SAS absorbed toxic US military culture

This is written in response to The Afghan Files by Dan Oakes and Sam Clark published by the ABC. 11 July 2017.

Graeme Dunstan 12 July 2017

As at July 2017 Graeme Dunstan and others are protesting the US/Australian Alliance practicing for war at Talisman Saber, Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton.

The Special Air Service Regiment deployed to Afghanistan in December 2001 and, along with other special forces units of other invading countries, it was made part if US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

This meant that although the Australian SAS conducted operations as all-Australian units, it took its operational orders for SOCOM.

Neither the Australian Parliament nor the Australian people have had much information about what exactly the Australian SAS have been doing in Afghanistan, journalists and publishers are forbidden reporting on “operations matters” and what’s more the SAS is especially secretive.Which means the SAS have been operating without effective accountability to anyone outside of the SAS itself for 16 years. One should not be surprised that the SAS has gone rouge, killing without accountability – because they can.

They have “Rules of Engagement” of course, but the interpretation of these Rules and any investigations done in regard to infringements are from within the SAS itself. Naturally enough the Regiment protects its own.

The SAS consider itself an elite force. The training is intensive and physically demanding. Many a young soldier aspires to be part of it, but only the best get to join the regiment. Morale is high. But the shadow side of this is that it is cult-like and, since assassination is central to the dark arts they practice, it can be understood as a death cult.  (

Furthermore they have, by association, absorbed the the culture of abduction and torture practiced at “black sites”  by the US military.  Ignoring the UN conventions on torture, this toxic US military culture produced the cruelties of Abu Grahib and Guantanamo Bay.

Three years ago the Australian Military Police, which is responsible for the processing of prisoners of war, complained about the pressure being put upon them by the SAS to “render” prisoners, which means acts of violence and humiliation aimed at terrorising prisoners before interrogation. 

The British SAS also operated within SOCOM since 2001. At present it too is being investigated by the Royal Military Police for similar offences – covered up acts of abduction, murder and abuse towards prisoners armed, unarmed or just plain innocents.

The bigger picture though is the question what have the SAS being doing these past 16 years and what good has come of it?

The truth is that they are invaders, killing native people in their native lands.

They claim to be saving Australia from Islamic terrorism. There is no significant Islamic terrorist threat to Australia and never has been. Just four deaths in 4 years (

Yet for 16 years we have had the SASR on constant deployment and the US-led War on Afghanistan has cost taxpayers heaps. (Google Australian war expenditure)

Furthermore after 16 years they is no sign that resistance to the US led invasion has lessened.

Indeed the US military recently called for more Australian troops because the security situation was deteriorating. We offered a mere, tokenistic 30. 

The SAS has served to help train the Afghan National (Puppet) Army. Like the SAS, this army takes its orders from the US military. The casualties it has been taking are of the order of 6,000 a year for the past three years or more. It ain’t sustainable. A generation of young men who join the army to escape the poverty that endless war has brought the Afghan people, blown to pieces. For what?

Yet the SAS keeps killing and training killers and generating more and more special operations just so as to keep themselves cashed up and the adrenaline rush of killing pumping.

As the Afghan National Army implodes the SAS can expect more and more “terrorists” (aka freedom fighters) to take up arms, ever more demand for “special ops”.

But for no gain in terms of securing peaceful civil society in Afghanistan.

The SAS is a culture that works to normalise killing. They act as if their actions have no consequences. But of course they do.

To train young men and women in remorselessness is to curse them for this can only have evil consequences for the individual and the community that must harbour them.

The truth is these killer SAS come back to their families and their communities with the war inside them. If not physically maimed then morally maimed.


Afghan Files on
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