The week has seen claim and counter-claim ... it has devolved into the classic 'he said/she said'. One thing for sure, 'their' claim that the facts in the book had been checked and double checked has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. And now we have the unedifying spectacle of an 'ambulance chasing' lawyer supposedly acting for the 'villagers' in pursuit of blood money. This is an industry in Afghanistan with all its attendant problems.
I guess what has saddened me the most is the way some commentators on this and other blogs have been quick to accept everything that Hager and Stephenson have alleged as the gospel truth and label the incident as New Zealand's My Lai.
Clearly they prefer to believe the worst. For myself I believe the professionalism of 'our' military is such that I find it difficult to accept the essential thesis of the book that the raid, so-called, expressly targeted civilians as revenge for the killing of Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell.
That the raid itself was a 'failure' is a moot. That happens in war. Operation Market Garden in WW2 was a failure too (with civilians killed). But that's not the point. Hager and Stephenson would have it that the civilian casualties (if any) were extrajudicial killings.
The time has some for Hager's supposed SAS informants to come forward and stop hiding behind 'journalistic' skirts. If 'they' can be shown to have first hand knowledge of the events as outlined in the book (as opposed to hearsay knowledge) then I would support a formal inquiry. The balls in Hager's court. Time for him to put up or shut up ... but I won't hold my breath on either.