Time to judge our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Somme Villers-Bretonneux Australian National War Memorial. Photo: Alamy (via Fairfax)

Reports of alleged breaches of the laws of war by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have drawn attention again to the length of the war itself and its apparent ultimate futility.

A feature of commentary on these breaches is how their severity increases the longer troops are in sustained combat, as they become shrouded in the ‘fog of war’ where the legal commitment assumes a certain relativity and the morality of the commitment becomes frayed – as does the ANZAC ideal of 100 years ago.

“Legal ambiguity at the …

The Con

Australian troops waiting for US Army helicopters to return to base in Nui Dat, South Vietnam, August 1967. Image: Michael Coleridge via Wikimedia Commons

Metaphorically, if society resembles a rug, then certainly ‘we’ are not supposed to peek under it, to check out the weave, to gain some specific insight or understanding into the makeup of the official picture, or pattern on top.

Historically, this ‘official picture’ con has been going on for some time; certainly by WW1 it was peaking with the citizens of many nations indoctrinated/incited into killing one another like never before; by a few empowered nutters …