I think we can assume that our armed forces are led by halfwits who think politicians know best, writes Peter Bruce THE life expectancy of an American second lieutenant in combat in Vietnam is reckoned to have been about 16 minutes. As officers, they were expected to lead from the front, not the back. More often than not, they were as green as the men they were leading. Probably they were greener. The one thing they instinctively knew was that leading meant exactly that. You couldn’t hide. The generals might hide, the colonel was in his tent. But you were just a Grunt with a bar on your collar.I still cannot get over the fact, though, that after what must have been a long and obviously deadly battle at the SANDF base in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, 13 South African soldiers, 13 of our fellow citizens, died and not one of them was an officer. It seems, in any regular combat situation, highly implausible. Where were the officers while the privates and noncommission...

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