Brutal Truths

WHAT do Army Reserve Major General Paul Brereton AM RFD and SAS Australia star Schapelle Corby have in common? Answer: both have zero personal experience of warfare. As Inspector-General of the ADF, Brereton is the man in charge of sifting through ABC propaganda, inter-regimental dog-fights and real evidence to prepare recommendations of prosecution in relation to alleged war crimes committed by special forces in Afghanistan. His report will be made public later today. Formerly training officer at the Knox Grammar School Cadet Unit, Brereton went on to become Second-in-command of the Sydney University Regiment before commanding the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment. All very soft billets. He has never served in a war, never experienced combat, never been deployed to a forward area, never fired a round at the enemy. Highly respected as a reservist and judge, he is the very model of a modern Major General; perfect resume, a few lovely medals, no experience of battle. This is not to say he isn’t highly capable, impartial and credible. His unfamiliarity with war – let alone a decades-long close-quarters shit fight with terrorists in Afghanistan – however, does matter. It symbolises the cultural and psychological rift in the ADF during what has become Australia’s longest and most strategically pointless war.

Given the ABC’s record of airing the ‘testimony’ of phony ‘witnesses’ in order to besmirch ideological enemies, all of the national broadcaster’s editorialising on so-called ‘war crimes’ in Afghanistan can and should be set aside as a matter of prudence. Mark Willacy wrote a piece yesterday in which he claimed to be one of the jaded heroes of an exposé heavy on hearsay but light-on for proof and thin, details-wise, measured against thousands of missions undertaken; and, of course, utterly bereft of either situational context or exculpatory interpretation. As with the its infamous calumniation of George Pell, voices in defence of the accused have been downplayed pursuant to the ABC’s tabloid philosophy that some scandals are far too good to check. One of the “disturbing scenes” that Willacy manfully endured was “an Afghan’s motorcycle thrown off a cliff by laughing soldiers.” I only hope it wasn’t an Indian or a Vincent. That would have been criminal.

Nevertherless, I have little doubt genuine and lamentable crimes against legally protected persons have been committed in Afghanistan by some Australian commandos. I will not subscribe to or promote the apologia that such actions must be seen as justified in unconventional, asymmetrical circumstances. Regular soldiers literally fall over each other to get into the SAS and, once accepted and deployed, they should not dishonour themselves or their regiment by making excuses. Nobody forced them to join. They are not conscripts. A just war – if it is to remain just – must be waged in such a way as to ensure non-combatants or the captured are treated humanely. Yes, that means even when such civility and quarter increase the danger. Such are the near unbearable burdens of combat. With the same resoluteness, I will not traduce these brave men. More than likely, I will forgive even convicted transgressors. Why? Because the Afghanistan War is no longer just.

Australia has yawned its way through a 20-year conflict ludicrously sold as existentially crucial when the truth is the Taliban represents no threat to Australia and there is no prospect of success. Arguing that Afghanistan may once again host international terrorists who might harm us at some unspecified time is not a compelling pretext in traditional just war doctrine. We have always been in Afghanistan to bolster the alliance with the United States (thereby benefiting ourselves according to conventional wisdom). After 9/11, this was reasonable and prudent strategy. For more than a decade, however, it has been lazy, dumb, halfhearted theatre. Forty-one have made the ultimate sacrifice and probably thousands have been wounded physically and mentally. But still we kept deploying special forces – while at the same time successive governments reduced the regular army to natural disaster labourers and woke chocos. It would be no exaggeration to say the SAS has not only shouldered the elephant’s share of Australia’s longest war but also, in a sense, purchased for the ADF the luxury of building a phony army of girls, sandbag fillers and flu wardens.

Disgracefully, Scott Morrison says we have to prepare ourselves for today’s “brutal truths.” Except there will be no “truths” revealed in the Brereton report. Not one. There will only be recommendations for charges – which the accused, all innocent at this time, will contest in open court. Juries will now have to be cautioned to ignore the Prime Minister’s Ashton-like verdict. The men may or may not be convicted. I hope that various generals, ministers and even prime ministers are called to the dock to explain their cruel, idiotic role in forcing Diggers – “young and strong and clean” – to fight so long on so ragged, nebulous and perilous an edge.

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98 Responses to Brutal Truths

  1. mareeS

    Spouse was at the sharp end in Vietnam, where the Rules Of Engagement applied to only one side, and asymmetrical warfare was employed by the other. Special services learned from this. Now they are being hounded and vilified for much lower level stuff than the opposition engages in.

    Go and bow down to these people, if you believe losers are winners. I would back men like my husband and his band of brothers every minute.

  2. miltonf

    You wouldn’t piss on Scomo if he was on fire.

  3. RobK

    He has never served in a war, never experienced combat
    My fears confirmed.
    Fighting gets personal with deadly force. Training helps you to cope, to prevail, but it can never cover everything. When you are giving of yourself under lethal pressure the war before your eyes is the war within a war.
    We sent our best trained men. To war.
    There should be a very short statute of limitations on these sort of allegations because the burden on the defendants is grossly unjust, grotesquely unjust is a better description.

  4. Rockdoctor

    Breraton’s legal background and time as a beak also is mostly in financial matters along with brief forays into family & immigration law from what I could find. Despite his impressive CV I can’t help feeling he wasn’t the best choice and it would be interesting to see the shortlist. That said, after the amount of missions Australian troops have been on since 1992 starting with Somalia till the middle east. You are telling me they couldn’t find an ex-Reg legal officer who has done very well on the outside and actually been in an active service theatre?

