White, Hugh et al: Time for war: correspondence

White, Hugh, Michael Wesley, Graeme Cheeseman, Rowan Cahill, Bruce Haigh, Paul Monk & John Birminghan

A time for war: correspondence‘, Quarterly Essay, 21, March 2006, pp. 70-98

Six authors provide comment on Birmingham and Birmingham responds. Hugh White suggests that ‘Birmingham loves our warriors but is much less sure about our wars’ (p. 70) and that he is correct to be so. Michael Wesley argues that Birmingham, while stressing domestic drivers, underplays international demands for Australian forces to be deployed. Graeme Cheeseman believes Birmingham joins the historical trend to romanticise Australians serving overseas while downplaying the extent to which this service is manipulated politically. (Bruce Haigh and Rowan Cahill concur on this latter point and Cahill finds Birmingham’s national maturation or confidence to be ‘jingoistic’.) While Cheeseman supports Birmingham on some points, he concludes, ‘We continue, however, in the name of freedom, democracy and all the other epithets used by scoundrels, to place our young people and our future at risk.’ (pp. 80-81)

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