… there’s an advert for a “reality” show called Navy Divers. It fair does my head in – just that advert, and just one particular part of it. About three quarters in, this Instructor pipes up with something along the lines of: “Who cares if he’s a nice bloke” (Laughs) “Nice blokes don’t win a war!”
This statement (and the actual notion of it) grates on me like you wouldn’t believe. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve worn the uniform(s) of our Defence Forces, and I seriously struggle with such silly comments like this, falling out of the mouths of blokes like that – talking it up for the camera. Firstly – no ONE person wins a ‘war’. Secondly – a LOT of nice blokes (AND ‘blokettes’ – Hush your mouth Belongum!) have contributed to the ‘winning’ of battles – armed conflict or otherwise. Thirdly – as I’ve said before many times – compassion isn’t a restricted commodity – removed from you as soon as you set foot on a Military establishment, and start wearing a uniform.
There’s no end of hype that might suggest this, no end of cliches that paint all sorts of silly bugger piccies on the topic, but the truth of it – actually on the ground ‘at the pointy end’, where people are broken and torn – is that compassion has a very clear and well deserved place, in the ugliest of wartime situations. For Australian troops, this was never more clear then in both world wars, where our military forces were made up primarily of volunteers. Men (and women) came from ALL walks of life. Some were veterans from past war-time experiences – it’s true, but most were simply everyday people like you and I caught up in a time of war.
Let me name two famous (in Australian circles at least) men as an example; General Sir John Monash, and Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop. Both extraordinary gentlemen in their own rights who by sheer bad luck, happened to be born in a period where their skills were needed in time of War. By all accounts, General Monash was an exceptional leader of men who cared immensely for his troops. I can’t say I’ve ever heard a bad thing said about General Monash. As too was Weary Dunlop – albeit in completely different circumstances (a then Japanese POW camp) – but his leadership and compasson in that camp during those times, were well beyond simply doing his duty.
My grandfather fought in the Second World War. This was something he never advertised or bragged about – he never took part in ANZAC Day marches, nor hung out with his old mates – my grandfather kept his past service largely to himself. He started out a private soldier – a ‘simple’ volunteer – and left a commissioned officer. He was awarded the DCM during his time on Crete. All that I’ve heard to date, at no time suggests my grandfather was a ‘macho man’. Quite the opposite in fact, he was considered to be an absolute gent, he was a Godly man – a Christian – who believed completely that it was his faith that saw him through the ugliest of the things he saw and expereinced, whilst he lived a life in uniform.
In my own time in uniform, I served with more ‘nice blokes’ then you could poke a stick at! Most fellas I knew were full of it (bulldust) – so was I – but who wasn’t? A false sense of bravado isn’t what I’m talking about – it’s the macho image that only BAD guys get down and do the business. Being NICE doesn’t enter into it. Bollocks! Bulldust! Crap! What a load of old cobblers! Being PROFESSIONAL, good (even EXCEPTIONAL) at what you do, flexible – as in able to adapt, well trained, clear on your role and objective, committed, focused – DETERMINED against all odds that you will overcome ALL that is thrown against you – doesn’t mean you’re not likely to be a ‘noice’ bloke. It just means your bloody good at what you do – because that’s your job, and more then likely – your mates depend on you.
This might surprise most of you Macho Whacker‘s out there in the world fellas, because nice ‘blokes’ do much more than win ‘wars’; they make the sheer insanity of such a shitty part of human behaviour almost bearable. The point is mate; that most of us (been, gone, or up-and-coming), would be well lost without ’em!
Belongum – Out!