Veterans Group reflects on brutality of war

Veterans Group reflects on brutality of war and question how politicians use our armed forces on ANZAC Day


By Hamish Chitts
23 April 2009

The Australian-based veterans group Stand Fast, comprised of veterans and former military personnel who oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, today called on people to reject blind patriotism and flag waving this ANZAC Day. Stand Fast has called for reflection on the brutality of war and for people to question if Australia’s current wars are really inwar gigs the interest of the people of Australia.

In Brisbane Stand Fast spokesperson and East Timor veteran, Hamish Chitts said the group thinks the increasing spectacle of flag waving and cheering on ANZAC Day departs from its origins as a sombre day of remembrance. The group is concerned that this trend stops people openly questioning these wars amid fears that they will be accused of being ‘unpatriotic’ or not supporting the troops.

Vietnam veteran and Sydney based Stand Fast member Gerry Binder said, “The original idea was to remember the brutality that war is so that we would never let it happen again, not marching up and down with bands and people waving and shouting and cheering.” He said, “I’ve marched in Anzac Day marches and I was horrified that people are bringing their kids to cheer, to clap. I don’t want to be congratulated; I want them to understand that this must not be repeated.”

In Melbourne former army Major Chip Henriss, a Bouganville and East Timor veteran said, “I march on ANZAC Day every year but along with my medals I wear a button that says “War is Terror”. For us in Australia it’s been about mainly young people that have gone off time after time on what we believed was a just crusade only to return wounded physically and mentally. Yes I love the mates I served with and many of whom continue to serve but it doesn’t mean I can’t see these wars for what they are.”

According to Chitts Stand Fast believes that “to claim these wars bring democracy and that they are in our best interests are ridiculous.  Stand Fast believes politicians are looking after the interests of big business and dressing it up to look like the people of Afghanistan or Iraq have the capability and desire to attack Australia”.

Former Royal Australian Navy officer Mark Rickards led over 70 vessel boardings in the Red Sea following the first Gulf War. Speaking from Hobart Rickards said, “Anzac Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to those who served, and particular who died, in wars which were fought in defence of peace. However it is also the perfect time to stop and reflect on the growing death toll of Australian service personnel who are currently serving in unjust wars.

Chitts continued, “These members of parliament, both Labor and Coalition vie with each other to be more ‘the diggers friend’ than the other. Most have never served in the Defence Force and would be horrified if their children did.  As veterans, our thoughts are with all those who have suffered from war, those still suffering physically and mentally because of war and all those still in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. No more blood should be shed for the profiteers. Those who truly support the troops should join the call to bring all the troops home now”.
For further information contact Hamish on 0401 586 923 or email or visit

4 thoughts on “Veterans Group reflects on brutality of war

  1. Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan says:

    by Jeremy Scahill November 23, 2009
    Blackwater Logo
    At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found.

    The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus…
    Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo
    Excerpt —

    Blackwater: Company Non Grata in Pakistan
    For months, the Pakistani media has been flooded with stories about Blackwater’s alleged growing presence in the country. For the most part, these stories have been ignored by the US press and denounced as lies or propaganda by US officials in Pakistan. But the reality is that, although many of the stories appear to be wildly exaggerated, Pakistanis have good reason to be concerned about Blackwater’s operations in their country. It is no secret in Washington or Islamabad that Blackwater has been a central part of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the company has been involved–almost from the beginning of the “war on terror”–with clandestine US operations.

  2. markjuliansmith says:

    “blind patriotism, flag waving, brutality of war,”

    The inference here is given the above are obviously negative the response to the “question are Australia’s current wars .. really in the interest of the people of Australia?” is clearly a negative.

    The parts which are missing from the argument are real supportive facts. There can be no doubt in themselves “blind patriotism, flag waving” are not desirable but they are not determinates for the underlying reasons for any war also by its nature war is brutal and many other negative things besides – so what.

    Notions of doing it for the British Empire are somewhat prosaic and utilizing them to state the war in Afghanistan is not in Australian citizens interests is insulting to the intelligence of a majority of any educated citizenry in the twenty first century.

    The fact is the text which drives what are termed Australians enemies in Afghanistan was around long before Australia let alone the US existed. This is a text which exists in our own streets here in Australia. It has been acted upon to do Australians harm directly in Bali and elsewhere and attempted harm in Australians own streets.

    Borders simply do not exist, thinking somehow by removing ourselves from Afghanistan and being kind to dogs and children we will be spared because we acted with goodwill denies not only the texts contents but outcomes deriving from it since the seventh century.

    This is a Global war of ideas Democracy textual construct against an Islamic theological textual construct. Politicians like to hide this fact behind mealy mouth rhetoric but this is what it is. Withdrawing from one theater of military operations is not going to make things better. It will just enable better logistic support for terrorists in the field – our fields.

    The question Australians need to ask for their own future well being is “How would I feel if I was a female child growing up in an seventh Islamic misogynistic, tribal textual framework?”, “Do I believe in enabling the maximization of others independence?”, “What’s it like swinging from soccer goal posts?”, and “Do I really believe, given history, a textual frame work which survives only by terrorizing its own people will not also spread terror externally?” etc…

    You want to have relative maximized opportunity for independence but would deny it to others – sound fair to me?

    Change the text change the world – otherwise terror and brutal war as usual.

Please comment down below