Wednesday 17th of April 2024

whither ANZAC?

As we busy ourselves for our traditional ANZAC celebrations, in memory of those servicemen & women who gave their lives on our behalf, perhaps we should reflect on the values imbued in that fine tradition & what they really mean to us today?

Values such as bravery, honour, humility, compassion, self-sacrifice, trust, loyalty & mateship are the hallmarks of our ANZAC tradition & they resonate with ordinary Australians, not only out of pride in our accomplishments at Gallipoli, Tobruk, Kakoda & Long Tan, but because we have come to believe that they are at one with our character.

Our pride & respect for our Armed Services springs not only from that fine ANZAC tradition but also from our belief that its members will protect & perpetuate those same values, no matter the circumstances or situation in which their orders might place them. Ultimately they represent us: our values, our beliefs & our aspirations for a world in which we would like to live.

The members of our Armed Services cannot & will not question or refuse their orders & nor would we expect them to. They will do their utmost to fulfil their duty & we will always wish them safely home, out of harm’s way.

So what of our duty?

In the course of our brief history, Australian servicemen & women have demonstrated a willingness to volunteer in the service of their country, whether to defend it directly or indirectly as a consequence of our heritage, but always reflecting our collective belief in the moral soundness of their purpose.

The exception in this record arose fairly recently through our involvement in the Vietnam conflict, instigated by a now forgotten Prime Minister & promoted through the use of an infamous slogan: “all the way with LBJ

A Square Deal

Come Anzac Day, I turn to CJ Dennis for meaning.

A Square Deal
by CJ Dennis. From Digger Smith.


Lest We Forget

Lest we Forget What?
That to lie down your life for a tradition is such idiocy?
Henry Ford said, "History is Bunk" and no one cut him to bits for saying it. They continued on his empire into the future.
John Richardson writes like a lot of Newspaper editorialists will write about ANZAC Day.
They don't write the truth, they write what they think people want to hear. Some people will want to hear it, and some don't.
ANZAC Day is a holiday, just like Christmas Day and Easter Friday.
Lest We Forget?

whither ANZAC?

Hi Len, I’m not aware that anyone has laid-down their life for a tradition – ANZAC or otherwise. And I certainly haven’t suggested that such was the case.

Whilst you may take a cynical view of the ANZAC tradition, it has arisen through the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Australians over the past 100 years.

As to their motivation, whether it was right, wrong, good, bad, honest or otherwise, we can argue about that until the cows come home.

But the ‘tradition’ wasn’t borne from their political views or their view of history. Rather, it was borne from their shared experience & how they came to value each other in the process.

In spite of Henry Ford & John Howard’s best efforts, most Australians still seem to believe that those values are worth aspiring to: at least as long as it doesn’t cost them anything.

You say that what I wrote was not the truth & that it was for the benefit of others. Whilst you are entitled to your view, I can only say that I wrote what I believe to be the truth & I resent the likes of John Howard traducing that truth & everything it stands for.

As to what other people might want to hear: let them decide Len.

If they do nothing more than think about the tradition behind ANZAC Day, that has to be of some value. Certainly more than just treating it as another holiday.


John, the Turks have just put a bloody big highway to ANZAC Cove like any developer would put to a tourist destination.
Maybe they can put an airstrip in and Qantas can fly jumbo jets in.
I am being cynical am I.
I am quite sure I am not John.
I am just reporting the news. The big highway now ill bring even more people and yes they will need a plane.
John Howard asked the Turks to put the road in, just so Australians can hear speeches from politicians. The ABC reported this two days ago and the cameras honed in on the seating from where they were to put all the dignitries. The seats were right over one one the graves.
The ABC reporters pointed it out.
No, John I am not being cynical. I am being factual and objective without bias and sentiment handed down from anyone.
I consider myself a professional journalist.


Cynical Len? In your first comment, you “mocked

Not My Fault

"No b'dee b'leeves 'n astrine prime minuhsta w'd do that."

Don't be silly. It's not fair.

