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The Forum > General Discussion > Australian War Crimes

Australian War Crimes

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After more than four years the heavily redacted Brereton report into war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan was released in Canberra today. Brereton found junior soldiers were encouraged to shoot prisoners to get their first kill. Brereton recommends that 19 soldiers be investigated by police for the "murder" of 39 prisoners and civilians and the cruel treatment of two others.

"Typically, the patrol commander would take a person under control and the junior member, who would then be directed to kill the person under control," Major General Brereton said.

36 incidents should be referred to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation, and there is "credible information" that 25 current or former Australian Defence Force personnel were involved in serious crimes, either carrying out the offences or at least being "accessories" to the incidents.

It has long be suspected that the Australian military has been guilty of war crimes, starting in South Africa in 1901, through WWI and II, then in Korea and later Vietnam, up until today in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The belief that only the bad guys commit war crimes is given the lie by this latest reporting of outrages committed by our military, in our name.
Posted by Paul1405, Thursday, 19 November 2020 11:37:38 AM
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What a surprise! Paul 1405 excited by another opportunity for self-hate. Any country that goes after its own troops - soldiers they sent into danger to fight an entirely unnecessary war - is beyond the pale and not worth fighting for.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 20 November 2020 8:15:38 AM
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I think it would be quite hard to separate entirely the aggressive nature that is associated with being a soldier in a combat zone.

While I don't defend such behaviour, I am sure that atrocities occur in all wars by all players
Posted by Chris Lewis, Friday, 20 November 2020 9:04:57 AM
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ttbn,
Even in war, under is murder and manslaughter is manslaughter. The big difference is that in war, justifiable homicide is several orders of magnitude more common.

Any country that gives its soldiers carte blanche to murder is beyond the pale and not worth fighting for.
Posted by Aidan, Friday, 20 November 2020 10:21:16 AM
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I doubt if anything will happen to the soldiers who are alleged of such crimes apart from a severe reprimand and loss of privileges and standing.

The threat of a Chinese invasion of Australia is looming on the horizon and Australia is going to need all the military manpower it can muster when the time comes.

So you don't want to be scaring away prospective recruits with possible threats of manslaughter and murder charges.
Posted by Mr Opinion, Friday, 20 November 2020 10:55:02 AM
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Dear Paul,

Australia has about 400 soldiers in Afghanistan as
part of our US support.

I don't think that any of us are in a position to
make judgements on what occurs during the various
conflicts in which our defence forces are involved.
We should leave that up to their command to do that.

As PM Scott Morrison stated - "It is the environment
(within the ADF), it is the context, it is the rules,
it is the culture and the command ... and if we want to
deal with the truth of this, we have to deal with the
truth of that."

Do we believe that the Afghan government had tortured
prisoners and the Taliban had committed war crimes such
as the mass killings of civilians?

I'm not suggesting that as an excuse - however you can't
train soldiers to be killing machines - and then expect
all of them to be able to curb their instincts - depending
on the circumstances. It just does not work that way.
Not in the real world - that of the armed forces.

Most countries fail to properly investigate allegations of
unlawful killings by their special forces. Both the US and UK
and other armed forces in Afghanistan do respond to these
media reports but usually little comes of it.

We shall have to see what happens next. If we are able to
change the culture - well and good. Somehow I doubt though
whether it will last.
Posted by Foxy, Friday, 20 November 2020 12:29:59 PM
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