Author Archives: Greg Lockhart
Heart of Darkness: Our expeditionary imperial culture and alleged war crimes in Afghanistan – and elsewhere
We tend to forget that our military, political and other cultures were formed in the frontier wars of British imperial expansion in the 19th century. Because those wars were fought in the process of taking the land of Aboriginal and … Continue reading
On 20 November, the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) General Angus Campbell finally presented the public with the redacted version of NSW Justice Major General Paul Brereton’s report into our alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
Senior members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have been drip feeding us through the media with information about the alleged war crimes committed by the Australian Special Air Service (SAS) and other Special Forces in Afghanistan between 2005 and … Continue reading
‘Australia’s SAS must be accountable for possible war crimes’ in Afghanistan, says Professor Philip Dwyer (P &I 27.7.20). Indeed, it must. We must emphasise also that individual soldiers have responsibility for their actions. And that we, our government and nation, … Continue reading
This year, Anzac Day marches have been suspended for the first time in almost a century. Because of the coronavirus the Australian War Memorial (AWM) will broadcast a socially distanced Dawn ‘Service’. The New Zealand National Memorials will represent their … Continue reading
A friend mailed me recently to ask if I was well and safely distanced socially. He also pasted the following letter and asked me if I’d seen it. I hadn’t.
Professor David Walker’s Stranded Nation: White Australia in an Asian Region is a work of great and very readable erudition, which does something new: places Australian cultural, political and diplomatic history in its regional context at the time of Asian … Continue reading
On the first Anzac Day, 25 April 1915, the Australian Imperial and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces landed at Gallipoli. On Anzac Day 2019, Anzac forces are again in the Middle East – and Afghanistan – this time sixteen years after … Continue reading
It was ‘a bloody mess’. So said one Iraq veteran heavily involved on the logistics side of things and quoted in Dr Albert Palazzo’s recently declassified studies The Australian Army and the War in Iraq 2002-2010 (572 pages, 2011) and … Continue reading
I’ve just caught up with Peter Stanley’s review of Peter Cochrane’s Best We Forget: The war for white Australia, 1914-18, which was posted on Pearls and Irritations on 15 November 2018. I mention this, because it provoked a response that … Continue reading
The signing of the armistice at 11 am on 11/11/1918 did not raise great enthusiasm among members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), because their first thought was for sleep. It then took a year for the battlefield silence to … Continue reading
The Director of the Australian War Memorial (AWM), Dr Brendan Nelson, has inappropriately used his position to criticise Fairfax Media over its reporting of allegations that former Special Air Service (SAS) Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC has committed ‘war crimes’. The … Continue reading
This week, as our $600 million Great War centenary rolled on, the Australian Light Horse charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917 has come out of the culture in a tsunami of centenary excitement at home and abroad. Media enthusiasm … Continue reading
Rawdon Dalrymple’s 4 August blog ‘A personal link to World War One’ presents us with an automatic defence of the old imperial order.
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 5 of 5)
Part 5: Narrative Overview and Conclusion The emphasis in our military history and remembrance on asking how we fought does not inherently preclude an interest in what we were fighting for. The two narratives could co-exist and interact. But not … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 4 of 5)
Part 4. A race strategy to save ‘White Australia’ Political manipulation of the society’s racially inflected anxieties was a major factor in the imperial ascendency over national defence policy in the Commonwealth in 1911. The secret implementation of a race … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 3 of 5)
Part 3. Empire over nation. In 1914-18, the fight for Empire against Asia minimised independent Australian national interests. Ambiguous, interchangeable use of the terms ‘empire’ and ‘nation’ also protected that ‘imperial’ bias in our political culture.
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 2 of 5)
Part 2. Empire against Asia The ‘imperial’ nature of Australia’s involvement in the Great War was distinctively Australian and, it should be said, a sign of the doubt white settler society had about its survival as a remote outpost of … Continue reading
GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? Part 1 of 5 part series.
To find out what we were fighting for in the Great War we must get past the usual fig-leaf explanation, which is as remarkably effective as it is short on cover in Australian culture.