Christian Kerr writes:


“Australia’s Defence Force is about to embark on what promises to be its most hazardous and complex regional intervention,” Patrick Walters writes in The Australian today. “The newly forged Howard doctrine that Australia assumes prime responsibility for dealing with political instability in its neighbourhood is about to be given an acid test.”

Not the best timing. Over in the Fairfax broadsheets Hugh White offers his opinion that “nobody will take responsibility for anything in the Defence Department. It’s a recipe for systemic failure.”

But our defence personnel are reacting with typical laconic Aussie humour. There’s a proposal to replace the tired and worn-out SNAFU with an all new, politically correct acronym – COSSON, in honour of Brigadier Jenny Cosson.

COSSON stands for Can Only Stuff-up So Often Now. It would be employed like this. Think of some of our personnel in the field, under fire, experiencing the frustration of fighting back with our ordnance that won’t go off: “F*ck, we’re goin’ the COSSON here!” they’d say.

But it’s versatile. Think how it could be used in Question Time. You can imagine Kimbo asking “Can the Minister for Defence please explain to middle Australian why he has once again gone the COSSON” – this time standing for Can Only Stuff-up So Often, Nelson.

Peter Fray

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