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That First Stone

Armchair Warriors are watching  
Ever ready to  react and criticise.
They know all the theory but not
Looked  through a soldier'e eyes.
Young people who were,
For various reasons, willing
To sign away years of life
And take the Queens Shilling.

The training's hard and tough
But it's not quite the same,
Deep down inside they know
It's just a dangerous game,
Preparation for deployment
Out into a combat zone
One of a field  unit
Never ever on their own.

Part of that team
Reliant on each other
Shared experience turning
Each member into a brother.
And, until that first action
Not quite sure what they'll do,
Will that training kick in
And see them safely through.

A tense situation whether
They see action or not.
Training and comradeship
Are all that each has got,
Until, safely back at base,
Until back on safer ground
It's tine  to unwind and
The unit can stand down.

Kit checking and kipping,
Just waiting for the call, then
It's back out on patrol
And they'll do it all again.
Decisions made in split seconds
Can later be held to be wrong
But out there at the sharp end
A split second's not so very long.

And the watchers are watching
That no win no fee legal bunch
Waxing fat on litigation and
The expense account lunch.
Watching and calculating
Just how much they might make
When a frightened soldier
Makes a stress driven mistake.

Out in combat situations
Where the danger is live
And the natural reaction is
Just to  want to  survive
And those  guardians of society
Judge things they've not known
And, with hands on their wallets
Calmly cast that first stone.

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