At last our esteemed leader, Scott Morrison, has bowed to common-sense and decency and allowed some honour to our veterans of the Middle East, in spite of the slander by the media. It is the politicians and the military brass responsible for sending them into these unforgiving and pointless conflicts who should bear the blame and the shame for any untoward events that occurred.
Morrison has also assigned a Royal Commission to discover why so many of our returned (and serving) troops have suicided. Like all other Royal Commissions it will undoubtedly uncover the bleeding obvious, that not enough care is given to our defence forces, on the front, or when returned. And doubtless there will be recommendations made which will be, as is usual with Royal Commissions, ignored.
I could save our Commander-in-Chief the time and expense. Instead of waiting for the results of a Royal Commission finding how about he provides housing, of whatever type is relevant to the returned soldier’s situation, immediately, to every returned soldier who finds he has no home? How about he gears up a special employment agency to cater to the skills and aptitudes and aspirations of any returned soldier who finds he has no job. Identity is a crucial part of mental health. Being cashiered because one is no longer fit for duty surprisingly tells on one’s self image. How about instead of being classed “Unfit for duty” or merely discharged, soldiers were discharged with honour and prospects of a decent career they can identify with beyond the services? They should have priority over all other unemployed. After all, they have put their lives on the line, an offered sacrifice no other worker (except for police and sometimes emergency services) ever makes. Police and emergency service workers are treated as V.I.P.s. So more so should defence workers.
Those still in the services who find themselves in mental anguish should feel secure in being able to unload their burden. If we kept the law laid down in “The Art of War”, that a soldier’s mental state should be in complete accord with his actions, a large number of our soldiers, let’s face it, would never have been in combat in the Middle East, or would not have stayed there. It is fitting that we finally withdraw from that arena. Whatever lies politicians and the military brass come up with, it was the West’s involvement in the first place which spawned I.S.I.S. Our young soldiers’ lives were and are being needlessly lost to save face for politicians. They can offer them all the brass medals they like as bribes but the fact remains that until the upper echelons take responsibility there will be suicides.
The Middle East is a dirty war front like no other, except Vietnam. In the two World Wars we were clearly fighting for freedom and democracy. In Vietnam we were fighting because of diplomatic ties to the United States of America. In the Middle East we were fighting for the same reason. It is a low and cowardly reason to be fighting. It is no wonder our soldiers, bound to serve the government, feel degraded. Let us hope we can vote in a government which has more care and respect for its troops, and places more value on their lives.
Meantime, let us not desert the boys, girls, women and men who have been committed to make this uncalled for sacrifice.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.