It is vital to stress that nothing as yet has been proved against them.Even so, critics have complained for many years that it has been allowed to be too much of a ‘private army’, immune from the usual supervision and discipline by the military hierarchy.The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, has been unyielding in his view that justice must take its course, however embarrassing for the Armed Forces.‘How else can we claim to hold the moral high ground against the enemy? Throughout the controversy about the Royal Marines’ Sergeant Alexander Blackman, released from prison earlier this year after 1,277 days behind bars after his conviction for the murder of an Afghan insurgent was quashed and downgraded to manslaughter on the basis of combat stress, Sir Nick Carter said that the issue had to be left in the hands of the judges.Otherwise, the moral high ground, which is rightfully ours in the struggle against our enemies, becomes threatened. There were atrocities in Vietnam – the My Lai massacre foremost among them.Western guards at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq subjected prisoners to cruelties and humiliations.
They are almost certainly the finest special forces unit in the world.
In Iraq, while the US Army thought poorly of the performance of its British allies in the south around Basra, American generals were full of praise for the achievements of SAS hit squads which captured or killed scores of key Al Qaeda personnel in and around Baghdad.
But now we read these allegations, about SAS misconduct in Afghanistan.
The leak about the military police investigation, and the recent decision by the Ministry of Defence drastically to reduce its scope, must have been prompted by frustration and anger among those who have been conducting inquiries for the past 18 months.
The message is always the same from these affairs: it is impossible to keep the lid on such allegations, justified or no.