Tuesday, October 28, 2014


From close up the airpower in the Middle East is very impressive.

A terrific photo taken by some brilliant RAAF photographers last night

But, as I ask in my Tuesday column for the Canberra Times, is that going to be enough?


The second surprise for the forces is an early Christmas present.

"Better alignment of leave provisions to make it more equitable amongst the forces."

Look who's laughing now

Not everyone feels quite the same way, as this news story for the Canberra Times pointed out . . .


The first blow was late Christmas present.

Some soldiers in the Middle East Area of Operations had their allowances cut.

HMAS Parramatta in the Gulf

I'm not getting involved in the argument about how dangerous it is to be at any particular location - this is simply about the issue of what the cuts to the allowances were all about.

It's in the Canberra Times Defence Supplement . . .

Sunday, October 26, 2014


 I wrote this after reading Peter Leahy's piece on the 'Long War' for ASPI. 

Peter Leahy at ASPI

It's worth reading. 

But also read the penultimate paragraph of this story. 

It's important we don't forget that this war isn't entirely the fault of interpretations of Islam, as I wrote it the Canberra Times . . . 

Friday, October 24, 2014


I wrote this piece for the Strategist some time ago, while I was waiting to find out more on Iraq.

Peter Leahy's article

It looks at the vital strategic context of the war . . . 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Craig Orme's last job was in charge of the Defence College.

The new one's in charge of the forces in the MEAO.

Craig Orme in AMAB

More importantly, he's been here on four occasions in the last four decades.

I did this profile for Tuesday's Canberra Times . . .

Sunday, October 19, 2014


The MEAO - Middle East Area of Operations. 

RAAF Super Hornets in the MEAO courtesy News Ltd

Sorry I didn't get this posted up earlier. I'd temporarily 'lost connectivity'. 

This is my Saturday Canberra Times column, dealing with Iraq . . .  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ethical Investing

The ANU started it.

The university issued a simple statement stating that it would, in future, be investing its money ethically. The uni named some mining and resources companies, including Santos, from which it would divest.

Australian Ethical Super

Unfortunately it appears someone didn't do their homework. The Fin carries a story today suggesting that the named companies - and particularly Santos - are, in fact, very ethical investments.

Another story coincidently noted that the big four accountancy firms have issued a statement of support for the Beijing government. They called for students to stop protests calling for more democracy in Hong Kong.

I wonder how they would justify, ethically, why they felt so compelled to tell the students what to do? What moral code is at work here?

Or are they just more worried about the financial viability of their mainland operations?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Daesh, ISIL, ISIS, and now, bizarrely, "Daish"

"What's in a name," pondered Juillet.

Of course the moral of her story is that alliegance or belonging - want to or not - to a particular cause or group is everything.

ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh?

Media outlets around the world are attempting, incoherently, to come to some view on what the group fighting in the state formerly known as Iraq should be called.

News that it's now begun fighting Iran suggests that it's not a genuine "Islamic State".

That's why I made the decision, some weeks ago, to call it Daesh. So have most reputable media outlets.

Oh, and by the way, the ABC might note it's been the only organisation stupid and incompetant enough to spell the word "Daish". I remember when it used to be an authoritative news outlet.