In "Australia goes to war too easily" (canberratimes.com.au, November 15) Sue Wareham notes the unjust criminal prosecution of former military lawyer David McBride for exposing alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
Recently the media has carried many articles related to the soon-to-be-released Brereton Report regarding war crimes in Afghanistan.
However all of this coverage, with the exception of Sue Wareham's article, has failed to note the instrumental role of David McBride in exposing these alleged crimes many years ago.
McBride tried repeatedly to take the evidence he compiled to every possible authority, but none would take action. Having run out of options, he leaked the documents to the media.
Not only has the recent media coverage ignored McBride's role but the government has chosen to prosecute McBride for supposedly undermining national security. Without courageous whistleblowers like David McBride, our democracy is at stake.
Pamela Collett, Narrabundah
Article a must read
Re: "Australia goes to war too easily" (November 15, p12). I urge everyone to read this piece.
One would have thought that Vietnam would be the first and last time we followed Uncle Sam into a war based on a lie. But again the lies were spun and our troops marched into Iraq. Afghanistan is still a mess and yes, our troops do have blood on their hands.
I believe we must fast-track the immigration of Afghans and Iraqis into our country as we're responsible for killing, maiming, terrorising and dislocating hundreds of thousands.
G Gillespie, Scullin
Wareham is right
Dr Sue Wareham rightly declared the impending release of the Brereton report into atrocities committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan presents a damning indictment of a culture of impunity within both the government and our defence force establishment.
But, as Dr Wareham disclosed, even more damning is the government's criminal prosecution of military lawyer David McBride, over his release to ABC journalists of the sensitive Afghan war files - the very subject of the Brereton report.
These actions also led to the raid on ABC offices by the Australian Federal Police last June. This constituted the most unprecedented act of federal government overreach on journalistic freedom in Australian political history.
Australia should never have so foolishly entered into such a war which was part of America's brutal reprisal against a sovereign Muslim nation for the 9/11 terror attacks.
Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin
(Former chaplain to the ADF), Rivett
War a serious matter
Dr Sue Wareham is right to contend that Australia goes to war too easily. Going to war is one of the most important decisions any country can make.
Although our parliamentarians properly spend many hours negotiating the fine details of legislation the decision to go to war can, and is, made by the Prime Minister without any need for prior parliamentary approval. Surely this should be changed,
Ernst Willheim, Forrest
Nic Stuart's opinion piece "One critical fact: China doesn't need our trade" (canberratimes.com.au, November 16) was spot on. All this Morrison/Payne stuff about Australia not surrendering our sovereignty and core values is getting us nowhere.
Under our current government we have been locked into an increasingly adversarial relationship with China from which Australia is becoming the main loser. We need to start to rebuild the relationship with China based on common interests.
We can differ on many issues, including on human rights, but engaging in megaphone diplomacy is unlikely to achieve positive outcomes.
When I worked in Defence's Strategic and International Policy Division one of the challenges we faced was coming up with common ground for Ministerial-level bilateral discussions. That could sometimes be challenging when we lacked shared values with the other party.
One area where we do have a common interest with China is security of maritime lines of communication to the Middle East. Establishing a working relationship in this area between the RAN and PLA Navy would be one small step towards diluting what has become an unnecessarily toxic relationship - with serious adverse consequences for Australian farmers and producers.
C Williams, Forrest
Who was to blame?
Re: "Washington street protests turn violent" (November 16, p13).
It was stated that Trump supporters clashed with "counter-demonstrators" described as possibly "members of the loose, far-left movement known as Antifa".
There was at least one stabbing and 20 arrests. The report did not say who was responsible for the violence. It also failed to state the Trump supporters were protesting peacefully until Black Lives Matter protesters showed up and assaulted them.
When is the mainstream media going to call out these hard-left violent "groups" and stop misreporting the facts? It is clear who the instigators of the violence were. Journalists and news services use the line "it is unclear who was responsible for the violence". What a load of garbage.
If it was the other way around you can bet your bottom dollar it would be all the "Trump" supporters' fault, no questions asked. Why don't you label BLM and Antifa as "Biden" supporters too? It seems to be popular to label "Trump" supporters in a degrading way. Joe Biden likes to pretend that Antifa is just a "group". Maybe you could call them Biden's "groupies".
Ian Pilsner, Weston
Playford College is a young Islamic school in South Australia. Our 25 Year 7 students and accompanying adults have just spent a week in Canberra and really appreciated the warmth, welcome and hospitality.
