Keane, Bernard: $500m splash on the War Memorial will help soldiers’ stress? Really?

Bernard Keane

$500m splash on the War Memorial will help soldiers’ stress? Really?‘, Crikey, 22 November 2019

The URL says ‘Liberals hide behind PTSD to justify their military fetish’, which is an argument Heritage Guardians have used consistently in opposing the War Memorial’s grand plans. The Keane piece is behind a paywall but HH subscribes so feels free to present these snippets.

Keane looks at some of the literature on PTSD – which is more than the Memorial shows evidence of having done, being more comfortable with oft-repeated anecdotes – and finds, among other points, that ‘there’s little evidence that some concrete form of institutional recognition, like a building, is a “key contributor”’ to recovery.

The transformation, at colossal expense, of the War Memorial from sombre place of reflection to an exhibition of military hardware (supported by the defence companies that make up the “corporate partners” of the AWM) is in keeping with the relentless fetishisation of the Australian military by the conservative side of politics, which has now reached cult-like levels …

Anzac Day has become a celebration of aggressive nationalism, not of solemn remembrance of sacrifice, the reality of our military efforts as a vassal state of the great powers, participating in the imperial conflicts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, replaced with myths about heroic Anzacs taking on an ever-changing array of Others — Johnny Turk, the Viet Cong, Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, Muslim terrorists.


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