Dobell, Graeme: Fire, ash and official secrecy

Graeme Dobell

Fire, ash and official secrecy‘, Inside Story, 5 June 2023

Long read reviewing Born of Fire and Ash: Australian Operations in Response to the East Timor Crisis 1999–2000, an official war history.

Craig Stockings’s work on the official history of Australia’s role in the bloody birth of Timor-Leste was bedevilled by Canberra’s triangular relationship, vexed but vital, with Indonesia and East Timor. As an emblem of that tension, the definitive account of Australia’s 1999–2000 East Timor peacekeeping operation became what the official historian calls a “difficult” encounter with government departments.

Beneath all that though there emerged a new nation:

Turning potential disasters into hiccups, the ADF achieved one of the most successful of all UN missions. Many things that could have been disastrous turned out right. An institution usually defined by the different cultures of its three military arms and a complex civilian bureaucracy, the defence department delivered for Timor and for Australia — and ultimately, for Indonesia.

Click here for all items related to: , ,
To comment or discuss, Log in to Honest History.

Leave a Reply