Twenty years ago this September, the Australian-led international peacekeeping forces known as INTERFET touched down on the scorched-bare sands of newly-independent Timor-Leste: a country mere days into a hard-won and blood-soaked independence from Indonesia, and one desperately in need of help.
We were there and we were ready. Australia led what eventually became a peacekeeping force of 11,000 people from 22 nations; one which was considered an unmitigated success. John Howard calls the intervention a "significant foreign policy triumph" and has said he wouldn't change a thing about it, and Indonesian soldiers withdrew completely by the end of October. Australian defence personnel were properly lauded for their efforts.