Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Toby Manhire sums up really well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to John McCormick,

    The question then is, is this action better than doing nothing?

    On balance, I believe it is not. ISIS is trying to provoke an invasion so they can widen the conflict and draw more recruits. However if America is going to do this, the more support they have the less it looks like just an American action and the more chance of some form of success. While NZ’s role is marginal in both military and political terms, I think suporting the action is better than not.

    I'm confused. Are you for the action or against it? You're saying it's not better than doing nothing, but IF the USA is going to do something, THEN it is better than doing nothing? So really, the best thing to be doing would be to be convincing the USA not to take action? Presumably not fielding our forces might achieve such tiny symbolism towards that end as we are capable of? Couldn't we wait for the USA to actually, like, go in, before activating that IF clause?

    That's on the proviso that it makes any sense at all, that somehow giving them moral support will make it all work better, despite everything they've done there so far turning into an atrocious mess, like we all said it would before they even began. Maybe, just maybe, we should start trusting the people who were right all along, who argued against arbitrary wars of choice from the get go.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I avoid etymological phallusies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But many conflicts since the US Civil War have showed that a country with brave and resourceful troops (the Confederacy, Japan, Germany*2) will lose to an opponent able and willing to bring superior economic resources to bear

    Sure. At the cost of enormous losses on both sides. And there have been many conflicts since then in which massively superior economic resources have totally failed to subdue countries, much less convert them into beacons of democracy. Most conflicts involving a superpower since WW2 have been like this. We certainly don't economically overpower Fiji like the USA overpowered Vietnam. The loss of even one ship would decimate NZ naval forces.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to nzlemming,

    Do we have that many ships?

    Well..no, just on frigates, even if they sank all 4 of the frigates we had then, that would only be a bit over a thousand people. But I was talking about it becoming protracted, in the fantasy scenario that we take on Fiji. I can see that a PM should talk about such things, that's one of their jobs, but deciding against would have been pretty swift.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    The worst part about this troop deployment for me is that we knew it was going to happen around the middle of last year. Protesting about it now is closing the stable door after the horse bolts. We still have to do it, but it's too late now. Now people actually have to die before the horse comes home.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Stick an Anzac frigate (or even the Leanders we had then) 2km off the end of the Suva airport runway and declare a no-fly zone.

    You're kidding, of course. It's a nice conceit that we would be able to intimidate Fiji militarily, but probably a completely false one. Quite aside from whether it would be of any use, or morally justifiable. It's the kind of conflict that, because it is on a "small" scale, with very primitive weaponry by world standards, would lead to a long engagement with high casualties. Some of the most deadly conflicts in the last 50 years have been between small nations, and naval conflict is especially prone to "went down with all hands" kinds of losses. We could lose thousands of people doing that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Seems like a strange final term vanity project of Key's. He'll be able to go to a war zone dressed in fatigues and be the genuine head of a really small army. Nobody will be able to call him the "guy who never really did anything much when he was in power" when he took the nation to war.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to Ross Mason,

    At school it was.

    That's where it seemed the least profound to me, since vast numbers of kids do both. In fact a little bit of both was core to the curriculum when I was at school, at least until about the age of 15. Of course there were some people strongly in either camp, and they were seen as archetypal for the subject they excelled in, but it always seemed like a pretty tenuous cliche, much more about peer group conformity than about actual genuine mental differences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Don’t really know how useful that would have been today though……..waste of t im e REaLly.

    The only friend I had at school who took typing as an elective is now a self-made millionaire. Amusingly, he can't touch type and I can. I taught myself in about 2 days.

    The arts science split was/is profound.

    You think? I know loads of people who were talented in both.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8825 posts Report Reply

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