The U.K. government is currently going after ex-servicemen for carrying out their duty in Northern Ireland. Special forces will feel the pinch most, as the majority of the terrorists killed there were killed by the SAS. While terror chiefs brokered a deal with Tony Blair giving them immunity from prosecution—whether guilty or not—soldiers who were obediently carrying out orders from those above them are now being hung out to dry.
While Theresa May was announcing how “tank-chasing lawyers” were to be clamped down upon, her spin doctors were using it as cover to announce their latest legal pursuit of troops who have done nothing except their job. Meanwhile, in the province, the political scene is riddled with leaders formed from the ranks of political and terrorist organizations. These are the people now trying to heap pressure on the government to have innocent, proud old men brought forward for questioning regarding so-called crimes they have allegedly committed.
Operation Banner was 27 years of drawn-out civil unrest with the worst of the atrocities being caused by Republican (Irish)-supporting terror organisations. The Loyalist (U.K.-supporting) areas of the country also had their fair share of terror gangs, but as a rule they were not targeting government forces. This, by the way, does not make them OK in my book, and both caused injury and death to innocent people. The U.K. deployed its armed forces originally to protect the Republican estates, but within months, those groups had turned against the troops and the troubles began in earnest. Troops and armed police patrolled both rural and urban areas of the province.
I served a total of over five years comprised of four tours. I only came into contact with the enemy for a fraction of that time—literally minutes. All activity was over in seconds as far as explosions or rounds flying, as none of the so-called terrorists really had the belly for getting into a proper fight. Soon they would resort to tactics of ambush-style bombs or shootings; they very rarely stayed in position for less than a few seconds before running away. They would target people who were off duty or unarmed instead of getting into a battle with those who could fight back.