Houston v. HoWARd or Exocet v. Torpedo. Round #2.
Late in 2001, the then acting Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Air Marshal Houston had to contend with the Defence Minister, Peter Reith and the Prime Minister, John HoWARd who slavishly defended the lies and misleading images regarding the incident we have come to know as ‘children overboard.’
The following is drawn from the Executive summary of the report of the Select Committee on a Certain Maritime Incident.
“FINDINGS OF FACT: No children were thrown overboard from SIEV 4. […] On 7 November 2001, the then Acting Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston, informed Minister Reith that children had not been thrown overboard from SIEV 4. On four other occasions the lack of or dubious nature of evidence for the ‘children overboard’ report were drawn to the attention of the Minister or his staff by officers from Defence.”
This from HoWARd in Senate estimates on 20/02/2002:
“Last night, they thought they had an Exercet [sic], they thought they had an Exercet from the Air Marshal. I think you had a decent torpedo from the Admiral, Mr Speaker.”
“If I confirm to the House which I have previously said about my discussions with Mr Reith. I specifically add that he did not convey to me in our discussion the discussion he had with Air Marshal Houston.” – HoWARd.
“I was concerned that I had the opportunity to speak to the Chief of the Defence Forces and had not had a proper detailed and conclusive report. I am certain I did not discuss Air Marshal Angus Houston’s comments with the PM because I felt it was wrong to do so without talking first to the CDF.” -Peter Reith
It is traditional practice that the ‘colour’ of CDF rotates between the three services- Army, Navy, Air force. It was widely believed that after Admiral Barrie it was to be Air Force blue for CDF. It is also believed that Air Marshal Houston, and with him the Air force, was being punished for his honesty in the children overboard affair and it would be some time before he became Air Chief Marshal Houston. That day came and now we have an honest man meeting a dishonest man yet again.
I predict that whilst Houston has the height to beat HoWARd even with Minister of Defence, Brendan Nelson acting as spit-bucket boy, CDF does not have the trickiness, the sneakiness or the dishonesty to beat the unflushable turd and his little fart that are our PM and Defence Minister, respectively.
Image from here
September 10th, 2006 at 6:31 pm
Suki … I have posted a complementary (it is complimentary too) note on my blog …. hope all is well …. we have to get rid of these bastards …. they are turning the world into a turmoil without focusing on the real issues … Al Qaeda and fixing up Israel/Palestine.
Frigging in the rigging with Iraq is just a waste of time, assets (don’t you just love that word) and lives. I hope that they find a better way of dealing with Iran and North Korea, rather than softening us all up for an apparently inevitable conflict.
They also insist on seeing Pakistan as some sort of “good international citizen” … I think they both need their bumps feeling … Pakistan is more of a problem than North Korea, they actually have nuclear weapons, it’s not a democracy like India – and whats more, they tamper with cricket balls !
September 11th, 2006 at 9:49 pm
Let’s all hope and pray that the Australian Defence Force does not become any more politicized that it is already. The ADF must never never never descend into the abyss of being a mere political puppet-show .
I have just watched the ABC Four Corners program on the 5th Anniversary of “Nine-Eleven” and was horrified to find that the nation’s senior Police officer had adopted a Fascist-like stance on the Law and on the very things that distinguish us from brutal dictatorships and from evil gangs like alQaeda – all in the noble cause of fighting terrorism, of course.
September 11th, 2006 at 11:53 pm
It may be too late Graham. The current Minister of Defence has shown that he does not understand basic common sense, honour or discretion. The current PM does not reprimand his minister’s catastrophic failures.
The ADF is a boy’s club of sorts and I’m not getting that Brendan can’t play the game.
Few members of the ADF, let alone a senior one is going to trust this guy.
September 18th, 2006 at 9:17 pm
An update. The squabble persists. Houston got on his high horse over foolish diggers and their silly photos/clips. I can’t help feeling that office politics is involved and that pro-Coward elements inside the ADF urged Houston to put himself out on limb and then chop it down. He certainly looked just as foolish as the diggers he fumed about.
In essence, the Regimental Sargeant Major should have found and charged the diggers. Fronted them up to the Commanding Officer. Awarded them seven days Confined to Barracks (or whatever is a similar punishment these days) and given them Extra Training in weapons training and civil affairs. Soldier on. End of story.
But no, we got the Chief of the Defence Force looking like a goose and Flak-Jacket Johnny looking like a dinky-di Aussie who would be welcome at any barbecue.
September 18th, 2006 at 10:33 pm
Unsurprisingly the uniform is a stronger bond than the PM predicted with green supporting blue effectively ignoring HoWARd’s reductive “letting off a bit of steam” line in terms of the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Leahy saying-
“We will complete an investigation, and then, put simply, I’ll be asking a question: why these soldiers should remain in the army. They’ll have an opportunity to put their case, and it will be done under the correct administrative procedures but I think everybody would expect me to ask the question. If you’re that silly, what are you doing in the army?”