Informed public debate on defence issues needs to be based on facts and conceptual logic, not ideology or emotion

Informed public debate on defence issues is again being side-tracked by polemics based only on ideology and emotion. Once again, extreme Left-wing micro-groups, such as the so-called "Medical Association for Prevention of War", refuse to debate the actual issues, conceptual frameworks or arguments raised, and resort instead to just red-herring and straw-man arguments.


Letter to The Canberra Times
Thursday, 08 May 2014
(published Monday, 10 May 2014) 

By ignoring that Paul Ronald’s claim that F-35 funding supposedly outweighs foreign aid is actually the exact opposite of the annual budgeting really involved, Sue Wareham (Letters, May 8) seems to prove my point about ideological myopia’s ability to mar informed public debate.

Moreover, using Sue’s odd reasoning, any budget funds spent on higher priorities than foreign aid — such as the 60 per cent share expended in social security, health and education or the six per cent on defence — wrongly detract from such aid.

Finally, when trying to answer my point about synergies between Australia’s military and development aid efforts in helping establish the overall conditions necessary for socio-economic progress, Sue may have been confused by the Canberra Times unfortunately editing out the full list of: “South Korea, Malaysia, Namibia, Somalia, Cambodia, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga and Afghanistan, and in a long-term context, even less successful attempts to help in South Vietnam and perhaps Iraq.”

And despite their many continuing problems, and mistakes undoubtedly made during the UN-endorsed multinational military efforts to help them, even in Iraq and Afghanistan independent opinion-polling regularly confirms that, on balance, substantial majorities remain thankful for such assistance.


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