Category Archives: Defence and Security

Skewed responsibility: Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry was always going to make for a gruesome read – and that was just the redacted version.

Posted in Defence and Security | 4 Comments

The Australian Army’s inauspicious birth. From the Boer War to the Afghanistan War.

With such intense focus on the army’s record in Afghanistan we might look more closely at its history. It had an inauspicious birth on the first of March 1902 in South Africa, three months before the end of the Boer … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 15 Comments

Lieutenant-General Burr, can you stand up. We can’t see you!

In Burr’s regiment were many of Justice Brereton’s bad boys. That so many of them were able to mask their incubating psychopathology reflects badly on the psychological assessment tools Burr’s people were administering.

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 13 Comments

‘Power and pain’: an Australian citizens’ encounter with the SAS

Outside of Defence circles not many Australians would have had a close physical confrontation with members of the SAS. Four peace activists did in 2014 when their trespass on the Swan Island military base was dealt with by two enraged … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 2 Comments

Can we get out of Afghanistan?

The revelation of war crimes by Australian soldiers has brought our focus on to Afghanistan, why we are there and why the special forces did what some of them did there. If the US pulls out so will we but, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 35 Comments

SAS officers failed their men and Australia

The Australian Defence Force is one of the most secretive forces in the world. If our experience with Afghanistan is any guide, such secrecy produces moral failure. And while the much-despised media long ago blew the whistle on the behaviour … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 9 Comments

‘Here was their spirit’ – the corruption of the Australian War Memorial

Rather than embodying Charles Bean’s vision of a solemn temple of reflection honouring service and sacrifice – ‘Here is their spirit’- over time, the Australian War Memorial has morphed into a theme park of war souvenirs, half-truths and omissions.

Posted in Defence and Security | 17 Comments

The Brereton Report: the failure of political and military leadership

Our political leadership will never be the subjects of the Office of the Special Investigator or the Australian Federal Police, nor, therefore, will they ever be charged. Indeed, in their exaggerated innocence they will display only the inevitable hypocrisy of … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 36 Comments

Soldiers vs warriors: a distinction between Australian and US troops and Kerry Stokes!

What’s the difference between a soldier and a warrior? And in what environment is the distinction in danger of being lost? If Kerry Stokes wants to get involved he is entitled to – but, if he does, he should also … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 5 Comments

Building a wall of silence about possible attacks on Australia.

There are plans to protect civilian populations in the case of a military attack on Australian soil, but they’re “classified” – not reassuring when you live in close proximity to the Pine Gap military base, widely regarded as a likely … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 3 Comments

Australian War Crimes and the Asymmetry Myth

There is a widespread “asymmetry myth” about the perpetration war crimes that will affect the reception of the forthcoming Brereton report on alleged Australian military war crimes and what Scott Morrison predicts will be “the difficulties” it creates.

Posted in Defence and Security | 3 Comments

Let’s face it, Australia goes to war far too easily (Canberra Times Nov 15, 2020)

The soon-to-be-released Brereton Report will shine a light on alleged war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan. It is expected that a culture of impunity within the special forces will be highlighted as a significant factor in perpetuating crimes … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 9 Comments

Armistice Day: Old Bones, Young Soldiers, Long Wars.

One hundred and two years after the first Armistice Day, as we survey the vast war cemeteries in our minds’ eyes, we may glimpse there a stark truth: then, as now, those who choose war go on to make old … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 5 Comments

ASPI’s guide to submarines leaves the biggest strategic questions unanswered

The interested reader would see much of this report as a public relations exercise, talking down to the public, and attempting to divert questions away from the burning one. Is this submarine intended primarily as a contribution by Australia to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 1 Comment

Whoever wins, Australia can’t rely on its great and powerful ally (AFR, Nov 4)

Geopolitics Donald Trump has done little to counter China, and Joe Biden would do no better. We must face up to a future of fading US power in our region.

