The Australian is reporting an interview with Governor General, Major General Jeffrey. While avoiding directly attacking the government, it is fun seeing the Queen’s representative in Australia, the bloke who could disband the government if he wanted to, deliver a stinging attack on the Iraq war:
Australia’s Commander-in-Chief, Governor-General Michael Jeffery, believes a lack of troops on the ground in the weeks after the US-led coalition went into Iraq hampered efforts to secure Baghdad.
In an interview with The Weekend Australian Magazine, Major General Jeffery contrasted early tactics in Iraq with the counter-insurgency campaign he led in Phuoc Tuy province during the Vietnam War. “We were charged with winning the hearts and minds of local people and ensuring they were safe, which is the antithesis of what’s happening in Baghdad. People aren’t safe,” he said.
Major General Jeffery served in Borneo, Malaya, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam during a 40-year military career. As Commander-in-Chief he receives regular briefings from the defence chiefs on troop deployments, not policy.
He will not say whether Australia’s involvement in Iraq is right or wrong because he won’t comment on operational matters(news terrorist: snigger..).
“I have a total abhorrence of war now,” he said. “Having seen what war does and the causes so often involve stupidity, and understanding the impact on populations … I’m not saying we shouldn’t have an army but I think we have to find far better ways for conflict resolution. “We’ve got to strengthen the United Nations and reform the security council, the world deserves that.”
Between 1991 and 1993 Major General Jeffery served as deputy chief of the general staff, a post he almost resigned from to protest against “massive reductions” in troop numbers. “Now we are seeing people trying to build the army up at a rapid rate because we’re over committed.”
His comments mirror claims by the Opposition Leader and former defence minister Kim Beazley that the military is more stretched than it has been since the Vietnam War.