2 letters to the editors
We must keep the rest of our veterans front of mind
The public, mostly inexperienced in war, has I’m sure watched with much interest as one of our most outstanding modern-day combat heroes, Ben Roberts-Smith, has had his personal and military life torn apart as a civilian court dealt with a case of alleged defamation against him.
He and a number of others who have been through the trauma of war have had to relive it over and over again in giving evidence, while others who cannot possibly fully understand the combat environment watch on enjoying this exposure.
But, let’s remember, the Ben Roberts-Smith case involves a very small group of people – 30 at the most – who were engaged in what was, in the whole scheme of war, a small, albeit important combat incident that has received much publicity because the central character happened to be awarded the nation’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
So for a moment can we focus on the bigger picture and spare a thought for the thousands of “ordinary” veterans who are still alive but who continue to suffer from the trauma of war.
The biggest problem they face right now is not an appearance in court but recognition and support for their physical and mental sufferings – support supposedly given by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Veterans have for years complained about the DVA’s lacklustre support. The Albanese government, pre-election, promised to address this issue. But instead it has downgraded Veterans’ Affairs by pushing it off to the outer ministry. In short, Labor has shunned our veterans like it owes them nothing.
Is this the way all Australians want their veterans treated?
John George, Terrigal