The Prime Minister says no inquiry into the SAS raid in Afghanistan is needed because he trusts the process and he trusts the Chief of Defence Force.

Granted he has no reason to personally mistrust the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, but he has every reason to mistrust the process.

There's that old saying that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
When those who are accused decide if there is a case to answer, justice is nowhere to be seen.

Other arms of the state with immense and inherent power such as police, judges, and even spies are subject to independent scrutiny when complaints are made about them.


Bizarrely, English's answer to that inconvenient parallel was to claim that the Chief of Defence Force was independent because he had not been involved in the Afghanistan operation in question.

General Keating last Monday said he was open to an inquiry.

On Friday in a letter to the Defence Minister he advised against an inquiry saying none of the three types of inquiries he is able to order under the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 - would be appropriate.

The Government has relied entirely on the advice of the Defence Force.

English says he has all the information he needs to make up his mind because he has seen classified video of the operation from helicopters and has been briefed on the matter.

He does not know if he has seen all the video, he won't say how long the video footage was that he saw, and he doesn't know if the SAS themselves wore body cameras.

He at least acknowledges there is a dispute in some facts between the Defence Force and the authors of Hit and Run.

The book, based on interview with villagers of Naik and Khak Khudady Dad, alleges that no insurgents were killed, that six civilians were killed and 15 wounded, and property was wantonly destroyed.


The Defence Force says that nine insurgents were killed, one by the SAS, civilians may have been killed when a gun misfired, and destruction of property was minimal.

It has advised the Government there is no evidence for an inquiry when the only realistic way to test evidence is to hold an inquiry.