WHEN DEFENCE IS THIS WEAK, WHY FOCUS ON GENDER?
Australia is lacking firepower, when compared to regional rivals.
There is no point in maintaining the fiction that Australia is ready for war. Yet the Prime Minister made the fiction official when he promised war with North Korea if fat boy Kim fires at America. Kim Jong-un is determined to prove that his nuke is bigger than Trump’s, but seems doomed to premature articulation. The only thing worse than North Korea’s missile porn is the possibility that Kim will acquire nuclear power and make the West pay. We had better hope his losing streak lasts because Australia’s military preparedness underwhelms and soft treason is rising through the ranks.
Australia shares more than fiery rhetoric with North Korea. We are neck and neck on global rankings for military capability. On this year’s Global Firepower ranking, Australia is listed 22 and North Korea 23 for military strength. America leads the world but China is rapidly gaining.
Given Australia rates below countries like Vietnam, Brazil and Thailand in military strength, one might expect the Defence Minister to make vast improvements in combat readiness her sole priority. It takes a long bow to contend that breast jobs and transgender surgery have a direct relationship to military prowess. Yet last week the minister, Marise Payne, justified Defence spending more than $1 million in taxpayer funds on cosmetic surgery for troops. All that remains is to ditch Advance Australia Fair for I Feel Pretty.
When Defence isn’t funding nips and tucks for troops, it’s busy banning boys from jobs. The Australian Army banned male recruits in a majority of positions advertised in early August. The Daily Telegraph revealed that 35 of 50 jobs were available only to women. Australian Defence Force recruiters were told that if they did not follow the women-only directive, they would be “re-posted”.
Malcolm Turnbull and Payne are enthusiastic architects of diversity policy in the military. The trickle-down effect seems clear. Last year Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell addressed a Defence Force conference on recruitment. He said: “The number one priority I have with respect to recruitment is increasing our diversity, with a focus on women and indigenous Australians.” He emphasised that his “goal of increasing diversity in the army” was urgent and exhorted members to “examine your ‘energy levels’ for this task and see that they are aligned with mine”. Campbell used a shopping study to propose varied approaches to recruiting women and men for the army. Apparently, men and women shop differently and Campbell said: “We can reasonably extrapolate these ‘sales’ issues to our ‘sales’ of army careers.” Once again, I Feel Pretty.
If Australia was the world’s number one military power, the transformation of Defence from a patriotic military to progressivist civil service might seem less problematic. But I suspect the transformation would not occur under a government determined to make its military supreme. President Donald Trump is already seeking to restore US military might by advancing beyond Obama’s queer programs and habitual Islamist appeasement.
Perhaps only one activity is more corrosive to the modern military than systemic social engineering. It is soft treason. The latest attacks on Western forces is friendly fire aimed at our elite troops. In Australia and Britain, special forces soldiers are accused of war crimes and the left’s political-media class is producing prime propaganda for our enemies.
In 2008, human rights lawyer Phil Shiner accused the British military of war crimes, alleging soldiers mutilated and killed innocent civilians in Iraq. The taxpayer-funded BBC repeated the allegations. A subsequent multi-million-pound inquiry concluded what many Britons had suspected; the allegations were baseless.
As it turned out, the human rights lawyer who smeared allied troops as war criminals had been the vice-president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. In a revelatory article for the Daily Mail, Dominic Lawson wrote that Shiner: “Enjoyed the acclaim … from newspapers such as The Guardian, and the awards from like-minded lawyers: he was named solicitor of the year by the Law Society … in 2014, even as some of the evidence about Shiner’s methods began to emerge, the Law Society Gazette wrote … ‘In Defence of Phil Shiner’.” The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal described Shiner’s campaign of war crimes allegations against British troops as “deliberate lies, reckless speculations and ingrained hostility towards the UK”. London’s The Telegraph reports that a legal associate of Shiner’s, Leigh Day, is now involved “in claims alleging members of the elite regiment executed unarmed civilians”.
Australia, too, is enduring a protracted period of war crimes allegations directed at our elite troops. The most publicised case involving former SAS commander Andrew Hastie was timed with the Liberal Party’s public endorsement of his candidacy for the federal seat of Canning. Despite the left media’s best efforts to discredit him, Hastie won the by-election. And after a two-year investigation, the soldier directly accused of wrongdoing was cleared by the Australian Federal Police.
In July, the ABC chose to publish damning allegations about our elite forces. ABC staff introduced the material thus: “Hundreds of pages of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children.” There are two pertinent questions. Does anyone at the ABC understand the meaning of non-state actor, jihadism and asymmetric warfare? Has Defence launched an official investigation into the leaks, given their potential to damage the reputations of Australian troops and compromise operations security?
The SAS is being placed under intense scrutiny over operations against Islamist terrorists. It is difficult to avoid observing that under Marise Payne’s Defence leadership, a culture of complaint has developed that undermines military cohesion, violates the principle of merit and punishes soldiers for courage under fire. Along with the numerous problems plaguing Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne’s submarine program, the Liberals’ traditional role in fortifying national defence appears to be fatally compromised. It should concern any prime minister, but especially one willing to go to war with a paranoid dictator hot for nuclear holocaust.