- Hird, Essendon have their days in court
- Truck sinks into Prahran road
- 'He's been a huge success'
- Where has it gone wrong for Qantas?
- Police hunt man after lift assault
- Teens injured in Western Ring Road drag racing flip
- James Hird nominates Patrick Smith
- I found the experience so deeply unsettling
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What we're talking about
- David on 'No doubt medical cannabis saves lives' Going after Greens voters.. Their evil twin the Greens won't be to impressed with that more
- Ross on 'No doubt medical cannabis saves lives' "Process", "Process", "Process". Davis is a broken record. I'm a Paramedic, and if I had a dollar for every time he's called ... more
- Gloria on 'No doubt medical cannabis saves lives' Danny Boy Andrews, how to win friends and influence people, bring in a drug law that can be rorted by druggies and ... more
- Peggy on 'No doubt medical cannabis saves lives' What a situation we are going to be in at the next election. If we want to do the right thing and have this approved and ... more
- Samantha Mclean on Shoeless creep attacks in Fitzroy North Put guards back at all stations!!! more
- IBARKER on Caught out: Lord Mayor's car in no ... Tell him to walk and if he does he might loose one of those "CHINS". more
- Atticus on Caught out: Lord Mayor's car in no ... He parked put the front so that porky would not have to walk too far.Disgrace. more
- James on Caught out: Lord Mayor's car in no ... Why didn't 3AW give him a spot in the visitor car park if he is expected/a regular guest? more
- Bugs54 on Monash Council to fine you for not ... If you park your car on the nature strip the council will say it's their land and fine you,yet they want you to mow it and ... more
- Mr Gararth on Monash Council to fine you for not ... No wonder Rudd dropped Geoff Lake as the candidate for Hotham last year. Get out of our lives local government! more
- KANE on Monash Council to fine you for not ... Melbournians are going to be 'Taxed, Dutied, Priced, Tar riffed, Levied, Excised, Pork Barreled OUT OF EXISTANCE!!! more
- Geoff on Monash Council to fine you for not ... Easy solution to the problem. If the council don't want to look after their own land ie the nature strips, just give the ... more
- mylene on Monash Council to fine you for not ... If Darebin council tried this they'd make a billion dollars before the sun went down. more
- bc on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' get WADA to come in over the top and give the killer blow stuff the AFL and hird and doctor little more
- Rod on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' What's Paul Little talking about. They have only been in court for 3 days. If Essendon don't get some sort of penalty, Then ... more
- Mooroolbark Mick on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' "Swepped" indicates the level of intelligence we have in this debate. I give up! more
- Peter Flynn on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' Yes we the footy public do want to know and if the Essendon Football Club and James Hird were not gagged maybe we would. And ... more
- Docklands on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' Show Cause Notices Issued.Essendon shows bokk of what was given and on what dates and to who ?Notices withdrawn. What has ... more
- Arthur Hiliard on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' If these footy "sportsman" have nothing to hide they should be welcoming any investigation! Seems they're a bit shocked to ... more
- David on Essendon looks for 'circuit breaker' We haven't got deal fatigue. We want to see Essendon held to account. Let the charges be heard! The public wants to see ... more
Outside the wire
It’s not something we thought we’d get the chance to do – go outside the wire. Simply, it means leaving the relative safety of the Tarin Kot base and going on patrol.
We got the invite to head out with a platoon of men in Bushmasters for a security check on a new road being built out to the northwest.
There comes that sinking feeling in the gut. The genuineness of this war is strong enough inside the wire – with the barricades, bunks and stocked mess – but it seems to get a little too real when you start travelling the roads.
Producer Tom Andronas and I were told to meet the platoon ‘through the blue gate’ first thing in the morning. We finished up all our broadcasts across the Fairfax Radio Network, grabbed our combat body armour, helmets, ballistic goggles and knocking knees and went on through the gate.
The phrase I’ve picked up through training and dealing with the soliders – warry. When someone is armed to their gritted teeth, when bullets are whizzing and when steely looks are walking patrol, then it’s ‘warry’.
As in a couple of troops discussing a situation, one might say ‘Geez mate, that sounds a bit warry’.
Well, through the blue gates, things were very bloody warry.
Enormous blokes with battle-rubbed guns were gathered. They were loaded with radios, ammo, cables, labels stating their blood groups, dog-tags, pockets, and other hidden things that were for them to know.
But under the helmets, there were plenty of smiles and cheek. They poked some fun at each other and chatted about the footy – the merits of AFL over NRL (or the other way) seems the usual tussle.
I realised that this exercise – that was making me bite through the nails and skin on the end of my fingers – was a day job for these guys. They could have been standing around in an office kitchen, or at a building site unpacking the tools. Instead they were at war and preparing to deal with danger.
We loaded into the Bushmaster. These beasts of the army are getting a good name. They’re saving lives and letting the troops get into some tough areas with increased safety. To me, I can’t figure out if it’s like a ruddy big 4WD or a small tank. Either way, I was thanking heaven for every precious metal plate that sat under my bottom.
The boys chatted more about the footy. We took off and rolled through gate. Then boys flicked the serious switch. Everything was watched. Everything was checked. Nothing was an accident.
It’s a great thing when you get the chance to watch people good at their jobs.
We went through the town of Tarin Kot. Poor shop fronts and poor people. I could tell the homes from the businesses.
Then, along the road they were laying down, and into the country side. It was beautiful. At the start there was more green than I would have thought. It became more unfruitful as we went along.
There was a stunning mix of pink and purple flowers. Field after field. I commented on it the digger next to me. He pointed out they were poppy fields – supply the world with 90 per cent of its opium. An incredible figure.
The growing of drugs is complex business in Afghanistan. These farmers having been living off the trade for years. For the army to roll in and stop it would give the Taliban a chance to come back in.
But it made us think about all the people killed by drugs every year across the world. More victims of the Afghanistan War.
We rolled. Children ran out to wave, following and stumbling as kids should behind their parents. A littlest and sweetest of girls gave a thumbs-up to our driver. He returned it.
We chatted to some locals and got out for a good look. And the more you look the more you know that the problems are complex and the solutions are slow and dangerous.
Back inside the wire, I’m still trying to figure out what to make of it.
Regardless, we’re the ones who put that new road there – may it carry food and medicine, and get the kids to school. Hope seems to be as big a part of the solution as anything else.
I'm interested to know what foreign language skills the soldiers feel they need to have to communicate with the locals. Also what intercultural awareness training they have had and whether they felt it was adequate.
Thanks Justin. Think it's great what you are doing in showing us what an enormously skilled group of people we have in the ADF.Sue Wednesday 24 April, 2013 - 11:47 AM