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Friday, 3 May 2013

Military plans in Australia are made in total secrecy

A Growler is a war plane. Other than that you need to read specialist magazines to learn anything about it. War technology is so advanced these days and it's so secret that the average person has as much idea about how it works and what it means in real life, as they do about the chemistry of the human brain. So a defence white paper is released today? And then? Decisions about the machinery and the personnel designed to defend Australia in case of attack are the province of a minuscule clique at the head of government, the armed forces, and the Department of Defense. The average person knows nix about it, and that's the way the mandarins want to keep it.

But why? Defence expenditure may equate to 1.5% of GDP, which is a massive amount of money. And anyway, noone knows what it would take to defend a piece of real estate the size of Australia. Even if the whole of the country's population relocated to Tasmania, we'd probably not have enough assets to adequately defend ourselves in case someone really wanted to move in and commence occupation. The continent is  so large and so lightly populated that the two-thirds of the populace that lives in capital cities cannot even remotely grasp its extent, and what that means in terms of military defence.

News stories about defence are utterly inadequate for the purpose of informing the community as to what is involved - in defence materiel, foreign deployments, strategies, alliances - that reading them is a complete waste of time. In Canberra, the mandarins operate in the public interest but they make sure the public is ignorant of the scope and size of their undertakings. The mandarins run a tight ship, they're experienced players, and they make an effort to ensure that the community remains in the dark about what is planned, what is feared, and what Australia is doing about it. Canberra might as well be a black box. Money goes in, and remote military bases throughout the continent - who knows where they are or what capabilities they have - are staffed and equipped in total silence. Blackout curtains of government spin are wreathed around deployments. You might see a camouflaged convoy on the highway one day but you won't know where they're going or why. You don't need to know. The country's safety depends on your not knowing. Don't ask.

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