Magazine article The Spectator

The MoD's Failure of Duty

Magazine article The Spectator

The MoD's Failure of Duty

Article excerpt

Sir: Charles Moore berates Oxford deputy coroner Andrew Walker for upbraiding officialdom in the matter of the death of Para Corporal Mark Wright, deeming such criticism of the military establishment to be 'outrageous' (The Spectator's Notes, 25 October).

The fact is that Tony Blair launched our armed forces into five wars in six years. Of the two ongoing conflicts, Iraq has lasted longer than the second world war and Afghanistan is more ferocious than Korea.

When any government does this it takes on a very serious duty of care.

That duty involves an absolute obligation that the men sent out to fight will have equipment sufficient in both quality and quantity to enable them to do the job and stay alive if possible. Investigating this government's discharge of that duty of care, my colleagues on the Cameron Commission into the breaking of the Military Covenant were shocked to discover it had been treated at the highest level with an indifference bordering on contempt.

The duty of care stretches from the soldier on the ground up through the higher ranks but it inevitably comes back to the Ministry tasked with equipping him, and the Treasury -- because every piece of kit has to be bought and paid for. …

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