More and more people in Australia are questioning whether jingoism – extreme patriotism – is an increasing danger in and to Australia. Even noted leaders of the warrior class are speaking out, as this ANZAC DAy speech by a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force illustrates. Ray Funnell questions where we are headed, and whether we’re following the right types of ‘leaders’.
Honouring people who have served Australia in notable ways is an honourable thing to do.While feting our war dead and the living former soldiers, we have an equal duty to critically examine the wars of the past and present, measuring how we got involved, what the outcome and result looks like in hindsight, and whether we can avoid making mistakes in how and why we enter wars in future, Keith McEwan wrote, originally in 2011.
The federal government is hell bent on boosting its powers to call out the troops at a moment’s notice anywhere in Australia, and even in anticipation of a problem occurring. The new law, now being considered by a parliamentary committee, would be perfect for using the Army, Navy and Air Force to protect President Trump when he visits, or to stop protestors at Adani mine or port sites, where fracking is about to get under way or any environmental protest is likely. The power to call out the troops should be very tightly constrained, which is the opposite of how this draft bill is written, says CLA CEO Bill Rowlings.
Fury was the initial response on social media among Defence personnel to allegations against special forces soldiers. But as new details emerge almost daily, there’s recognition that leaders at many levels within the Australian Defence Force may have as many questions to answer as the troops. If accountability failures extend throughout the organisation, Army wife Kay Danes writes, an open and transparent Senate inquiry would be the least mechanism needed to get to the bottom of the allegedly widespread management problems in the ADF.
Lest we forget we will all chant, as we have all chanted for a century now. And yet it is as if all that chanting only ensures we remember nothing. If we remembered would we 100 years later still allow our young men to be sent off to kill or be killed in distant conflicts defending yet again not our country, but another distant empire, as we have in Iraq and Afghanistan?
As the debate about Australia’s war history continues, it’s important to take note of diverse views…including from the views of those who believe the main lessons are being ignored. 19 May 2015
Did special forces or other soldiers violently strip, cover with hoods, and threaten with anal rape when apprehending non-violent protesters in Australia. We’re keen to know answers. 4 Nov 2014
Diverse interests, from Muslim groups to CLA, have combined to ask the government to delay its latest tranche of terror laws to allow more consideration and consultation. 16 Oct 2014