Further Thoughts on the Case of Ben Roberts-Smith

Since the judgment in the Ben Roberts-Smith defamation trial was handed down we have been deluged with some pretty strange commentary.  Here are some examples, in no particular order.

Joe Hildebrand on Sky News claimed the finding that Roberts-Smith murdered innocent civilians or unarmed prisoners shows that we are no better than the Taliban.  Memo to Joe: the Taliban are not contemplating prosecuting any of their ranks who have committed innumerable atrocities.  They’re not bound by either rules of engagement or the rules of war.

See also: Yamashita’s shadow falls on the ADF

Another is the claim that the SAS is the ‘tip of the spear’. Part of the problem, the rewards of which we are now reaping, has been the deification of the SAS. This has led to a mindset among some SAS members that they are above the standards applied to mere mortals.  The SAS is not the ‘tip of the spear’. It is a niche unit, albeit very highly trained, established to carry out specific and limited missions.  The tip of the spear is the infantry battalion, properly supported by artillery, armour, engineers, signals and logistics. A good analogy is the bullring. The infantry battalion is the matador. The SAS is the picador.   It is partly this mischaracterisation of the SAS that has led to its misemployment in Afghanistan.

The normally incisive Peta Credlin has penned a particularly confused piece on the subject in the Herald Sun this week. Here are some excerpts (in italics) with my comments:

When does a beaten enemy go from being a combatant to a prisoner, and where’s the line between the necessary brutality of war and criminality?

Is this a rhetorical question?  Apart from the generally well understood rules of war, every military operation has reasonably well-defined rules of engagement.  Essentially, these outline the situations in which our troops can fire upon a suspected or known enemy.  They are not foolproof.  Sometimes they are breached inadvertently, i.e., a genuine mistake.  Sometimes adherence to them can lead to our own troops taking casualties.  In ambiguous situations, the commander on the ground must make the decision.  If he errs on the side of protecting his own men and, for example, innocent people are killed, the degree of ambiguity in that particular situation will determine his culpability.  If his actions are attributed simply to bad judgement, he can expect to pay some price career-wise, but he will, or should not be, subject to criminal prosecution. 

But the fact that some of his [Roberts-Smith’s] fellow warriors, as their testimony shows, regarded him as a hard “soldier’s soldier”, while others thought him a murderer, suggests that very different interpretations are possible, even if the facts can be agreed.

The fact that some of his fellow warriors supported him does not suggest different interpretations are possible.  If the facts are as found by Justice Besanko, then the only interpretation possible is that Roberts-Smith is a murderer. That some of his comrades think otherwise suggests  that they have lost their moral compass.

And while it’s pretty clear, following last Thursday’s damning court judgment, that terrible mistakes have been made, it’s far from clear that it’s just the VC recipient, and some of his SAS comrades, who’ve made them.

This is an astonishing statement from a qualified lawyer to make. Mistakes were made but not by Roberts-Smith.  They were made by a senior military command that allowed the misemployment of the SAS to such an extent that the culture that led to these events was allowed to flourish.  Repercussions must flow.  Those responsible cannot be allowed to fade into comfortable retirement, flashing their medals on ANZAC Day, without some official response. However, if the facts found to have been established by Justice Besanko, to the Briginshaw standard of probability, are subsequently proven in a criminal court, then Roberts-Smith did not make mistakes.  He committed crimes.

I’m not sure that any of us, who have never been exposed to deadly combat, can fully grasp just how psychologically fraught and morally deadening this could be.

That may be true, but soldiers volunteer and are trained for combat.  We expect them to be able to handle these pressures. That they can’t always do so is tragic and inevitable but it does not excuse criminality. 

Our country sent him and his fellow soldiers on hardest job of all, to kill people who would kill us for our beliefs, and to protect people who just wanted to live and worship in their own way. And if mistakes were made, at least some of the fault lies with us too – and with the senior commanders, now tut-tutting about the excesses of military culture.

Again, the fault for mistakes that led to war crimes belongs with senior commanders. The fault for the crimes themselves belongs to those who perpetrated them.

Of course, even in war, our soldiers are expected to act honourably, and it’s never right to harm prisoners. On the other hand, we have to accept that terrible things happen in war, especially after people have seen their mates slaughtered, or brought in prisoners reasonably suspected of making suicide vests, or being a bombmaker, only to see them released on some legal technicality.

