What happened
Our biggest wartime horror in a long time. Three diggers and their Afghan interpreter were killed and seven other Aussie troops wounded when an Afghan army ally turned his weapon on them.

An Afghan National Army soldier guards a US plane. Picture: AFP

This was not the first time that an Afghan colleague attacked Australian soldiers this year and nor was it the last. Lance Corporal Andrew Jones was killed by an Afghan soldier as he came out of his base accommodation in May. And just last month three diggers and two Afghans were wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire from a guard tower with an automatic weapon and grenade launcher.

What happened next
A serious erosion of trust between Australian troops and their Afghan allies.

The Australian reported just a few weeks ago that ADF personnel sent to Afghanistan are being warned in pre-departure briefings not to trust their Afghan colleagues.

Days after that story appeared, a tense confrontation broke out between diggers and Afghans after Australians returned to base to find Afghans pilfering through their belongings.

Many diggers and civilians alike have wondered this year: how can we send our sons to fight a war to secure Afghanistan, when Afghanistan’s own sons want ours dead?

What we learned
There’s no gentleman’s way of doing war anymore. Think about it. During the World War I, fighting stopped at Christmas along the Western front. Troops sang each Christmas carols to each other. It’s clear that spirit, in a secular sense, is not predominant in the Afghanistan of 2011.

We also realised we aren’t quite sure who or what we have been fighting for in Afghanistan since its liberation.

How The Punch covered it
In June, our political voice of reason Mark Kenny asked the questions that remain on our minds.

Why are we fighting in a war where even the people we are trying to help are sometimes the enemy?

Why are we staying until the mission is completed when the mission is so ill-defined and may in the end have so little impact on the internal security of the country?

The answers are becoming less convincing with each death.

Australian Defence Association chair Jim Molan argued that we must stay the course.

For the Coalition troops to leave in 2014, we need to start to set the Afghans up for success now, not for failure, and that is the plan. This requires not just the handing over of a province and the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops, but a staged handover, the maintenance of mentors within the Afghan army structure for some time and the ability to not just know that the Afghans might be failing, but to do something about it if necessary.

This requires a continuing foreign troop presence.

Comedian and Hungry Beast reporter Dan Ilic provided us with a great insight into Aussie diggers’ way of life on the ground.

About three minutes into my routine, a British voice erupted from the venue’s speakers: “Rocket! Rocket! Rocket!”

My unrehearsed performance was being disrupted by something far more interesting. An IDF assault on Kandahar Air Force base.

Those Taliban sure know how to heckle.

And so do our allies.

Most commented


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    • BMJ says:

      05:48am | 16/12/11

      This isn’t a gentlemans war any more? Then you give some example that there was no fighting during Christmas in WW1. What about the rest of that war?

    • AndrewB says:

      07:42am | 16/12/11

      Rightly or wrongly many people in the community believe that there is a ‘right way’ to fight a war. Australian troops are highly trained and restricted in many of their actions, thus we fight the ‘right way’.

      The Taliban have no such qualms. They will and do murder anyone that they believe is an enemy; including women and children.

      If anyone is stupid enough to believe that these murders, rapes and oppressions will stop because we leave is a fool. There have been multiple cases of young girls being crucified by the Taliban because her father is a member of the local government, or because she has been seen going to school.

      Would I trust an Afghan soldier? Not with my life, or anyone else’s.

    • Nathan says:

      07:51am | 16/12/11

      exactly, the bombing of civilians use of gas and the atomic bomb. Just because they look more like us does make it gentlemanly

    • MarkS says:

      09:33am | 16/12/11

      The “right way” to win a war is whatever way allows you to win. The “wrong way” to win a war is whatever way allows you to lose.

      As for war crimes, etc, that is only for the losers, the victors are never worried about such things.

      If war is gentlemanly, you are doing it the wrong way. War is foul & it is good that it is, we are too fond of it anyway. All these misguided efforts to make war nicer; also make it easier to decide to enter into conflict.

      As for the Afghans, they are not worth a single further drop of Australian blood. Simply make it clear that next time they act as a haven for terrorists the West will Nuke them into a Roman peace & get out.

