Vietnam veterans returning home to face hostilities and suicides
A letter from Afghanistan war veteran Dr Daniel Mealey to Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell
Dear General Angus Campbell AO, DSC,
It may surprise you that on the minds of many serving and former-serving ADF personnel, is the belief that only a major invasion at this stage – a bloody war on our own soil – will re-calibrate your priorities, and those of our misinformed civilians.
Historically, you saw the need to contract a civilian sociologist $7.3 million to help you understand your SASR soldiers’ perceptions about you, and their perceptions of the Afghanistan war to which you deployed them. I’m now offering you my own appraisal – free of charge – to ensure that you see why there is a growing disconnect between you and your soldiers. This is an appraisal from someone of 5th generation Army stock; an Army doctor, Afghanistan veteran, and someone who the Royal Commissioners thanked first in their opening address, as being pivotal in forming the Royal Commission to investigate defective ADF leadership.
You will be watching very closely, the case of CPL Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG – a case that resonates strongly with a growing number of aggrieved veterans who have faced impossible battles at war – and then at home – with their individual human rights conflicting against politically-motivated bureaucracies harming them.
Increasingly, our vets battle for basic welfare, healthcare and legal rights to avoid becoming one of the 1,600+ veteran suicides under your watch. Meanwhile, our civilians, from a position of unprecedented comfort in our country, commandeer our media and justice systems toward meaningless conflict surrounding race, gender, and climate.
Nowhere in our civilians’ cumulative conscience does their agenda leave for room for empathy toward soldiers who have killed an enemy at war. This is an agenda that you and your senior officers have absorbed, in the knowledge that there is much personal gain from absorbing it.
There is an ideology at play here, one that grew Australian roots circa the Vietnam War. Those who have lived (or served) through the Vietnam War era will attest to the speed with which Australians supported, and then turned on their own soldiers.
How does an entire nation start from a position of supporting a war on Communists (or a war on Taliban Terrorists for that matter), to turning on the soldiers we sent to fight them?
It’s a question that has puzzled me, a question that leads to more questions about how civilians have been so easily manipulated by our militantly socialist media. It seems that human minds (when not properly grounded in informed moral principles) can so very easily – and mindlessly – be swept away by propaganda.
We all know what propaganda is: information with equivocal versions of the truth, ruthlessly spread for the purpose of a ‘cause.’ Recognising propaganda appears to be a global challenge – but it’s the “spreading” part that interests me.
B.A. Santamaria warned us about the “spread” of communism. We know that from the time it took from initial boots on ground in Vietnam, to the time it took us to bring them home, the ideological, atheistic and anti-human errors of communism were strategically targeted toward our wharves, our universities, our schools and even our seminaries. While our soldiers were fighting the visual representation of communism, our academics and politicians back home allowed ideological communism to march right through the front door.
The impact of this infiltrated ideology upon our soldiers coming home from Vietnam yielded an inhospitality resulting in overwhelming veteran suicides. Importantly, the university students who spat on our soldiers returning from war, would one day become our politicians, our professors, our university and ADFA lecturers. The infiltrated ideology that drove Vietnam veterans to their suicide is the same ideology driving Afghanistan veterans to their suicides too.
What I’m suggesting is that ideologies of an enemy can kill (and have killed) far more of our soldiers than the war itself. This demands that those schooled in the art of moral theology, philosophy and ethics be called upon to protect our military – our final bastion of self-defence – from destructive, ideological errors that have so easily been spread around the globe.
Sadly though, the Top Brass of our military has warmed to the machinations of socialist politicians who dictate which senior officer will be politically appointed to the position of “Governor General.”
The Chinese Communist Party’s indifferent response to those injured or killed by its Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), is a response that could arguably be compared with senior ADF leaders’ indifferent response to those harmed doing their jobs.
Zhang Tan was a director in the United Front Work Department’s Religious Administration Bureau reporting directly to the PSC. His monitoring of Christians and his enforcing of the CCP’s one-child policy has been linked to quite literally, countless deaths.
The CCP has outwardly embraced socio-capitalist wealth, but its tenacious allegiance to communist principles has created a situation in which the valuation of the individual has become reduced to their economic contribution.
Mr Zhang gave a rare glimpse into the CCP, interviewed by reporter Steve Viney: “[CCP] leaders have nothing to do with the ones below them, just like the whole mechanism of the Communist Party — it only looks at the faces above, not the people’s feelings below.
“The CCP doesn’t use the ordinary people’s perspective, it uses a comparative sociological perspective” that elevates the collective good over the individual’s value.”
The problem with this ideology is that by definition, “the collective good” is defined by neither the value of individuals nor their input. It involves a set of relativist outcomes defined by those holding the power. If we’ve learned one thing in the history of histories, it’s that those with power often become disconnected from the needs of the individuals they control, landing in leaders who “have nothing to do with the ones below them,” looking only “at the faces above, not the people’s feelings [nor their human rights] below.”
Leaders looking up, and never down breeds indifference to anyone harmed in their wake. It allows for entitled careerism, a medal-lust that blinds a leader to accountability.
1,600+ of your own Australian Defence Force members are dead, and yet our politicians and journalists are drunk on the fumes of an upwardly focussed, positive appraisal of our leaders’ successes.
I’m calling “communism” on this ideology, and it’s time Australians did so as well. And if they don’t, the writing is on the wall for this country for it to fall – with much bloodshed – like every other country that succumbed to this morally-vacuous, anti-human ideology.
There is a way back for all of you Sir. To overcome this ideology demands a cultural and moral shift in ADF leadership, to uphold the value of individual soldiers – as opposed to the current practice of throwing them under the bus when it is politically convenient to do so. In continued service to my ADF family,
Dr Daniel Mealey