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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Liberate me!

It seems that even military men with an establishment pedigree are questioning current deployments in the Middle East:

"One of the sons of Australia's celebrated former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove will be discharged from the army after going AWOL from his barracks and being thrown in military jail.

"Private David Cosgrove, based at Singleton in the NSW Hunter region, also breached a series of strict conditions imposed on him.

"He was given a custodial sentence of up to 14 days in late October. He subsequently breached 'unit standing orders' and was administratively warned he was 'unsuitable for service'.

The military is clearly upset by the revelations. Fighting wars of "liberation" must be taking its toll.

15 Comments:

Blogger Bernard said...

It's an intriguing story, isn't it? Makes you wonder what is going on. Has David Cosgrove been in Iraq? How many Aussie troops are in Iraq? Where are they and what are they doing? How is morale? What do they think about the war and their deployment? With one US expert after another saying the US has lost the war in Iraq, what do the Aussie brass think?

Friday, December 23, 2005 2:23:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Given that Peter Cosgroves sentiments are the closest thing we've heard to an independet military opinion, I'd say that's a faily good indicator.

Most independent opinions given by US military professionals have all been negative with regard to the war.

Friday, December 23, 2005 4:04:00 pm  
Blogger chscott said...

You clown.

On what in the linked article do you base your assertion that:

"It seems that even military men with an establishment pedigree are questioning current deployments in the Middle East"?

Pathetic at best.

Friday, December 23, 2005 5:48:00 pm  
Blogger chscott said...

Furthermore, on what do you base your assertion that:

"Fighting wars of "liberation" must be taking its toll."?

Give us a real nexus or forget the trite bullshit.

Friday, December 23, 2005 5:53:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Successful father has deadshit son who goes into the family business out of pressure and nothing else better to do and fucks up. Happens all the time.

Where, oh where, does Iraq come into play?

Friday, December 23, 2005 6:00:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Tongue. In. Cheek.
Get. A. Sense. Of. Humour.
Though, hey, it's possible.

Friday, December 23, 2005 6:17:00 pm  
Blogger jimajanga said...

You guys are something else. Your ingrained Lefty hostility towards all things military prevents you from seeing the truly salient element of this whole affair:

The utter lack of nepotism

The son of the ADF chief goes AWOL, and he is sent to gaol just like any other digger. It's quite impressive, actually.

Moreover, your attempt to extrapolate from the actions of one soldier who was deemed unsuitable for further service to the military as a whole reveals your ignorance of the ADF.

These guys are professional soldiers who WANT to see combat. You might think that is sick, but these people have trained over years for battle, and they want to put that training into practice. They yearn for the opportunity to fire rounds in anger and the right to pin the ICB (infantry combat badge) on their chest. And then there's the tax free salary enhancement that they get when they deploy to a combat zone. A guy can come back after a 6-month tour in Iraq with $30k in cool cash. Great way to knock a chunk out of the mortgage.

There is no crisis of conscience or confidence on the part of Australian soldiers serving in Iraq. As a matter of fact, when 450 troops of 5/7 RAR deployed to Iraq earlier this year, the battalion commander was besieged by diggers who wanted to join the unit so that they could go too.

You lefty peaceniks don't have a clue

Friday, December 23, 2005 10:16:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Yep, that would explain the massive recruitment issues in the US, UK and Australia.
People are just dying to get into battle and fight for something they believe in...

Friday, December 23, 2005 11:05:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

jimajanga said...
These guys are professional soldiers who WANT to see combat.

I was under the impression that our enlightened military does NOT WANT to see combat. Last resort. With heavy heart, and all that. Tsk tsk.

Friday, December 23, 2005 11:19:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Antony Loewenstein said...
Yep, that would explain the massive recruitment issues in the US, UK and Australia.

Incidentally, best predictor of direction of recruitment rates? The unemployment rate. Unemployment rate high -> recruitment rate goes up (and vice versa). Yes, it's all about duty, patriotism, the flag, freedom, democracy, liberation, justice .... and a pay packet at the end of the month.

Friday, December 23, 2005 11:23:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

jimajanga said...
"These guys are professional soldiers who WANT to see combat. You might think that is sick, but these people have trained over years for battle, and they want to put that training into practice."

Oh man what do we have here? The same argument was used by Madam Albright when she asked, what use is this waonderful military if yo unever get to use it?

Honestly, if these men are aching to go out and kill someone, then that should render them entirely usuitable for the job.

Perhaps there's truth to the idea that all military men have a desire to see active duty at some stage of their career, but that does not automatically mean that they perceive Iraq as a noble cause.

Edward Mariyani-Squire said...
"Yes, it's all about duty, patriotism, the flag, freedom, democracy, liberation, justice .... and a pay packet at the end of the month."

Especially when the US military is forced to drasticalyl lower it's accptance standards and offer large cash incentives to meet drastically lowerred recruitment targets.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 3:25:00 am  
Blogger jimajanga said...

Sorry boys, but recruitment/retention is one of the most distorted and misunderstood issues that relate to the current conflict. And, of course, an objective perusal of the facts fails to support your contention that the US and Australian militaries are in crisis because of their moral qualms over the war against jihadism.

