Australia’s prime minister may not want to admit his country’s guilt. Australia’s defence force chief may not want to admit his country’s guilt. Australians may not want to admit their country’s guilt.
But admit it, they must.
The evidence of Australia’s guilt is beyond dispute. It can be found in a just released report written by the military’s inspector general which took four years to produce and which details atrocities committed by scores of Australian terrorists dressed as soldiers who murdered scores of Afghans.
These home-grown terrorists in battle fatigues were recruited by Australia. They were trained by Australia. They were paid by Australia. They were sent to Afghanistan by Australia. They murdered civilians, including children, in Australia’s name.
The barbarity committed by Australia’s terrorists in battle fatigues – mostly, I suspect, white, Christian men – had one aim: to terrorise non-white, non-Christian Afghans.
Aussie “soldiers” murdered people not to achieve a “strategic objective”, but for a diseased, intoxicating sense of pleasure and, given the defining, competitive nature of Australians, they murdered people for sport.
They accomplished their detestable mission.
The bitter list of Afghans that Australia’s terrorists in battle fatigues murdered reportedly includes boys who had their throats slit, a frightened child who was hiding under a blanket, farmers tending to stock, shackled prisoners and brothers and cousins running away to try to survive, only to be slowly ripped to death by Australian military dogs.
The Australian thugs in uniforms murdered because they had the power, weapons and license to kill.
It is the same license to kill that Israeli thugs in uniforms exercised with impunity when they murdered four Palestinian boys playing on a beach in Gaza. It is the same license to torture and murder that American thugs in uniforms exercised with impunity inside the dungeons of Abu Ghraib. It is the same license to torture and kill that British thugs in uniforms exercised with impunity in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the same license to torture and murder that Canadian thugs in uniforms exercised with impunity when they were sent to Somalia to “restore order”.
That license to kill is predicated on the “idea” that white, Christian lives in the West matter, and Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian and Somali lives are cheap, invisible and disposable.
We deserve to live. They deserve to die. When we murder, it is a “tragic accident”. When they murder, it is cause to light the Eiffel Tower in solemn remembrance and to commemorate the dead on Twitter with hashtags expressing human solidarity.
That blunt indictment will, no doubt, offend the insufferable disciples of the late Christopher Hitchens, who, today, are, predictably, as silent as their slick, anti-Muslim patron saint in the face of the terrorism perpetrated by invaders deployed abroad – again and again – to protect Western “freedoms and values”.
Australia’s terrorists in battle fatigues – cheered on, no doubt, as crusading “heroes” by Hitchens’ mendacious acolytes – are largely members of a so-called “elite” fighting regiment known as the Special Air Service. They claim to be the “best of the best”.
They are not soldiers. They are killers. They are cowards. They are terrorists in battle fatigues who murdered Afghans as part of a sick ritual called “blooding”. Consider the measure of their depravity: To become a trusted member of the “best of the best”, these thugs were ordered to execute defenceless Afghan prisoners in brutal, cold blood.
These are not the acts of a “special” military unit, considered the “best of the best”. These are the acts of street gang members who terrorise and murder innocents in random drive-by shootings as part of a demented initiation ceremony.
They are the worst of the worst and, remember, they wear the Australian flag on their uniforms.
Instead of admitting the plain truth, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and defence force chief, General Angus Campbell, have spouted the usual palette of state-cleansed euphemisms to describe what Australia’s “soldiers” did in Afghanistan to as many as 39 helpless Afghan children, fathers, brothers, sons, farmers and prisoners.
Instead of mass murder, they called it “incidents and issues”. Instead of mass murder, they called it “unlawful killing”. Instead of mass murder, they called it a “serious breach of military conduct”. Instead of mass murder, they called it “misconduct” and “wrongdoing” carried out by “some special forces personnel”.
Turns out, 25 “special forces personnel” took gleeful part in the murders and terrorism. In what lunatic calculation does that halting number qualify as “some”?
Instead of admitting his complicity in the terrorist acts committed by Australia’s home-grown terrorists under his command, General Campbell said this: “I sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any wrongdoing by Australian military personnel in Afghanistan and for our organisation’s failure to recognise the problem and take action at the time of the incidents.”
What a shameful display of empty, exculpatory gibberish. For Australia’s top soldier to describe publicly the wanton, summary executions of 39 Afghan civilians as a “problem” that he, and other senior officers, failed to “take action at the time of the incidents” is as criminal as the murders committed by the thugs in his charge.
Once again, the politicians and generals have promptly absolved themselves of any responsibility for the horror visited upon innocents in the name of a disfigured understanding of freedom and plurality.
Instead, they turn, as always, to the, by now, familiar catalogue of excuses. We did not know, they say. If we did, they say, we would have stopped it. Anyway, they say, the terror was the work of a handful of “rogues”. We, they say, are not like them. We, they say, tried to help and performed our duty with “integrity”.
The excuses will work, as they have worked in the past. The Australian press will soon forget. The Australian people will soon forget. And the world, if it bothered to notice at all, will soon forget, as well.
That means that, ultimately, no one of import in Australia will be held accountable for the murder of 39 Afghans, just as no one of import in Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have ever been held to account for the torture and murder of so many other innocents, in so many other places.
Lest anyone claim that I am pointing an accusatory finger at a country and people I do not know: I was born in Australia.
I spent the first 11 years of my life in Australia. I am no longer Australian by citizenship, but I am by birth. Part of me remains Australian.
So, I am guilty too.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.