Leading article Australia

Sco Mo, the Chamberlain of the culture wars

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

During the second world war, a group of English-speaking Japanese female radio broadcasters, collectively known as ‘Tokyo Rose’, spread Japanese propaganda over the airwaves in an effort to demoralise Allied troops and their families back home. Typically, broadcasts would emphasise the horrific wartime losses and misery of being a soldier. How effective the ploy was is debatable, although one of the girls, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, spent a decade in a US jail after the war for treason (before being pardoned). As a strategy, such propaganda is straight out of the Sun Tzu Art of War playbook, which includes insights such as: ‘The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting’ and ‘The greatest victory is that which requires no battle’.

China’s Foreign Ministry ‘spokesman’ Zhao Lijian is clearly a fan of both Tokyo Rose and Sun Tzu. His phony mocked-up photograph, posted online, of an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghani child is as blatant, grotesque and repellent as it is opportunistic and predictable (as David Flint points out in his column this week). Zhao, apparently known as a ‘wolf warrior’, has pulled off a remarkable hat-trick that will no doubt earn him enormous kudos within the totalitarian and militaristic empire that is Xi Jinping’s Chinese communist regime. He has further crippled the morale of the most elite SAS force on the planet; further damaged the global reputation for integrity of the Australian military; and further humiliated and tarnished Australia’s international standing on human rights, thereby neatly creating a fake moral equivalence with China’s appalling record. Not bad for five minutes work on a Twitter meme that a teenage school-kid could have slapped together on his iPhone.

Note, however, our deliberate repetition of the word ‘further’. Zhao is a canny opportunist who probably honed his skills in some Western-sponsored advertising and marketing course, for his tweet has only had such an explosive and destructive impact because of the fertile environment it was planted in; the toxic groundwork having been neatly prepared over the previous fortnight by none other than the Australian government, our military leadership and our self-loathing media. No matter how ugly, factually incorrect and obscene Zhao’s doctored image may be, its potency lies in its perceived credibility, and that credibility was handed over on a plate by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and General Angus Campbell when first they announced the tabling of the ‘brutal truths’ within the Brereton Report, followed by collective punishment for anyone remotely close to the alleged atrocities and, in a final obscenity, the pre-emptive stripping (now reversed) of citations from dead soldiers.

Whatever savagery, barbarity or crimes may or may not have taken place in the remote mountains of Afghanistan’s Uruzgun province a decade ago, until a court of law has found individuals guilty of intentional wrongdoing or murder then all of our Australian soldiers, including those named in the report, are to be presumed innocent. Full stop.

Yet in a classic case of pandering to the virtue-signallers, Prime Minister Morrison, General Campbell and others were visibly tripping over each other to ‘get in front’ of this story. Anyone genuinely concerned with preserving our values as well as our security would have recognised, as countless have before them, that with national security and allegations of military crimes it is best to keep them out of the public eye and for information to be reserved for certain eyes only until the truth has been established in a court of law. All our fighting forces have been betrayed by the ham-fisted bungling of this situation at the highest levels. You reap what you sow, and the fact that our government and military leadership went out of their way to not only broadcast but seemingly verify the unproven allegations to the world has now given licence to our many foes to misuse this information at will. Look forward in coming years to our soldiers being jeered at or even forbidden from participating in peace missions abroad, to constantly being lambasted in international forums and, inevitably, for the SAS to no longer attract the quality of individual it once did.

Alas, this is the same military leadership that places ‘diversity’,  ‘inclusion’ and other turgid left-wing fads above preserving at all costs the morale and single-minded focus of our deadliest fighting force.

Indeed, as Sun Tzu also said, ‘Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.’ The new progressive Aussie version would be something like ‘Treat your men as you would your beloved daughters if that’s what they identify as. And then punish the lot of them if anything bad happens in the deepest valley.’

Scott Morrison has always scoffed at fighting for ‘conservative’ values, settling instead for constant appeasement of the Left’s long march through our institutions, making him the Neville Chamberlain of the Culture Wars. And the Chinese spotted it long ago.

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