As with many current serving and ex-serving members of the ADF, I’ve read with a considerable level of dismay and disgust of your intention for the Army’s combat units to do away with what you’ve described as ‘symbols, emblems and iconography’, deemed inappropriate for wearing and being at odds with the Army’s values. Emblems like that of The Punisher, The Phantom, Spartans and iconography such as skulls and grim reapers.
You acknowledge that the wearing of such symbology is never ‘ill-intentioned’ but fail to realise that they’re neither at odds with any Army values, nor is it necessarily a sign of unprofessionalism. Simple images and emblems could never detract from the astonishingly high level of professionalism that our soldiers display at home and abroad. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that an aggressive, flag flying anti-armour platoon can’t be deployed in a peace keeping role to carry out their duties with the highest level of proficiency. The last 30 years of peacekeeping operations have proven this time and time again.
A soldier can accept the high level of ethical standards entrusted upon him, and conduct oneself in a thoroughly respectful manner, all while taking solace in the knowledge that – should the need arise – he can shed all manner of civility and carry out raw savagery as the situation requires. This is not a deviation from a soldier’s duty. This is not something that should be looked down upon. This is a rare and distinct talent that very few people on earth possess.
We mustn’t allow ourselves to forget what our principle and unique role is: the disciplined and lawful application of violence. Erasing symbology of this fact serves no meaningful purpose. Furthermore, it’s this symbology that denotes the warrior prowess displayed by our combat units and should remain. Sir, this is something that I don’t believe you fully understand, which is utterly baffling as you are from an infantry background.
What all of this symbology and iconography represents is a proud warrior culture that forms the epicentre of a winning psyche, along with the embodiment of a distinct group identity that motivates its members to strive for martial mastery, while intimidating all potential opposition. This ruthless pride must never be shunned by our leaders or the wider public. It certainly need not be celebrated outside of military circles but doing away with manifestations of soldierly pride is utterly pointless and potentially damaging.
We employ these units and sub-units to carry out violence, and the only people who would deny that are clearly living in a fantasy realm devoid of real world complexities. They don’t need to be considered, let alone consulted about matters of warfare. Many of them tend to have an arrogant air of intellectual cowardice about them and would more than likely relish the opportunity to denigrate any organisation that exudes strength, pride and loyalty to our nation. Why you would seek favour from these treacherous characters is utterly baffling. You would favour the arrogance of the intellectual coward over the arrogance of the soldier tasked with defending the nation’s interest? Frankly Sir, this is astonishing. Absolutely fucking astonishing.
Those who enjoy the fruits of Western civilization should always be mindful of the monstrous disorder that exists beyond our boundaries, and be eternally grateful that we have our own highly disciplined savages that are willing to meet violence with violence. The absolute pinnacle of naivety holds true that combat can be forgotten as a bitter afterthought, and that we as a species have transcended that level of barbarism. Yet as we’re constantly reminded, the world’s barbarism hasn’t forgotten about us. Our soldiers stand in the way of that barbarism and when deployed are the only thing that offers the slightest hope in delivering populations from brutal oppression. As Dennis Prager said, “Peace activists didn’t liberate Auschwitz”.
Sir, I implore you. Reverse this action and don’t facilitate the decline in our proud militant prowess.