We were the first school outside of New South Wales to visit Canberra since the pandemic and the welcome by guides at all national institutions was delightful. There were many highlights and our students and staff particularly appreciated His Excellency, the Governor-General, spending over 40 minutes with us in a very pleasant question and answer session at Government House while Mrs Hurley taught the students a new song.
Another highlight was our time in Parliament House where the students appreciated watching the Senate and question time in the House of Representatives.
We were honoured that our local member Nick Champion and Senator Simon Birmingham both joined us for a Q&A and welcome. Everywhere we went people were pleasant and welcoming. The students now have a strong understanding about democracy and the ways of government in Australia.
Thank you to the government support with PACER and for maintaining so many interesting places at no charge to students. At our school it was a big decision to come to Canberra this year given COVID-19 but we are so pleased that we did. Thank you Canberra.
Chris Riemann, principal,
Playford College, Adelaide
Replace the anthem
There has recently been talk in the media about changing one word in our national anthem Advance Australia Fair to make it more inclusive or having a new anthem completely. Rather than write a new song we should adopt the song I am, you are, we are Australian. It covers everything, from the indigenous history going back before white settlement, the arrival of the First Fleet, the country and its weather and being a multi-cultural country.
It meets all the requirements to be an inclusive historical anthem about Australia. No-one should be able to find fault with it.
I am sure Bruce Woodley of the Seekers fame would be proud to have his song adopted as our national anthem.
Alan Leitch, Austins Ferry, Tasmania
The Australian Academy of Science's Shine Dome is on course to dazzle us with a new resplendent copper roof, freshly repaired after January's hail storms, ("There's a shinier copper sheen to the iconic Shine Dome", November 15, p.5).
Alas, there is no mention of any roof photovoltaic generation being included. With a vast curved roof offering multiple areas facing the sun at an optimal angle throughout the day, full-roof photovoltaic generation would suggest itself.
Would it still be possible to install that novel type of light-weight, flexible solar panels recently backed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation? ("Net-zero possible by 2050: solar inventor", November 15, p.2).
The dome housing the A.A.S. - Australia's preeminent scientific institution - could do more than merely impressing us with ephemeral coppery roof reflections. At a time of climatic upheaval, it offers a truly "shining" opportunity to convey a powerful, 360-degree message of sustainability.
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
TO THE POINT
TRUMP OR CHUMP?
Listening to the television news it sounded as if Donald Trump's surname is being pronounced Chump.
John Milne, Chapman
FACT FREE NATION
Given thousands of people have rallied to support Trump's false claim he won the election I now have a better insight into why so many Americans believed the spurious assertion Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction despite the lack of evidence. Many Americans don't let facts guide their thinking. Sad.
Rajend Naidu, Sydney, NSW
AMERICA, HEAL THYSELF
After seeing what is happening in America, and its insane leaders, I don't think the US is in any position to to lecture any country on earth about democracy or good governance. They should fix themselves first.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
COVER UP LOOMS
If Trump can successfully challenge the election result he will be able to unveil any corruption that existed. Yet, at the same time, the whole American nation will blame him for letting it happen under his administration.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
The substitution of the word "one" for the word "young" in the national anthem has considerable merit. If, or when, this change is adopted that should be the end of that.
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
MEETING OF MINDS
The only downside I can imagine that could come from replacing the beep of the wrist beepers bought for the Canberra Convention Centre with a mild electric shock is a cacophony of expletives.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
SEEDS OF CHANGE
Recent claims the climate policies of the Greens in the assembly will have no effect on the scheme of things is ill-conceived. Margaret Mead reportedly said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has".
M McConnell, Giralang
HERE'S A THOUGHT
Drivers. If a car breaks down or stalls in front of you, beep your horn and wave your arms frantically. This should help the car start and send them on their way.
Ricky Dennis, Murrumbeena, Vic
DOES NOT COMPUTE
Am I missing something? The ACT government has said it will spend $60 million to buy "Mr Fluffy" blocks for public housing. Haven't they already purchased those blocks through the buy-back scheme?
Greg Kent, Amaroo
NICE LITTLE EARNER
Australia Post is on to a win-win situation by issuing "priority" stamps at 50c apiece and then advising that owing to a system overload , the "priority letters" service has been suspended until July 1, 2021.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
The real symbol of terrorism is the Union Jack. Just ask Ireland, India, Scotland, Australia, and every other country that England invaded. When will Australia remove this symbol of horror from the Australian flag.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point, NSW
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