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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a toxic culture « Previous | |Next »
April 9, 2011

Well, the military are losing the war in Afghanistan and the publicity war about the sexist culture in its ranks in the navy, the Royal Military College and the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Few believe that the culture of predatory sexual behaviour is the isolated actions of rogue elements, which is the standard spin from the military hierarchy in the Defence establishment. So why bother with the spin?

Leunigarmy.jpg

The military has form in terms of the sexual assault and harassment of woman in its ranks (its called male bonding" or mateship), a tendency to let the offenders off lightly and to victimize the women. They instinctively refuse to confront the cultural issue of sexism and turn a blind eye to rape in its ranks.

This is a culture that closes ranks: it groups together, it look after its own, and it thumbs its nose at everyone else including ministers who want to reform Defence. They are defending the country by putting their bodies on line so back off.

Defence have consistently managed to block reform and to get rid of reforming ministers. Will Stephen Smith, the current Defence Minister, succeed where others have failed? Or will they bring down Smith as they did Fitzgibbon?

The Defence establishment give the impression that they do not see themselves as under the authority of a democratically elected Minister, only the authority of the Governor General as the representative of the Queen. It's still an old style ethos of 'king and country'. So they just don't do what the Minister of the day tells them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:08 AM | | Comments (7)
Comments

Comments

The situation is not helped of course by politicians insisting that any and every member of the ADF is a 'hero', although to be fair, at least Labor ministers these days doesn't go looking for every opportunity to be photographed with someone in uniform. Nevertheless when one remembers the Jake Kovco affair it is easy to understand why serving members of the ADF would have a deep and abiding loathing of politicians.

The idea that Stephen Smith might try to tackle any challenge requiring political courage or principle gave me a good laugh to begin the day.

OK... turning on the sarcasm alert... irony flag is up... and...

a. They are young men doing a tough job.... they're just letting off some steam.

b. The woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fog of war and all that.

c. Okay, so she wasn't a whore, but they all look the same in the heat of combat.

d. Boys will be boys.

e. We should not judge the diggers, because we don't have all the information.

f. All good Aussies should support the troops. These blokes signed up to defend our way of life, give them some respect.

g. It's a feminist/green/socialist plot to undermined our armed forces.

oh ....and any other bogus argument the wingnuts throw up when innocent civilians are attacked and killed.

It's fair to remember that the issue was not consensual sex, but the infantile betrayal of the young woman via the mobile phone of the cretin responsible.
It wasn't about naughty nookies or a spot of romance, it was about cruelty and betrayal brought about by socially induced individuation and conditioning, accentuated by military training which depends the blokey bonding culture.

"....situation is not helped of course by politicians insisting that any and every member of the ADF is a 'hero'..."

Oh yeah. It seems that not a month goes by that I don't get someone telling me that their kid wants to... or has enlisted. I make it a point of always asking the parent why the kid went down that path. And never... not once... have it been told that it was to defend our "way on life".

In one way, I am so glad that we don't have conscription these days. The troops (for whatever reasons) have made their own choice.

I assume that that all A.D.F as part of their employment contract agree to not have sexual contact with other soldiers. The question is whether the employer has the right to demand that of their employees.

Do you really think THAT is the question, Les? I would have thought a more important question is why some cadets think they can be sleaze-bags and get away with it.

Yes.

Dumb people do dumb things all the time.