    Nope they appointed one of the political class remembering this guy would have graduated from Sydney Uni Regiment with his commission. Syd Uni Regiment is very networked across the top echelon of society, even the GG did time there. IMO they knew exactly what they were getting.

  5. win

    The USA honour and respect their defence forces men and women and hold them in the highest regard. Why would Australia now follow in the footsteps of the UK ,the BBC and their n ow disbarred lawyer Phil Shiner (who paid Iraqi middle men to find claimants ) and bring distress and misery to people who were putting their lives on the firing line.

  6. Candy

    Sounds like PM Morrison has determined guilt already before trials like the ABC did with Cardinal Pell.

  7. Entropy

    Downer signed us up to the ICC. It is unfolding exactly as expected.

  8. Fred

    Blaming diggers for war crimes is akin to blaming the guards at Auschwitz for the Holocaust.

    I look forward to seeing Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Gen. David Campbell and Gen. David Hurley, among others, in the dock for war crimes.

  9. Texas Jack

    Australia has yawned its way through a 20-year conflict ludicrously sold as existentially crucial when the truth is the Taliban represent no threat to Australia and there is no prospect of success. Arguing that Afghanistan may once again host international terrorists who might harm us at some unspecified time is not a compelling pretext in traditional just war doctrine.

    Yawned? Maybe, but the initial decision to send in specialist teams and back them eventually with more conventional forces was very sensible, with plenty of historic precedents. Doing nothing in Afghanistan after 2001 would have been the disaster. It’s just a pity the US didn’t use tactical nukes on Tora Bora.

    I’d just suggest that all the evidence for the long-run benefits of decisive military intervention can be found in a proper study of Victorian doctrines, when the Royal Navy would go to exceptional lengths to project its power – quickly and efficiently. The simple stories of HMS Pandora and HMS Dido paint the picture of remarkable resolve leading to remarkable results – with lives and commerce saved.

  10. Knuckle Dragger

    ‘while at the same time successive governments reduced the regular army to natural disaster labourers and woke chocos. It would be no exaggeration to say the SAS has not only shouldered the elephant’s share of Australia’s longest war but also, in a sense, purchased for the ADF the luxury of building a phony army of girls, sandbag fillers and flu wardens.’

    Bravo C.L.

  11. Up The Workers!

    For the purposes of this Inquiry, will the Major General be dressed in the standard Labor Party Uniform for Australian Defence-Farce Chiefs, or will he perhaps be wearing men’s clothing today instead?

    Make sure you give all the fashion conscious A.L.P.-types a full description of which shades of nail colour he uses for each finger and toe – the ‘luvvies’ don’t like being behind the fashion trends, after all.

    A pox on their $1.3 Billion house.

  12. EllenG

    Well! This author knows it all!
    And here was me thinking the actual military had reviewed the actual evidence and decided to pursue it. I’m one Australian citizen who’d like to be sure that we don’t put our military into an unaccountable category. It might well be that the SAS needs to think again about its cycles of active duty and its reviews of suitability.
    Certainly there is a will be the military to let citizens know exactly what happened. Fir which they ought to be praised.

  13. Boambee John

    EllenG

    It might well be that the SAS needs to think again about its cycles of active duty

    Forced on them by government decisions? Of both major political groupings?

    If the government wants only to use special forces, and sets the size of the deployment, eventually the cycle is government imposed.

  14. jo

    As far as I know Cosgrove is the only General to have faced hot fire in modern times. I doubt if Molan saw real action in PNG but I could be wrong. All the rest of the Top Brass didn’t even have to hide in the Q store. Failure seems to be the best way to the top in just about anything in Australia. They wear the badge with pride.

  15. Bruce of Newcastle

    Here’s a brutal truth for Mr Morrison.

    China Berates Australia: Bow Down to Beijing’s Might and Ignore the U.S. (18 Nov)

    The new defense pact between Australia and Japan signed Tuesday in Tokyo has been dismissed as “dangerous” by Chinese state-owned media, which warns any resistance to Beijing is futile and will come at a heavy cost.

    And Biden isn’t going to hurry to our assistance. Instead he’s looking to put the boot in because ScoMo isn’t genuflecting to Gaia enough.

    Washington Post: President Biden will Punish Australia for Climate Failures (17 Nov)

    So Mr Morrison we just might find soon that we need a Defense Force that knows which end of the rifle to hold onto. Do please try not to destroy it, like you seemingly are right now.

  16. Rex Mango

    Politicians have spent decades feminising the army to degree that the only units that can be sent to a war zone are special forces. Sending them repeatedly over many years to a pointless war, the same politicians that wrecked the army, now order a four year witch hunt which will be a lawyers picnic.

  17. Suburban Boy

    Well said, C.L.

    For the benefit of Shy Ted, the Brereton family have used Le Gay as a middle name for well over a century. A little unfortunate in the era of gay marriage and so forth, of course.

    The fact that the judge in question holds the same rank as a divisional commander FFS (major-general) points to the ludicrously top-heavy rank structure of the ADF nowadays. As our armed forces have dwindled over the past half-century the only ranks where the numbers are unchanged are at the very top.

    Our Army has only a single division of regular troops, but has at least five major-generals. Somewhere in the ADF’s past, it was decreed that a Supreme Court judge with a quasi-judicial role in the forces should always rank as a major-general and so His Honour Justice Brereton is Major-General Brereton in the ADF.

