Australia’s special forces veterans who served in Afghanistan will retain their Meritorious Unit Citations unless convicted of war crimes or sacked for poor conduct.
Long over due decision. But it seems to me that Peter Dutton is conceding too much. Unlike his two immediate processors Dutton’s no-bullshit attitude will come as something of a shock to senior military types. Yet he has offered them an ‘out’.
Meritorious Unit Citations should only be stripped if individual members are convicted of war crimes. None of this being sacked for ‘poor conduct’ nonsense.
The Australian Defence Force does not exist to provide employment opportunities for numpties, or to provide opportunities for social experiments, or for wokeness.
The purpose of the Australian Defence Force is to engage the enemy in decisive combat, and to permanently degrade their ability to wage war.
That means having on hand people who willing, able, and ready to kill foreigners who are a threat to our sovereignty and/or national interest.
I am simply not convinced that the senior levels of the ADF have that mind set.
There is a further complication.
Australian war hero Ben Roberts-Smith has been accused by the media of being a war-criminal.
Former Special Air Service corporal and Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is suing Nine Entertainment Co and two journalists, Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters, and a former journalist, David Wroe, in the Federal Court.
The allegations could hardly be more serious. Roberts-Smith alleges that the journalists implied that he is a war criminal.
Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. I don’t know. But this, to my mind, is very problematic. The Australian military authorities have already formed a judgement on these matters.
The SASR’s 2 Squadron, which was linked to the majority of the alleged war crimes, was abolished earlier this year on the CDF’s orders. But Scott Morrison put General [Angus] Campbell’s revocation of the unit citation on hold after an outpouring of anger from veterans and their families.
Sounds like the military need reminding that they are under civilian control. But it get’s worse …
The journalists involved are keeping a low profile in relation to the case. McKenzie said he had been advised not to speak publicly. Masters, who is relying on Nine to cover his legal costs, declined to comment. Wroe, who is now Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s press secretary, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Marise Payne – from the wet-wing of the Liberal Party – currently Australia Foreign Minister but formerly our Defence Minister, employs a person who has accused our greatest living war hero of being a war criminal.
Okay – so maybe he is right. But it seems to me that senior levels of the Morrison government have already made up their minds.