    • Ken says:

      10:26am | 16/12/11

      Only gentleman’s war is a virtual war (online gamers), wargame, chess or other “game” where no-one dies.  A real war is ugly and should be ugly. Attempts to make it civilised are idiotic and counter-productive.

      A good war waged correctly is one where NOBODY wins - one party just loses less than the other.

    • Mark says:

      10:27am | 16/12/11

      History is written by the victors, gentlemen. Just remember that.

      MarkS is spot on, no war is gentlemanly and there are only consequences for the losers.

      The problem facing the Coalition in Afghanistan is the same one that they faced in Vietnam. An enemy that is indistinguishable from the local populous and in many cases, is the local populous.. America has never won a war in a country they’ve invaded. It stands to reason that Afghanistan will wind up like Vietnam. A massive turn of public support and objective’s so vague and undefined that it will be impossible to achieve them.

    • dancan says:

      11:51am | 16/12/11

      Just carpet bomb the entire country and get it over with. 

      Afghanistan will never be ready for independence, too much factional infighting between tribal leaders for any real stability, not to mention non-affiliated groups such as the Taliban just chillin over the boarder in Pakistan. 

      The moment western forces pull out the entire country will go to the shitters, more than it is currently or was previously before occupation.

      We’ve probably taken a greater number of casualties playing nice rather than just wiping the slate clean.

      Yes, I realise this view would be considered cruel, harsh etc but I don’t care.  I’m tired of this war, I’m tired of hearing about it, I’m tired of body counts and stories like this where our afghan “allies” are shooting us in the back.  And I’m only a civilian, it must be 10 times worse for a solder who has no say in the matter

    • Bill says:

      04:33pm | 17/12/11

      War is a political mechanism and it is conducted in anyway and anyhow.  There are no rules in war, not now and even throughout history.  I recall reading about a battle in ancient Iraq where they flodded a city to take it back from the invaders, never mind the civilians.  Or William the Conqueror slaughtering civillians in England to let them know he was in charge.

    • Major Tom says:

      07:26am | 16/12/11

      Time we left them to their tribal ways - nothing will change their archaic ways until they want to do it for themselves.

    • Sarah says:

      11:00am | 16/12/11

      Couldn’t agree more.
      Let them blow each other up if they want to.
      We should not be involved.

    • Cleitus says:

      07:32am | 16/12/11

      Ummm, I’m no military expert, but with respect to the photo, doesn’t the arabic script on the door and the Afghan National Army roundels on the wings suggest that it’s not a US plane being guarded, but an Afghan one?

    • Austin Morris says:

      09:09am | 16/12/11

      100% correct. It is a Ce182T trainer of the Afghan National Army Air Force.

    • Leto says:

      12:54pm | 16/12/11

      You expected accurate reporting on the Punch?

      Do you suspect that Daniel thought it was an American plane because he believes that Afghani’s do not possess the mental faculties to learn how to fly, or because he is just a lazy, ignorant ‘journalist’?

      I’m going for a combo.

      The diggers were killed because they invaded someone else’s country.

    • Damien says:

      09:45pm | 17/12/11

      Yep, quite right. What a ridiculous, ill informed article.

    • Mum says:

      10:01pm | 18/12/11

      Our soldiers haven’ t invaded any country Leto - this is a UN mandated mission. We’re there for the national security of both our country and theirs. If you think it’s right to stand by while women and children are raped and murdered just because we’re lucky enough to live here you don’t deserve an opinion. While you protest and then go sip on a latte some men from this country are pro-actively making a difference. If you think that the drug problem on our streets is not a direct result of the drug trade from countries like this you are also naive. We are very lucky that terrorist plots in our country have been foiled by authorities, other countries as you know have not been so lucky. Stability in Afghanistan that relies on a democratic government that is not funded by drug trade is good for the region and the world. Look at the bigger picture and stop being such an keyboard warrior. You’re probably the kind of filth that spits on soldiers and they families. So to revisit and educate you again - We did not INVADE. Freedom is not easily won for many people. You would do well to educate yourself on the lives of women and children of the Oruzgan Province and Afghanistan as a whole under Taliban rule and see how well they live now compared to ten years ago. Soldiers currently serving have seen how cheap life can be to the Taliban, who use children as human shields for their misdeeds. Think about all this, long and hard. War IS bad, but there are many things in this life that are worse. Just ask an Afghan woman or child.