    The situation is worse at RAN: a naval force that is only large enough to justify a single rear-admiral is headed by a vice-admiral and has four rear-admirals.

  18. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    This witch hunt is treason, pure and simple. There is no other explanation for the ongoing blatant emasculation of our now absolutely pathetic armed farces, which will be rendered even more pathetic by this inexcusable hounding of the SAS.

    If you wanted textbook examples of how Quislings could destroy a country and its ability to defend itself, you’d look no further than what has gone on in this stupid stupid country, especially over the last twenty years.

    – Destruction of the power grid
    – Packing the armed farces with girls, fat lezzos (BIRM) and screeching trannies
    – The Poodle Pyne Class frog unterzee coffins (utterly inexplicable and inexcusable)
    – Trumped up war crimes charges against our only capable soldiers, used as an excuse to destroy their effectiveness
    – Fat stupid childless women as ministers for defence
    – Our two largest cities stuffed to the gills with chinese that have zero loyalty to this country

    We are now living in very interesting and ugly times. Should that foul ol’ syphilitic corruptocrat geriatric Biden become the next US president (courtesy of course, of blatant electoral fraud) then those stinking chinese communist arseholes will immediately turn up the heat on us. This could involve anything from wholesale trade boycotts to an actual military attack on this country. Which of course, a Geriatric Joe/Head Job Harris administration would do absolutely nothing about.

    How are our woefully underprepared and equipped armed farces, stuffed to the gills as they are with girls, lezzos, pooftahs and trannies (commanded by brass tottering around in high heels) going to offer anything more than target practice? The entire country would collapse within a week.

    Needless to say, the chinese will be observing this Brereton shambles very closely and chuckling about how we could be so staggeringly stupid and self destructive.

  19. Herodotus

    My comment is awaiting moderation. This is very irritating.

  20. Old School Conservative

    Alan Jones has been doing sterling service to protect serving soldiers from top-down avalanches of punishment.
    He has spoken at length on two occasions (to my knowledge) about the formal responsibility of Top Brass to be accountable for the actions of troops in the field.
    Not just “accountable – sorry – end of matter” but full acceptance and taking the fall.

    Here is a Sky News summary:
    Australia, as a signatory of the Geneva Convention, had adopted the Yamashita Standard which asserts, “the highest-ranking officer is accountable for and should be prosecuted and convicted of the crimes of every officer and soldier under his command,” Mr Jones said.

    Alistair Pope has done a full analysis of the Yamashita Standard in Quadrant which makes for excellent reading.

    Finally, the extent of the Yamashita Standard is described in Wikipedia as
    After World War II, the parameters of command responsibility were thus increased, imposing liability on commanders for their failure to prevent the commission of crimes by their subordinates.

    Attacking only the soldiers who were in the field is a cop-out.

  21. Whether we, back in Australia, like it or not.

    It is war. Whenever regular armed forces confront guerrillas. the regulars will be accused of killing or injuring innocent civilians, whether they be Australians facing Afghanis or Vietnamese, Germans facing French Resistance or any other combinations. How many regulars have been killed by “unarmed” civilians, their mates have responded, killed the attackers and then been accused of committing war crimes?

    Whatever response occurs the regulars will be accused over over re-acting. Like it or not, the reaction must be immediate – no time to hold a meeting to consider what they should do -just react to make sure no more of their comrades die. There is no one answer fits all.

  22. Herodotus

    Can we have a complete – complete – list of words that the fucking spaminator dicks us around for?
    This is beyond a joke and one might as well just stop commenting.

  23. Herodotus

    Every day we have to see Numbers spouting complete crap on these pages with no consequences.
    But try to make a detailed comment and it gets canned.

  24. H B Bear

    It does have the odour of bbq’d refugees about it with #theirALPBC involved. You would think that after Pell and the live cattle export fiasco governments would start to treat them with more (and well deserved) scepticism. Chris Masters is as poisonous as Louise Nilligan.

  25. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Australia, as a signatory of the Geneva Convention, had adopted the Yamashita Standard which asserts, “the highest-ranking officer is accountable for and should be prosecuted and convicted of the crimes of every officer and soldier under his command”

    This of course, will not happen. Only the frontline operators will be hung out to dry.

  26. H B Bear

    Alistair Pope has done a full analysis of the Yamashita Standard in Quadrant which makes for excellent reading.

    Yes.

  27. Cassie of Sydney

    “Herodotus
    #3664205, posted on November 19, 2020 at 9:01 am
    Every day we have to see Numbers spouting complete crap on these pages with no consequences.
    But try to make a detailed comment and it gets canned.”

    Agree.

  28. Cassie of Sydney

    “Chris Masters is as poisonous as Louise Nilligan.”

    I’d say worse…Masters is more intelligent and much sneakier than Louse 7-Nilligan.

  29. Damon

    If the Nuremberg Defense doesn’t work for individuals, the people who should be at risk are those who prosecuted the war.

  30. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Every day we have to see Syphilis von Spuddentropp spouting complete crap on these pages with no consequences.

    Yep. The inexcusable idiocy of allowing that insane venereal diseased utterly despicable ol’ z-grade commie coward to incessantly pollute this blog with bullshit needs to be brought to a long overdue end.

  31. Megan

    Well! This author knows it all!

    Says someone who believes her POV is the morally superior one when she knows less than zero about what military service entails.

  32. Cassie of Sydney

    “Megan
    #3664218, posted on November 19, 2020 at 9:14 am
    Well! This author knows it all!

