Skip to comments.Federal Labor MP Mike Kelly reveals life at the sharp end during army life (bayoneted Somalians)
Posted on 08/31/2011 1:53:10 AM PDT by LibWhacker
FEDERAL Labor MP Mike Kelly revealed yesterday how he had been forced to use a bayonet to "stick" enemy Somalis while serving with the Australian army.
Defending himself against claims his 20-year career in the army was spent behind a desk, Mr Kelly said: "I actually had to use the bayonet. I did actually stick them - I don't know if it was life threatening - to ward them off."
The parliamentary secretary for agriculture is in a war of words with his constituent, retired Air Vice-Marshal Peter Criss, and other veterans over military pensions, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Prior to the 2007 election, ex-servicemen and women called for their pensions to be indexed as others were.
Labor promised a review of this situation but once the election was won that promise stalled.
The veterans had believed Mr Kelly would support their campaign but they are angry government MPs voted down an opposition private member's bill in the senate in June.
Mr Kelly defended himself after Mr Criss implied he had served his time in a legal office, writing to him that he had been in life-threatening situations and had used his Steyr rifle to "buttstroke and bayonet".
His letter to Mr Criss was posted online by veterans groups, with barbs about his military service.
Mr Kelly responded yesterday, revealing details of a night in 1993 when he used his bayonet after Somali warlord Hassan Gutaale Abdul had just been sentenced to death and he was confronted by a hostile group of his supporters.
Mr Kelly, 51, a retired colonel, said his job was to make sure Gutaale was executed in accordance with international law.
"There was just myself and one other soldier there in the process of trying to secure the situation and get him to where he was to be executed," Mr Kelly said.
"There was quite a bit of scuffling. I got attacked. He had always threatened he was going to take me with him if he went down. He jumped on me in the court room. I had to use my rifle to subdue him by buttstroking."
He said a price was put on his head as a result of his work to bring warlords to justice: "There were continuous radio broadcasts calling on people to do all sorts of nasty things, to disembowel me. It wasn't an office job."
Mr Kelly was awarded the Order of Australia and Chief of the General Staff Commendation for his service in Somalia.
During a year in Iraq in 2003, working on legal cases against Saddam Hussein and his henchmen, he saw American colleague Lieutenant Colonel Chad Buehring have half his head blown away in an attack on a building in Baghdad.
"He went to the window ... to return fire, he copped a full blast. One of the rounds blew off half his head. He survived for a little bit but he didn't make it. I saw a lot of blood and carnage," Mr Kelly said.
Mr Criss yesterday said he was stunned by the response to his letter - in which he referred to Mr Kelly's "much-touted military (legal) experience".
"I didn't want to attack Kelly's service," he said.
He and retired brigadier and Vietnam veteran Neil Weekes accused Mr Kelly and other Labor MPs of backtracking on efforts to help veterans win a higher indexation on their pensions.
Mr Kelly said last night he was still negotiating with the government on the veterans' behalf: "I'm still in there fighting for them."
What, were they out of fresh fruit?
If it wasn’t life threatening you didn’t do it right.