Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:50 | SYDNEY
Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:50 | SYDNEY

A surgeon at war

14 May 2010 10:50

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq.

As a fascinating aside to The Interpreter's consideration of courage in war, may I suggest to readers the newly released book, 'Blood on My Hands: A Surgeon at War, by Adelaide surgeon Craig Jurisevic?

This book tells the story of Craig's journey, as a civilian with a medical NGO in 1999, to assist Kosovar refugees in the Balkans. During his humanitarian journey, he became involved with the Kosovo Liberation Army, trained Kosovar soldiers, and participated in their combat. He saw more of the ugly side of war than most others, has probably seen more combat than most of us, and was proportionately traumatised by it all.

To me, Craig Jurisevic epitomizes commitment in the face of true evil. The war in the Balkans illustrates yet again that all it takes for evil to prevail is that good men stay silent.

Many would say that a surgeon should not be a combatant. The president of the AMA bizarrely said that 'his actions as a combatant ultimately conflicted with his professional role'. This is really confused thinking. If a society has to take up arms to confront evil, why should the medical profession be absolved? But the President of the AMA is not alone in our society in thinking that certain groups are above common demands. I have seen too many in the media who, even when they can see evil, still think it is their responsibility to remain uncommitted.

The AMA president's view also seems to be wrong in fact because Australian medics carry weapons, so they are combatants. I can understand if a medic is too busy treating the wounded to fight. But if fighting is required, medics should not be exempt.

Craig is sure to be criticised for what he did in the Balkans. But he has my admiration. There is too little commitment when we see true evil. We spend so much of our time debating why we should be involved that either others get in and do the job, or evil prevails, while our collective navel finds itself well and truly examined.

Craig saw evil, and he committed. Read the book, please.