    Says someone who believes her POV is the morally superior one when she knows less than zero about what military service entails.”

    Well said Megan.

  33. Megan

    If the Nuremberg Defense doesn’t work for individuals, the people who should be at risk are those who prosecuted the war.

    +100

  34. Herodotus

    The Taliban (supported by Pakistan) might not be a direct threat to Australia, but there was a time pre-2001 when they were not seen as a direct threat to the USA either.
    Wait and watch. When they are given the government again and we see them deconstruct all the advances made over there, when we see them once again executing women in the sporting arenas, when we see them hosting radical jihadists and hatching plots, don’t bother telling me about fair play and honourable rules of engagement.
    If we are not prepared to fight dirty against an enemy who fights dirty, don’t send our SAS at all.
    Just use stand-off weapons and inflict a lot more “innocent” “civilian” “non-combatant” casualties, or do the head-in-the-sand things and don’t get involved, tell our allies we’re not helping, and that anyway we no longer have the forces we used to have. They’ve been feminised and lawyered out of existence, and our submarines are just virtual ones, our ships run down, our planes too expensive to risk in battle.

  35. Rex Mango

    Back in eary 2000’s did see Brereton marching down Bathurst St at head of Sydney Uni Regiment one Anzac Day. He looked particularly silly with arms flailing about in freshly pressed never worn uniform. The picture of someone who played soldier on the weekend.

  36. Cassie of Sydney

    “Damon
    #3664212, posted on November 19, 2020 at 9:06 am
    If the Nuremberg Defense doesn’t work for individuals, the people who should be at risk are those who prosecuted the war.”

    Agree.

  37. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    the people who should be at risk are those who prosecuted the war

    Li’l Johnny HoWARd, come on down!

  38. stackja

    I understand AQ was using Afghanistan as a base. Regarding accusations. In war there are civilian deaths.

  39. Peter Greagg

    Well said CL.
    Bravo!

  40. woolfe

    OK you are on patrol and a guy in a dress pulls out an AK47 (already locked and loaded) and starts spraying you on automatic. You take cover and shoot the guy. Another guy in a dress runs up and takes the dead guys AK. So he is found dead an unarmed. Locals swear he was unarmed and you just shot him.

    Are you guilty of a war crime?

  41. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From EllenG at 8:13 am:

    “Well! This author knows it all!
    And here was me thinking the actual military had reviewed the actual evidence and decided to pursue it.
    ….
    Certainly there is a will be the military to let citizens know … Fir which they ought to be praised.”

    When you are 12 or 13 years old perhaps you might begin to understand “illiterate”.

  42. Snoopy

    It would be no exaggeration to say the SAS has not only shouldered the elephant’s share of Australia’s longest war but also, in a sense, purchased for the ADF the luxury of building a phony army of girls, sandbag fillers and flu wardens.

    Truth

  43. sabena

    There was not one successful prosecution for war crimes after the War Crimes Amendment Act 1988(Polyukhovich being acquitted) and the War Crimes Special Investigation Unit was disbanded by the Attorney General Michael Duffy on 30 June 1992.
    Its a brave man who predicts that this time will be different.

  44. Roger

    Because the Afghanistan War is no longer just.

    Nor is it a conventional war; it is now a counterinsurgency against irregulars who use civilians as shields or accomplices, a phase of the war set up to fail in 2009 by the most incompetent commander in chief of recent times, Obama.

    Why are we still there? Why were we ever there?

  45. mareeS

    Numbers was a clerk, and then a schoolteacher (god forbid). My husband carried a gun every day of his service, as did my brother. Credit where it is due, but not to freaks like him.

  46. Rob

    When Australia actually needs its defence force to protect us at home, we may recognise the emasculation that has destroyed its potency – not up to the job.
    Who could blame a soldier for hiding in the trenches when pulling the trigger could lead to 10 years of vilification, a ruined reputation, and worse?

  47. thefrollickingmole

    You shoot a chap who is unarmed but has a radio to contact Talibs.
    Is that a crime?
    Hes not in uniform, neither are the talibs and the use of the radio/information will get you killed a k further on.

    Afghanistan should have been a smash and leave job with the promise of more if they played up again.

    Allowing one side to use collective punishment/ hide among civilians and so forth guarantees you will lose the war.

    With collective punishment off the table (because its awful/immoral) how do you tackle a tribal society?

  48. Herodotus

    Da big chief now on Sky. “credible information about allegations of …”

  49. Vicki

    Thank you, thank you Currencylad for such a thoughtful assessment of this travesty.

    It just seems ironic to me that our forefathers carpet bombed whole cities of civilians, & committed many executions during the previous “great wars”. But now the Geneva Convention has caused us to sanctimoniously turn away from the realities of these horrors.

    If we are to figuratively bind these soldiers up in the village square & stone them for their misdemeanours, I want no part of this hypocrisy. We must never send our young men into these hell holes again.

  50. Herodotus

    The academic never-fired-a-shot, never in conflict, weekend soldier lawyer found that the SAS had an inappropriate warrior culture!

  51. lotocoti

    Switched off at the beginning of the ritual self-abasement.
    The whole matter should’ve been dealt with a hearty FU.

  52. PoliticoNT

    CDF keeps using the word ‘allegation’ but then refers to evidence in the definitive.

    Allegation is not evidence.

  53. PoliticoNT

    Sinclair – the one task you must complete – source and publish the secret Crompvoet Paper. We now have a special investigation based on a (redacted) IGADF secret investigation based on a secret paper based on rumours.

