In theory, the best and the brightest advance through an organisation over a couple of decades and end up running it. Reality is somewhat different. Even in commercial operations that face the winnowing effects of competition on a daily basis, those who end up running an operation are often that company’s champions at backstabbing. Once ensconced in the corner office, they spend their days plotting against anyone whose competence might come to the attention of higher-ups. It will be ever thus and this observation is not remarkable to readers of Quadrant Online.
But at least nobody dies. It is a different matter in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The ADF hasn’t conducted a ground operation at greater than two-battalion strength against an opposing enemy since World War II. It had trouble investing East Timor unopposed in 1999 and had to be helped out with logistics by the US Marines. Our Canberra-class LHDs are one of the fruits of the Timor Leste lesson in logistics, and in turn they are getting the Navy to relearn lessons in maintenance.
Apart from the SAS, which has been hard-worked in small scale operations for decades, the ADF has had nothing to test itself against and the leadership has drifted off to become social justice warriors. From the Townsville Bulletin comes the news that ‘army chief Lieutenant General Angus Campbell is concerned only 12.7 per cent of his ranks are filled by female soldiers. He has insisted that number double to 25 per cent by 2023.’ It is worse than that of course. This document, the ADF’s diversity and inclusion strategy, states on page 12 that ‘the employment of identified diverse groups that require immediate priority attention’ includes ‘intersex’ people.
There are probably not enough intersex people to cause too much disruption. But on the subject of women in combat, there is one Western liberal democracy that remains in constant danger of being overrun by its neighbours — neighbours who are taught to hate it with their mother’s milk. That nation is Israel. Israel has an interest in maximising the number of people who can be applied to front line combat, so it trialled the application of women in combat. That wasn’t successful for two reasons.
Firstly, troops are trained to keep advancing despite the injuries and screams of their comrades hit by enemy fire. If they don’t, the attack might break and you end up with a worse situation – troops held down in exposed positions and the wounded and dying needing attention. While male troops can be trained to ignore fellow males screaming in pain, it seems men are conditioned by evolution to go to the help of females in distress. This breaks their fighting cohesion and makes such mixed units useless on the battlefield. Secondly, troops react to female comrades being wounded or killed by conducting reprisals against anyone to hand, enemy combatants or civilians. This isn’t good for discipline. So Israel abandoned using women in combat because it just didn’t work out.
It is evident that leadership of the ADF has been captured by a self-perpetuating leftie claque. It is apparent that promotion beyond the rank of captain requires having the correct views on things like global warming. The Army has lately brought in professionals to aid in this screening and indoctrination process. It has commissioned psychometric and psychological testing of its senior officers with respect to ‘personal beliefs, attitudes and associations’. A desire to maim and kill the enemies of Australia (in the style of General Mattis) is likely to be a career ending view. In 2016 the Army increased its rationing costs by mandating that one-third of all combat ration pack configurations must now be halal. This means paying halal certifiers, yet there are less than 100 Muslims in the 28,000 strong Australian Army.
Normally –, but these are not normal times — the defence minister would see through the nonsense perpetrated by the military bureaucracy and set things to rights. No such luck. Our current minister opined in her maiden speech to Parliament nearly 20 years ago:
Discrimination against people based on their gender, their race, their sexuality, their religion, their HIV status or their education does not belong in our democracy. Before I hear the clamouring cries of right-wing media commentators about political correctness: this is not a statement about women’s rights, gay rights or minority rights; rather, it is about human rights.
None of this would matter too much if our ADF were never put to the test. But even one of the ADF’s global-warming bedwetters , retired Admiral Chris Barrie, has seen a slight glimmer of light regarding the deteriorating world security situation. To paraphrase a quote attributed to George Orwell, good people sleep peaceably at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. The lesson from that: no rough men (as per General Campbell’s diktat), no sleep.
A similar situation prevailed at the beginning of World War II. We went into that war with the ADF being run by idiots and things were naturally going poorly. Then on August 13, 1940, a Hudson bomber carrying the Chief of the General Staff and several other notables crashed on approach to Canberra airport. The incident is called the ‘1940 Canberra air disaster’. New people were appointed to replace the dead and Australia’s conduct of the war improved dramatically.
No one wishes to see the ADF’s high command perish in a tangle of wreckage and flame, but if we had a defence minister worthy of that title and a federal government capable of honouring its prime responsibility, to safeguard the nation from enemies and peril, they would be swept from sight more gently but no less emphatically. Pray hard of that to happen because the current crop will lead us to defeat.
David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare