April 25, 2006

Horse 537 - ANZAC Day

Since the end of the Vietnam War the total number of Australians killed in combat situations is not as high as what you'd suspect considering that Australia sends troops as peace-keepers to wherever the UN/US demands.
This number is a grand total of 17 Quite unexpected isn't it? Only 17 soldiers killed on active duty since 1975. What's even scarier is that of those 17, 15 of them were accidents including this last chap who was cleaning his rifle when it discharged.

It does make you ask a very interesting question; that is "what is the point in spending all this money in having a standing army if clearly there's not really a need?"
The answer to this is actually entrenched into the culture of the Defence Forces of this country, and bears witness especially today.

I suspect that the reason why the number is so few has very little to do with the danger/lack of danger that the troops have been sent into but rather with the way that soldiers are trained.
During WW2 Australians were still for the most part considered to be British Subjects and as such were trained as such. Even today that discipline of the Australian Defence Forces is literallt second to none.

The people who work for the Defence Forces of this country ARE the best trained in the world. They keep on being asked to do difficult and dangerous jobs because everybody knows that the job will be done properly. If you look at places like East Timor especially, not one troop was killed or injured and why? Because the soldiers sent there retained their unique charm and still did and excellent job at not only restoring peace but rebuilding a country. In the Solomon Islands at the moment, it is Australians who have been sent there and a situation has never been allowed to develop.

So why today may be a chance to remember the fallen and those who graciously gave up their lives in stupid conflicts all over the world that Australians didn't start but were sent to anyway, it's also a chance to reflect on those people in active duty who truly are the very best in the world.

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