Of course, even in war, our soldiers are expected to act honourably.  There is no ‘on the other hand’.  It is true that the pressures of war can, at times, lead to unconscionable actions on the part of some and we must take mitigating circumstances into account.  I can assure Credlin and other commentators that these factors are taken into account in the field.

Diggers in a combat sub-unit, e.g., an SAS patrol or an infantry section, form an incredibly strong bond between themselves and will go to great lengths to protect each other.  If, in the heat of battle or its immediate aftermath, someone goes too far, he may be cautioned by his mates or his section commander, but they will not dob him in.  Platoon and troop commanders (junior officers) will also turn a blind eye when necessary and where, in their judgement, mitigating circumstances outweigh the seriousness of the offence.  I am certain that in Afghanistan, many more incidents that might arguably be termed atrocities occurred and were managed in this way. 

The actions of which Roberts-Smith is accused go beyond this level.  When a significant number of his former comrades are prepared to testify against him, that tells you the bond has been broken.  And the only thing that I see doing that is revulsion at his conduct on the part of those same comrades.

It is demeaning and patronizing to those of us who have served in combat for civilians, however well-intentioned, to suggest that we can be held to a lower standard of conduct, simply because the pressure of war caused us to abandon, however briefly, our humanity and our training.

What these armchair champions of our military honour gloss over – indeed often completely overlook – is the issue of ‘blooding’.  That is, a practice, identified by Judge Brereton, in which NCOs would order a junior soldier to kill an unarmed prisoner in order to demonstrate their mettle, for want of a better word.  To prove they were worthy of inclusion in the team.  When I first heard this accusation, I cannot understate the shock I felt.  This seems to me to be the most unconscionable failure of leadership I can imagine – to force a subordinate to incriminate himself.  It is almost incomprehensible to me that it could happen in the Australian Army.  I understand that Roberts-Smith is not accused of this depravity, but it speaks to me of a culture which, to put it mildly, was not one of ‘mistakes’ made in the heat of battle or the fog of war. 

As to Roberts-Smith forfeiting his decorations, in my view there should be no move on this part until he is found guilty in a criminal court.  But if he is found guilty, he must lose at the very least his gallantry medals, because they were awarded contemporaneously with his offending.  If he had been under investigation at the time he earned his VC, it would never have been awarded in the first place.

41 thoughts on “Further Thoughts on the Case of Ben Roberts-Smith

  • lbloveday says:

    Peta Credlin’s full article can be read at (copy and paste):

  • Peter Smith says:

    A first thing to say is that Ben Roberts-Smith is entitled to the presumption of innocence. And we all should be careful of labelling him – even in a qualified way – as guilty of some crime. He is yet to have his day in court – if in fact he is ever charged.
    Second, I have never been too impressed with rules of war /rules of engagment. War is a dirty business. Bombing raids kill women and children. And it is pretty well known that they will even if that is not the intention. Once war happens, attrocities follow as night does day. Best to avoid war, to avoid atrocities.
    A soldier in a theatre of war like Afghanistan is surrounded by potential enemies in civilian gear. What to do when one is captured and is reasonably suspected, without hard proof, of being part of the enemy intent on doing harm, today or tomorrow or next week? Can’t be kept for long. Must be let go or killed. Let go is the moral thing, according to the rules of engagment. On the other hand, next week he may kill, or caused to be killed, some of your mates. It’s a movie I know. But in Saving Private Ryan, they let the German soldier go. He resurfaced to kill an American soldier. Incidentally, I don’t know what the answer is. Just saying that it is not straightforward. My presumption, however, is to give an awful lot of the benefit of the doubt to the soldier in the field. Rough men keeping us safe, might do “awful” things. Don’t we surely know that from the very start?

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    “When a significant number of his former comrades are prepared to testify against him,? I would not want those on the front line as forward scouts behind me, a leaders worst nightmare, send them back or hand them over to the enemy as bait. Noses out of joint? War is not a kiddies media sandpit for the soft centred. And on other wars’ what about all those who ran when under fire and turn up to ANZAC Day. Logistics, crowd pleasers?

