The article sat proudly on the Australian Army’s official webpage, nestled under the words ‘Situational Awareness’.
I’m not sure why.
If anything, it seemed like a tribute to the military’s unique ability to generate oxymorons, rather than an article that was even remotely capable of demonstrating that it had any situational awareness at all.
But before we get to the beginning, let’s check the end. It said the author is:
“currently deployed on Operation Paladin as a United Nations Military Observer.”
I’ve never been deployed on an operation that allowed me time for such free-thinking. And you’ll soon see what I mean.
The article started with these words:
“Is there anything morally or legally wrong with giving ADF members (both male and female) the opportunity to have consensual sex during a deployment on a warlike operation?”
See what I mean?
And then it went on to state:
“…I now want to start a conversation. Initially I considered whether the Army could contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases however after some research, I quickly realised there are too many moral, legal, practical, medical and logistical barriers for this concept to be entertained. Perhaps, the solution is to change the way the Army considers fraternisation in operational theatres and enable consenting adults to have sexual relations in a safe, secure and controlled environment. Another option the ADF could consider is facilitating safe and regulated sexual satisfaction through other means such as providing masturbation facilities or issuing sex toys.”
Well, hello sailor!
Suddenly it seems that the Army webpage is competing with the lewder elements of the internet. No doubt, it is all part of a cunning strategy to increase the Army’s recruiting pool.
To put this in a broader context, just three days ago the Army marked the end of its much-vaunted Pathway to Change cultural ‘reform’ program. It was implemented five years ago in response to the Australian Defence Force Academy ‘Skype’ sex scandal.
How far we’ve come.
After more than 1,800 days ‘reprogramming’ Defence personnel to behave in a sexually-appropriate manner, the Australian Army now publishes articles canvassing the idea that prostitutes could be flown into conflict zones to ‘service’ soldiers.
That’s a pretty good indication that this entire program is morally bankrupt.
And a pretty good indication that it has been swallowed hook, line and sinker was right there in the opening sentence of this article: the author felt compelled to nod to equality. If the Army was going to get sexual on operations, it must be made clear that this opportunity is for both boys and girls.
It seems the new, culturally-changed and entirely situationally-unaware Army believes in equal opportunity immorality.
I just want to make this point: I was sacked for behaviour ‘inconsistent’ with the Army’s cultural change agenda.
I’m so proud of that, I’ll say it again: I was sacked for failing to live the ideals espoused by Pathway to Change.
He may not realise it, but General Hurley has probably written the nicest thing anyone will ever say about me.
It really is inconceivable that the Army, after five years of ostensibly attempting to increase respect for women, would publish an article on its official webpage canvassing the collection of Australian ‘sex workers’ and shipping them off to a war zone.
Or that it would run an ‘informed discussion’ piece designed to generate ‘new ideas that contribute to Army modernisation’ supporting the idea that taxpayer-funded sex toys should be issued for use in special-purpose masturbation rooms set up on the front line.
Yet that is exactly what has happened.
To be fair to the author, she did state that after ‘research’ she realised that there may be a moral issue or two (among others) that would scupper the idea of a front-line bordello.
You don’t say?
I’m amazed that anyone would have to ‘research’ anything at all to arrive at that conclusion. But then it still went up on the Army website.
It’s clear that the author in this article did not consider Defence policies prohibiting sexually-inappropriate behaviour. However, that can be forgiven: the Australian Defence Force routinely ignores this lawful general order to march with topless chicks down Oxford Street every year.
It’s less forgivable, however, for her to have failed to consider the minefield that equity and diversity policy has become. These laws belong to the Thought Police and no mercy will be granted. If these ‘ideas’ were ever implemented people would be finding themselves in hot water all over the place.
Sergeants would be hauled before commanding officers because not everyone was told that the hookers had arrived. That’s discrimination. And, at the same time, they’d be hauled over the coals for telling others that they had: that equates to workplace sexual harassment.
And the entire military justice system would go into meltdown over workplace ‘banter’. You can only comment on the titillation tent if you’re crying. But only in a non-judgemental way.
True. The article was pulled shortly after it went up. No one knows for sure whether it took a day or fourteen of them.
But that at least shows someone, somewhere in the Army has their thinking cap on. But not too many.
Consider the steps necessary to get to this point.
The author states on her LinkedIn profile that this article was stimulated by a discussion on an Army-funded trip to Vietnam for high-performing officers:
“The article I have written…is inspired by a mature, well informed and honest conversation that was conducted during that staff ride between a group of Army Officers and supervising staff from the Embassy and the Australian Army Research Centre.”
She went on to say:
“Opportunities like the one provided to me represent the Army’s positive move towards academic and military professionalism.”
Never in the field of academic or military professionalism have so few words been so damaging.
Step one means that it is not that a single officer has been musing about brothels on base, but a whole bunch of them, notably grouped together because they are deemed to be high-performing. And they were joined by embassy staff and accompanied by the Australian Army Research Centre.
The implication of point one is that a lot of effort spent on ‘professional’ thinking is anything but.
Step two required an officer to take this discussion and turn it into an article.
Step three involved whoever runs the official Army blog carefully assessing this article’s content, analysing its implications and then coming to the conclusion that it should be published under the section titled ‘Situational Awareness’.
And step four presumably involved someone outside this bubble of insanity asking the question: what the hell is going on?
It was only at that point that some form of situational awareness kicked in.
In the good old days, anyone even remotely associated with this scandal would have been hit with military charges for bringing Defence into disrepute. Now, however, the article will probably be given its own float at next year’s Mardi Gras and a guard of honour.
