The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul Sheehan wrote this article in response to the Defence Force’s decision to terminate my commission.
The Australian Army will terminate Major Bernie Gaynor’s commission tomorrow. It is not difficult to see why. Gaynor has accused the army’s higher leadership of cowardice.
He has made the claim publicly, repeatedly, and in various forms. He has predicted the moral cowardice of the army’s leadership would inevitably lead to a complete waste of the service and sacrifices made by thousands of Australian military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This has not gone down well. On June 30, the chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, AC, DSC, on his last day in the job, wrote to Gaynor detailing why he was no longer fit to serve in the Army Reserve.
Gaynor served three tours of duty in Iraq while serving in Army intelligence. In a column published on March 17, I quoted a speech he had given to a conference in Melbourne: “It is my unpleasant duty to inform you that the Australian Defence Force has a fundamentally broken approach to religion, an approach shaped partly by the triumph of bureaucratic administration over battlefield considerations but mostly by political correctness…”
“The ADF has a fundamentally flawed understanding of Islam. Just look at Iraq. I was one of the last Australians to serve there. All the politicians and military hierarchy were saying the withdrawal of Western military force was based on success. And yet al-Qaeda today controls more of Iraq than it ever did while Western forces were in the country …”
That was four months ago. It is much worse now. What Gaynor has predicted has spread, deepened and metastasised into Afghanistan.
“While everyone is watching the spread of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, we’re not noticing that areas where British and American troops fought and died in Afghanistan are being taken by the Taliban even before NATO forces have left the country … Helmand Province is being overrun by the Taliban. It is next to Oruzgan Province, where the Australian military was deployed and 40 Australians died.”
During the past week, The Washington Post and news agencies have reported dozens have been killed in fighting in Helmand Province as the Taliban committed hundreds of fighters to attacking Afghan army posts.