EDITORIAL: ADF reports expose enemy on home soil
THE findings of an ADF inquiry into the actions of certain Australian Special Forces personnel in Afghanistan have exposed more than alleged war crimes.
It also showed that one only had to dig to disappointingly shallow depths under the surface of our society to find many Australians, when the going got tough, were prepared to distance themselves from the very people they were just last week heralding as heroes.
How dare they.
While the findings are undoubtedly confronting, spare a thought for those who have not only had to battle the demons associated with overseas conflict and the return to civilian life but are now also up against a new enemy on Australian soil - public opinion.
Modern day warfare involves faceless foe who use social media as their weapon of choice and have decided that it's suddenly OK to be suspicious of all of those who answered a call few would be brave enough to consider.
As Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds rightly says, this process of scrutiny is crucial to maintaining the highest standards Australians expect of our military, reassuring confidence and trust, and learning from grave failings.
We must also however learn from our past failings.
Here on the Fraser Coast we have an enormous veteran community including many fresh faces who have served in multiple tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor.
One veteran support group in Hervey Bay alone has more than 300 members.
We are blessed to have a large number of locals who are committed to doing what they can to right the wrongs suffered by Vietnam Veterans who were treated terribly by so many of their fellow Australians and others who continue to campaign for a royal commission into veteran suicide and better local support services.
Now, just as advances are starting to be made in the mental health crisis engulfing the ADF, there is a real risk the most crucial conversation we need to keep having will be overshadowed by allegations against a minority.
Let the truth come out but do not let this stop us supporting and saving the lives of Australians who have served with honour.
We must draw on the same spirit which drew us out of our beds to the end of the driveway, candle in hand this Anzac Day despite the cancellation of Dawn Services and rally around our veteran community.
It's our turn to answer the call.
If you need help, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.