    • John says:

      08:00am | 16/12/11

      The only way the west is going to get out of Afghanistan is when the west becomes liberated from the international cabal who rule the western media, finance and politics. It is they that want out troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is they that called for the bombing of Libya, Syria and Iran.

      They are trying to destabilize Syria, Iran and now Russia. This could lead to WWIII.

    • JC says:

      01:24pm | 16/12/11

      “This could lead to WWIII”

      Don’t you mean. “Oh god I want WWIII to happen so I can play war games!”
      Because that’s what I’m reading

    • Patwah says:

      09:14am | 16/12/11

      Are you Cochran off Survivor?

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      12:52pm | 16/12/11

      lmao thats tooo good.

      Must of lost at redemption Island

    • Willard V says:

      09:40am | 16/12/11

      Kurtz: I’ve seen horrors… horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that… but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror… Horror has a face… and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn’t know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it… I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God… the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us.

    • General Corman says:

      10:27am | 16/12/11

      The unfortunate thing about ‘unsound’ methods is what to do with the ticking time bombs (the soldiers, my Brothers, your husbands/sons/wives/daughters)  when you’re finished with them?  What are you thinking, just let them cross over into Cambodia with their rag-tag Montagnard Army?

    • Terry says:

      10:04am | 16/12/11

      Whilst there may have been a break in hostilities at Chrismas on a segment of the western front in WW1, you should pay a visit to the museum in Yepers, Belgium. That will convince you that 500,000 deaths for nine square kilometres was no gentlemans war. The only people who refer to war as gentlemanly are arm chair generals, those fighting wars will disagree.

    • Gee Jay says:

      02:34pm | 16/12/11

      Terry you are so right—WW1 was probably the most disgusting war in the history of man! 10 plus million,mostly young men,barely out of their teens, slaughtered for what purpose? A squabble between a few blue bloods[sic) .If they did not charge out of the trenches to certain death,they were shot by their own officers.. Gentlemans war——Rubbish!!!

    • Chriso says:

      03:02pm | 16/12/11

      Couldn’t agree more Terry, the people who instigate and create the wars are the same people who hide in bunkers while at the same time telling the working class to go out on the fields and kill. Just once I would like to see the country leaders and their generals thrown on an island with some assault rifles and told ‘if you cant sort it out through discussion and your only option is war then you lot fight it out and let us know who the victor is’ maybe then our so called leaders would act more like gentlemen and sort out their differences through debate rather than mass slaughter.

    • Sam says:

      10:08am | 16/12/11

      Willard..what movie is that? im tearing my hair out but I just cant for the life of me place it

    • Matt says:

      10:16am | 16/12/11

      Apocalypse Now

    • Anjuli says:

      10:35am | 16/12/11

      If we could make a solid ally of Pakistan then maybe we could just get out of Afghanistan and isolate that country the only thing they want is the dollar. We should stop taking the young men as refugees from   any country who we are at war with, when we have our young men fighting and dying there for them.

    • John the Zombie says:

      01:06pm | 16/12/11

      Anjuli Pakistan will never be an ally. They are the creators of the current Taliban. The Taliban that we all know and hate was bred from the madrassa in Pakistan. A force created to go and fight a gorilla war with India and to carry out bombings and attacks. The problem came for Pakistan at the end of the Soviet war when Afghanistan was rebuilding and it turned to India for help. This drove the fear of God into Pakistan fearing Indian on onside and a India backed nation on the other. Pakistan then changed its plans to send them into Afghanistan to stop the union of India and Afghanistan. Even now Pakistan is fearful of the unity and is asking that India play no role in the future of Afghanistan even though it has given billions in aide to it.

      Another fact that people seem not to notice as well is that the Mujahidin fighters from Pakistan were actually Pakistan soldiers been sent to get battle ready for a future war with India.

      Also just a quick note,  Afghanistan has been conquered and ruled by a non-Muslim power before. Read up about the Sikh kingdom and the rule of Maharajah Ranjit Singh

    • Ads says:

      09:33pm | 16/12/11

      @John the Zombie. Guerrilla?