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    I’m not a combat veteran, but I did serve as an officer in the RAAF for 25 years. The only thing I disagree with in the above is that Roberts-Smith should lose his gallantry awards, unless he is charged with having committed a war crime actually during the action for which the gallantry medal, VC or MG was awarded, and then only if he is convicted in a court of law to the criminal standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.
    Otherwise, whatever he might have done in subsequent or even previous actions is irrelevant. It’s even possible that if his commander was aware of a previous crime that his failure to act amounted to condonation. (See the Gunner O’Neill case in the Vietnam War.)
    While Roberts-Smith foolishly brought all this down on his own head by suing for libel, I think it’s disgraceful that the media has piled on as if the decision in the libel case, under the civil standard of proof on the balance of probabilities, was an effective conviction of war crimes. It was nothing of the sort. It was a decision that the media defendants had not libelled Roberts-Smith because they had evidence that the accusations were “substantially true” and had thus satisfied the libel laws only.
    On the basis of that decision, he may well be charged with war crimes in a criminal trial, although how he could now receive a fair trial is problematic. Any possible jury would be tainted by irresponsible media reports.
    It may be true that we get the government we deserve, but we certainly do not deserve the despicably unprofessional media that afflict us.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    When a man or woman signs on the dotted line to join the Australian Armed Forces, they sign away everything up to and including their life. Most importantly, in light of all that has happened ‘so far’, they sign away the right of protection afforded them by our system of Common Law. Upon joining the military they explicitely take on the protection/s of Military Law. Now, and this is common sense and very apparent, and I will stand corrected if wrong. Our Common Law system requires a certain standard of evidence, and this I will call the Rules of Law, which has its own rules for evidence. On the other hand, Military Law requires a different standard of evidence, and this I will call the Rules of War. Now, it seems to me that Ben Roberts-Smith will be called before a Civil Court, which, by definition must use the rules of evidence dictated by the Rules of Law in a Civil Court. We cannot, and must not, use the Rules of War in a Civil Court to either exonerate or convict a person, it’s a non sequiter. How can we even begin to gather evidence from a battle, in which hearsay and rumour are being used in civil proceedings to condemn him. All he has to do is swear that he was under threat from the enemy, which he may very well have been. I repeat, we cannot try him using the military rules of evidence in a court which uses the Rules of Law, no the Rules of War.

  • pgang says:

    This piece makes no sense to me and is very confused. A judge handed down a finding in a defamation case, with the usual result that there was insufficient proof that defamation occurred. From that we are ‘accusing’ a decorated solider of murder, and tarnishing the reputation of our military leadership. This is beyond crazy, it is malevolent. We shouldn’t even be discussing the issue, and it demonstrates that we are just putty for our socialist handlers.
    Criminal homicide is wrong and unpardonable, whether in war or not. We get it, everyone gets it – that’s primary school stuff. But the question of homicide is not even an issue here, at least not until it is properly investigated and proved in a court. Once again the socialists take a simple truth and pervert it to the cause of undermining our key institutions.
    Consider this. We were fighting a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan for, how long was it, 15 years or more? The socialist media had no interest in reporting on that war, for all that time. We had absolutely no idea what was going on. I couldn’t mention a single battle that took place. But now the media want us to take some hear-say about homicide from this war zone seriously. Who are they kidding?

    • Occidental says:

      I will try to help your confusion. Fairfax media published material that Roberts-Smith (BRS) had committed crimes, in that he had killed and or directed others under his command to kill non-combatants, ie disarmed prisoners or civillians. BRS sued Fairfax for damages alleging he had been defamed ie Fairfax had made allegations which would damage his reputation. Fairfax in its defence pleaded the defence of truth. The onus was on Fairfax to prove (on the balance of probabilities that what its journalists alleged did in fact happen). The judge after hearing the evidence accepted on the balance of probabilities, that BRS did kill and did direct others to kill unarmed detainees. That is all.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    I agree with pgang and Peter Smith.

  • Brian Boru says:

    A very difficult matter to write about but I have to say that I thought this article by Peter O’Bien was an excellent summation of the issues involved.
    The distance in control and understanding by senior commanders and I also believe by our Government (and thereby us) must surely be relevant here.
    War is not a simple contracting task and when it is treated as such by Government (us), these things are bound to occur beyond our oversight.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Sorry, “O’BRIEN”.


    I agree with Peter Smith’s comment:
    “Second, I have never been too impressed with rules of war /rules of engagment.”
    Presumably the Geneva Convention. Part of which governs the methods by which combatants are ‘allowed’ to kill each other. The Taliban are only interested in the Geneva Convention code of killing ethics because they appreciate how it limits SAS combatants. Afganistan is a theatre of war on Taliban turf. The Taliban decide the rules of combat for both sides. My opinion, based on who sets the rules of war in Afganistan, is that the Ben Roberts-Smith trial has become a show trial by media. The media seem to expect that we can send a soldier into death’s hell-hole to represent our cause for fredom but then put him on public trial for killing the enemy the wrong way on his own turf by the rules of war he has determined.

