Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Haphazardly to war

154 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 7 Newer→ Last

  • Paul Brislen,

    I'm unsure how you're supposed to train troops for frontline action without actually going with them to the frontline and assessing them in situ.

    Unless we're just training them on marching and how to pack their bags, of course.

    If we're going to put our troops in harm's way we should have more of an actual plan than we've seen presented so far. Perhaps there is one, but I have seen no coverage of it.

    Haphazard seems a very polite term for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    “Sunni, Shia and Kurds harmoniously sharing power and working together in Iraq.”

    If you genuinely want that outcome, you send skilled peacemakers and teachers and counsellors and engineers, not soldiers.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I'm left with the impression that NZ's effort will do little more than add an extra hammer to the long game of whack-a-mole, if the West keeps on attacking the symptom.

    If the real reason for going into Iraq (again), as with the 2003 invasion, isn't to genuinely make the world a safer place, then what is? Oil? Guns-for-butter? Or some twisted desire to resurrect the Crusades?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm largely a pacifist, I spent my teenage years with the spectre of the draft and Vietnam hanging over them - but I've always told myself that if another nazi Germany reared it's head I'd recognise it and do the right thing.

    It was ISIL's throwing of gay people off of buildings then stoning them that got me thinking, the wholesale slaughter of people because of their religion or their sexuality and their goal of world domination isn't all that different from Hitler's - no apologies for the Godwining here, sometimes it is a fair thing to compare against.

    I'm still on the fence, in two minds, but Key's slathering behaviour yesterday in parliament definitely did not convince me that we should be making our way to way towards war, he obviously wasn't in his right mind - sending just 16 people to train Iraqi soldiers isn't going to make jot of difference - meanwhile we're putting our own citizens in danger.

    I travel a lot for work, sometimes in the Middle East - in his moment of traving insanity in parliament yesterday Key is putting ME in danger for no particular upside.

    Maybe he was right about the Liu thing, and about the Springbok Tour, maybe he really has no memories of the past.

    If we are going to go to war we should talk about it, and vote, not trade our safety away for some trade deals, did we learn nothing from Vietnam?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Sunni, Shia and Kurds harmoniously sharing power and working together in Iraq.

    John Key forgot to add “and ponies for everyone”.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Key’s combination of minimal military commitment and maxed-out bluster really does seem to be channeling the ghost of Vietnam-era Keith Holyoake. Despite a visit from LBJ, Holyoake’s troop contribution was minuscule compared to Harold Holt’s shameless “all the way with LBJ” emulation of the US war effort, complete with Australian conscripts sent into combat.

    Despite Key’s intemperate blurt at Little’s lack of enthusiasm for the coming offal-toss, he’s showing no sign of making the kind of impulsive captain’s call that Muldoon apparently did off his own bat during the Falklands War, when he offered a frigate to relieve a Royal Navy vessel for combat duties.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Like Paul I'm also mostly a pacifist. That said there have been times in history where war has been the only plausible solution.

    The question then is "is this one of those times?"

    For me, as for most people it is pretty clear that peace is needed in Syria and Iraq. The next question is how does one do that? And that is where our current approach of leaping in to provide moral support for Australia and the US fails.

    There is no certainty that the people we train will be any better than those committing atrocities. It's not so much about killing bad guys or even figuring out who the bad guys are, that is fairly easy at the moment (but won't be once they shift back into guerrilla mode). The real problem is identifying any good guys in the current chaos.

    The Iraqi army? Not the ones who deserted to join ISIS but the ones who stayed, really? The Syrian army? Those are the ones using poison gas on their own citizens in Damascus.

    So who will we train? And what will the protection force be doing?

    There really does not seem to be any likelyhood of positive outcome from sending soldiers to Iraq and considerable risk to those men (and women?) as well as spillover risk to kiwis anywhere in the region.

    It appears from everything being said that the sole upside is goodwill from the US and Australia. Buying goodwill with the lives of our soldiers. That's not an economic equation I want any part of.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    There aren't always good guys - a Ukranian friend's analysis of what his home country has become largely comes down to that.

    But there are ordinary people who's lives have been disrupted and destroyed - peace in Iraq and Syria largely depends on their welbeing becoming everyone's primary goal, not on who gets killed - we do peacekeeping well, maybe that's what we should be doing here, creating and defending safe zones rather than killing from above

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    It was ISIL's throwing of gay people off of buildings then stoning them that got me thinking, the wholesale slaughter of people because of their religion or their sexuality and their goal of world domination isn't all that different from Hitler's - no apologies for the Godwining here, sometimes it is a fair thing to compare against.

    Isn't that what we said about the Taleban? Didn't we say this about al Qaeda? How are those wars going?

    I'm a pacifist, but recognise that not every conflict is an imperialist conflict. Sometimes you have to defend people from all out aggression and genocide. But it's hard to see a plan here, or accept that we are being told what we are actually going to be doing in the place. In fact Key has said out right we are doing 'the least we can do' (any less would be doing nothing, his words), because we can't do nothing. In spite of the fact that the West doing things is one of the main causes of death and extremism in the region.

