second year of his B.Eng. Then after graduation applied for the Army school at Beaconsfield. He actually applied to do Arabic but was turned down. So he chose Pashto. And then spent a few tours (four; attached to different units) in Afghanistan.

I’m glad there’s no mention there of side effects from the inoculations etc 

I was also at Uni (3rd year)

Everyone in my unit got “offered” compulsory call up.

Basically they were a bit frit about comp called peps refusing so every one selected got asked informally first 

I spent the run up to Gulf 1 debriefing people who had just returned from Iraq’s key installations (or who had built them *cough* Germans and Swiss

They really weren’t very bight like that 

Asturias, were you a wearer of the mighty Cyprus green hat?

I know someone in the SAS, albeit not particularly well. The topic of Shamima Begum once came up in conversation. His view was that not only should she be denied citizenship, she should be summarily executed.