As each name is added to the growing list of Australians killed serving in Afghanistan, the government assures the nation that the sacrifice in lives has been for a good cause and in the national interest. But what is the national interest that justifies such a terrible cost? Is this the price of our alliance with the United States? Is this the price of helping to curb the terrorist threat? Is this the price of national honour? Some believe that the price must be paid in the service of such causes. Yet others find no consolation in claims of national interest; condemning the loss of Australian lives far from home.
Arguing for the proposition will be Kellie Tranter, Raoul Heinrichs and Eva Cox. Arguing against the proposition will be Sonia Ziaee, Jim Molan and Peter Singer.
Peter Singer is a philosopher and author of over 25 books on ethics. He is best known for Animal Liberation, widely credited with starting the animal rights movement.
Eva Cox has been an academic, political adviser, public servant, and runs a small research and policy consultancy. A sociologist by trade, she promotes ideas widely and eclectically in books, on line, in journals and other media.
Jim Molan is a retired major-general of the Australian armed forces who, from 2004, oversaw a multinational force of some 300,000 troops in Iraq as the country undertook the first democratic elections after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Sonia Ziaee is an Afghani businesswoman, Flinders University student, and Afghani student community activist.
Raoul Heinrichs is a scholar, editor of the Lowy Institute’s Strategic Snapshots and former foreign and security adviser to Kevin Rudd while in opposition.
Kellie Tranter is a lawyer and commentator who ran as an Independent candidate for the NSW seat of Maitland.