    The commitment it would take to genuinely protect the innocent represents a price no-one in the international community is willing to pay. We won't even raise our paltry quota of refugees, for heaven's sake.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Despite Key’s intemperate blurt at Little’s lack of enthusiasm for the coming offal-toss, he’s showing no sign of making the kind of impulsive captain’s call that Muldoon apparently did off his own bat during the Falklands War, when he offered a frigate to relieve a Royal Navy vessel for combat duties.

    Well, not yet, anyway. Speaking of Muldoon, Thea Muldoon's just passed away, too.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    The commitment it would take to genuinely protect the innocent represents a price no-one in the international community is willing to pay

    Cutting off the supply of funding and weapons would hurt the big nations far too much. Unthinkable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The Iraqi army? Not the ones who deserted to join ISIS but the ones who stayed, really? The Syrian army? Those are the ones using poison gas on their own citizens in Damascus.

    * Middle East Friendship Chart
    * The Middle East, explained in one (sort of terrifying) chart

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Don't forget the intelligence aspect of the protection force, as detailed in 'other peoples wars,, this can mean missile and bomb targeting by the SAS. this requires placement of Kiwis in hostile territory, and knowing the outcome of capture these guys will go down fighting. And that picture is just fucking horrible.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Cutting off the supply of funding and weapons would hurt the big nations far too much. Unthinkable.

    Yep, I've always thought that accountants are better weapons against ISIS than soldiers. But potential trading partners might be at stake.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Newsweek reckoned last month the Kurdish forces may be able to seize Mosul soon – and may not be too keen on handing it back to Iraq. That would be very, very messy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Newsweek reckoned last month the Kurdish forces may be able to seize Mosul soon – and may not be too keen on handing it back to Iraq. That would be very, very messy.

    Isn't it yet another legacy of the ill-conceived Sykes-Picot Agreement?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Speaking of Muldoon, Thea Muldoon’s just passed away, too.

    Further to that aside, the Radio Pacific talkback show that Muldoon hosted in his dotage presented him as a suburban lily-fancier, with the issues of the day leavened with calls from fellow lily-heads. In real life Muldoon apparently knew squat about lilies, the expertise was all Thea's.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    Danyl Mclauchlan's latest Dim Post blog Off to Iraq argues that 'if Labour were in government our commitment to the latest US/UK adventure in Iraq would be pretty much identical' but 'the marketing would be different.'

    He cites this lengthy piece in the Atlantic Monthly What ISIS Really Wants by Graeme Wood, who as part of his research went to Melbourne to interview Musa Cerantonio, an Australian preacher who is said to be one IS's most influential recruiters.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 379 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Attachment

    Hap Hazard…
    any relation to Johnny Hazard?
    Another of Mr Key’s ’Hats’ perhaps?

    I’ve always thought that accountants are better weapons against ISIS than soldiers. But potential trading partners might be at stake.

    <image source>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    ‘if Labour were in government our commitment to the latest US/UK adventure in Iraq would be pretty much identical’

    I’m inclined to agree- but I *hope* there would have been a serious attempt to explain and justify the decision to us all. Re-taking Mosul could be a bloodbath – or it could go well. Avoiding sectarian division as much as possible is one role an international presence could play and that seems a worthy goal.
    I don’t think under any other party than the Nats we’d have been forced to endure the infuriating charade where it’s very clear the decision was made- and likely a commitment given – many months ago, yet we’re forced to pretend it came down to a cabinet decision on Monday.
    In the immortal words, etc – cut the crap.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    I'm presuming interpreters will be used? What happens to them afterwards? Because it seemed to take a while (three years) for those who helped the SAS in Afghanistan to begin to be sorted: SAS interpreters win NZ reprieve

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Further to that aside, the Radio Pacific talkback show that Muldoon hosted in his dotage presented him as a suburban lily-fancier, with the issues of the day leavened with calls from fellow lily-heads. In real life Muldoon apparently knew squat about lilies, the expertise was all Thea’s.

    my take from Nat Radio this morning was not that he didn't know anything about lilies, just that he had poor Thea do all the gardening

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    throwing in the towel…
    It’s an accident Kuwaiting to happen –
    the Battle of the Century- Part II!
    The Mighty Abrams vs
    The Aberrant Abrahamics
    No sleep till Tel Meggidio!

    Armour against ideas?
    Haven’t we been here before?
    Rinse and repeat…

    <edit> add: This story seems highly relevant geopolitically, as well.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    ‘if Labour were in government our commitment to the latest US/UK adventure in Iraq would be pretty much identical’

    Except Key did not give the decision to the house it was a cabinet, and therefore a minority decision. This may be a political blunder, as instead of calling on the house not to be cowards, he could have called their bluff with a vote. If this adventure gets messy it is going to cost his party dearly. When Clark sent in the troops it was by majority decision.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    seize Mosul soon

    Which goes some way to explaining the US urgency to get into Mosul.

    And yeah it isn't clear that Turkey is entirely a good guy in this chaos either, it seems to very much depend on who ISIS is shooting as to whether Turkey is all that bothered. That isn't a specific criticism of Turkey, most of the region seem to care about only some of the people ISIS kills.

    Nothing a bit of No8 wire can't fix right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 7 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.