Like many Australians I have great empathy for commanding officers and their officers, Warrant Officers and NCO in our Armed Forces, who are slowly being stripped of authority by smothering directions from Canberra, on what can and can’t be done in preparing for war – yet destructive PC is all systems go.
Unit commanders must be disciples who carry bibles of needs to train hard, develop unit pride, loyalty, confidence, trust as well as physical and mental toughness, without being told how to do it within restrictive parameters. Such needs are key elements intended to achieve high standards of battle discipline.
Like others, I am confused that despite clear lessons of past wars, our Special Forces are committed to continual tours of duty against a ruthless enemy in the most dangerous circumstances with little rest in between. It seems few Canberra Suits have read, for example, Anatomy of Courage by Lord Moran or lessons learnt from other campaigns pointing out the consequences to mental and physical health from constant combat. Equally is the need to understand there are limitations to physical and mental endurance in any bloody arena.
Fear and hate breed quickly when time after time our troops are exposed to the deeds of a brutal and cruel enemy. Too often, our troops see or hear of slaughtered women and children. Is it any wonder there is growing indifference to rules of engagement when in action? Is it any wonder there can be temptation to end the threat when it is common knowledge that prisoners are often released to start all over again?
For our troops in such dangerous circumstances, it is certainly not a place for Queensbury rules.
Thus it becomes another war without ultimate victory, and always a price to pay. Youngsters are killed, maimed and many others who will have difficulty coping with life.
Another serious casualty will be the drenching of spirit, loss off respect, trust and questionable loyalty – plus a serious impact on morale and deficiency in military capability with 2 Squadron SASR being removed from the order of battle.
This decision needs to be rescinded ASAP.
Only commonsense and sound leadership will restore precious military assets while the madness of PC will surely continue to destroy them.
By George Mansford