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Dirk Flinthart's insecure Whimsies on the defensive

By Dirk Flinthart - posted Thursday, 15 November 2001

Let's face it: Australia isn't exactly a military supergiant. ( Gallant as our little defence force may be, we need to admit that we can't match it with the heavyweights like the US, Great Britain, Russia, China, France, Lichtenstein, Andorra, Swaziland and The Vatican. Heck, some of those countries have a military history that stretches back over a thousand years. The battles they have fought are part of history and legend – The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava; Waterloo; the Battle of the Coral Sea; the scorched-earth defence of Moscow in 1812, just to name a few. And us? Our most revered military triumph is actually a retreat – the retreat from Gallipolli that we celebrate every year on April 25th.

Despite that, our government insists on trying to field a military force to defend one of the largest countries on earth – the only nation which occupies an entire continent. Not only that, but under the sterling guidance of John Howard and his wily warriors, our nation is even lending a bunch of our best and bravest to the Yanks to help do ... ummm ... whatever it is they think they're doing in Afghanistan.

That seems a little weird to me, actually. I mean, the USA has had lots of practice at this kind of thing. That peace-loving nation has, by my count, declared war on or bombed at least fourteen different nations in fifty-odd years since WWII. How the blazes are we supposed to provide assistance to that kind of expertise? I mean – do we ask the Yanks to help us beat the Poms at cricket? – a Bus Full of Vets


And that brings me to my suggestion for Australia's defences in the 21st century. I think we should just forget about the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and like the USA, stick to doing what we do best.

Sport. (After all, it's got to be better than this – Military Mishaps)

Think about it. Who needs a Navy when you've got the likes of Ian Thorpe and Susie Moroney to patrol the Australian waters? If our Thorpedo can blow the Yanks out of the water in the pool, then what chance do a bunch of sad-sack, baby-hurling reffos have, eh? None, that's what! One glimpse of those size-seventeens churning up the water, and they'll be turning their leaky bathtubs around, you betcha!

And as for an Air Force – hey, we've got Tatiana Gregorieva! All we need to do is give her an extra springy pole and a really long run-up. Even if she doesn't manage to intercept the enemy fighters, at least she'll probably be able to bring them down low enough for Clint Freeman to pick 'em off with the bow and arrow.

Then there's the SAS. Toughest soldiers on earth, apparently. But are they tough enough to captain Australia through an Ashes tour with every bone in their bodies broken? Can they not only survive but triumph on a diet entirely of baked beans and cigarettes? Do they have the sheer guts to bowl underarm to New Zealand? There's no need to send the SAS to Afghanistan. All we need to do is bring back Lillee and Thomson to sort the buggers out. Or alternatively, we could just tell them a lot of cricket jokes...

Try one, two, three, four, five . . . that'd knock 'em for six!


(Isn't it amazing how few funny cricket jokes there actually appear to be? This lot is better, though... )

On the other hand, the military is still much funnier than sport:

Except for Julian O'Neill, of course. Laying cable in a shoe is always funny, right lads?

Let's see the US Defence Forces compete with that, eh?

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About the Author

Dirk Flinthart is a writer and student who lives in Tasmania.

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