Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Terror panics and the war imperative

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  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to mark taslov,

    I want John Key to sidle up to God and prioritise the defence of New Zealand. Regardless of whether these risks actualise, to dispute their existence shows a reckless disregard for our safety

    And that's all very nice, Mark. So, should Key do that by restricting Jon Stephenson's freedom of movement until he stops putting New Zealanders at risk by reporting that might piss off ISIL and their ideologial chums? Same treatment for irresponsible aid workers or tourists?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So, should Key do that by restricting Jon Stephenson’s freedom of movement until he stops putting New Zealanders at risk by reporting that might piss off ISIL and their ideologial chums? Same treatment for irresponsible aid workers or tourists?

    Clearly Mark wasn't suggesting that. He was referring to Key's real power, and intention, of putting our troops in there, who will most likely very soon be involved in killing ISIL people, after which a retaliation is very much more likely.

    Or do you not think so?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Attachment

    Clearly Mark wasn’t suggesting that

    Full marks for dexterity Craig. ;p

    No.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to mark taslov,

    Full marks for dexterity Craig. ;p

    And nul points for not answering the question, which you’re not obliged to do but I could do without the usual bad faith crap.

    He was referring to Key’s real power, and intention, of putting our troops in there, who will most likely very soon be involved in killing ISIL people, after which a retaliation is very much more likely.

    Or do you not think so?

    No, I don’t. And I think it’s perfectly legitimate to ask whether you think Key should (as Mark puts it) ” prioritise the defence of New Zealand” by ruling out any New Zealand citizens’ participation in humanitarian aid or independent journalism because ISIL don’t seem to like that infidel nonsense overmuch either. And yeah, take it as read I'm not down with New Zealand criminalizing its citizens for going to the wrong parts of the world.

    I’d like to see a much stronger case (and a Parliamentary mandate) for New Zealand participation in any military intervention, but I’m not buying into knee-jerk isolationism either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    No, I don’t.

    Cool, I’ve permalinked this so that I can hand it back to you when the first Kiwi gets their head cut off over this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And nul points for not answering the question,

    I answered the question Craig. I emboldened it.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Cool, I’ve permalinked this so that I can hand it back to you when the first Kiwi gets there head cut off over this.

    Please do, Ben. And when you want to seriously answer my question instead of trying to score cheap and tasteless debating points, I’ll be waiting.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Grant Taylor,

    Multi-polar conflicts can be a tough call.

    Some analysts have gone as far as saying the West should do an Enemy Mine and ally with Assad against ISIS.

    NYT: The U.S. Should Help Assad to Fight ISIS, the Greater Evil
    USA Today: To fight ISIS, make peace with Syria's Assad: Column

    Others aren't so sure it's a good idea.

    NYT: Assad Has Never Fought ISIS Before
    DW: ISIS gains don't make Assad a Western ally

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You mean this:

    whether you think Key should (as Mark puts it) ” prioritise the defence of New Zealand” by ruling out any New Zealand citizens’ participation in humanitarian aid or independent journalism because ISIL don’t seem to like that infidel nonsense overmuch either.

    was actually a question? It looks like some kind of statement about you and your straw men.

    I don't know where that came from, or what it's asking. Who said Key should do that, and why should I answer it, having not suggested it? Mark didn't suggest it either, it's some kind of straw man you're trying to derail with.

    But then again, considering you say:

    I’d like to see a much stronger case (and a Parliamentary mandate) for New Zealand participation in any military intervention, but I’m not buying into knee-jerk isolationism either.

    ...I can't even tell what your position is, or even what you meant by "No I don't". Tonally it sounds like you're arguing with me, but the words don't tally up. Do you actually mean to say you don't think directly engaging ISIL militarily increases the chances of terrorist attacks against NZers?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Key has no sense of scale or proportion...
    Tonight on the news, responding to the discovery of a previously unidentified fault through wellington harbour, which was last active 6000 years ago - I think he might have been asked if he thought they should shift the Capital, to which he replied that he didn't think so, as Wellington has been there for a very long time, and this didn't change anything...!

    I'm guessing he must just operate in 3 year cycles, anything beyond that is, well, geological time, right?

