In the movie, Forrest Gump, there is a particularly apt line:
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
We don’t have Forrest Gump in Australia. Instead, we have Stuart Robert, the Assistant Minister for Defence. And he’s doing stoopid, real well.
On Monday, he stood up in the Federal Parliament to inform the country that he’s instructed the Australian Defence Force to recruit more Muslims. Stuart Robert called this ‘capability through diversity’.
Then, about 48 hours later, the Prime Minister stood up in front of the national media to warn about the very real risk of insider attacks against Australian diggers. Oh, the irony. It’s killing me.
This plan is a dud. And you don’t need to be Einstein to see it either. You just need to be on the good side of blind. However, the DEFCON 5 klaxon should have been blaring out loud and clear to give warning even to the sightless after the Assistant Minister for Defence’s speech. That’s because it immediately received the blessing of the Labor Party.
Unfortunately, no one took any notice of that. The Liberal National government and the Labor opposition have locked arms and we now have a bipartisan approach to the destruction of the Australian Defence Force.
I could go on all day about why this plan will fail, will kill capability, will kill morale and may well kill soldiers too. But here are just five reasons why it’s wrong.
1. Muslims have already voted with their feet
The Assistant Minister for Defence might want more sons of the Islamic community to join the Australian Defence Force. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get the memo: the sons of the Islamic community have already voted with their feet.
They’ve signed up and shipped off. There are more Muslims from Australia with combat experience fighting with the Islamic State than there are in the entire Australian Defence Force. This community has been given a pretty stark choice: Rising Sun or Allahu Akbar. And they’ve chosen the latter with remarkable resilience. In the last two years, the Islamic community has suffered a casualty rate more than 20 times higher than that borne by Australians during the whole of the Afghanistan war.
In fact, Stuart Robert told us on Monday that there were 96 Muslims in the military. Meanwhile, little over a week ago the Prime Minister told us that there were at least 90 Muslims fighting with the Islamic State. Another 30 had returned home as veterans and an additional 140 patriotic Australian Muslims were supporting terrorist groups in Australia. Of course, those are the numbers that we know. Considering that 100,000 pages of reporting didn’t tip anyone off to Man Haron Monis, it is entirely possible that there are one or two more.
Tony Abbott’s statements were made at the release of the Review of Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Machinery report. It gives this chilling state of play:
“All of the terrorism-related metrics are worsening: known numbers of foreign fighters, sympathisers and supporters, serious investigations. We are not ‘winning’ on any front.”
We’re not winning on any front. So the Assistant Minister for Defence says we should recruit more Muslims. Yeah, that’ll snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
2. We know what they preach
Stuart Robert also told us on Monday that he wants an imam in uniform. His job will be to advise how the Australian Defence Force can be more ‘Islam-friendly’.
Isn’t that nice. But we know what this advice will be because we already know what the imams have said will make Australia more ‘Islam-friendly’.
About two weeks before Stuart Robert announced the Islamic job vacancy, over 100 Islamic organisations, mosques, mullahs, muftis, sheikhs and ustaadhs condemned the government’s approach to national security and they issued a declaration of their own: leave Hizb ut Tahrir alone. This included the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, and the President of the Australian National Imams Council. This, by the way, is the same mob that claimed laws against the advocation of terrorism infringed their religious freedom.
Just out of interest, Hizb ut Tahrir has called for Muslims to avoid Anzac Day. And they have also told us that the current military efforts to defeat the Islamic State are an ‘unjustified invasion’. No wonder the Prime Minister thinks that they are a security threat.
Do we really want an imam in uniform adding his name to these declarations? Because asking for an imam in khaki to provide advice is giving an imam in khaki a massive soapbox to support Hizb ut Tahrir, criticise Anzac Day and raise ‘concerns’ about the deployment of military forces into the Middle East. And, one day, participation in Anzac Day parades will become an optional extra for Islamic soldiers. So will operational service against our nation’s enemies.
On the bright side, I guess there will finally be someone on the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services with enough backbone to say something about Defence’s illegal involvement in the Mardi Gras. I’m guessing that Muslim soldiers will not be required to provide any support to this event either.
3. Terrorism and the ADF? On its way
Australia has the dubious distinction of being the first nation to train a soldier for the Islamic State. His name was Caner Temel and he did us all a favour by strapping on a suicide vest in Syria in early 2014. Unfortunately, he was AWOL from his unit at the time, which was preparing for operations in the Middle East. That’s not so good.
This entire incident should have woken people up from their slumber. Unfortunately, it hasn’t.