  • March says:

    In cases of guerilla warfare I’m of the inclination that what goes on, on the battlefield – should stay on the battlefield.

    • Lawrie Ayres says:

      Yes March, I agree. Whose idea was it to send private Brereton oops General Brereton to investigate possible crimes in Afghanistan? All he managed to do was cast a pall over the reputations of every soldier who served in that ill begotten war in which we had no right to be. George Bush wanted a few extras so as he could claim it was a coalition war so John Howard signed up the SAS in order to have a lesser body count. Good men died, some from IEDs manufactured or detonated by “innocent” civilians. Others were shot by “innocent” villagers hiding among other villagers. I do note that the head loppers in the Taliban have no such qualms.

  • Occidental says:

    Peter, you have done your best to educate or edify the readers here, but much like the response to your contributions when the Brereton Report was published, it appears many readers have difficulty accepting anything other than sycophantic worship of the SAS.

    As you point out, as bad as the accusations against Roberts-Smith were, some of the revelations of SAS conduct in the Brereton report are much worse.

    The two most salient points that you make in my view are the misuse of the SAS for what appears to be standard counter insurgency combat, something that a regular infrantry unit would be better (if not ideally) suited, and secondly the failure by the body politic to hold the Army command to account. In the end only politicians or more properly executive government can hold Army command accountable, but there seems little political will to do so. I am afraid that the democratisation of our country has got to the point where executive government take a poll of the great unwashed before doing anything.

  • Peter Smith says:

    According to Occidental, “…it appears many readers have difficulty accepting anything other than sycophantic worship of the SAS.” Where exactly? I didn’t spot that among readers’ comments. Along with others, I simply have a different perspective than does Peter O’Brien. Perhaps we can all agree, as we should, that even soldiers on the front line, fighting on our behalf, are entitled to the presumption of innocence. True, I would go further. As they in the midst of blood and guts and in constant danger of being maimed or killed by those around them, I would say that they are entitled to some considerable slack not afforded to those in civilian life.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      That’s pretty much what I said.

    • Occidental says:

      Peter Smith, my comment about the sycophantic worship of the SAS was merely to underline the contradiction that seems to exist on these pages (and elsewhere) regarding the behaviour of Australian soldiers (and sometimes police) as opposed to the actions of anyone else. I have re-read your first comment, and I must say, to my mind it is not up to your usual standard. The first idea contained in it is the trite warning about the presumption of innocence. Peter you must be aware that the presumption of innocence is what protects us from the Crown or the State, not from each other, and certainly not from others opinions. I am fairly convinced from what I have seen and heard that Ben Roberts Smith is a bit of a thug, and killer of unarmed captives. So what. Please Ben, sue me!

      The second part of your comment is where you repeat this nebulous wishy washy, rough men shouldn’t be judged by normal standards argument. All rough men or just ours? If not the standards we are familiar with after living most of an adult life then what standard? You dont say. What Peter O’Brien set out in his article was a standard – the rules of engagement and Laws of war. Explain where they were defective, you dont try, but merely put out this popular rough men line. Peter have you given any thought as to where that idea goes. Men much more familiar with war than you and I decided to codify rules and create conventions about the conduct of war, and they did it for a reason. That was over a hundred years ago, and those rules have hardly changed. Finally one of the most edifying points that Peter O’Brien makes is that soldiers (real soldiers as opposed to rough men) can and do try to fight within rules and according to standars. The fact that the other side does not respect those rules, is one of the reasons we are over there in the first place.

      • dtu31393 says:

        The laws of war are defective when only one side abides by them. Previously, when Australian soldiers were fighting an enemy who disregarded those laws, such as on the Kokoda Track, the Australian military leadership and government, focussed on defeating the enemy rather than investigating what rules the AIF may have broken. At the end of that war, they investigated and prosecuted the Japanese, not the diggers.

        Not any more. The government and military leadership are now far more interested in obtaining some sort of warped supposedly moral victory rather than a military one. Sure we lost the Afghan war but hey, look at us spending millions trying to jail our diggers! There may be no humour in Islam, but no doubt the Taliban must be laughing their heads off at this.

