Wednesday, March 16, 2005


The army has just been criticised heavily in a damning report regarding its culture for new recruits. Critics have been quick to say that it is necessary for training to be tough - after all, they are training people to be killing machines. Yet perhaps more serious than the culture of institutionalised bullying that is obviously tolerated within our armed forces is the fact that the Army were clearly prepared to cover up murders. At least one of the people in the Deepcut scandal was killed with two gunshot wounds to the head. It sounds pretty unlikely to me that anything other than foul play was involved.

If we have an Army culture where people willing to commit these sorts of crimes on their own people - the people with whom the other recruits are supposed to be working as part of a team (hence the justification for the hellishly difficult training course) - then we should not have any confidence in them whatsoever. In particular, when we see the pictures of soldiers torturing Iraqi captives, we should not be surprised at all. Our soldiers are being trained in an environment where bullying the people they are in a team with is accepted, and when it goes tragically wrong, is not just tolerated, but is actively covered up by the Army itself. If that's what they are doing to friends, then what the hell do we expect them to be doing to people completely in their own power?