    Allegation is not evidence.

  54. General watever his name is has more medal ribbons than Albert Jacka did.
    Three times as many.

    He musta seen one helluva lot of combat to have so much fruit salad on his breast.

  55. JohnJJJ

    With collective punishment off the table (because its awful/immoral) how do you tackle a tribal society?
    Not just tribal. If the son goes on jihad the family are guaranteed a place in al janneh ( paradise). No waiting around while Big Al checks the “good versus bad” ledger ( maktub). Hence it is the family (including uncles) who convince the hothead to do his duty. Judges here haven’t cottoned on yet.

  56. Herodotus

    For those wanting to read about frontline efforts in Afghanistan immediately post 2001, the book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton tells of the USA specialists who teamed up with some of Dostom’s men, camped in the mountains and directed USAF precision strikes. The book also covers the tale of the many Taliban prisoners who rebelled at the fort Quali-i-Jangi, killed US specialists and had to be shot, bombed and ultimately flooded out of their holes.
    More on Dostom can be found here: http://dangerousmagazine.com/2018/01/20/general-dostum-12-strong-legend-heavy-d-boys/

  57. Lee

    Well! This author knows it all!

    Says someone who believes her POV is the morally superior one when she knows less than zero about what military service entails.

    As usual, nothing but crap and misinformation comes from her keyboard.

  58. maree

    It shits me that people like numbers et al still keep spruiking their service behind a desk or as a Dixie brasher, while my spouse and brother were out there in hot operations 1966-7, and our families have dealt with the returns. Our kids still have assistance from veteran counselling in their 30s, It is not a good thing for families with a father who has been in active operations,, thi ese accusations will do no good. My husband is fretting about it it today, and so are our kids.

    Rules Of Engagementseem to apply to only one side, the civilised one.

  59. Dr Faustus

    Their ABC quotes what seems to be an insightful comment by a critic who was actually on the spot:

    “It’s a very toxic culture,” Mr Chapman said of the SAS squadron he was assigned to.

    But the former SAS patrol member believes the culture was shaped by the constant grind of deployment after deployment, by leadership that turned a blind eye, and by the pointlessness of their mission in Afghanistan.

    “We were bringing people back, handing them over to the Afghan authorities. Three days later they were released back out to go do whatever they were doing, even if they were a confirmed target,” he said.

    “I think they [his SAS comrades] believed that … we either don’t go out at all, or we just shoot these people. Because why are we risking our lives?”

    Obviously individuals who were at the sharp end are going to be put through the legal mill – with all the precision of hindsight, personal safety and ample reaction time.

    The really serious damage will be done by not acknowledging the systematic failure and sheeting the responsibility home to the people supposedly in control of the whole thing. Foresight was obviously pretty limited, so hindsight better apply there too.

  60. Slim Cognito

    a few lovely medals, no experience of battle

    There is your problem right there. Medals should be limited to efforts in active service.

  61. Rex Mango

    Reading ABC report couple of things stand out. 420 witnessess is a lot and sounds like Afghans interviewed in Afghan, so not that credible. Brereton wants compo paid out straight away. Paying people to give evidence before a trial is shonky. The ‘whistle blower’ was from Signals & didn’t like drinking in the bar.

  62. yarpos

    Mmmm I guess by this logic we need more judges with hands on experience in murder and mayhem before the can do any judging. Not sure that flys.

    The soldier critics are tge same tossers that criticise police shootings, “why dont you do this or that” style. Every single one of them never been in harms way, and never will be, especially for others.

  63. Cynic of A

    I really hope that Morrison goes to the ADF, asking for a few good fighters to go somewhere, and he’s told, “No. We don’t have them anymore. You killed them all off with bullshit.”
    As for this Brereton character, I have nothing but contempt for the low life bludger.

  64. Zatara

    “I sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers, and apologises to Australian public over war crimes,” General Campbell says.

    Not prejudicial to any trial … much.

    The accused should hire the nastiest, most competent civilian counsel they can afford. No military counsel would have the cojones to properly defend against an obvious case of command influenced prosecution for political purposes.

    Next, any counsel for the defense worth his salt will hire an advertising firm to post that statement on billboards around every major ADF base. Then have it printed poster size and distributed to off-post pubs with locker sized extras for the barracks. Make the senior officers who chose being political cvnts over fair treatment of their people eat that decision very publicly.

    Fight that battle first because it’s important to shape the battlefield for the latter fights, if they still need to be fought.

    Historically, making such statements and using command influence to push such cases for political/media purposes very often bounces back on the political turds in ugly ways.

    Navy’s top lawyer found guilty of unlawful command influence in SEAL’s sex assault case

    Navy dismisses more SEAL war crimes cases, removes controversial prosecutor

    Granted, those were US Navy cases, but the point remains.

  65. stackja

    Did Scomo apologise to Japan for Kokoda diggers who killed Japanese soldiers?

  66. C.L.

    Mmmm I guess by this logic we need more judges with hands on experience in murder and mayhem before the can do any judging. Not sure that flys.

    First, it’s your analogy that doesn’t fly.
    We do in fact strive to select judges with long-earned expertise in particular fields before we appoint them to the bench. For an example of what happens when people with no appropriate experience are appointed to criminal matters, see the infamous bungling of Pell’s first appeal.

    Second: I specifically acknowledged that Brereton is “highly capable, impartial and credible.”

