Otago Daily Times
SYDNEY: Australian military personnel who spoke out against alleged war crimes in Afghanistan said yesterday they felt vindicated by an inquiry which called for prosecuting troops involved, as the country reacted with shame and anger at the findings’ severity.
David McBride, a former military lawyer facing charges of leaking classified information about special forces actions in Afghanistan, felt ‘‘buoyed’’ by the report after years of being treated like a ‘‘traitor to the diggers’’, his lawyer Mark Davis told Reuters, using the Australian slang for soldiers.
‘‘If the accusations that he’s previously made are proven right, he will feel vindicated whatever the penalty,’’ Davis said by telephone. ‘‘His reputation will be intact and his sense of honour will be intact.’’
Dusty Miller, a special forces medic who testified at the inquiry, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that hearing the country’s defence chief publicly confirm his claims was ‘‘complete vindication’’.
The report has been described by Australian leaders as one of the darkest military chapters for Australia, just nine days after the country’s Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers when it is customary to wear a red poppy to show respect. — Reuters