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Hot 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 family.

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.

SQNLDR Duncan A. Scott
Air Force Information Warfare Center
Lackland AFB
San Antonio, Texas

Editor's note

Air Force News, and the other two Service newspapers, reviewed Fahrenheit 9/11 in keeping with our standard practice of reviewing mainstream movies of-the-moment.

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.

Reference off target

Proud to be known as Gunnies.

Proud to be known as Gunnies.

I 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 was approved.

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 ATECHs.

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”.

Use 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.

WGCDR Graeme Davies
Project Leader
Defence Explosive Ordnance Training
Defence Establishment Orchard Hills

The letters page is an ideal forum for Air Force members to provide feedback on issues relating to the Air Force or the ADF in general, or to comment on items that have appeared in Air Force News. Send your letters to: Email:
Fax: (02) 6265 6657 Post: R8-LG-042, Russell Offices, ACT 2600

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