I do not know of anyone currently in the armed forces or anyone who has done a tour of duty in Afghanistan, but have always respected these people who have chosen to go into harm’s way for us, to leave their own families and commit to one of the most rigorous and structured 24/7 lifestyles imaginable. Love and respect for our regular soldiers and the elite forces even more so.
When I heard the allegations of impropriety and the outrage of the media all over the news and the apology made to the Afghani citizens I realized that I consider them like family, because I am totally outraged. There are things that you keep within the family, so to start with I absolutely believe the current war crime furore should have been kept out of the media and totally dealt with within the confines of the military.
The complexities of other cultures and the wars our troops are thrown into are more complex than right or wrong. Especially with the very best that are part of our elite forces. The training and mindset of these very young men is something most of us will never truly understand, and as I am compelled to defend my immediate family, in the same way, I feel compelled to defend these very special men and women most of whom have the superhuman powers that are required in their testingtours of duty. Not only are their lives on the line, but they feel a bond and responsibility for those they serve with.
When I heard Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell, apologize for what was done before a trial was even held, I was sickened. How dare he speak in my name! .
Without casting a single aspiration on any citizen of Afghanistan, this is an area and region that on its own is totally brutal and of a very different culture to ours. Our brave troops go into this environment to protect the good citizens from their own kind who have joined the Taliban and the religious zealots and warlord bands. Our troops are there to make their lives easier. And they do.
Over and above their duty to the army, I know troops have befriended and brought relief through their own donations and others of toys, clothes, food supplies to families they have met. There are good people there on both sides.
Whatever charges were levelled and whatever happens need to be dealt with there and in a context of those that are there and by people who understand all the complexities that need to be considered. Murder and killing are not the same as here in Australia or America. When faced with dangers and attacks in a place far from home with the experiences and responsibilities each soldier has, I am not the one to judge any of them and neither are you or the media. The mindset that needs to be developed to stay safe and alive is not to be judged by outsiders.
SAS soldiers are being attacked for having a toxic warrior culture, but I would say that was mandatory to effectively do what they are expected to do. Something the majority of them do in an outstanding manner. If there are improprieties, deal with them within the family, not out in a public that has very little true understanding of the truth of the situation, especially as presented by those that are attacking it.
When I heard the apology, I googled ‘Afghanistan thanks Australia’. Zero, nothing. How many years have we been there? How many of our precious lives have been lost? How many stories of individual kindness? Zero thanks, zero gratitude. Not just to Australia, but also America, but that’s another issue.
A news broadcast last week featured a story about a girl murdered by her cousin. The whole thing was filmed on security footage. The judge saw fit to find her not guilty, when the murder was actually filmed. I’m sure I was no less horrified than the military offering these so-called atrocities into the public arena. The main difference is in Afghanistan, in combat conditions, in an area where life threatening dangers exist moment by moment, we are being told that these brave young men, who are actually our SAS, so performed over and above, outstandingly even, to get into these units, these soldiers are to be judged by the same judiciary that makes ridiculous decisions in clear cut local cases?
Integrity, honour, responsibility, our soldiers are indoctrinated with these attributes because they are vital to their survival in combat.
I am certainly not saying everything and anything done is a combat situation is acceptable. But I am certainly saying we who have never served should not be permitted any type of opinion unless and until there has been a military trial and report from that. Everyone is allowed an opinion on everything, but do not say a word, do not judge my boys unless and until you know the whole story.
Lily Steiner is an active member of the community, radio host on www.J-Air.com.au and lifelong advocate for Israel. She is an entrepreneur and Founder of American Business Gateway. Lily specializes in out of the box thinking to improve revenues in businesses and works with companies, individuals and corporate entrepreneurs.
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