Defence Shame

There’s another disgraceful attempt to strip soldiers of their Distinguished Service Medals received for service in Afghanistan.

Defence Shame
Photo by Museums Victoria / Unsplash

The Chief of Defence, General Angus Campbell recently wrote to some Special Forces officers.

He wrote:

“…. I am…. referring the matter to the Minister for Defence (the Minister) for consideration. It is then for the Minister to independently determine whether he accepts the assessment in my letter after considering the relevant information including your response.

If he is of the view that your award should be cancelled, the Minister will make a recommendation to the Governor General. The Governor-General will then make a decision.

This is in accordance with the Letters Patent. My consideration of your command accountability is now closed.”

Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

Campbell has essentially made himself judge and jury of the allegations made against these soldiers, before any court action has been concluded.

It’s easy for the General who sat back in his cosy nest while these special forces men did everything that was demanded of them by their commanding officers.

Frankly, I think they were asked to do too much, which broke some of them. That’s the army’s fault but now the army wants to wash their hands of them.

General Campbell was the ultimate commander of these soldiers. He had oversight on all operations and reviewed all the action reports. He got the same medal he now wants to take away from those under his command.

Some would consider that an abrogation of moral and command responsibility from General Campbell.

Understandably, the Special Forces units are livid, as they should be.

In fact, all Australians should be disappointed. We asked too much of too few, who willingly did whatever was asked of them by their commanding officers.

Now those officers do the Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of responsibility, while undermining the essence of our justice system, innocence until guilt is proven.

The first person to hand back his Distinguished Service Medal should be General Angus Campbell.

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