Shallow righteousness

Saturday 20 May 2006 3:15 AM

Whether Bruce F. MacKenzie (Letters, 20/5) truly speaks for "the nation" in his call for Brendan Nelson to take the rap for Brigadier Cosson's failure, I know not. But I at least am wearied by the parroting of the familiar political dogma that senior heads must roll as a consequence of every bureaucratic imperfection, regardless of the logic of the case. I'm no conservative voter, and certainly no member of the Nelson fan club. But if someone at the top resigned in the wake of every public or corporate fiasco, leadership would be an endless revolving door and the world would dissolve into anarchy, comedy, or both. As if someone's termination would answer anyone's questions. As if setting the Defence Minister, the Defence Chief and the offending officer adrift in Bass Strait without a paddle would bring any comfort to the grieving family or fix Defence administration. Pointing fingers from a safe distance may create an illusion of righteousness, but it rarely serves a constructive or practical purpose. And by the way, a quality officer is humbly mortified, while a radio shock jock is smugly satisfied. Who most merits our respect?