Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Rundle: Anzac Day and why we need to question ‘myths’ of war” (yesterday, item 10). Some of Guy Rundle’s diatribe is correct — most of it is wrong. Many would agree that the popular media and most politicians are turning Anzac Day into a circus — an “event” to be ticked off with self-serving sentimentality.
However, Rundle has selectively chosen the WWI “rough and ready boys” in Palestine, their low opinion and tough treatment of the local Arabs and General Allenby’s disgust at their behaviours as somehow a general picture of the 324,000 volunteers who left Australia’s shores in WWI.
As one who has a close family history of WW1 and WWII veterans and researched many more, Rundle’s selective depiction is a gross distortion and smear on the vast majority who did not massacre any Arabs or commit any crimes — but who did endure terrible hardships and the high probability of mutilation and death. They left 60,000 of their number buried in foreign fields and returned to Australia to see another 60,000 die prematurely of physical wounds and thousands more suffer unrecognised mental illness for the rest of their lives. They were known in Veterans Affairs as the “self-sufficient” generation — only made claims when they really had no alternative. A generation to be honoured and admired — worthy of myth making.
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Of course what Guy fails to mention is the big bit about WW2 — the volunteers and conscripts who served their country against the army of the Hitler and Mussolini regimes and against the fanatical Japanese Imperial Army and its murderous rampage through south-east Asia. The bit about beheaded and machine-gunned nurses, survival as a prisoner of the Japanese — dare I say true mateship that showed the best of the Australian spirit. Of my uncle, who was awarded a MC in New Guinea for saving his platoon by holding on to a position against fanatical Japanese attack, the only crime on his record was telling an officer to “f-ck off’ when ordered to pick up cigarette butts during basic training.
Whether you think the wars Australia has fought were justified or not, Anzac Day observance is all about a free democratic people honouring its largely volunteer citizen military raised and deployed by its democratically elected politicians. It is the people honouring those of its number who have risked life and limb for the rest.
Kerry Henry writes: Re. “Letter to Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott: why we’re disappointed” (Tuesday, item 3). How brilliant was this piece by Bernard Keane! One of the best I’ve read in recent times.
I was only saying recently to a small business gathering that it’s time a whole bunch of overpaid whingeing business and industry association heads were put out to pasture (or their misery) and we allow a new batch of progressive up and coming tier two executives take Australia and its citizens forward (and happily on far less pay).
It’s incredibly sad that for such a lucky country, we lack vision and leadership among most of the current bunch of politicians and business/industry association “heads” (sorry, using “leaders” would be entirely misleading).
Niall Clugston writes: Re. Tuesday’s Editorial. Regarding Tuesday’s editorial: the spectre of the 1930s is stalking Europe, with its financial crisis metastasising into a political one.
Crikey‘s conclusion: Australian interest rates will probably fall. I though Crikey was trying to be different.
(And actually, if I was the RBA, I’d be conserving ammunition.)