        The government and military leadership let the diggers down massively in Afghanistan and its aftermath in the following ways:
        They did not hold prisoners and sent all Taliban prisoners to other nations, who in the majority of cases, immediately released them.
        With this system in place, they sent the troops on kill / capture missions and were apparently shocked that the troops tended to kill rather than capture.
        They could not have cared less that the Taliban broke numerous ‘rules of war’ as standard procedure.
        They sent investigators out from Australia at the meerest hint of an Australian indiscretion.
        They prosecuted Commandos for carrying out a normal combat action. A judge eventually threw the case out.
        They commissioned Brereton to write a report on Australian crimes (not the enemies). He subsequently advertised for the Taliban to dob in Australian soldiers, and he sent investigators to interview those enemy.
        Political and Military leaders accepted this ridiculous report as fact and subsequently made damaging statements about the soldiers it reported on.
        They set up the Office of the Special Investigator with the sole purpose of prosecuting Australian soldiers and where in a dangerous precedent, they have civilian police investigating soldiers for alleged crimes committed in war.
        They have set up a process where the process is the punishment. The Brereton report took four years and the OSI has been working for 2.5 years with just one charge and no convictions to show for it.

        After decades spent emasculating the ADF, the leadership now seems determined to accelerate the process by destroying the morale and capability of the small percentage of combat soldiers left. They have failed in their duty to these soldiers and they have failed in their duty to the nation.

  • Rob H says:

    I have uncles who served in WW2 who can relate many instances of Alllied soldiers executing unarmed or wounded German soldiers who had surrendered. Officers above them only stopped it after a time but no charges were even contemplated.
    This has been known from the time it happened and reported in the press for decades after.
    War is hell. Try and remember that the next time you send young men trained to kill.

  • john.singer says:

    Joe Hildebrand often makes comments when the tongue and brain work independently.. For the most part I agree with your comments Peter Smith and value your thoughts as you are a Veteran steeped in the law.

    I am however perturbed at yet another failure of the Presumption of Innocence and the evasion of responsibility. The Brereton Report should not, in my opinion, have been made public before its presentation in Court or Court Martial of the accused and the excused Senior Commanders (Yamashita Convention). The testimony of some witnesses who were granted concessions and extreme concessions in the investigations for the report then were available in the civil case (and no doubt embroidered upon) and the verdict may well be overturned on appeal. Finally, the presentation of a televised abbreviated verdict 4 or 5 days before the written judgment was available was, again in my opinion, most unfortunate and led to some foolish reactions.

  • Sindri says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious, Justice Besanko presided over a civil trial where the issue he was required to determine (I emphasise ’required’) was whether the defamatory meanings conveyed by the Fairfax articles were substantially true. He was required to determine that issue on the balance of probabilities, and on the evidence presented. That was how the parties themselves confined the issues. In particular, justice Besanko was not presiding over a prosecution of BRS or an enquiry like a Royal Commission.
    It is far from clear that if BRS is ever faces criminal charges over these incidents, he would be convicted.

  • pbw says:

    I haven’t read the judgement, so I can’t comment on those specifics. However, a couple of things stood out in the Brereton report. One was that a lot of pressure was put on troopers to give evidence against their NCOs in return for immunity. This, I suppose, is not unusual. But it always casts a shadow over the testimony they give. (A glaring case in point is the prosecution of former Commissioner Terry Lewis, while everyone else got away with ATO raids and confiscations, including a primary organiser of The Joke, Jack Herbert.)

    The other is the circumstances in which those at the troop level were thrown into combat.
    “SASR troop commanders…position was a difficult one. Invariably, they were on their first…deployment.” – Brereton
    Note: invariably.
    What about those they commanded?
    “[S]ix or more deployments for an individual was not uncommon.” – Brereton
    “A Sergeant with 10 operational tours said, ‘I have seen alcohol consumed on every operation since 1999 by every rank on every operation since 1999, by every rank and including JTF and unit commanders’.” – Wheaton, Annex to Part 3 of Brereton
    10 operational tours. (The revelation about booze is another can or worms.)
    “There was a perception among some that … the shift to day operations instead of night in response to pressure from the Afghan government added to the risks for SOCOMD personnel…The disenchantment caused by ‘catch and release’ also added to that sense of fatigue…”
    “Catch-and-release” refers to the fact that many, or most, of the suspects captured in raids and sent back up the line were released almost immediately. These raids, of course, were life-threatening for the troopers.

    If we wish to maintain the moral purity of our armed forces, may I suggest that, as an essential first step, we refrain from engaging in wars with opponents who are not signatories to the Geneva conventions, and who we can reasonably expect to honour those conventions. As it is, we are sacrificing Australian troops in asymmetrical wars in which we engage solely to maintain our hope that our “great and powerful friend” will be the guarantor of our mainland security, which we are incapable of doing on our own against any serious threat.

