A British Ministry of Defence poll over the weekend suggested that the British public is losing faith in their armed services. The claims of prisoner abuse in Iraq have dented public opinion. A series of British soldiers serving in Iraq have been accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners and the investigation is still on-going. The Daily Mirror fake photograph affair was a journalistic failure of enormous proportions but it doesn't hide the fact that British troops are facing some very serious allegations. Piers Morgan's sacking, as the editor of the Daily Mirror, may have been a victory for the army but allegations still remain and the reputation of the British Army has been tarnished. I am not willing to accept the rather lame excuse that nasty things happen in war or that this sort of affair could be expected. I am not willing to accept, either, that in all barrels there are a certain amount of rotten apples. The Geneva Convention clearly states that all prisoners should be well treated. Surely this must be drummed into every soldier. If any of the allegations of mistreatment are proved to be correct then their should be resignations right at the top. While I think that anyone who looked at the Mirror's photographs had serious doubts about their authenticity I think most people believe that some British troops didn't behave as they should have done. The majority of the British public gave their support to a highly controversial war because British soldiers were at the frontline and they wanted to show their support for them. A very noble state of affairs. The British armed forces are held in the highest respect. But unfortunately this respect, according to the MoD poll, is falling. While there have been plenty of allegations about a lack of equipment and that British soldiers were not prepared for the conflict the most serious claim, I believe, is that of prisoner abuse. New equipment can be bought. But claims of mistreatment of prisoners, which goes against the code of all regiments of the British Army, is a real root problem.
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