    • centurion48 says:

      10:37am | 16/12/11

      Australian forces should never have gone to Afghanistan or Iraq. There is no national interest in either war - simply supporting misplaced American ideology. The bipartisan stance from Gillard and Abbott is sickening. When did Australia become a NATO country (not that that matters)?
      Every life lost is a waste. The biggest disservice Australia can do in their memory is to continue the occupation of Afghanistan. Of course, if you ask the troops whether they want to avenge the death of their mates they will say Yes but their opinions are skewed. War is (theoretically) not about retribution but just cause. Put yourself in the place of Afghan citizens. Their country has been forcibly occupied and locals are being murdered by NATO forces that justify the military action by saying they are Taliban. Even if they were Taliban, who is it to say Taliban have no right to exist (just because it does not accord with Western democratic principles). Not some blow-in Western country.
      How about all those Afghans of military age seeking asylum in Australia and other countries joining the Afghan Army instead and sorting out Afghanistan’s problems?
      BTW, there never was a gentlemanly way to wage war and those troops who did cease hostilities at Christmas in WW1 were soon put back in their place by the General Command.

    • AndrewB says:

      11:35am | 16/12/11

      How about all those Afghans of military age seeking asylum in Australia and other countries joining the Afghan Army instead and sorting out Afghanistan’s problems?

      Quoting Allan Jones talking points does NOT enhance an argumernt

    • Jane2 says:

      06:39pm | 16/12/11

      If Australian soldiers wanted to stay for revenge they would be shooting afghans instead of trying to help afghans. You may be about revenge but these guys and girls are not. Anyone who thinks like that is VERY quickly kicked out of the forces.

    • Chuck says:

      02:52am | 17/12/11

      So many people just willing to sit by and do NOTHING.  How Australian. 

      No interest for Australia.  What a selfish basterish thing to say.  No wonder Australians are looked upon as idiots. 

      Do you have any idea how women are treated or were treated in Afghanistan?  Thank God the Americans stepped in and did something.   

      Sadly, the Americans seem to be the only people willing to do something for mankind without seeking out something for themselves.

      What you said speaks to the exact truth.  No national interest you say…  yeah, says it all.  What a selfish country we’ve become.

      And God forbid… had it not been for the Americans in WWII, we would mostlikely be JAPAN today.

    • neo says:

      10:52am | 16/12/11

      As far as Afghans are concerned, US and Aussie troops are the invaders of their country, that is the mentality, and quite fairly so. They may have internal struggles, and they may not like the Taliban, for example, but once foreign forces invade, they become the one and true enemy. This has always been the case with Afghanistan, this war is impossible to win.

    • Monty says:

      10:52am | 16/12/11

      Why are we still there? We’re not even fighting the Taliban now, just a bunch of farmers who don’t want us in their country anymore. Once again Australia, at the behest of greater powers, gets bogged down in some ill-thought-out military adventurism.

    • Soldier says:

      12:26pm | 16/12/11

      Oh yes because even your average farmer in Aghanistan has access to heavy machine guns, RPG’s and Rockets of varying sizes don’t they?
      Maybe an AK-47 or variant if he’s lucky but more than likely a bolt action rifle with home made rounds than anything.

      It amazes me the tripe people post on here without any other ‘research’ than from what they have read in the web or heard from their social group.
      I mean when was the last time you got a proper intel brief off an in country source? never is my guess.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      12:56pm | 16/12/11

      Well they are farmers but with local figureheads.

      Most the weapons are left over from USSR and America, most the dual cab utes they drive around in were supplied by America.

      Tough war to win

    • Monty says:

      01:34pm | 16/12/11

      Soldier (if you are actually one) does it hurt to know your efforts are essentially being wasted “protecting” a country who’s citizens no longer want us there? Do you think its worth our efforts being over there for some vague goal?

      Also, I’m not implying average farmers have rocket launchers in their barns, but that frustrated and angry (or even extremist) locals are not joining “The Taliban” (a label the media like to group every “bad guy” under) but distributed groups that are simply opposed to foreign forces, there is a difference in motivation and to ignore that is downright stupid.

