So many people forget this basic bargain and covenant that we civilians sign with our armed forces, and it is like the Hippocratic Oath, we should read it once a year at least!, are you hearing, Parliament? which is playing fast and loose with our squaddies? I quote:
The phrase "military covenant" refers to the contract that is supposed to exist between servicemen and women and the civilians on whose behalf they are willing to die.
It is an informal understanding, rather than a legally-enforceable deal, but it is nevertheless treated with great seriousness within the services.
The army doctrine publication says: "Soldiers will be called upon to make personal sacrifices – including the ultimate sacrifice – in the service of the nation.
"In putting the needs of the nation and the army before their own, they forgo some of the rights enjoyed by those outside the armed forces.
"In return, British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service.
"This mutual obligation forms the military covenant between the nation, the army and each individual solider; an unbreakable common bond of identity, loyalty and responsibility that has sustained the army and its soldiers throughout history."
Military historians point out that the notion that society owes a special debt to soldiers goes back centuries.
As an early example of the covenant, they cite an act passed in 1593 ordering parishes to make special provision to help sick and wounded veterans.
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!