It's OK, John. Turns out we are all past that worn-out stuff. We are ready to move on, together.

Australia 2005 wasn't, couldn't have been, in Digger Smith's dreamin'. From a soldier-settlement "farm" on poor soil, to a decade on the wallaby, into another military adventure. A few years as guests of Nippon, to finish up as Uncle Sam's yapping cur.

The lapdog rushed out a bit too early, on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation . A good terrier isn't supposed to draw attention to the nuclear ambitions of the world's biggest bully. Digger's grievous error made Greg Sheridan rush into Beijing's naked power politics, on the same day Rupert had to admit that Japanese parliamentarians bending the knee at Yasukuni was a little odd. Particularly since Koizumi was trying to tell China that Japan had done enough apologising. What's Tom Schieffer to do now?

Doesn't it prove we can't trust the yellow hordes? I expect John Howard to reinstate the White Australia Policy, set against the background of Turkish treachery. Just don't weaken, John, don't give an inch. It's not the Digger way. And don't sack De-Anne Kelly, until after Joh's safely buried.

War Crimes

John, I follow no rules. I will not follow your rules.
I follow my own and I have no rules. War should have no rules.
There should be no war crimes. It is a crime to go to war.
In war may people followed orders and they are now dead. Many did not follow orders and they lived.


As the Gallipoli light spectacular is flaring above the skies of the beach, history is being manipulated with open abandon to suit the glory of the brave which we can't deny, though we should be fighting the stupidity of war ever after. Gallipoli was a stupid attack ordered by the Brits using Aussie fodder... The order to stop the wave of attacks after the devastating landing was not relayed in time. As a German friend said to me once in his native language: “You know what’s wrong with the Australians?

War, soldiers and hypocrisy

Hey all, I'm not sure what you guys are disagreeing about. To me you all seem to have basically the same message, just different slants on such. I don't disagree with any of what you all have written. But I do have differing views on some of it.

Is there any family that hasn't been affected by war? All of us have suffered because of war, be it personally of from our grandfathers time. We still suffer and yet we allow our politicians to misuse the courage of young Australians to whip up more fervour.

There is nothing noble about war, nothing to celebrate, mainly something that those who have been to war don't want to talk about or discuss with anyone except their mates who also went.

It's those that haven't been to war that misuse the experiences of soldiers who had no idea what they were facing before they went. People like Howard who has ridden the khaki trail to stay in power, nothing more. I suspect he still has his toy soldier collection at Kirribilli as he is obsessed with war and soldiers. Yet he has a Ministry that has draft dodgers.

The truth is that the armed services do not represent the cream of our society. Just look at what happens in the services as initiation, bullying and the rest. If that is the cream then there is little hope for the rest of us.

Yes, there are many brave people in the services but all they do is follow orders which are mostly misguided and deceitful. They are usually young and looking for adventure but do so thinking they are invincible. They are cannon fodder, people to sacrifice.They are used for political purposes and the soldiers see it as glory, until they go to war and see the reality.

There is no justification for war except if our country is under attack. Any other use of our defence forces is just politics. Politicians ready to sacrifice usually young Australians for their own career gains.

Medals, ceremonies, awards, marches and the rest do nothing to help the families left behind or those wounded. The only advantage to most returned serviceman from those activities is that they can gather together and remember their mates and what they went through. But the pomp and ceremony we waste resources on would be far more appreciated if it were dedicated to helping the returned people and damaged families survive and recover.

If any of you have known or know a member of the Armed services who was hurt on duty you will also know that the administration disowns them as soon as they are not useful. That is today, and the past.

The media does misrepresnt what they call the Anzac spirit. The people who went there were ignorant as to what was coming and they were disgracefully led and misused. It was simply slaughter, nothing less. I see no glorious spirit in what happened at Gallipoli or any other war. Those at Gallipoli had no choice once they were there. They just had to try and survive under the worst conditions. It was a defeat of major proportions and I don't understand why anyone says it represents the Aussie spirit. They were sent there and left there to die. They did what they could given that fact.