    But given he has chosen to discuss “warrior culture,” it is legitimate to point out that he has no idea what he’s talking about. Zero.

  67. Rex Mango

    Anyone else find it odd that in recent years the last two remaining male bastions in Australia (special forces & Catholic priesthood) have both been subject to sustained assault via media/judicial/politicial complex?

  68. Lee

    C.L.

    #3664415, posted on November 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    +1

  69. Rex Anger

    @ CL-

    All these men have been given scripts.to follow. Even CDF.

    I echo the sentiment above about locating and releasing the Crompvoets report that has fired all tbis.business. You will thus see who has been writing the scripts, and who is issuing them for the Brass to read…

    Given that Crompvoets has been writing officially-endorsed reports that malign the ADF and its people since 2012, and the rank and file have been utterly scathing of her antics the entire time, any subseuent ‘investigations’ into ‘culture’ etc., need to focus on the civilian hitherto ‘Untouchables’ beyond the CDF. Up to and including both LNP and ALP Cabinets.

    For all its faults, the ADFsincerely believes in and aheres to the concept of Civil Control of.the military- Government sets the policy and strategy, under careful ADF guidance amd advice, which he uniformed.element then enacts to the best of its ability.

    The rot was starting under Kevin, but it really kicked off under Julia. And nobody since has been willing or able enough to challenge this seemingly deliberate program of demoralisation and degradation.

    However (and I bold this because t is important, Cats)- All hope STILL lies with the proles.

    While many soldiers will protest by removing themselves from.the whole.debacle, little sites like The Expressive Pineapple on FB demonstrate that the subversive humour of the modern Australian digger is little changed from his forbears.

    He is just more circumspect (though no less biting) in showing it…

  70. Zatara

    Next, any counsel for the defense worth his salt will hire an advertising firm to post that statement on billboards around every major ADF base. Then have it printed poster size and distributed to off-post pubs with locker sized extras for the barracks.

    Oh, and don’t forget plastering them in the neighborhoods around any recruiting offices.

    Is this seditious? No. Political f*cks abusing the trust of their soldiers and the nation is seditious. Make them pay a price.

    NEVER send a troop into combat under rules of engagement that you wouldn’t accept for yourself if you were being shot at. If you’ve never been at risk, either of shedding your own blood, or by responsibility for accomplishment of the mission – and corresponding responsibility for failure – bugger off. If you’ve never had to write the letters home to widows or grieving parents, bugger off. If you’ve never held the hand of a trooper blasted by an IED and slipping off to die… don’t you dare attempt to judge those who have.

    That’s why the military have Courts Martial. Courts where you are judged by your peers.

    And that’s why when your PM and Senior Officer cut your legs out from under you by making bullshit statements like that influencing the court before you are even tried they need to be called out as the scumbags that they are.

    They violated the trust and sacrificed you to political expediency. Recruits should know this.

  71. thefrollickingmole

    Gruinaid is more turgid that a numberwang finding a dead american in his back yard.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/19/australian-special-forces-involved-in-of-39-afghan-civilians-war-crimes-report-alleges

    The inquiry was triggered by work by military sociologist Samantha Crompvoets, who was tasked with examining special forces culture and began to hear disturbing allegations of war crimes. One soldier told her:

    “Guys just had this blood lust,” he said. “Psychos. Absolute psychos. And we bred them.”

    She heard one alleged incident in which two 14-year-old boys were stopped by SAS, who decided they might be Taliban sympathisers. Their throats were slit.

    “The rest of the troop then had to ‘clean up the mess’ by finding others to help dispose of the bodies,” Crompvoets reported. “In the end, the bodies were bagged and thrown in a nearby river.”

    Crompvoets told the Guardian she expects the findings of the Brereton report will force a fundamental rethink of special forces culture.

    Human rights groups want report into ‘bone-chilling’ claims against SAS released in full
    Read more
    “They have no choice but to learn from this and to make sure that the reasons it manifested in the first place never occur again,” she said.

    Well knock me down with a feather!!!!
    The Brereton report, to a large degree, absolves senior command of blame or knowledge that war crimes were being committed.

    Instead, it says that the criminality was committed and covered up by patrol commanders, usually sergeants or corporals, and involved a “small number of patrol commanders and their protegees”.

    She believes the ADF is prepared and accepting of the need for major changes.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/15/australian-war-crimes-inquiry-report-will-force-adf-to-re-think-special-forces-culture-expert-says
    “I think the cultural reform will take much less time than it will to prosecute those people who have alleged to have done crimes,” she said.

    “Whereas the cultural reform, in the army’s advantage, they can just get rid of the people who were at fault, it’s an opportunity for them, they can have a clean slate. They’re hyper aware of this stuff, they’re able to deal with it.”

  72. Rex Mango

    Wasn’t Crompvoets signed up to do a report into special forces culture after Defence Minister Smith under PM Gillard ordered multiple enquiries following the ADFA skype incident. Worked out really well with now PM Morrison apologising and compo to Afghans on offer.

  73. PoliticoNT

    Rex – there is a view spread by upper ranks of Pube-dom that CDF wouldn’t have acted on Crompvoets’ research paper without reason. Which sounds like bollocks to me. After the ADFA silliness there was a plethora of reviews which achieved very little but produce a warm glow for the inner circle. The ‘reform culture’ of that period is what led to someone like Crompvoets being given the platform she was.

