‘Only troops can save Iraqis’, says VC Keith Payne
MACKAY Victoria Cross holder Keith Payne believes the only way to protect people in the Iraq conflict is to put troops on the ground.But the Vietnam War veteran said it was up to the Australian Government to make that decision.
Mr Payne said it would depend on whether the government (in line with the US) believed tactical air support was enough to protect people, including the Christian population.
Help is needed to enable humanitarian aid to reach the Iraqi people and to secure their position from the jihadists fighting for the Iraq and Syrian Islamic State (ISIS)
"The situation doesn't have to escalate much further," Mr Payne said.
"The one thing we have to be very careful about is ISIS, a very radical group not representative of the general Muslim population.
"If we commit troops to the ground it would (likely) start a religious war. But we certainly must do something," he said.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen shares his sentiments.
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Mr Christensen said he had been surprised by the number of comments from constituents calling for something to be done, a position he strongly agrees with although he is wary of sending in troops.
"We (Australia) would need to have a lot of evidence it would work before we committed troops to the ground and it also depends on what the US does," he said.
"The Iraqi government has called for international help. It's absolutely disgusting seeing people being beheaded and children involved. There has been an outcry from the community.
"People have seen the awful images and are saying enough is enough, it is wrong. What is your government going to do about it?
"We are part of it whether we like it or not."
Mr Christensen said with dozens of Australians involved as extremists and fighting with ISIS it had also become a question of national security, especially when they returned to Australia.