Yes, we should mourn for them and respect them for trying and being brave enough to go. But they did not go with knowledge. They went blindly. They were betrayed and abandoned by our government just as returned people or the wounded are abandoned after they have made their sacrifice and trying to recover and get back into society.

There is no glory in Howard posing with maimed and dead soldiers. They are useless to him and usually suffer for the rest of their lives with little recognition or acknowledgment. So he poses with fresh faced soldiers and displays crocodile tears to those that are hurt.

I say stop the ceremonies, forget the past and reward those that survived, and their families. They need support, financially and emotionally rather than a brief, once a year party.

I say stop glorifying Gallipoli and misusing it to motivate more young Australians to lose their lives or damage their minds and bodies. I say, if there must be wars between nations, let the leaders fight it out in a cage. Leave the people out of it.

... and Hypocrisy

Could not agree more.

Anzac day - national disgrace

Anzac day is a national disgrace for Australia. I wouldn't care if they built a widgit factory at Anzac Cove, if that's what it would take to leave the dead alone. Knock down all the war memorials - what are they good for apart from perpuating the myth of glorious death?

We've even gone so far as to openly pronounce it a 'celebration'. This has become the worst example of jingoistic tosh Australia has ever produced.

No soldier has ever died a glorious death, or made a sacrifice for their country or fought for the sake of morality. Soldiers are butchered, and die horribly. Gallipoli was one of history's great human slaughter yards. No glory, no merit, no aspiration - just wholesale horror.

The diggers were sold a jingoistic lie in 1914, and it enrages me that one of the very slogans that led them to their horrible, pointless deaths is now read out across Australia to 'commerate' their deaths and 'what they did for Australia'.

Let's get this straight. All they did was suffer and die, and the last things on their minds would have been what they were achieving for the folks back home.

Anzac day, if anything, should be a day of national mourning, and a day that we take a good long, hard look at ourselves in shame at our failures as a society. A sackcloth day. The military should be kept well out of all official functions. Only then can we do justice to the memory of the slaughtered.

Instead we get the same jingoistic shit, from the same shit brand of politicians and vacuous commentators. Keep the legend of glory alive for the next generation of war meat.

Anzac Day

Phil, you are correct in most of what you say about Anzac Day. This day was supposed to a day of mourning not a day of cellebration.

All this jingoism and sabre rattling is sickening. I'll continue to observe Anzac Day in my way. I'll spend a few hours in silent contemplation of the ultimate obscenity which saw (and still sees) the flower of our youth sent to die in foreign lands at the whim of a few old men (a few women now too - my apologies Bronwyn, Amanda, etc).


I dunno, Phil, it doesn't seem such a big deal, to me. If we were working at it, we'd have a memorial/celebration/wailing day for some past battle or other, every week of the year. As the intervals draw out, the notices and turn-outs for, say, Coral Sea Day, will be restricted to the 60, 75 year anniversaries, then fade away. Will there be a national whip-up for Long Tan Day next year? If the blood had been spilt on our own turf, it would be different.

Our model is, very much, that the military forces take their orders from the civilian government. I doubt that many of the troops would be attracted to making parades for salute-fests at Martin Place. But if the public wanted it, they would do as they were told.

The remarks made by Justin Kelly were very encouraging. He is referring to the fact that the foot-soldiers of the ADF will be employed more often in policing activities in the streets and villages of struggling countries. Some of them will get caught up in atrocities, some will be lucky enough to do fairly unexciting tours. But we must aim at getting them all back in fit condition to resume civilian life. The worst thing we can inflict on them is to force them to carry dreadful secrets to premature graves. If we, as citizens, prefer that someone else's sons and daughters do the dirty work, then we will be up shit creek.

Re: Militarism

John Howard seems detirmined to have his tenure as prime minister of Australia etched into the record in blood.

He seems to believe that only by this way will he he be seen alongside such luminaries as Menzies and Curtin as a great leader.

Doesn't it make you feel good that little Johnny feels that way?