Newsflash:Diggers use intemperate language

The politically correct movement existed in my day. In South Vietnam we were told to stop referring to our Vietnamese allies and enemy as ‘Noggies’. Being good soldiers we did what we were told and called them ‘Nigels’ when the brass were listening, and Noggies, slopes and anything else that came to mind when they weren’t. In Afghanistan the diggers prove once again that the more things change the more they stay the same but in this case it is Ch7 with their ‘put down on diggers campaign’ that have dug up an obscure Digger or Diggers referring disparagingly to Taliban, Afghanistan locals and ALP politicians. What got up my nose was that the Generals responded and Foreign Affairs minister Smith even apologised to his Afghanistan equivalent for the language used. I received this email this morning from an old mate that lays out the ex service community’s feelings on the subject
The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds and the highest morale and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marines. These words were spoken during World War 2 by the First Lady of America, Eleanor Roosevelt. Can you imagine the boost in morale she gave her troops. What a difference today. We have the Minister of Defence, every politically correct commentator and even members of the General Staff prepared to kick our soldiers, once again, in the guts for being soldiers. The Prime Minister has been prepared to turn a blind eye and let her underlings do the dirty work. Has one of these Generals ever had the opportunity to lead a platoon into battle, casuvac his casualties, write a letter to the next of kin of one of his soldiers? If so, he can then comment on the conduct and political incorrectness of his fighting soldiers. In the public eye this furor will be past history within a week or so. But the lack of support to our fighting men will linger forever. These rough men and women take, occupy and hold ground from the enemy so we, the protected, live on in ignorant bliss. For every neice, nephew and second cousin, who cannot get a seat in the church, at the funeral of the next Australian Digger killed in action, tell one of the Polititians, Generals, Admirals or Field Marshalls there for the photo opportunity to move one pew backward in the Church, “You didn’t support him or his, mates when he was here, so move to the back row.” To our men and women fighting for freedom, remember, you will always have the support from us, the ones like you who have met the dragon and spat in his eye. And another thing, which will never diminish is your honour and sense of Duty First. It will stay with you forever. I. G. Atkinson
Sailors getting drunk on shore leave and trying to score and soldiers talking rough about the enemy (and that includes the ALP)….what is the world coming to?


  • We had a Vietnamese refugee in our regiment – he was instantly nicknamed “Luke” – as in Luke the Gook. We spent most of our training time refighting the Vietnam War in the Bindoon bush, and the enemy was always known as gooks, slopes, zipperheads etc. When the action shifted to Gulf War I, the enemy became towelheads, camelfuckers etc etc.

    As for low morals…. I once had to drive the RSM and a couple of ocelots and the padre to an OC’s conference. During the drive, the RSM rooted around in one of the toolboxes in the back and found some porn (have no idea how it got there – honest). The rest of the drive was spent with him showing various pages to the padre and saying things like, “Ever stuck your face in a gash like that, Skypilot?”

    • I really think that you have gone a bit far there Boyo. You have to follow the rules set down by the politicaly correct enforcement bureau. You don’t write about that sort of thing or even speak about it.

      What you should do is make a movie about it, including all the irreverent actors you can name, toss in a few close ups of the porn alluded to, and then people will pay $15 a head to watch it re-enacted and laugh about it, along with the rest of us.

  • It’s a good thing that Facebook wasn’t around forty years ago. Sure, we used the term “Noggies”, but it was discouraged in a half-hearted sort of way.
    Having said that, one of the things in Vietnam that set Australians apart from the Yanks was that there was at least lip service paid at ATF command level to respecting the people we were supposed to be fighting for. I strongly doubt that a My Lai would have been possible in an Australian unit.
    This grudging respect becomes clear when you engage ex-VC in conversation about the differences between Aussies and Yanks as soldiers. This has become very obvious to me on my return visits to SVN. One sign of this mutual respect is that it is possible that a reconciliation march may be held in country next year.
    They hold us in much higher esteem, both from the point of view of tactics and respect for civilians.
    For mine, that’s worth remembering, and a source of pride.
    What goes round comes round.

    • Are you sure you made that first trip to “the funny country” Robert? You have some wondrous memories or perhaps selective memories. Calling a slope a nog wouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow at any level, rank or political persuasion during the time you were overseas fighting the good war. Too much education and pushing your own barrow has made you pretentious. You appear to be attempting to cover your rear end. What is the quote? I’m sure you will know….”he doth protest too much”.
      The military massacre of civilians seems a bit over the top in making a point about intemperate language don’t you think?

  • “The military massacre of civilians seems a bit over the top”
    Interesting understatement.
    It provides an insight into your sense of proportion.

    • Sorry Bobby, I should have kept it simple. Where is the relevance of My Lai in a chat about intemperate language?

      • The relevance is that the attitude anyone has to a particular group of people is usually reflected in the terms used to describe them. We used the term Nog (Notorious Oriental Gentlemen perhaps – or an abbreviation of Nig-nog – take your pick). It didn’t mean anything very much to us – probably a kind of shorthand, but I guess if someone who was supposed to be saving me from tyranny came to my country and called me something derogatory, they probably wouldn’t be guaranteed of my cooperation and respect.
        My Lai is relevant because it represents the extreme end of the continum of disrespect – that of cold blooded murder. That incident served to reinforce much of the anti-war sentiment already extant in the USA, so was fundamentally counter-productive.
        I can remember the Yanks calling the Vietnamese “slopes”, and this certainly was derogatory.
        My Lai is also relevant because it was in one way the harbinger of what happened in Afghanistan last week, although in one sense it was the reverse phenomenon – reporting of something happening in the USA influencing events in Afghanistan, rather than the reporting of something happening in Vietnam influencing attitudes in the USA.
        What is also different these days is that the internet transmits information almost instantly, and it’s accessible to all. Hence a bigot in Gainesville has the power to influence bigots in Mazar-i-Sharif at the same time making an already hazardous deployment more dangerous.

  • Way too verbose for me Robert. (No verb in there) You certainly do not understand the idea of keeping it short. You have a heady understanding of the language but haven’t taught your fingers to follow your thinking….continum? In my day my parents taught me to control my violent instincts with a simple line…..sticks and stones (you know the rest). People by choice have become precious about the use of language and I do not see that as a good thing (my opinion).
    I suppose you also believe that when you fart that somewhere in England a blade of grass will move. You are right about the internet it enables the immediate dissemination of way too much information that can be seized upon and used by scrupulous or unscrupulous people.I still do not see the relevance of Calley and Co. in the context of intemperate language.

  • I’ll keep it short.
    Verballing a group of people is at one end of a continuum of hate. Killing them is at the other.
    That’s the connection.

    • I guess if you get verballed and have the strength of mind to ignore it, the wordage becomes just so much hot air. There is also a major difference beween face to face insults and the use of generalisations in a conversation not intended to be heard by the persons spoken of. Of course the internet changes things for those with thin skins and an internet connection. You would be a fool to think that during times of stress that people of other races don’t refer to Australians in derogatory terms, ask the relatives of those injured or killed as bystanders. Ask the relatives of those who were killed in Vietnam by “friendly” fire. The funny thing here of course is that we Australians have developed a holier than thou attitude, so that we attack our own over perceptions of racist actions and statements. We are afraid to speak publicly about beliefs for fear of being labelled by our own. Can you name three countries that treat their own people in this fashion. We put up with and modify our behaviour to avoid external condemnation over perceptions of racism by people who vilify all and sundry not of there own race.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.