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Noquick answer to 'ghastly' deaths.

THE deaths of British troops travelling in lightly-armoured Snatch Land Rovers are "ghastly", says the Ministry of Defence's top civil servant.

But Sir Bill Jeffrey insisted there was no "silver bullet solution" that would have allowed military chiefs to replace the controversial vehicle earlier.

Giving evidence to the Iraq Inquiry, he also admitted the defence budget was so stretched that cuts had to be made over successive years.

Families of troops killed in Snatch Land Rovers blown up by roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan have argued the vehicles were not fit for purpose.

Sir Bill, who has been Permanent Secretary at the MoD since November, 2005, said: "The fundamental problem is that for some purposes military commanders will always argue that a highly mobile, lightweight vehicle of that sort is important and indeed operationally critical in some cases. That is little comfort to those who lost loved ones in Snatch Land Rovers. It is ghastly.

"On the other hand, what there was not over that period was a silver bullet solution in which a better-protected version of Snatch could have been bought very quickly."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2010
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