The Australian Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, is getting a rough time from some former Generals who have come out in defence of the military against Smith's handling of an incident that occurred last year at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and has come to be known as the 'Skype affair'.
Ex-Generals, Cosgrove, Leahy, Molan and Cantwell, have been most damning in articles written to newspapers and interviews on TV about Smith's handling of the Defence Ministry Portfolio he inherited after being displaced as Foreign Minister by ex-Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, when Rudd was diposed by Julia Gillard, now our current Prime Minister - and that is a story in itself which would require a far too long deviation from this topic.
Smith's role as Defence Minister has been to expedite affirmative action for female combat roles and ethnic enlistee's into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as he believes there is not enough representation within the ADF of females or those from ethnic cultures from within our multicultural society. A question here, and one which I truly believe to be most relevant; On what military facts does Smith base his belief that females are needed as combat troops? And does Smith truly believe that a nation which practises multiculturalism, a practise which divides the population into cultural tribes that basically live as they did in their old countries, can produce Australian patriots from those cultures that have learned no Australian values nor can relate to what it is to be a patriotic Australian? I believe Smith's ideals of affirmative action and cultural equality are being promoted above the interests and welfare of the ADF which has been surprisingly resistant to political change that has been nipping at the edges of the 'warrior mentality' that inhabits the ADF, which radical leftwing idealists like Smith, have so much trouble in understanding.
Maybe if Smith spent some time with military personnel out on exercise or better still, in a combat zone, and learned to understand why it is so very important to maintain a strong military/warrior class that is prepared to defend the nation that gave them birth, he could gain a better understanding that what he is proposing with affirmative action and cultural equality will destroy the warrior mentality that is so vital in maintaining a strong defence force. Then again, maybe that is Smith's intention?
Smith's championing of the female officer cadet at the centre of the 'Skype Affair' speaks volumes to this author of where his sentimentalities lay. Without a proper briefing or evidence to support what he was saying, Smith launched into a tirade at the time, against the commandant of ADFA and cast personal slurs and accusations against his good name. A subsequent report, which Smith is refusing to release publicly, has cleared the commandant of any wrongdoing, but Smith has refused to apologize to the commandant for words uttered by him in his 'heat of the moment' address to the media. I believe this also shows Smith up as a person who cannot admit to his mistakes while his lack of apology for the wrong words uttered against a man who deserved far better, is a further indication of the estrangement now being felt between the ADF and Smith's position as Defence Minister. I also believe that this is partly due to Smith's ideological push into the Defence Forces of affirmative action and cultural equality which the military has been resisting, and Smith's own personal disconnect with the reality that is the Australian military and how it is meant to operate, not how Smith wishes it to.
If Smith had any shame at all he would immediately resign his ministry.