I am a Vietnam veteran who served as an Artillery Officer. I was a conscript and was not opposed to the war at the time. However, after my tour of duty I realised the war was unwinnable and the devastation inflected on Vietnam was unnecessary and criminal.
After returning to Vietnam a number of times since I became aware of how it might have been become another Asian tiger much sooner if they had not endured the war and the suffering and devastation involved. The killings, the bombings, the defoliants were unnecessary and achieved nothing except destruction.
Subsequently we made the same mistake in Iraq – a war which was made worse in moral terms because of the lies told about WMDs. The situation of the Middle East as a result of US, Australian and UK involvement is a stark evidence of what dreadful mistakes were made.
All this is clear evidence of the need for commitment of troops to be only undertake after thorough honest debate in our Parliament. Never again should PM’s be allowed to send troops to wars without Parliamentary approval.