Australia at war: Aust Defence Association


According to Neil James, Executive director of Australia Defence
Association, Federal Labor MP Daryl Melham (“Anti-terrorism measures
call for more opposition”, Opinion, October 31) thoroughly sinks his
own argument in his first sentence, (The Australian Financial Review, 8 November 2005, p. 65).

These are not ‘peacetime’ measures: “While our strategic and
domestic security circumstances are perhaps not ‘wartime’ in the
traditional sense, they are certainly not ‘peacetime’ either. Under
international law, armed conflict is a material fact by its sense only,
irrespective of national interpretations or individual opinions (even
MPs’),” James wrote.

Undisputably under attack from Islamist terrorism: “And don’t
raise the hoary old myth about needing to declare a war. No country has
legally ‘declared war’ since the United Nations Charter came into force
in 1945. Australians are indisputably under attack from Islamist
terrorism. Only the degree, nature and duration of the attack, and our
responses to them, are open to question.

Terrorists have ‘declared’ war: “The terrorists may also be
criminals under Australian and international law but this conflict is
more than just a law and order problem – not least because the other
side considers it a war even if some naive Aussies think otherwise.

As a country, we’re at war: “Finally, our troops are deployed in
at least two war zones overseas (Iraq and Afghanistan). As a country
we, not just them, are at war, even if some Australians choose to
ignore this. To try to discuss national security measures without
acknowledging or understanding such basic facts is simply irresponsible
as well as uninformed. To do so consciously is even worse,” James added.

The Australian Financial Review, 8/11/2005, p. 65

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