Like the U.S., Australia is faced with a scandal involving women in the military. That's where the similarities end, however. While American generals have been criticized for their handling of an epidemic of sexual assaults, Australia's army chief, David Morrison, is getting rave reviews for a blistering video he released this week demanding, through clenched teeth, that sexists in his country's military mend their ways or find another place to work.
Morrison this week revealed that 17 military personnel, including high-ranking officers, were under investigation for allegedly creating and exchanging "explicit and profane" emails and images that were demeaning to women. Three of them have been suspended.
"Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this army," Morrison says in the video. "Female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian army... If that does not suit you, then get out... There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters."
Morrison also promises to be "ruthless" in rooting out sex abuse in the ranks, and urges all soldiers to do their part if they witness abuse. "Show moral courage and take a stand," he says.
Commentators in Australia and the U.S. say the withering message was exactly what everyone — victims and abusers alike — needed to hear. "Holeeee. Efffing. Crap," says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. "It's brilliant."
The words are powerful. But the utterly credible fury is what nails it. It is a validation of the frustration and anger a whole lot of people who have been on the receiving end of that 'toughness' have been enduring for a very long time. And it says, yeah, you're right. This is goddamn outrageous. [Salon]
Morrison's direct, unflinching attacks on abusers have left observers slack-jawed. "Er, hang on," writes Sean Power at Mamamia. "Where are all the weasel words, the evasive language, and the spin?... This bloke is the real deal."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week