The Ministry of Defence's belated admission that the system is in dire need of modernisation, reported today on page 16, is therefore to be welcomed. Having protested that criticisms were unjustified, the MoD has at last conceded that commanders should be stripped of their power to stop police investigations and that lawyers should be brought into the mess room at a far earlier stage to guide investigations. Fears will remain that this has more to do with window dressing than accountability, and that civilian lawyers may be treated as "do-gooders" and kept at arm's length by the military. Nonetheless, today's news represents a step in the right direction.
This is a victory for the wide coalition - from High Court judges to the Red Cross and Amnesty International - that followed this newspaper's lead in campaigning for reforms. However, if the Ministry of Defence is to convince sceptics that there has been a culture change within the military, it must agree to a full public inquiry into the Army's conduct in Iraq.
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