    If Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Canada and various European nations want good, clean wars, they should only go to war against one another.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    The notion that rules of war can be applied in insurgencies is so fatuous as to be believed only in places like Canberra.
    In the real world of anti-insurgency operations, such as those in Afghanistan, there are no rules except survival. The enemy doesn’t wear a uniform, he moves in and out of the surrounding population, and he prefers murder to battle. And why not?
    To an Afghan, the military forces of the west are invaders, to be resisted with whatever means and in whatever way is available to him. There are no rules.
    The West clings to outdated notions like the Geneva Convention, but what does this mean to an insurgent in Afghanistan? It is an utter absurdity. Japanese “war criminals” were tried and executed for violation of the rules of war to which they were never a signatory.
    War is a disgusting waste of lives and resources and a gross violation of moral law. Australia had no right to engage in military activity in Afghanistan and did so only to kowtow to the United States.
    If BRS is charged, then, according to the Yamashita standard, all of those in the chain of command up to and including the Defence Chief must be charged as well.
    The real guilty are Australia’s crass politicians, who seek to curry favour on the international stage at the expense of our soldiers, both volunteers and conscripts. Australia had no place in Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or any of the other conflicts promoted by the US military/industrial complex. Including Ukraine!

  • vickisanderson says:

    I think that in the very first paragraph, Peter, you demonstrate part of the diversity of opinions on this issue. You are right that the SAS identify as “the tip of the spear”, whereas you argue that the infantry battalion more appropriately deserves that description. Yet, I doubt if many would agree with you. I certainly do not. The force behind the spear may derive from the strength of the supporting structure of the mechanism. But the “tip” of the spear, in this case, is accurately depicted as the forward, specialist units who pierce the lines of the opposing combatants.

    You then proceed to argue that “there are generally understood rules of war”. A strange statement. For modern military combatants amongst western liberal democracies there are specific and well understood rules of engagement defined by conventions developed after World War II. However, campaigns subsequently – particularly in the Middle East – have severely tested both the practicality and the justice of strict adherence to some such rules when the enemy is both uncertain and is cognisant of the rules of his enemy.

    I am sure that you are aware of the intense rivalry that existed between the SASR and the Commandos, as well as within these units. As a result, it is not surprising that there are ex combatants who are prepared to speak for and against Ben Roberts-Smith. I very much doubt the issues are as clearcut in terms of probity as you think.

    Peter, your ideals are very elevated and are those of a soldier of the highest standards. I personally believe that the rules of engagement rewritten to apply to the experience of WWII are inappropriate to modern asymmetric warfare- particularly in the Middle East. I imagine that many of the families of those soldiers blown to pieces by IEDs by the assassins in civilian clothing would agree.

  • john mac says:

    I also agree with you , PM , Edwina and PS . far as I’m concerned , what happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas . I care not one whit about third world sandboxes soaking up Western blood and treasure for no gain – only pain and as a result , we get to bring back ISIS wives and their kids , as well as the hordes of fighting age “refugees” flooding into west !

  • Sindri says:

    I tend towards the PS view here. But PO’B is a real soldier and combat veteran from the Vietnam. His views about these things are possibly worth more attention than the views of those of us sitting in armchairs.

    • Sindri says:

      I should have added, PO’B also fought in a war that was as much an insurgency as a conventional war, in which brutal tactics were used by the enemy. Think of a soldier slowly dying after falling through a trap and being skewered on spikes of bamboo.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    Back in the olden days, say 1992, I was commissioned into the Royal Australian Air Force after a 25 year career in the Royal Australian Navy. Part of my RAAF induction training was to become exposed to the world of acronyms, one of which was the collection of letters…..SMEAC. These in turn were used to describe: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Communication. When it came to working up the briefing before we were sent out, it was usual to bog ones words down in such detail that the mission itself was at risk. I, therefore, developed a briefing style based on speed and accuracy. Here is what I came up with and which caused much consternation in the ranks of the instructor staff. Situation: Kill the enemy. Mission: Kill the enemy. Execution: Kill the enemy. Administration and Communication was left to rot on the vine. This truth statement can be developed one more step: Kill the enemy before he kills you. Everything else is detail. Please, oh please, understand that the armed forces of Australia have one mission and that is to kill our enemies before they kill us. It cannot be any other way. It logically follows therefore that the person doing the killing under the Rules of War, is forever and completely protected against suit made against him under the Rules of Law, for both bodies of rules require different Rules of Evidence.

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