    • Trevor says:

      02:02pm | 16/12/11

      “Once again Australia, at the behest of greater powers,...”

      The cornerstone of Australian defence strategy since federation.

    • Colonel Sanders says:

      11:04am | 16/12/11

      Good! Now we have finally realised there are no rules in war, lets nuke the entire damn afghani nation as a lesson to the rest of them, civilians be damned! We should get to work on some robotic kamikaze nuke bombers as well. Australia needs better weapons. Get the doomsday virus out of CSIRO storage while we are at it and wave it around a bit. It’s good to remind everyone we still have it.

    • Monty says:

      11:16am | 16/12/11

      Nothing quite shows the utter absurdity of war than two armies stopping to sing Christmas carols together shortly before getting back to slaughtering each other. Or the Turks and ANZACS calling a cease-fire to clear the battlefield of bodies, then getting back to creating even more. War these days isn’t “ungentlemanly” it’s simply more honest about what war actually is.

    • Been There. says:

      12:00pm | 16/12/11

      I think the question should be asked of the young men and women serving in Afghanistan on whether or not they think they have made difference and whether they want to be there or not to finish the job? Servicemen and women do not like leaving a job half finished. That I can guarantee!
      War, has, and will never be Gentlemanly…....... There is nothing Gentlemenly about young men and women dying, ours or theirs.  History is written by the victors, laws are made to govern war to attempt to the protect the innocent, not the enemy. Afghanistan is a complicated nation, more so than many of these so called journalists appreciate. Ladies and gents, don’t just read mass marketed media who are interested in selling papers and making a profit for their shareholders. Do some real reading, then you may be able to appreciate the complications and complex environment that many of our young men and women face each day.

    • Brosif says:

      12:13pm | 16/12/11

      WWI poet Wilfred Owen’s opinion of the Western front wasn’t of a gentleman’s war….
      “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
      To children ardent for some desperate glory,
      The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
      Pro patria mori.”

    • delProfundo says:

      01:32pm | 16/12/11

      Are you a journalist? Did you wake up today and have a few minutes to put somethign together and this was it? How ignorant you are of history my young friend!

      WW1 was the birthplace of modern chemical warfare. If that were the only attocity then it would still hardly stack up as gentlemanly. Maybe you don’t understand what war is?

      I suggest you read Von Clausewitz’s On War, the handbook that first desrcibed Total War, a method of cold calculated warfare that replaced the more show and tell style of war that generally existed in the previous era.

      I would also posit that the christmas cease fires were more a statement by the soldiers on both sides AGAINST the war itself rather than an indication that warfare was more civilised in WW1.

      Also I dont think you DO war, you engage in it.

    • Marilyn Shepherd says:

      01:41pm | 16/12/11

      I am always amazed that Aussies are so dumb they actually think that arming and training Afghans to kill other Afghans is a good thing we should be paying for.

    • Wynston Cruso says:

      04:23pm | 16/12/11

      You’re absolutely right. A few carpet bombing runs would be way cheaper and far more reliable. Or we could just send more of our own troops with superior equipment and training over instead who can actually follow simple instructions such as ‘don’t shoot the people trying to freaking help you’.

    • Mike says:

      09:35am | 17/12/11

      It is good idea to train Afghans! Only do not give them anything more heavy than a shovel.

    • chuck says:

      10:21am | 17/12/11

      Yeah and who the hell is training them to fill out their CES and other entitlement forms when they get here. They seem to have that well sorted out when they get to Indonesia!

    • LeftDisappointed says:

      02:10pm | 16/12/11

      Did Craig Thompson write this article?
      Could you even call this cut and paste together an article?

      Seriously I hope he didnt get paid for this..

    • war is peace says:

      02:35pm | 16/12/11

      How can anyone even put the words ‘right way or gentleman’ into the same sentence as ‘war’? War is not right, weren’t we always taught to resolve a dispute through discussion and not violence? Real gentlemen would sit down and discuss the difference and come to an agreement through debate. Much like the school bully who prefers to get his point across through violence so to do our leaders who should be leading by example. Our leaders teach us that if you can not resolve a dispute through discussion then violence is totally fine, after all they do exactly that, they discuss an issue and if they cant reach an agreement they send innocent men and women to kill the people they were unable to reach an agreement with. No wonder the younger generation is so violent, they see it on TV every single day and to top it off our own leaders show that violence is acceptable if verbal discussions reach no agreement.

