Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Monday 26th May 2003

Back into the habit

Hard to give myself some time every day to it!

After what seemed an amazing runs of victories in first division, we seem to have hit a couple of teams that have suddenly improved. I'm sure we beat them handsomely the last time we played them...

Workplace injuries

I always get a scare when someone comes to tell me that someones had an accident (see I'm the first aid officer), I always expect the worst. The sorts of things they say are the same if they've grazed their knee or if they're unconcious bleeding to death. Mental note - look at the colour of their skin. A pale face is always a dead giveaway of a really scary accident.

Political argument

Sure, that was good while it lasted - but it's always hard to incite people into enough rage to actually respond - so I'll continue on where my thoughts are completely against the grain - The Australian military...

Points to note

1) Australian SAS reconnoisance experts are tightly integrated into US operations since they managed to save the skins of many US soldiers in operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.

2) Australian logistics operations were singled out for special commendation by Rumsfeld by moving double the equipment per man used than the US & British counterparts, while being completely accident free.

3) Australian minesweeper operations have continued through from Gulf War I, through policing operations in between wars, and then on through the second Gulf War with little or no other minesweepers to help.

4) The US continuously asked for our trained peacekeepers to be used in Iraqi missions, because they have done such a good job in East Timor, even though they have been scheduled to go to East Timor.

5) Casualty rates per soldier in direct operations has continuously decreased over the decades from World War I, right through until now. We were initially considered "cannon fodder" in the first world war. We are now considered the most valuable of combatants. One in two Aus soldiers died in WWI, one in 4 in WWII, One in 17 in Vietnam, One died in Afghanistan, Two badly injured in East Timor (No battle deaths) and none at all in Iraq.

6) Our involvement in Coalition operations have enabled us to get real battle experience without there being a direct military threat to our country. Many other countries with modern equipment have little or no battlefield experience, putting them in an inferior position to ours. Conversely, most of the other countries fighting wars have experience but outdated equipment.

7) The amazing rescue of yachtsmen, baloonists, etc. are a tribute to the long range search and rescue capabilities of our military, that have not been demonstrated by other countries.

8) The skills of our military are not just about winning wars. They are also about winning the peace, and warming relations with potential enemies. One clear example is with the Indonesian military. After a shootout and standoff with the Indonesians near the border of East Timor, instead of a show of force and leaving diplomacy to higher officers, intelligence and bravery were shown in approaching the unit commanders on the ground and sorting the misunderstanding there and then. There was a mistake made on the Indonesian side about the exact point of the border, and there was no need for violence, just ground level diplomacy. Even cameras recorded part of the exchange for the record.

9) The number of US troops in Iraq, was excessive to win the battle, but way too few to restore order. The conclusion I come to is that there are way too many US combatants, and way too few peacekeepers and civilian roles (And although not export-ready, these exist in quantity in Australia).The balance is quite clearly wrong and is more about using and justifying the types of forces they already had, rather than concentrating more heavily on achieving the types of personnel they needed (and will need in the future).

These are the types of reasons I come to the conclusions I do about the Australian military being "the best", being necessary for the US missions they are involved in, and being quite capable of doing equivalent jobs on their own.

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