Thursday (Nov. 19th): Australia apologises for “blooding”

Angus Campbell

Name? Angus Campbell

Westphalian identity? Australian

Age? Wikipedia does not tell us, 60ish?

Why is he in the news? Angus Campbell, General in the Australian Military, came out today and announced the findings of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry. He concluded that the report “found there to be credible information to substantiate 23 incidents of alleged unlawful killing of 39 people by 25 Australian special forces personnel predominantly from the Special Air Service Regiment.” 

Why do we care? Whether you are for or against interventions into Afghanistan, we can all agree this is outrageous. Putting aside the multitude of human rights violations, from an IR perspective, this undermines the legitimacy of any military operation and threatens trust in the system. 

Why should you care? If the inability to tell the difference between a Taliban fighter and a member of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) worries you, you should care about this investigation. At least the Taliban can claim they kill for their freedom but if an ADF soldier kills as an initiation ritual (blooding). Then you might want to ask the question: Who is the bad guy here?

Who else cares? The Afghans. Not only do the Afghan government care; which received a lukewarm apology from General Campbell and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, but also the families of the killed civilians. At least the report recommended compensation to the families of the victims… 

Any further comments? The person who made the information public, leading to this investigation, is whistleblower Mr David McBride. Although his allegations proved true, he is still being charged with five offences including theft of Commonwealth property and the unauthorised disclosure of material to journalists. In other words, McBride is the only ADF member deployed in Afghanistan facing charges…To which General Campbell said he was not able to comment, due to his position and ongoing investigations.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordination Communications