Majors now running Defence Policy

Well it’s all settled then. We have the Shadow minister for defence saying defence policy should be dictated by a Major. I guess smaller incursions than Iraq, say Fiji, could be stage managed by the Sergeant’s Mess on that basis.

Peter Tinley has been reported in Saturday’s press as saying Iraq is a moral blunder and to lend more weight to his opinion the article identifies him as a ex SAS Major and war hero – both sound qualifications for a considered opinion however I just can’t get it out of my mind that there is some political overture involved.

Peter has retired from the Military and has set up a sandstone business in Fremantle, Australis Pavestone and Blue Gum Leadership, a .leadership Consultancy He is moving into the corporate world and lectures and submits articles to various institutions in West Australia including the Curtin Business School and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.

Nothing wrong with any of that and front page Weekend Australia isnt going to hurt his aspirations. Good or bad, publicity is publicity.

I may be old fashioned but I’m of the opinion that ex officers should not go public about finer points of intelligence planning and if they critisize the government of the day they should do so quoting their political aspirations rather than their military qualifications. I might add that a Major doesn’t really have much sway in war zones and I’ve generally found they are too close to the action to have objective opinions about the war overall albeit very in-tune with their immediate responsibility.

But that’s just the opinion of an ex major and would hardly rate against opinions of editors with a mission to increase circulation.

Peter’s not quiet so angry in this Army News article that announces his being made a Member of the Order of Australia for his role in the planning and coordination of the Op Falconer. Happy to accept awards from the same people who he now says ‘cynically used the ADF and duped the public’ – maybe he has a double standard issue.

“It was a cynical use of the Australian Defence Force by the Government,” the ex-SAS operations officer told The Weekend Australian yesterday.

“This war duped the Australian Defence Force and the Australian people in terms of thinking it was in some way legitimate.

Old friend and retired Army Officer, Karl Hartman nails the issue with his letter in todays Australian.

I BELIEVE it is worthwhile asking the chief of the defence force how many SAS majors he has on his staff giving him strategic advice. The answer would be “not many”. You would think that after 25 years, Tinley would have learnt to keep his mouth shut.

Oh, and the term ‘Hero’, at least within miltary circles, is not normally used when discussing recipients of the Order of Australia. These awards are made for exemplorary service and hard and dilgent work in planning or management; not actions in the face of the enemy. Maybe the journalist based the use of Hero on this paragraph

Part of his command was 1 SAS Squadron, which was awarded a US Meritorious Unit citation for its “sustained gallantry”, contributing to a comprehensive success for coalition forces in Iraq.

Part of his command was 1 SAS Sqn‘ says he wasn’t the OC of 1 Sqn and as Majors only command at Squadron level, and considering what else was reported, then he was a part of the Special Forces planning staff and had no command function as such.

I have not pursued any insider information and thus don’t know exactly waht Peter’s appointment was in Iraq but in reading the article the terms ‘Hero‘ and ‘Part of his command was 1 SAS Sqn’ are misleading.

Still, half the front page of the Weekend Australian is good publicity.

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