Opinion articles by the Australia Defence Association: 2011
As actual first or second-hand experience of war has declined, several generations of TV watching since the mid 1950s has conversely resulted in many Australians wrongly believing they know war. Including the pervasive incorrect belief that wars can be easily avoided, easily fought or ended quickly, and with few or no casualties or strategic implications.
Most public debate concerning David Hicks has always floundered in subjectivity and confusion: outwardly because of emotive criticisms or defences of his actions; more deeply, through commonplace misunderstandings about the facts and law actually applying to his original and current legal predicaments. Objective discussion needs to distinguish carefully between Hicks’ internment and his later, separate, trial — and their consequences.
Recent controversy about the poor state of the Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious fleet has again demonstrated three great truths about much public debate in Australia on defence issues.
Reforming the Department of Defence needs to start with a genuine first-principles review of its constitutionality, purpose and structure.