    • Erick says:

      04:07pm | 16/12/11

      @war is peace - “our own leaders show that violence is acceptable if verbal discussions reach no agreement”

      What do you propose as an alternative, if verbal discussions reach no agreement?

    • Richard says:

      04:54pm | 16/12/11

      “War is the continuation of politics by other means”
      - Clauswitz

      Also dude, mankind has been violent since the beginning of time. Nature itself is violent. The zen thing to do would be to accept that and live in harmony with the violence of nature. You’re obviously an inner-city hipster divorced and alienated from true nature and don’t have a clue, aren’t you?

    • stephen says:

      06:08pm | 16/12/11

      ...‘Afghans turn on Aussies ?’
      Yes, they are coming over here on boats unannounced, getting immediate refreshments on arrival to a clean bed, then some supper and a good lie down, then they trash the place when they are not invited to stay.

      Send them back home ; the grubs have to run out of bullets sometime.

    • Sean says:

      09:02pm | 16/12/11

      I reckon we should pull out of Afghanistan. But first, we should loot the country. Just plunder the whole thing. Take all the guns, tanks, bombs, all the technology, anything that can be used to wage war, anything of technological value. Then we can tell them “You wanna be a bunch of tribal cavemen? Go ahead, and don’t contact us again until you come out of the 3rd Century BC”.


      11:14pm | 16/12/11

      Hi Daniel,

      I am sorry to tell you!  But going to war is very different to what it was during the World War I & World War II.  What makes anyone really think, that we were only trying to help the people of Afghanistan?  Lets not have selective memories about the past.  My great grand mother who managed to live through two World Wars always said, a third World War would be a major mistake in so many ways.

      Forget war scenario for a moment & just think about self defense when someone actually attacks us physically!!  What is our very first reaction? Of course it would be to defend ourselves, right?  Lets all examine the actual reasons why we go to war into in the place?  When a country is invaded by another nationality, what would be the reaction of the original people who just happened to be there for centuries??
      Were the ANZACS there to help the Turks & the Americans also happen to be in Vietnam to help them also?  War is all about innocent civilians killed for no good reason at all.  I am sorry to remind you that killing people never really achieved anything positive in the past!  As always I am pretty certain that there are always two sides to every story & the ultimate truth!!

      It is surely time that we begin to talk about peace for a change! That might be the beginning & at least somewhere to begin! Best regards to your editors.

    • Stones says:

      05:29am | 17/12/11

      There is no gentleman’s way of doing war anymore?  Mate, whilst I agree with most of your article, your statement above is very bloody naieve.  There has never been any such thing as a ‘Gentlemans War’, yes they stopped and played footy and exchanged gifts at Xmas 1914.  But that was it.  By 1916 and the great massacres of the Somme that behaviour was well and truly over. soldiers on each side would have gladly ripped his foes body apart with a bayonet and ripped out his heart!  The sheer hatred was intense. Then do some research into the Pacific Campaign in WW2.  Don’t ever beieve there is such a thing as a nice war.  That would be dangerous.  We need to get out of that place.  Sooner rather than later.

    • Anthony says:

      08:44am | 17/12/11

      I don’t know if there is such a thing as a gentleman’s way of doing war.  There have always atrocities committed by all sides throughout history – only thing that is different is there is more media coverage in many different ways.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:40pm | 17/12/11

