OPINION – ADF must back those who serve

13 Jul 2017

Ross Eastgate, Defence columnist for the Townsville Bulletin opines on this subject 13 July 2017

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“As the ABC for whatever reason selectively leaks socalled ‘secret’ reports of investigations into alleged ADF special forces activities in Afghanistan, the ADF leadership is conspicuous by its silence.

Reports the ADF Inspector General (IGADF) and the ADF Investigative Service (ADFIS) are investigating fatal incidents involving civilians in Afghanistan have ignited conflicting reactions.

According to some reports there were concerns within the ADF special forces community some individuals had caused unnecessary deaths of noncombatant Afghanis, including children.

Others are apparently concerned at what they regard as unnecessary scrutiny of events which are an unfortunate and not always avoidable consequence of combat.

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Continuing media speculation about whether ADF personnel acted appropriately or not in Afghanistan is unhelpful on many levels.

It provides daily fodder for discussion in mosques and schools in Australia and Afghanistan, giving succour to those we are fighting.

If ever there was a time for the risk averse, PR driven defence hierarchy to give clear support to those it expects to take the risks, it is now.

If the outcome of current investigations improves the way Australian forces operate the exercise will be worthwhile.

Any punitive outcome would be a betrayal of those who serve