To Live in Peace

Michael O'Connor
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To Live in Peace

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Melbourne University Press

To Live in Peace

Michael O'Connor
In the eyes of most people defence does not become a problem until the bombs begin to fall. Michael O'Connor argues persuasively that it is high time that governments and concerned individuals did something to counter the 'benign neglect' of defence policy which is the norm in Australia. National security, like any other product of government, must be marketed as well as managed.

Australia as a community suffers badly from the refusal of governments and their advisers to take the citizenry into their confidence. Occupying the high ground in public debate, the Defence Department uses weapons of secrecy and assertions of special knowledge as well as more disreputable debating tactics to stifle criticism. In general, this overall political neglect of national security questions in the climate of 'no-threat' assertions has led to the creation of a Defence Force which lacks some of the most elementary logistic support and political control…
In the eyes of most people defence does not become a problem until the bombs begin to fall. Michael O'Connor argues persuasively that it is high time that governments and concerned individuals did something to counter the 'benign neglect' of defence policy which is the norm in Australia. National security, like any other product of government, must be marketed as well as managed.

Australia as a community suffers badly from the refusal of governments and their advisers to take the citizenry into their confidence. Occupying the high ground in public debate, the Defence Department uses weapons of secrecy and assertions of special knowledge as well as more disreputable debating tactics to stifle criticism. In general, this overall political neglect of national security questions in the climate of 'no-threat' assertions has led to the creation of a Defence Force which lacks some of the most elementary logistic support and political control mechanisms. Politically, defence is regarded as a problem that will be dealt with when the need is urgent-when it will be too late and exceedingly costly in lives and money.
No one who reads this book can fail to be frightened—not by the threat of nuclear war or holocaust—but by the total inability and inadequacy of our defence forces to meet such a nightmare now. Our national conservatism threatens our security more than it ever did in the days of total war.

Michael O'Connor

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