SAS and the killing of prisoners

Save & Share - Leave a Comment

SAS in Afghanistan: Pawns in a deadly game

On the SAS and the killing of prisoners

A complex situation requiring a complex response. Here’s a qualified opinion based on incomplete information:

Firstly, the rest of Australia’s armed forces generally obey the rules of engagement. Secondly, it looks like some individuals in SAS have thought themselves so special that these rules don’t apply to them.

Did commanders know of this behaviour? If not, then they were not doing their jobs – a leader must lead! Bad eggs are bad eggs in any organisation: they poison the culture, lower morale, and ultimately reduce the effectiveness of that organisation.

Having said this, war is not a game of football. Deep and powerful emotions are involved and switched-on leaders should anticipate and manage this reality.

Further, it seems that SAS has born the nation’s burden in this conflict. This begs the question: why weren’t Infantry used as well? With that burden came multiple individual rotations, perhaps overloading some soldiers’ ability to maintain personal and professional discipline. Stress is cumulative.

Then there are the resulting combat stress reactions which may lead to combat-related PTSD if not identified and treated. Nevertheless, these reactions should not be used as an excuse for the deliberate killing of prisoners, regardless of any extenuating circumstances (e.g., if they were transferred to Afghan authorities, they would likely be released. Include also, the Green on Blue killing of off-duty Australian soldiers).

Civilians should not be quick to judge, however. There are so many factors involved here that need to be considered. And spare a thought for those soldiers who behaved honourably and professionally in this dangerous and sometimes treacherous environment.

Bad eggs tarnish the reputations of all servicemen and women, past and present.

A question to ask oneself: ‘How would I behave in similar circumstances?”




Web Design Brisbane by Internet Thinking