The alleged ‘reasons’ given for the need to consider Defence-funded prostitutes, free fraternisation, sex toys and masturbation rooms are health and mental health, prevention of sexual assault, and force protection:
“There are three key aspects of combat effectiveness that might lead a military to try and regulate sexuality; with the primary one being the health and well-being of soldiers. By creating an environment where sex can occur safely, fewer members are likely to contract sexually-transmitted illnesses which reduces the burden on the medical system and increases manpower. Secondly, it is believed that regulating soldiers’ sexual activities helps prevent instances of non-consensual sex and fraternisation. Fraternisation amongst serving members and non-consensual sex can generate considerable ill will, resentment, and active resistance from both within and external to a military unit. Studies on sexual assault and harassment amongst US combat veterans suggest that up to 41 percent of women and 4 percent of men experienced sexual harassment, with 70% of those incidences occurring during military deployments. Unregulated sexual partners on deployment can also serve as sources of intelligence for enemy troops and foreign intelligence agencies which creates a broader security risk for the entire force.
If sexual frustration is a problem, it’s hard to fathom how an outright war on marital fidelity and Defence families can be the solution. But that is exactly what will happen if any of the ideas proposed in this article are ever implemented.
And let’s pause for a moment and anticipate the ‘research’ that may possibly be required if this exercise in ‘informed discussion’ progresses to policy development.
What are the mental health consequences for a soldier who not only experiences the stress of combat but who also loses his family because Defence began promoting fraternisation in warzones?
And what are the mental health consequences for a soldier in these same circumstances who makes advances but is rejected on the battlefield?
Then we get to the idea that the best way to deal with rape and sexual harassment is to lower standards to the point just marginally above these abominations.
To be honest, this article seems to be rooted in a belief that soldiers are nothing more than animals unable to control their most base desires.
And, to be honest, this is the most depressing and demoralising thing in all the insanity that has been covered by this webpage since 2013.
Halal-certified rations, redesigned hat badges, participation in the Mardi Gras, female-prioritised recruitment and even outright and direct sanction of attacks on Christian belief could all be explained away by some argument that it was achieving a perceived ‘good’: diversity, acceptance, increased recruitment, tolerance.
But this? This is different.
This is an acceptance of defeat; that man is incapable of even aspiring to goodness.
That is where the Army is now. An institution that I love views the human condition as barbaric. More than that, an institution that has served ‘good’ in this nation so well now views soldiers as mere brutes directed only towards the government’s purpose.
The philosophical essence of this article is that mankind is a slave to its passions.
In its implications it offers no counter to the crime of depravity that is wartime rape. Yet that is the worldview now promoted on the Army’s official webpage.
Some may claim that I am over-reacting. I disagree. But let’s assume for the moment that they are right.
What else, then, could possibly go wrong?
Let’s look at some other possible problems that rise from the ideas in this article. Practical problems. Operation performance problems. Warfighting problems.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Fraternisation in small combat teams spells their death-knell.
Let’s consider the basic infantry ‘building block’: the four man ‘brick’.
Except one of those men is a woman and fraternisation is not only tolerated but openly accepted.
And that woman is lonely; so are the other three. Tom, Dick and Harry.
She enjoys the attention of them all. But Tom and Harry are rejected while Dick is not. And they are lonely. Away from home.
And Tom is the leader of this brick.
And they are lonely away and from home.
And Tom is jealous.
Where do you think this goes? Where do you think morale and trust and teamwork and sacrifice goes?
And did I mention that Private Goldilocks is also married? And so is Tom. And Dick.
Again, where do you think this goes?
Take Private Goldilocks out of this scenario and throw in Captain Gay. Does it make any difference?
I have seen the consequences of fraternisation on a unit. It destroyed morale and cohesion. And that was back in the day when it was not only unlawful, but socially unacceptable, which meant that it was rare.
The ideas in this article won’t make it rare.
If there is anything good to come out of it, it is these nine words:
“Or maybe it should be stricter in enforcing abstinence.”
They represent 0.7 of 1 percent of the total article and they stick out like a sore thumb. I cannot think of any reason why they are actually included other than as a token ‘here I’ve thrown a bone to something else’.
But, nonetheless, they are there.
And if Pathway to Change is leading to a ‘professional culture’ that is focused on prostitution, fraternisation and taxpayer-funded sex toys, then it is clear that we need to think of something else.
Moral courage is supposedly a virtue within the Australian Army. I dare it to therefore have the moral courage to examine these questions.
If Defence can recruit enough males (and the Chief of Army’s recent correspondence makes it clear that it can), why would it increase female recruitment and exacerbate sexual tension on operations and in the Army’s small team structure?
In the same vein, what consideration has been made of the impact of homosexuality on small team cohesion?
If the Army is truly interested in supporting the families of deployed personnel, what steps will it take to ensure that fraternisation does not see those families destroyed and just another collateral damage casualty of conflict?
If the Army recognises that sexual tension needs to be addressed, why won’t it consider separating male and female accommodation in its training establishments and on bases?
These may seem to be ‘extreme’ solutions.
However, I venture that they are far less extreme, far more in touch with human nature, and far less dangerous to morale and capability than open fraternisation and a defeatist belief that soldiers are nothing more than animals.
The Australian Army proudly published an article that claimed we need to discuss these things. I, and many others, are ready for that discussion.
When will it begin? Or are only the pro-prostitute crowd allowed in this ‘debate’?