    I bet my left nut that placed under a microscope Crompvoets’ paper would not meet accepted standards regarding evidence or objectivity. And I don’t say that lightly. Without being able to review Crompvoets’ paper and an uncensored version of IGADF’s report it is impossible to assess if a formal investigation is required.

  74. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    placed under a microscope Crompvoets’ paper would not meet accepted standards regarding evidence or objectivity

    A point made very strongly by Riccardo Bosi on Outsiders several years ago.

  75. Zatara

    it is impossible to assess if a formal investigation is required.

    Yet the Chief of Defense is apologizing. Before anything has been proven to have occurred.

  76. Rex Anger

    @ Rex Mango-

    It was initially Army-wide.

    My attempts to find the original Fighting With Words has not gone well. It seems the issue has been memory-holed, and well it should be!

    Crompvoets’ dismissal of the ADF’s and especially Army’s history and culture as too white, male and violent, made great media soundbites for David “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept” Morrison. It was treated with utter contempt by we plebes.

    Crompvoets then went on to look at female ADF members’ historic experiences andmade recommendations to an ADF Female Steering Committee, as well as initiaing the shitfight we see emerging now.

    She and the Defece Departments’ bugmen have been busy little bees these last ten years…

  77. PoliticoNT

    Spurge/Zatara – yep, and yep. There is no bit of this that reads well. Allowing the ADF’s domestic enemies at the ABC and Nine-Fairfax to drive the public narrative is only one rotten bit of it.

  78. Zatara

    She and the Defece Departments’ bugmen have been busy little bees these last ten years…

    Takes a while to destroy a culture, skin it, and wear it.

  79. Robert Wood

    This post on the Australian Army’s Facebook page fully encapsulates what is fundamentally wrong with the Australian military at present. https://m.facebook.com/AustralianArmy/photos/a.414650996194/10158495715716195/?type=3

  80. Bear Necessities

    I have 2 sons, 17 and 15. If they express a wish to head into the armed forces I would advise against it.

  81. Infidel Tiger King

    I have 2 sons, 17 and 15. If they express a wish to head into the armed forces I would advise against it.

    Depends. If they need a cheap sex change it may be the perfect network for them.

  82. Rex Mango

    Fascinating to think of the butterfly effect of that one female RAAF cadet at ADFA in 2013 involved in the Skype scandal and the repercussions 7 years later, with besides ruined careers etc, now the army’s premier fighting unit becomes a scapegoat and any success in Afghanistan given up as our PM apologises. Now what was always the key argument against putting women (& same sex attracted) into the military? Wasn’t it along the lines of too many soldiers sleeping around might distract from war fighting capability?

  83. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From mareeS 4:07 am:

    “Spouse was at the sharp end in Vietnam, where the Rules Of Engagement applied to only one side, and asymmetrical warfare was employed by the other. Special services learned from this. Now they are being hounded and vilified for much lower level stuff than the opposition engages in.

    Go and bow down to these people, if you believe losers are winners. I would back men like my husband and his band of brothers every minute.”

    I am grateful I grew up in times which offered a child / young man a wider perspective, and teachers with the experience and maturity to round it out – many of whom were returned men from World War II who took up the craft as one of the several “return to civilian life” projects in their demobilisation. Then there were the neighbours, all returned men in a war service housing street. My eldest brother became a Flying Officer, two brothers in law were Korean War men, still serving – one of ’em taught me to camp, hunt and shoot up on the Razorback and out near Lithgow (I think he enjoyed the continuous drizzling rain lessons).

    My “house” name at a common garden inner western suburbs public school was Jacka, we heard of Dasher Wheatley, Major Peter Badcoe, Ray Simpson and Keith Payne as their gallantry was first reported. As ordinary young fellas from the suburbs we knew they were all Training Team men, and we knew what that was. MareeS says “Think well of these men” and we did, it was instinctive back then and since.

    Not many of my lot were called up because the Australian contribution was scaling right back when it was our turn. A few of them signed up as career soldiers, serving first in 5RAR under Genghis Kahn. Ordinary blokes also knew of him back then.

    We used give Big Ross stick about his easy life in times of peace. He would regale us with mission reports – e.g. during the NSW beer strikes, taking a convoy of empty trucks north from Holsworthy to carry out a Pacific Highway route condition check (in preparation for invasion). All the way to the border and returning fully loaded.

    That was then, that proud legacy and fine reputation. It has since been deliberately destroyed by those who followed – by those with a duty, and in a position, to protect and enhance it.

    The politicians, wearing Italian suits or pretty, decorated uniforms both, will be aware of the respect afforded by their peers to Wheatley, Badcoe, Simpson and Payne. They have stood silent, or quietly applauding, while Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith has been unscrupulously targeted for his valour.

  84. RobertS

    From page 33 of the Brereton Report:

    “37. All that said, it was at the patrol commander level that the criminal behaviour was conceived,
    committed, continued, and concealed, and overwhelmingly at that level that responsibility resides.”

    Not hard to guess who is in the crosshairs.

  85. Rex Anger

    Fascinating to think of the butterfly effect of that one female RAAF cadet at ADFA in 2013 involved in the Skype scandal and the repercussions 7 years later

    If it hadn’t happened, Steve Smith and Co. would have found or invented some other excuse to sic Elizabeth Borderick and Samantha Crompvoets onto those debbil-debbil military types.

    As I recall, it all broke at just the right time to righteously distract from Julia Gillard’s internal woes and governmental incompetence.

