An army should not be coy about its purpose

April 24, 2018

As Australia prepares to commemorate Anzac Day this week, news has emerged that the incoming Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, has banned our Defence Force personnel from wearing any “death iconography glorifying war or symbols of death”.

This has angered Australian Conservatives’ Victorian Director and former SAS soldier Kevin Bailey who says a creeping political correctness has infected the upper levels of the Defence Force.

The Daily Telegraph reports Lieutenant General Campbell, a seasoned former SAS squadron commander, wrote in the two page directive  circulated this month that, “On visits across army and our deployed forces I have occasionally come across the display … of symbols, emblems and iconography at odds with Army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain”.

“I refer in particular to the use of what could be termed ‘death’ symbology/iconography such as the pirate skull and crossbones (maritime outlaws and murderers), the Phantom or Punisher symbols (vigilantes), Spartans (extreme militarism) or Grim Reaper (bringer of death).”

Campbell says such symbology “implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession: the legitimate and discriminate taking of life… As soldiers our purpose is to preserve the state, employing violence with humility always and compassion wherever possible.”

"Employing violence with humility and compassion is a noble aim. Glorifying death does not honour our veterans, past and present, who often suffer from the deeds we require of them in war."

And yet, Campbell’s edict has gone down like a lead balloon with many Australian veterans, including Kevin Bailey who has told Melbourne radio station 3AW this kind of ideological experimentation is killing morale.

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