Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why 'they' wear masks

I've had to answer this very question from people who live in "safe" countries:

Why do Special Forces / Special Police troops (and native guide-interpreters as well) wear masks?

You've probably seen hundreds of pictures (or video) of the Balaclava-clad officer in the tactical gear seen as part of a news report or press release in any one of innumerable countries.

The implication is clear in the question: masked men are bad men, aren't they?

Well, that's certainly not a given any more.

Besides the technical reason of many troops wearing fire-protective face covers, the Number One reason why 'they' wear masks is...

If the real bad guys know who they are, they *will* kill them.

Same-same applies as to why there used to be all manner of rules about "no name tapes on the uniforms" and "no-photograph" situations for people in certain lines of national service.

Sadly, this is just another case of nation's security service learning the hard way to protect the identity of their operators. A most costly lesson to learn.

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