We are now deliberately recruiting more people like Caner Temel. We are recruiting more people like Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 of his fellow American soldiers in the name of Allah in 2009. And we are recruiting more people like Asan Akbar, who blew his comrades up with a grenade in 2003, again the name of Allah.
How long will it be before we have our own stories like these? Or like the French? Up to ten of their soldiers have jumped ship and are now fighting for the Islamic State, including some who have served in elite French units. This should be a real warning: the French are giving us a glimpse into the future because they’ve been recruiting Muslims for a while now.
This plan does nothing but increase the risk of inside assistance next time a plot is hatched to attack a military base here in Australia.
If you saw a child playing with matches and a can of petrol, you’d stop them. Unfortunately, we are watching our own government frolic about with a petrol tanker and a stick of dynamite. Maybe it’s time to run for the hills instead.
4. What vetting?
In the early hours of the morning on 16 December 2014, two Australians died at the conclusion of a terrorist attack conducted by Man Haron Monis. This attack occurred just days after security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies reviewed 18 complaints about Man Haron Monis and decided that everything was sweet.
These agencies just dumped those reports with the 100,000 plus other pages of reporting on this guy and carried on.
Obviously, there is a problem here. Clearly, our intelligence agencies have a hard time distinguishing between a terrorist and the rest of us, even though the rest of us don’t have five metre thick files locked away in the ASIO basement.
I know why. I served as an Intelligence Officer. You can’t say boo about Islam. If you do, you lose your job. I know all about that too.
Vetting of recruits from a compromised minority must be taken seriously. However, now a political imperative to recruit more Muslims has been added to the politically-correct dithering that prevents any real analysis of the threat.
How confident are you that the vetting will be thorough, or even conducted at all?
And how confident are you that our military bases and equipment will remain secure when the government says we need to recruit from a community that has shown more allegiance to the Islamic State than Australia?
5. Integration by separation
There was one sentence in Stuart Robert’s speech that I agreed with:
“After all, culturally and linguistically diverse communities are not homogenous.”
Of course, the Minister for the Bleeding Obvious then proceeded to use this fact to argue that we need a more culturally and linguistically diverse Defence Force. It’s like the opposite of Team Building 101.
Stuart Robert also praised the establishment of a new cadet unit comprised almost entirely of Muslims in western Sydney and the Chief of Navy’s decision to appoint an Islamic cultural advisor. And he subsequently stated that these developments would pave the way for more Islamic recruitment.
But what have these developments entailed?
New uniforms, that’s what. Different uniforms. Separate uniforms.
We now have the uniform of the Navy and the uniform of the Navy for Muslims.
That’s capability enhancement right there, but only if ‘enhancement’ means more complicated logistical requirements and the creation of a culture in which Muslims are encouraged not to integrate with the team.
Now don’t get me wrong. I support a Defence Force that has language capability. I also support one that can understand the culture of the threats we face. I just fail to see how ‘capability through diversity’ will achieve that. After all, it is this type of thinking that led to the termination of my commission. And I had Defence-recognised Arabic language qualifications.
Don’t worry. I’m sure somewhere in Canberra there’s a person in the Department of Defence Tolerance Bureau who can justify this logic.
So there’s five reasons why the plan to increase capability through diversity will fail.
Of course, while this plan wreaks havoc, ‘mainstream’ Australians who have signed up for this country will be marginalised and told that their courage is not wanted. In fact, that is exactly what a Defence report said last year: courage was overrated and the number of Anglo-Australian males in the military was undesirable.
It was a message echoed in Stuart Robert’s speech. He highlighted that Anglo-Australians were far more willing to serve in the military and deploy on operations over the last 15 years than anyone else in this nation. But instead of being grateful, or questioning why these Australians were more patriotic than those in the Islamic community, he launched an implicit attack on them. According to Stuart Robert’s logic, our military’s capability is diminished because there are too many ‘mainstream’ Australians in it. If only they were less willing to sign up and serve, then perhaps the Australian Defence Force would be able to do a better job.
What a joke.
Australia and the rest of the Western world have played with diversity and inclusion. And the results are in: Western Muslims make up a large bulk of the Islamic State’s army. These policies have not resulted in inclusion and the only capability that’s been increased is our enemy’s.
Anyone who thinks that this policy will play out differently when applied to the military has rocks in their heads.
Or, to put it another way, ‘capability through diversity’ sure as hell ain’t a box of chocolates. And we do know exactly what we’re getting. Even Forrest Gump should be able to work that out.