A few pertinent facts:

1) Even when the US Army had trouble meeting its global recruiting quotas earlier in the year, those shortfalls were entirely within the ranks of non-combat arms MOSs (military occupational specialties). Or, in other words that you peaceniks can understand, the Army has never had a shortage of guys signing up to be trigger-pullers (i.e. infantrymen, tank crews, armoured cavalry scouts, etc...) If you break down the numbers you see that thatever shortfall there was came from the ranks of the rear echelon combat support and combat service support types who have traditionally had more of a technician than warrior mentality.

2) And even those problems have been resolved. Last month the Army reported that it exceeded its recruiting goals its active duty, National Guard and reserve components. The Guard met 102% of its recruiting goal, the active duty Army met 101%, and the Army Reserve was 3% over its goal, as were the Marine reserves.

3) True, there has been a minor adjustment to standards, with the percentage of recruits accepted from the second lowest quality category being increased from 2% to 4%. While this is not good, it is hardly a "drastic" lowering of standards, as Addamo claims. Even with this adjustment, the median IQ of the US military is well in excess of that of the population at large. After three decades of the all-volunteer force, the US armed forces are smarter, more technologically competent and better than ever before.

4) Even more importantly, reenlistment numbers among serving soldiers and marines are WAY up. Reenlistment rates are probably the better indicator of troop morale because serving troops have probably been deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan and their signing up for an additional tour means that they are willing to go back.

Link: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2005/20051110_3319.html

Hooah!

5) As far as the ADF goes, there are a number of objective issues that enter into recruitment shortfalls. One is purely demographic, with the age cohort from which recruits are drawn declining in absolute numbers. Another problem is a legacy of the "Defence of Australia" doctrine that placed the ADF's major military bases in the sparsely populated north in order to defend against invasion of the Australian mainland. The prospect of spending year after year posted to 1st Brigade in Darwin or to Townsville is not an appealing proposition to many recruits. What needs to be done is to bring many of Army units south to bases that are proximate to Australia's major population centres (Melbourne, for example) so that Army service doesn't equate to years of detachment from one's family.

And then there is simply the question of money - we don't pay our soldiers, sailors and airmen enough.

All of these issues are under discussion in government, and I think many of them will be rectified in the near future.

So the bottom line is this - your narrative that Anglo-American-Australian militaries are racked by moral doubt over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is Leftie wishful thinking - pure rubbish. There are issues that stem from the high op tempo rate, but they not insoluble ones by any measure. The US Army and Marines in particular have been under the greatest stress, and both services have demonstrated an impressive resilience and institutional health.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 8:56:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

jimajanga
You make an interesting argument but, cherry picking statistics fail to address the facts on the ground.

1) If the state of affairs was anywhere near as buoyant as you suggest, there would be no need for the excessive us of stop loss programs, which have servicemen and women on their 3rd and fourth tours of duty in Iraq.
2) To use the numbers included I the stop loss as evidence of re-enlistment is absurd.
3) The fact that the National Guard is so heavily committed in Iraq at the moment, speaks volumes. Not since Vietnam has the Guard be so stretched, to the point where they were utterly unable to participate in the Katrina rescue effort. The US was forced to outsource the duties to security firms, who in turn flew in foreign contractors by the thousands.
4) In spite of record unemployment in the US, there have been ongoing reports of a recruitment crisis published every month for the past year.
5) In spite of the fact that skilled personnel are being officered salaries of up to US$150, 000, and still can’t make their numbers speaks volumes.
6) When was the last time recruitment standards were adjusted to accommodate people over 40, including those with prior convictions and history of drug dependency?
7) Recruits who signed up on the condition that they would not see active combat have ended up in Iraq.
8) Recruits who signed up for non combative duties (i.e.. dish washers) have found themselves perched on gun turrets, manning machine guns.
9) The Federal government in the US has been fighting with state governments over pre-requisites to be net for no child left behind policies, which demand that personal details of recipients be passed on to recruitment centers.
10) While I’m sure there is ample enthusiasm for protecting Australia’s security, I think you’ll find that the war in Iraq is predominantly accepted as being an unnecessary aggressions against a country that posed no threat.
11) Recruitment numbers are the lowest they have been since 1979, with figures closer to 8%.
12) It’s unlikely that the average IQ’s of recruits are higher, since the US government is dropping the requirement of completion for High School Certificate.
13) To argue that US armed forces are more technologically competent than prior decades is meaningless. The massive increase in the availability of computer literacy, and access to computers themselves would itself would account for that meaningless argument.
14) When hawks like John Murtha, who has exceptionally close connections to the military, says that US army is at breaking point, it’s a sure sign that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Frankly jimajanga, you’d have more luck arguing WMD than you would arguing that recruitment and moral is not in a hole.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 10:10:00 am  
Blogger chscott said...

Oh, now I get it - another example of the side splitting humour that resides within so much of your commentary.

I've always thought most of your stuff was a joke but how could I have possibly missed that one?

You really should do stand-up comedy.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 10:13:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Some interesting numbers also with regards to the health problems ecnoutered by servicemen.

Out of the 580,400 soldiers who served in GW1 (the first Gulf War), of them, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability. This astounding number of ‘Disabled Vets’ means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served have some form of permanent medical problems!” The disability rate for the wars of the last century was 5 percent; it was higher, 10 percent, in Viet Nam.

http://www.sfbayview.com/012605/headsroll012605.shtml

One can only imagine what this is doing for morale.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 10:29:00 am  

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