Dispensing Freedom, poetry by Nyema James at Spillwords.com
Army Amber

Dispensing Freedom

Dispensing Freedom

written by: Nyema James


He was a Taliban spotter.
Bullshit. He was a humble Afghan goat herder.
Execution mate. The radio was a plant.
I heard the crackle, EKIA, enemy killed in action.
He smiled. Bad idea. Kicked off a cliff
Smashed his teeth on rocks.
Shut up, will ya. Australians don’t want to hear this.

Victoria Cross, Medal of Gallantry, Australia’s top hero.
The SAS, are the best of the best.
Honour, duty, silent, deadly, professional.
You get dickheads in all groups.
In war, shit happens.
We are there trying to win the hearts of the Afghan people.
Really? Are we?
What are we doing there anyway?
I’m sending Captain America my middle finger.

Whiskey 108 enemies extracted from a tunnel
Hands tied behind back then ratta tat tat.
Never happened says the VC.
The kill count is etched on his doorway.
There’s a code of silence, but disquiet in the regiment.
Are you a brother or a dog?
The media are leaches, except FOX.
We protect your way of life.
What the fuck does that even mean?
Afghanistan invades Australia—Don’t remember that headline.
Did we learn nothing from Vietnam?

He’s got a VC and is owed respect.
Did you see what was said about him on TV?
Murders, executions, blood lust, cover-ups.
No, I didn’t, and don’t much care.
There are Afghan witnesses.
Ragheads the lot of ‘em.
So who do ragheads trust
When the ones dispensing freedom
Are the ones to fear the most?



Australia has a high regard for our elite military forces, who pride themselves on professionalism and integrity. This is directed at a few Australian SAS operatives in Afghanistan with a particular focus on Australia’s most decorated soldier, who sued Australian media outlets for defamation over war crime accusations, and lost on the basis the accusations were deemed to be true. The poem is intended to reflect the schools of thought of the general public. The issue has had a damaging effect on the SAS regiment, who, at times, have an impossible and dangerous role.

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