WILL conservatives ever re-evolve to climb for the high fruit rather than greedily snavel the apples and oranges bonking them on the head as they loiter in the undergrowth? I ask because contrary to the accolades and schadenfreude of some, referring senior Australian military commanders to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for investigation over ‘war crimes’ allegedly committed in Afghanistan on their watch is not only foolish but treacherous. The stunt is olfactory evidence of a catty pong now rising from Parliament House like a heat haze; it is not evidence Jacqui Lambie’s “heart is in the right place” (Sheridan). The Tasmanian senator likes to see herself as more than a match for men – clearly she wasn’t when it mattered – and last week denounced the ADF brass as a “boys’ club.” She used the same scorned woman’s cliché against the Liberal Party when she didn’t fit in as a member. The truth is she has more in common with non-combatant pretenders than she does with the warriors of the SAS. “It’s one in, all in,” said the lumbago-stymied non-veteran of any deployment, justifying her latest slaphappy démarche.
The contempt that patriots have for a politico-military establishment eager to rat on the men it did its level best to rotate to near certain death is understandable. So is the disgust about the sword of Damocles held over the heads of as many as 50 returned servicemen by Knox Grammar Cadet Unit old boy Paul Brereton – who has the same combat experience as Senator Lambie. Equally deserved is the revulsion caused by General Angus Campbell’s attempt to strip medals and citations awarded by the people of Australia to men who earned them. There are numerous justifications for outrage over the postscripts to Afghanistan. In 2021-22, the Morrison government rewarded the terrorists who killed 46 Australian soldiers with $140 million. Then Foreign Minister Marise Payne boasted about it. The problem with Senator Lambie’s performative dobbing, however, is that it presupposes – if it doesn’t concede outright – that war crimes were indeed committed. She only asks that final responsibility rest with the men decked in aiguillettes. Her star turn as the people’s equaliser isn’t merely pointless; it could undermine procedural fairness for any so-called ‘war criminals’ brought to trial. Having heart and being a smart-arse are two different things.