Criticism of "weapons" advertising ignores history and ethical complexity of the issue

Australia maintains a defence force for national defence and to meet our collective-security responsibilities under the UN Charter. Both purposes are legally and morally legitimate and the ADF needs to be adequately equipped on both practical and moral grounds. Companies have a legitimate right to advertise their equipment where it is relevant to the effective and economic modernisation of our defence force. Pacifism is a legitmate belief, as is the just-war moral and legal tradition, but it is intellectually invalid and morally bankrupt to simplistically equate equipment needed for ADF modernisation with the misuse of weapons in the atrocities committed by some other countries and all terrorist groups.

 

Letter to The Canberra Times 
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
(published Friday, 28 August 2015)

Calls to remove supposedly offensive defence equipment advertisements from Canberra airport (“Ads of weapons at airport anger city group”, Ross Peake, August 25, p3) again exemplify the emotively expressed, ahistoric and one-sided views that replace actual reasoning among the unduly ideological.

Entirely missing from the claims and their false moral equivalences is acknowledgement that military force can also prevent “untold human suffering” — and is often essential to re-establish peace, the rule-of-law and the overall conditions needed to effectively negotiate an enduring end to violent disputes.

After all, we only have a UN Charter and all its subsidiary law because the principal liberal democracies led the fight to defeat ideologically-based military aggression, and indeed genocide, by the Axis powers.

Finally, it's noteworthy that the airport-ad campaign’s cited leading figures are not well known for consistent criticism of the frequent, deliberate and gross violations of international humanitarian law by, say, Islamist terrorists, North Korea or Hamas.

 

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