Debate about Kopassus being trained

Debate about Kopassus being trained by Australian Special Forces brings out a lot of opinion based on less than serious knowledge. The Australian has an article on the matter in todays issue For those who think training them is stupid when we may have to fight them one day I would point out one fact. If we train them and later have to fight them then it will be a huge advantage. We will know before-hand how they will react to any given situation. Kevin Rudd claims we should be training police only in counter terrorist work; But Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, who has just returned from Indonesia, said Australia had an alternative to working with Kopassus. He said the US Government, which had concerns about Kopassus’s involvement in the killing of US citizens in Papua last year, was building a counter-terrorism capacity within the Indonesian national police. He said it was devoting $45 million to developing a 300-strong counter-terrorism unit within the police force. “The (Australian Federal Police) has developed an excellent relationship with the Indonesian national police and it is the police that Australia should also be developing its counter-terrorism ties with,” he said. Kevin misses the point. In a society like Australia the roles of police and the military in counter terrorism are clearly defined. There is a role for both and it is based on overall role. The Army with its weapon and equipment inventory lend itself to resolving hostage/terrorist situations when all else has failed. They are in fact, the logical step after the police have failed with their less powerful inventory and negotiating skills. The Army are not known for negotiating but are known for reaching ascendency very quickly once the situation has degenerated to a do-or-die scenario. If we are to help Indonesia combat terrorism on the road to an acceptable democracy then we only have our standards as a guide. With that in mind it would be natural for Australian senior ADF/Polce officers to train both the Indon Police and Kopassus. I actually don’t think Kevin misses the point but he is politically obligated to have an alternative to whatever the Government suggests. The report mentions that; ….senior Australian military officials, including army chief Peter Leahy and special forces chief Duncan Lewis, have also visited Indonesia since June in a bid to smooth the way for a resumption of ties. I would point out that as well as being a respected Special Forces Officer and commander, Gen Duncan Lewis is also, like myself, a graduate of the RAAF Language School. When he negotiates it will be with the strength of being profficient in Bahasa Indonesia. Be assured, we in the military have been taking ABRI, and particularly Kopassus, very seriously since the late 50s early 60s.