Claims of abuse with the ADF have emerged again. Community concern with a Defence culture has again been reignited; the continuing fallout of the ADFA Skype Affair and other occurrences like the HMAS Success and Cerberus sex incidents.
The more things change the more they stay the same. There comes a point when we must call a spade a spade and make a clean sweep. These may be clichés but I am in keeping with tradition.
In 1983 Major General Coates, the commandant of RMC, explained to the Melbourne Sun that bastardisation at the college was not of a ‘general or systemic’ nature. Major General Coates assured us, civil society, that he was ‘certain’ of this.
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Yesterday, News Ltd national defence writer Ian McPhedran argued that it’s our moral duty to stay the course in Afghanistan, both to honour fallen diggers and for the sake of the mission itself. Many ordinary people took exception, arguing the best way to honour the fallen is to withdraw from the whole exercise.
In any war in which Australia is involved, mainstream public figures rarely question our commitment to the conflict. To do so is seen as the equivalent of saying the fallen died for nothing.
Ordinary people know better. In war, as in life, the ground shifts. The perfectly valid reason you got involved several years back may no longer hold up today. Funny thing is, war movies have long echoed this theme. Maybe it’s time our leaders took a trip to the video store…
The deaths of another two Australian diggers in Afghanistan will not weaken the Government’s resolve to stay the course, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed.
But the particular nature of one of those deaths - a violent betrayal which saw 25-year-old Lance Corporal Andrew Jones shot dead by a supposedly friendly Afghan National Army soldier who had been trained by Australia - has sent shockwaves through the defence forces.
Trust between the two militaries has been severely shaken.
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