    Having said that, the little shit that started it all by videoing himself and them sharing it wih all his mates, was the sort of person an Officer Selection Board should never have considered in the first place. OSBs traditionally try to pick for youg ‘Alpha’ types with team sport or School Captain experience. Allegedly these people are charismatic and make good leaders. Having seen them in action as trainee Staff Cadets, I firmly disagree.

    Picking from among the ranks, while slower, yields far more mature and capable potential leaders for further promotion…

  86. Rex Mango

    Rex A, agree re Gillard’s motivation. All part of misogyny narrative. She also pulled the ‘Blackest Day in Australian Sport’ stunt, with all the male sports (apparently sports women don’t dope) being paraded for camera as drug addicts with brave Kate Ellis as Sports Minister. Gillard’s government by distraction tactic has years later caused untold damage and cost literally billions.

  87. Cassie of Sydney

    “Rex Mango
    #3664589, posted on November 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm
    Rex A, agree re Gillard’s motivation. All part of misogyny narrative. She also pulled the ‘Blackest Day in Australian Sport’ stunt, with all the male sports (apparently sports women don’t dope) being paraded for camera as drug addicts with brave Kate Ellis as Sports Minister. Gillard’s government by distraction tactic has years later caused untold damage and cost literally billions.

    Agree….and Gillard’s politically motivated RC…designed to smear religious institutions and particularly the Catholic Church…..resulted in an innocent man going to jail.

  88. Rex Mango

    Cassie, yes Gillard stands out as someone who was purely motivated to maintain power for its own sake, similar to Turnbull, who is another competitor for worst PM ever.

  89. Herodotus

    I felt driven to Gilbert & Sullivan for enlightenment. Their opinion of top brass and civil authorities were often expressed somewhat disdainfully. So here is the timeless lyric from the Major General:
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
    I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,
    From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

    I’m very well acquainted too with matters mathematical,
    I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
    About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news—
    With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.
    I’m very good at integral and differential calculus,
    I know the scientific names of beings animalculous;
    In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

    I know our mythic history, King Arthur’s and Sir Caradoc’s,
    I answer hard acrostics, I’ve a pretty taste for paradox,
    I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
    In conics I can floor peculiarities parablous.
    I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
    I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes,
    Then I can hum a fugue of which I’ve heard the music’s din afore,
    And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

    Then I can write a washing bill in Balylonic cuneiform,
    And tell you every detail of Caractacus’s uniform;
    In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

    In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin”,
    When I can tell at sight a chassep”t rifle from a javelin,
    When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at,
    And when I know precisely what is meant by “commissariat”,
    When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
    When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery:
    In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy,
    You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee—

    For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
    Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
    But still in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

  90. Simon Morgan

    Four Corners Record:

    a) RAN torturing poor asylum-seekers. No proof at all. Confirmed lie.

    b) Pell case. No proof at all. Confirmed lie.

    c) Dylan Voller case (NT correctional facility abuse). No proof at all. Confirmed lie.

    Now we have Morrison jumping up and down about an ABC expose ‘proving’ SAS atrocities in
    Afghanistan?

    Ever hear the expression ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me’, PM?

  91. Natural Instinct

    So that is that. Troopers and NCO’s done it.
    .

    P495
    Discussion
    69. Not for want of trying, the Inquiry has found no evidence that there was knowledge, or even reasonable suspicion, at troop/platoon, squadron/company or task group command level, let alone at higher levels such as Commander JTF 633, Joint Operations Command, or Australian Defence Headquarters, that war crimes were being committed under their command. The possibility has been tested to the point of procedural fairness notices to several troop commanders, and having considered the available evidence as a whole, in the light of those responses, the Inquiry is reasonably satisfied that commanders at those levels did not have actual knowledge of, and were not recklessly indifferent to, the commission of war crimes. There may well have been a sense, at least up to Squadron level, not least because of the numbers of EKIA, and the number of them who were found to be unarmed, or armed with only a pistol, grenade or ICOM, but to have been ‘manoeuvring tactically against the FE’, that the ROE were being exploited, and lethal force was being used very readily when perhaps it was not always necessary. But that falls well short of knowledge, information, or even suspicion that prisoners were being killed.

  92. Caveman

    If they are apologising to the Afghanistans already it means those charged have been found guilty, so there is no fair trial.

  93. theleftfootkick

    Infedel, that was hitting below the belt!

  94. theleftfootkick

    Reminds of a now long gone WW2 digger’s anecdote who served in the signals corp in New Guinea. It was at the final troop assemble at Townsville before they embarked on the ship to take them into the war zone. 3000 troops being addressed by General Blamey, he told the troops, ‘now remember lads, the Army is right behind you’. One of infantry lads called in the silent pause, ‘yes 3000 miles behind in Melbourne!’ Apparently Blamey went red with rage. The lone voice culprit was never identified. Sounds like nothing much has changed.

  95. Bruce

    Treason and sedition are afoot.

    Change my mind!

  96. Bruce

    Jim Molan?

    The Major General Jim Molan who, in 2004 was deployed to the war to oversee a force of 300,000 troops, including 155,000 Americans. Just a “back-water” gig?

    The Jim Molan who was, and remains, well aware of what war actually entails; the spectacular body count, the critical decisions, constrained by time and “circumstances” and wreathed in the “fog” of war. Decisions which will mean life or death. Then, there is the perennial divide between political masters and the “boots on the ground”.

    His autobiography of that service is very informative.

    And, precisely because of that service, knowledge and skill, he, along with whoever else gets “tagged”, is being targeted for destruction by the usual suspects.

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