The report handed down last week detailing alleged war crimes by Australian SAS soldiers in Afghanistan has added an ambiguous dimension to an already vexed project.
The planned $500 million expansion of the Australian War Memorial, long billed as a way of recognising current serving defence force members and veterans of recent conflicts, has turned into something of an ideological battle.
Although the expansion, announced in 2018, is backed by both major parties, it has been interpreted by many as further evidence that the memorial is overstepping its charter which requires it to "remember, interpret and understand" Australian war experiences.
But it's hard to argue with its chief justification - to recognise the service of generations of veterans who have served in conflicts long after the first and second World Wars have ended. To visit its galleries, to contemplate the vast and lavish displays devoted to Australia's role in the two global conflicts, is to inevitably perceive a gap in our consciousness when it comes to contemporary veterans.
The plan, therefore, is to expand the memorial's exhibition space by a huge 80 per cent to add galleries about the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, East Timor mission and peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
There has been a particular emphasis on recognising Australia's role in the Afghan conflict. Indeed, the memorial staged an exhibition back in 2013 memorialising the conflict long before it had ended.
Then director Brendan Nelson - the driving force behind the planned expansion - maintained that there were good reasons to focus on a conflict that was still unfolding.
"I often think that if the Australian War Memorial had, for example, been able to sooner and more comprehensively tell the story of the Australian experience in Vietnam than possible, those men might not have suffered quite as much as they did," he said at the time.
He has long advocated, as has his successor Matt Anderson, for further recognition of Australia's contemporary defence force.
And, notwithstanding the many critics of the heritage, architectural and fiscal values of the project - which will involve both large-scale spending during a recession and the demolition of the award-winning $12 million Anzac Hall behind the main building - it's difficult to argue with the central argument for the expansion.
But now a truly disturbing report has spared no detail in describing the actions of a small group of SAS soldiers serving in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
The investigation by Justice Paul Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed. The Special Air Service second squadron has been ordered disbanded following the report - the same SAS that was the subject of a major exhibition at the War Memorial just two years ago.
It's important to note that the report will have devastating consequences for the many soldiers who have served in Afghanistan; the long-running inquiry has already taken its toll.
How to adequately acknowledge this stain on Australia's military history at a place that mostly lauds it? Apart from the wide-reaching ramifications for the ADF and for Australia's narrative surrounding the country's role in overseas conflicts, the report and its findings have made the chief justification for the memorial's expansion are far darker and more complex proposition.
It could well end up undermining it altogether.
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