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English asked to consider suicide missions

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    RAF pilots asked to consider suicide flight Lee Glendinning The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,2048967,00.html? gusrc=rss&feed=11 A
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2007
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      RAF pilots asked to consider suicide flight
      Lee Glendinning
      The Guardian
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,2048967,00.html?
      gusrc=rss&feed=11


      A senior RAF officer asked fighter pilots whether they
      would consider suicide missions as a last resort to
      stop terrorists if their weapons had failed or they
      had run out of ammunition.

      During a training exercise, Air Vice-Marshal David
      Walker put it to newly qualified pilots that they
      should think of flying suicide missions in a "worst
      case scenario" when a terrorist attack was imminent.

      The head of the RAF's elite One Group who is in
      operational control of Typhoon, Tornado, Jaguar and
      Harrier fighters and bombers, is reported to have
      asked the pilots: "Would you think it unreasonable if
      I ordered you to fly your aircraft into the ground in
      order to destroy a vehicle carrying a Taliban or
      al-Qaida commander?"

      According to reports in today's Sun, he told them they
      knew when they signed up that they would have to risk
      their lives.

      The Ministry of Defence last night confirmed that the
      training exercise had taken place but stressed it was
      a hypothetical question to provoke thoughts as to what
      pilots would do if they were confronted with a
      situation in which they might die.

      "Air Vice-Marshal Walker did not say he would order
      his crews on suicide missions," the MoD said in a
      statement. "As part of a training exercise he wanted
      them to think about how they, and their commanders,
      would react faced with a life and death decision of
      the most extreme sort - for example, terrorists trying
      to fly an aircraft into a British city, being followed
      by an RAF fighter which suffers weapons failure.

      "These are decisions which, however unlikely and
      dreadful, service people may have to make and it is
      one of many reasons why the British people hold them
      in such high esteem."

      An MoD spokesperson added that Air Vice-Marshal
      Walker, who saw action in Iraq, was trying to make
      clear that all service personnel can be asked to lay
      down their lives.

      The comments distressed pilots who were present at the
      conference.

      "The idea of officers ordering personnel to commit
      suicide is disgusting," an unnamed officer told the
      Sun.

      Another said: "His idea of leadership is to suggest
      that it is within his power to authorise the first
      example of an ordered kamikaze attack in the RAF's
      89-year history. He is subtly suggesting that if he
      wished he could order anyone in his command to die."

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