Posted in Defence and Security | 9 Comments

The Afghan Homilies of Saint Peter Cosgrove

Who is one of the most admired public figures in Australia today? John Howard, Tony Abbott? No. To pursue that line would make this into a comedy piece. It’s Peter Cosgrove.

Posted in Defence and Security | 6 Comments

Exaggerated threats and contrived military strategies: a response to Jon Stanford

For all the discussion of China’s aggression, it is the US and its allies that have been constantly at war for two decades.

Posted in Defence and Security | 15 Comments

Australia should show leadership on the nuclear ban-treaty

If Australia is committed to a rules-based order underpinned by international law, as it frequently claims to be, Canberra must sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 2 Comments

ASPI’s Broadcasting Corporation?

Is ABC management complicit in letting senior on-air talent promote the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and its sponsors, without declaring conflicts of interest?

Posted in China, Defence and Security, Politics | 12 Comments

No power in the Lowy Asia Power Index 2020

The Lowy Asia Power Index 2020 reveals a misunderstanding of the concept of power, and some underlying subjectivity and biases, undermines its usefulness. This is illustrated in the measures used concerning technology, military power, and the impact of the pandemic….This enterprise … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 2 Comments

The smart money is that in defending Australia we will be on our own. Part 3

The government’s recent Defence Strategic Update suggests Australia faces the greatest threat to our independence since 1942. In this final article of three, I consider the need for a Review, both to design a new Australian military strategy and analyse … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 9 Comments

A first-use US nuclear posture would be dangerous for the world and for Australia.

First use confronts Australia and the region with a real possibility of utter catastrophe, and ambiguity is almost as bad. We must base our policies on the truism that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 5 Comments

Sharp-edged but sophisticated diplomacy needs to underpin our defence strategy Part 1

The government’s recent Defence Strategic Update suggests Australia faces the greatest threat to our independence since 1942. This demands a sophisticated diplomatic strategy, the development of a sound military strategy to deter an attack by a great power and careful … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 4 Comments

A special investigation: Naval, builder of Australian submarines, at centre of numerous global corruption scandals

The arms company at the centre of a deadly criminal saga and numerous global corruption scandals, Naval Group, was selected by the Australian government to build our new fleet of submarines – a deal heralded as ‘one of the world’s … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

Australian submarines operating in the South China Sea is a very provocative and very bad idea.

In responding to my post (19 October) about the Morrison government’s plan to spend at least $90 billion on large submarines, Jon Stanford’s post (21 October ) argues that we should do what the Commander of the US Submarine Force … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 12 Comments

China is not the urgent threat; climate change is

Spending priorities by the federal government are increasingly questionable, if not indefensible; they raise fundamental questions about the competence and intelligence of our policymaking elites.

Posted in Climate, Defence and Security, Politics | Tagged | 3 Comments

What should Australian submarines do? – Response to Brian Toohey

Brian Toohey’s challenging post (19 October) concerns what we want our submarines to do. In light of the recent Defence Strategic Update, the ADF needs to build a force capable of deterring an attack by a major power.

Posted in Defence and Security | 13 Comments

In for a penny, in for a pound: $90 billion for an obsolete submarine fleet

So much for Australian sovereignty. We are locked out of repairing key US components of our subs’ computer systems, and the Coalition has committed our submarine fleet to the extraordinarily dangerous role of helping the US conduct surveillance in the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics, Top 5 | 14 Comments

Bowling Tips from John Howard

Former Prime Minister John Howard loved cricket as much as he loved war-making. Problem was he was terrible at the former and successful at the latter.

Posted in Defence and Security | 5 Comments

LobbyLand ‘Culture of cosiness’: colossal conflicts of interest in Defence spending blitz

In Part 1 of her three-part investigation, Michelle Fahy investigates the corporate influence on government policy and how weapons makers cultivate relationships with politicians and top officials in the public service.

Posted in Defence and Security, Lobbyland, Politics, Top 5 | 6 Comments