      Australia went into both Iraq & Afghanistan at the behest of the USA. The invasion & occupation of Iraq by the USA, aided by the UK & Australia was, by any measure: Illegal.
      Those Australian politicians, Howard, Downer etc. who backed this Illegal Invasion did so based on blatant & deliberate Lies. Howard & Downer turned the first Big Lie into their mantra ” Iraq HAS Weapons of Mass Destructuion”. They repeated this lie endlessly until it was shown that Iraq dod not have any such weapons. So for a while they went silent. Then Downer started on the second Big Fat Lie by justifying his & George W Bush’s Illegal Invasion of Iraq on the grounds that ” Well, we got rid of Saddam Hussein”
      If that is now what they identify as the Truth then they should all be being held at The Hague awaiting their trials for War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity for the Law, and it is very clear on this, is that it is Illegal for a Sovereign Nation or Nations (The USA, UK, Australia at the top of the list) to invade another Sovereign Nation (No matter how repulsive the regime in that country may be) in order to depose, capture & then kill the leader of that Sovereign Nation.
      We blindly followed the USA into their, albeit UN-sanctioned, invasion of Afghanistan. It is now many months since the USA, Australiia, UK & NATO countries announced that they had “chased” Al Qaeda (the Terrorists to UN sanctioned the USA et al to get out of Afghanistan) out of that unhappy country.
      The “enemy” now is the Taliban Insurgents., note that, they don’t call them Terrorists now because , loathesome as the Taliban may be, the Taliban are for the most part Citizens of Afghanistan who are in rebellion against the Government of Afghanistan. There would be no difference (God forbid) if a group of Australian Citizens decided to rebel against the Australian Government. Oh! Yes, the pollies would try to call them “terrorists” but in line with their character they would be lying. They would simply be Insurgents.
      What has resulted from either Iraq or Afghanistan?
      Precious bloody little other than to have a heap of Australian Citizens killed fighting an unwinnable war against an almost invisible enemy which really isn’t an enemy.
      The hatred of practically every radical in every country in the Middle East.
      Even though the Afghans themselves have said they want the US, UK, NATO & us out of their country we refuse to go. Why? Because the USA tells us we can’t.
      Has peace really descended on Iraq? No, of course it hasn’t for Iraqi citizens are still going out with explosives strapped to their bodies, blowing themselves up & killing dozens of other innocent Iraqi men, women & children.
      Because the ” Root of All Evil”: Religionmakes them do it.
      I can just hear the anti-Muslim Brigade chanting ” Yes, but what can you expect from Muslims”
      What about all those thousands murdered in Northern Ireland for so many generations?
      They were, to a man/woman either Roman Catholics or members of Protestant Churches such as the Anglicans, methodists, Presbyterians etc.
      Just as the religious leaders in Iraq & Afghanistan sent young men & a few uong women out to murder their fellow citizens the leaders of the Chrisyain Churches in Northern Ireland sent their young men & women out to murder their fellow citizens.
      And… For What? Nothing, absolutely bloody nothing.

    • Strattus says:

      02:27pm | 17/12/11

      WW1 was probably the most brutal war in history. Trench warfare - years of stalemate and the widespread use of chemical warfare and nerve gases. The writer is clearly poorly educated or looking for a quick headline. Furthermore the advent of suicide bombers was something that occured at least during WW11 if not earlier where woman would pretend to be pregnant in order to detonate bomb in nazi occupied France and Morrocco.

      You will not find a single war without an atrocity and from the perspective of an outsider infiltrating an enemy encampment on a suicide mission is clearly valid and plainly aimed at a political not a strategic outcome.  Taliban are not idiots or simple towel heads this type of attack is clearly aimed to get us Aussies to turn against the war effort. I say it’s a non issue let our boys deal with it I’m sure that this will not happen again easily . By the Aussie media like this irresponsible write or the Aussie people engaging in a discussion based on a relatively small event that cost lives plays right into the Hands of the enemy . Don’t let this happen

    • holden says:

      04:13pm | 17/12/11

      Why do those who comment here on the atrocious nature of our illegal invasion of numerous countries seem to be the same people who support Abbott. He was a contributor to this Nation, and the pride of this Nation, becoming inextricably involved in Iraq and Afghanistan as an ongoing action.
      Howard’s Cabinet appeased Bush. For the sake of appeasement.
      They lied to us, but more importantly they lied to the young men they sent to their death.
      I will never forgive any of them. And one of them says to us, “Oh, just forget that matter. It’s not important. Make me the Prime Minister. Just don’t blame me. Anyway, Shit Happens!”
      One time, when Aussies were honorable people, he would have been tarred and feathered and run out of town. Every town.
      Prime Minister? More like Prime Suspect!

    • LJ Dots says:

      05:19pm | 17/12/11

      @holden, that’s really a question for the PM to decide. Rudd and then Gillard also supported our ongoing involvement in Afghanistan. Perhaps you should ask them for answers rather the leader of the opposition.

