(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

While the rest of the public service is cowed, silent and anxious to not offend its political masters, thank goodness for Home Affairs' Mike Pezzullo, who feels unrestrained in offering his thoughts on anything and everything.

His 2018 missive to his SES staff remains a magisterial tome -- all 1900 words -- in the library of APS leadership. His views last year about the coming apocalypse worried us all.

Pezzullo's latest offering, courtesy of The Australian, also sets an appropriately dark tone for this sombre moment in Australian history. The drums of war are beating, and free nations can hear them. We must brace, yet again, for the curse of war. By our preparedness of arms, Pezzullo says, "let us set about reducing the likelihood of war — but not at the cost of our precious liberty".