The idea to “reduce the profile of the repatriation ceremonies” was suggested by the MoD’s development, concepts and doctrine centre think-tank, as a potential way to handle “casualty averse” public opinion.
This would appear to refer to the crowds of mourners who have lined the streets to pay their respects as the flag draped coffins of fallen servicemen pass through places like Royal Wotton Basset in Wiltshire and Carterton in Oxfordshire.
Other suggestions included using more mercenaries and special forces soldiers in future conflicts as their deaths have less impact on the public.
Deborah Allbutt, whose husband Stephen was killed in a friendly fire incident in Iraq in 2003, told The Guardian that the suggestions relating to the repatriation ceremonies would be “brushing the deaths under the carpet”.
She said: “They are fighting and giving their lives. Why should they be hidden away? It would be absolutely disgraceful.”
They are fighting and giving their lives. Why should they be hidden away? It would be absolutely disgraceful.
The eight-page November 2012 document, which was obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, argues the military may have come to wrongly believe that the public, and as a result the government, has become more “risk averse” after the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.
“However, this assertion is based on recent, post-2000 experience and we are in danger of learning false lessons concerning the public’s attitude to military operations,” it states.
“Historically, once the public are convinced that they have a stake in the conflict they are prepared to endorse military risks and will accept casualties as the necessary consequence of the use of military force.”
The MoD said the paper aims to be thought-provoking and is not policy.
An MoD spokesman said: “It is entirely right that we publicly honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and there are no plans to change the way in which repatriation ceremonies are conducted.
“A key purpose of the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre is to produce research which tests and challenges established doctrine and its papers are designed to stimulate internal debate, not outline government policy or positions. To represent this paper as policy or a potential shift of policy is misleading.”
See on www.express.co.uk