Cahill, Rowan: The dirty digger

Rowan Cahill

‘The dirty digger’, Green Left Weekly, 451, 6 June 2001

A selective and mythologised account of the past draws young people to Anzac Day celebrations. The chief of the armed forces is the Australian of the Year. Parliament passes a bill enabling the military to be used domestically against protesting civilians, with hardly a critical murmur. Joyous crowds celebrate the centenary of the Australian army, as excited youngsters clamber over the weapons of mass destruction on display. There’s no doubt about it: Australia is becoming increasingly militarist. It is time to take a look at the dark and sinister side of Australian military history, largely suppressed in mainstream historical accounts. It is a world away from the Anzac legend, and from the “social worker with a gun” image that army spin doctors have woven out of the East Timor intervention.

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