    • holden says:

      10:38pm | 17/12/11

      LJDots. You know that as our Nation gave its word, although not consulted, we would be something other than honorable if we went back on it. Howard, Downer, Abbott and Co. all
      conspired with Bush to commit our lads. Sometimes in life, (as you well know again), it is very difficult to unring the bell.
      In their mad scramble to be seen on the World stage, the above-named trio and the rest of the Conservatives sent our boys to their death. And their will be more. For what? Where did our assisting the Americans in Afghanistan serve Australia’s best interests. Did the lies that Bush and Howard told to their respective Nation’s contribute to world peace. Howard and Bush, and Blair should have been charged as war criminals. And so should each member of that foul conspiracy including Abbott.
      If one of the dead soldiers mothers asked you to explain why we are there, could you do it? Could Howard? Or Abbott?
      Gillard will have them out of there as soon as possible, given again that Howard committed us as a Nation. And he knew exactly what he was doing. And why!

    • JB says:

      08:53am | 18/12/11

      Mate, It is the Laborits who called it an illegal invasion because they will go anything to score a political point against the Liberals. Jsut think about this. Would you rather they fight over there and weed out these people that wish us harm or would you prefer suicide bombers in downtown Sydney during peak hour? No one in their right mind likes war, but the best defence against these people is a good offence!

    • Bruce says:

      08:49pm | 17/12/11

      “War is a racket’’ Major Smedley Butler - look it up

    • Dario says:

      08:48am | 18/12/11

      I’m sorry why are we in Afghanistan again? Why are we invading other countries?

    • OchreBunyip says:

      01:14pm | 18/12/11

      It is better to fight a war in another country rather than in the streets and suburbs of your own. It means the civilian supporters only see the sanitised media reports and it is easy to remain detached. This is important if civilians are going to continue to support the war. Australia’s motives in any of the wars we have fought on the behalf of the USA is a continuation of seeking the goodwill with the USA, it is hoped that if we face invasion the Americans will assist us. What few people like to consider is, this is the same arrangement we had with the UK; circumstances in WWII meant they could not help us when we needed them - this may well occur when we need the USA.

      The US is conservative with the truth when it comes to why they are fighting their wars because to do otherwise would make them look weak. Their ally, the Australian government, likewise does not tell Australians the truth either as they cannot be seen to be contradicting our great and powerful friend.

      My main concern is the US is not effective at diplomacy; they seem to do slightly better with military actions but, as the saying goes, when the only tool you have is a hammer.

    • O5 says:

      07:55pm | 18/12/11

      10,000 arm chair generals….and the most they ever got….was a paper cut…....no idea !

    • Sumit says:

      05:10am | 08/02/12

      Remember the Cops? Huh? Oh, you mean cops like the Pima County SWAT team who mrduered former Marine Jose Guerena, You and your Cop buddies act like entitled spoiled brats and regularly murder Veterans; if not you target us. Sorry, but my local Sheriff deliberately targets any military stickered vehicles because according to him “Military and Veterans pay their fines and are unlikely to deliver problems that don’t provide income for the county; such as drug and drunk driving arrests”. Poor Jose had 71 shots fired in his family home by these supposed “professionals”; in a residential home, known to contain children!  How many rounds did Jose fire in self-defense? None, not a one. Now the Pima sheriff is trying to state a possible Negligent Discharge started it all. Who was the ND, a SWAT member, of course! Sorry to vent on you, but for far too long I have seen the increased militarization of our Police forces. That sets a disturbing precedent that police are warriors. Warriors they are not. But I see far too many cowards wearing camo who want the glory of a battlefield warrior without enduring the sacrifice of a dusty Afghan battlefield and the death that awaits real warriors there.  I will close by saying I love law enforcement officers and the vast majority are good people, and I appreciate all they do.  Unfortunately I hear far too many complain about all the benefits and attention the military gets; when they have no idea of the sacrifices required to access those coveted benefits and accolades.  In closing, if a cop wants to align him/herself with Warriors, then he/she should volunteer and become one! Talk is cheap and so are surplus uniforms!


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