under the collar
I AM writing to voice my disappointment that Air Force News elected
to include in its movie reviews a review, or should I say “endorsement”,
of Fahrenheit 9/11.
My complaint is twofold: one that a review of a movie of this
nature found its way into an official Defence Force publication
and, second, the face-value acceptance of the issues raised within
the movie itself by the “reviewer”.
First let’s deal with the socalled review of the movie. The movie
asserts that the Bush family’s business connections to the family
of Osama bin Laden, one of the richest in Saudi Arabia, are a
hidden reason that Bush was slow to act after 9/11, but establishes
no firm link between the bin Laden family money and the Bush
The movie also asserts that the US Attorney-General, John Ashcroft,
did not act on FBI intelligence suggesting that bin Laden’s operatives
were planning attacks on American targets using planes, but never
establishes that this intelligence reached Ashcroft.
The film leaves you with no doubt that it did, despite the September
11 inquiry finding that it did not.
Additionally, Moore’s images of pre-war Iraq are grossly misleading.
Pre-war Iraq is represented by children flying kites. If this
is not a cliché then what is?
The reviewer seemingly ignores all these shortcomings and advocates
the movie’s message which, beneath all the anti-President Bush
rhetoric, is that the war in Iraq is wrong and that there will
not be a happy ending.
Is this a message that belongs in Air Force News?
I think not! Let’s now deal with the issue of this review appearing
in Air Force News.
My understanding of Air Force News is that it is an official
Defence publication that is published to communicate information
between Defence and the Defence community and to bolster Defence
morale. Why publish a review of a movie that queries a conflict
in which our forces are currently committed?
What message does this send to the families of the men and women
representing Australia in Iraq? Is Air Force News saying that
they are proud of our men and women but “oh, by the way, this
war is probably wrong”?
In my opinion the publishing of this article displays a complete
lack of sensitivity and very poor judgement.
Duncan A. Scott
Air Force Information Warfare Center
San Antonio, Texas
Force News, and the other two Service newspapers, reviewed Fahrenheit
9/11 in keeping with our standard practice of reviewing mainstream
We also judged there to be a high level of interest in the documentary
among ADF members.
Any review, since it is the opinion of one person, is subjective
and anyone who has seen the same film is entitled to take issue
with the reviewer’s assessment.
We do not believe publication of the review of Fahrenheit 9/11
– which had good and bad things to say about Moore’s polemic,
but certainly did not advocate “that the war in Iraq is wrong
and that there will not be a happy ending” – undermines the work
of ADF members and the cause they represent.
to be known as Gunnies.
REFER to the Air Force News of August 26 that has a photo of an
ASRAAM missile being loaded on an F/A-18.
The headline for the article was “Making sure new missile’s bang
on”, but unfortunately while the accuracy of the missile was assured,
you missed the target when referring to the technicians loading
the missile as “armament fitters”.
Armament fitters (ARMFITTs) ceased to exist in 1992 with the
introduction of the new Technical Trade Structure (TTS).
At that time, the role of the ARMFITT was absorbed into the two
major aviation trade groups – AVTECH and ATECH.
Over the subsequent 10-year period Air Force’s expertise in EO
activities and EO safety management eroded until in 2002 the formation
of the EO Employment Stream (EOES) within the aviation trade groups
The EOES stood up on January 1, 2003 at which time 328 technical
personnel were streamed “EO” and are now managed separately (for
promotion and posting purposes) to the mainstream AVTECHs and
While these technicians are still AVTECHs and ATECHs, albeit having
streamed to EO, one traditional element of the old ARMFITT has
carried across, and that is the unofficial name “Gunnie”.
of the term “Gunnie” is coming back into vogue, with even CAF
using the collective noun in a number of his regular messages
to the Air Force over the past few months.
While their official title is AVTECH (Ordnance) and ATECH (Ordnance),
I feel confident in saying that they would be happy to be referred
to as “Gunnies”.
For a lot of the original ex-ARMFITTs who remain, as well as the
new blood coming through, the “Gunnie” title is an honorific
they remain mightily proud of.
Accordingly, I recommend Air Force News put the ARMFITT title
to rest and adopt either the official or unofficial names for
the techos who carry out the EO activities on and around the flight line, and who provide the Air Force’s Explosive Ordnance
Disposal function within Combat Support Group.
Defence Explosive Ordnance Training
Defence Establishment Orchard Hills