Peacekeepers' Association Criticises Video Over Reaction
- Tuesday 19 September 2006

The Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association have criticised the response of the Australian Defence Force and Federal Opposition to the recent internet postings of videos showing Australian soldiers in Iraq.

The National President of the APPVA, Paul Copeland, said calls for severe punishment including dismissal were an “absolute over-reaction.”

“The Government has sent these young soldiers into a dynamic war-like environment where they face threats to their lives every day,” Mr Copeland said.

“These video files, while depicting poor weapon handling, show young soldiers letting off steam. Given this vision was from 2003 and 2005, it seems the ADF is over reacting because of the consistent criticisms in the media over the Kovco affair.”

“These soldiers should not have to bear the brunt of the ADF miss handling of Kovco. While they should face disciplinary action for poor weapon handling, the APPVA strongly opposes soldiers having to show due cause or facing more severe punishment.”

“Once again the ADF is over reacting to the court of public opinion with CDF Angus Houston speaking on a matter which should be handled at battalion level –saying there is no place in the ADF for people who behave this way.”

“One has to ask why these matters are continually politicised?”

Mr Copeland said these types of military videos and photographs are freely available on the internet – most posted by US and Canadian soldiers during their tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If this is the worst our soldiers do, then we still have the best trained soldiers with the best standards of discipline in the world.”

“Such an over reaction will hardly help the ADF in its endeavour to fill current battalions and raise two new battalions.”

CONTACT:
Paul Copeland
National President, APPVA
Mobile: 0419 355 226
president@peacekeepers.asn.au