Aussie SAS Get Themselves In Trouble

June 1st, 2005  

Topic: Aussie SAS Get Themselves In Trouble

Howard stands by SAS
By Paul Osborne

PRIME Minister John Howard has stood by the SAS in the wake of claims Australian soldiers killed civilians in Afghanistan.

Time magazine reported the actions of an Australian Special Air Service Regiment patrol triggered a battle in which 11 tribesmen were killed and 16 wounded during the war on terrorism in Afghanistan in 2002.

One soldier in the six-man patrol was disciplined for souveniring a turban and gun from a dead villager.

Claims and counter-claims within the patrol led the patrol's leader who told the magazine he believed the incident was covered up to quit the army.

Defence force chief General Peter Cosgrove has stood by the patrol's action, but said he would seek more details about the claims of theft.

Mr Howard said today he retained great confidence and admiration for the men of the SAS.

"I think the SAS is a fantastic unit of the Australian defence forces," Mr Howard said.

"We expect these incredibly well-trained and able men to undertake life-endangering missions in our name and on our behalf.

"Inevitably when you get into a dangerous situation people have to take action to defend themselves.

"Nothing I have heard about this alters the fundamental fact that they took proper action consistent with the laws of war to defend themselves in anticipation of physical danger or death.

"Every Australian would defend totally their right to do that."

General Cosgrove told a Senate estimates hearing last night an investigation had found the patrol's actions to be in line with the SAS's rules of engagement.

"Some internal aspects ... were investigated fully at the time and appropriate disciplinary action was initiated," he said.

But he said it was not appropriate to reveal the detail of the investigation or its results.

Opposition defence spokesman Robert McClelland said the public had a right to know about the allegations and what was being done to address them.

But Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, who has visited Afghanistan to inspect SAS operations, said the regiment had a reputation for not over-reacting and ensuring civilians did not get caught up in battles.

"(They would) be precise, not just simply lay firepower about the place and be merciful and absolutely check any contact to make sure that the contact wasn't inadvertently going to be an innocent," Mr Beazley said.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said he would wait for General Cosgrove's report and expected disciplinary action would be taken if there was any improper behaviour.

"But my experience is that our special forces are both very effective and professional," Senator Hill said.

Taken from,00.html

I personally think it a load of BS. If a villager goes for his gun when he discovers your OP it goes without saying, you shoot him. And when the rest of his tribe arc up on your position with heavy machine guns and RPG fire, you're gunna fight back. It's just political left wing pinko posturing if you ask me.
June 1st, 2005  
A Can of Man
Yes this is complete bullsh1t. The SASR guys did their job. It's almost illegal to do your job as a soldier these days it seems.
And what's wrong about taking a little souvanir?
June 2nd, 2005  
It's just journalists doing the whole thing of jumping on a story, beating it up to be something that it's not, and over analysing soldiers actions after the fact.

I mean even the oposition leader (Kim Beazly- Labor Party) agreed with John Howard that the SAS were in the right. That is not common.
June 6th, 2005  
These *******s that post these stories should try being a soldier and going on a dangerous patrol mission instead of posting sensationalistic bull to garner more sales. Only after experiencing the stressful and sometimes traumatic thing like that, they should be allowed to publish. God, I really hate that.
June 6th, 2005  
It's sad that a SAS member left because of this incident. Those guys are hard to come by. Especially because of the private sector snatching them up.
June 6th, 2005  
He can go to work for Blackwater, they'll love to get him.
July 22nd, 2005  
In these sort of places you are fighting people that never wear a uniform and nearly every male is armed, shooting strangers is pass time for them and they have been doing this for ever, so if they come of worse in exchange of fire then it is there hard luck. From all the Australian soldiers I have met. I would be happy to fight with them at any time.
August 8th, 2005  
From all the Australian soldiers I have met. I would be happy to fight with them at any time.
Cheers. Glad to hear it.