    Had Chchch known about the unidentified fault that laid us low, would we have been so sanguine, and for Key to do so knowing what happened just seems naive.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7866 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to BenWilson,

    He was referring to Key’s real power, and intention, of putting our troops in there, who will most likely very soon be involved in killing ISIL people, after which a retaliation is very much more likely.

    Should we (as in: not ISIL) really be so worried about any potential retaliation that we do nothing?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Key has no sense of scale or proportion…

    Loosely related to what Craig asked; earlier today when attempting to uncover details of George Key’s alleged involvement in the Spanish Civil War, this fairly exhaustive article by Tom Scott was the pick of the bunch.

    There were some other interesting tidbits here (PDF):

    "I remember one really weird instance…He’d been drinking, I remember that. He came home and he’d bought me a train set. Mum had a real fit at him [I was] thinking ‘This is really cool, I’ve got these new toys’, and mum was having a real meltdown because he was home late and drunk."

    and at Kiwiblog:

    To wind up his mother, he presented her a National Party rosette when Muldoon won in 1975 (she did not like him at all).

    The $40,000 debt that George left behind in 1969 would be $626800 today, just stop me if anything’s sounding too familiar…

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Tonally it sounds like you’re arguing with me, but the words don’t tally up.

    Ben, I'm flat out telling you I've zero interest in getting tone policed by someone who could type this: "I’ve permalinked this so that I can hand it back to you when the first Kiwi gets there head cut off over this."

    That's a repulsive rhetorical game to play when people are being murdered.

    Do you actually mean to say you don’t think directly engaging ISIL militarily increases the chances of terrorist attacks against NZers?

    I think anyone who doesn't adhere to the letter of their extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam and sharia law is an enemy. That's hardly a great secret. There are plenty of argument to be made against military engagement, but that's not a terribly good one and I really hope we're not going to be basing our foreign policy on death threats. I'm not sure that ends up places New Zealand really wants to go.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Attachment

    Well, it all seems quite clear to me.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark,

    Thanks for linking to those three excellent ABC Media Watch episodes Russell. Much appreciated.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    There are plenty of argument to be made against military engagement, but that’s not a terribly good one and I really hope we’re not going to be basing our foreign policy on death threats. I’m not sure that ends up places New Zealand really wants to go.

    I think I hear a no in there. I still can't be sure. It reads like you're saying that if you get a bunch of NZ soldiers to go into Iraq and start killing people, like what militaries do for their job, that somehow you don't think that it will make a lick of difference to whether NZers will now become targets for retaliation. But then again, maybe you're saying you don't give a fuck. I still can't be sure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I really hope we’re not going to be basing our foreign policy on death threats. I’m not sure that ends up places New Zealand really wants to go.

    What exactly is our foreign policy based on currently? When it comes to conflict our foreign policy looks like little more than a franchise operation for Five Eyes partners, we’re led around on a leash to sniff the advertised going conflicts of the day, one bark yes, two barks no. Many may argue that New Zealand is already not in a place it wants to be.

    Have we ever entered any conflicts in a combat role independently? Why not chip in for the Mexican drug war? The Sudan? Somalia? Nigeria? Include a second choice if that’s your inclination, get STV with it.

    Where my understanding of calls for conflict falls down, and perhaps you can answer me this Craig; what sacrifice should be made to fund the hunting party, and how will it serve the greater good?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    How can military policy ever be based on anything but death threats? It’s the death threat business.

    ETA: And that's when it's being nice. Usually it's just the death business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    Well, I am impressed that Russell dares to share the Vice video on ISIS here, same as the other video links. I think it is the same Vice documentary I watched a few days ago, and it does not make for pleasant watching. Indeed Islamic State are a serious threat, and most certainly measures must be taken to stop them and ideally beat and somehow neutralise them. But that will be no easy task, it will not happen with mere air bombings, and with just handing out some weaponry to other groups in the region. That has been tried in Syria, it has not solved the multifaceted war there.

    The Middle East is in Iraq and Syria, and likely soon in some neighbouring states, a real powder keg, it is more volatile than ever, and there are massive amounts of weapons and ammunition in the hands of the many groups fighting each other.

    It will be insane to send in ground troops, that is "western" troops, as that is exactly what ISIS will exploit to the max, ideologically, as it will prove their case, well be useful for their propaganda, that the "infidels" are the enemy and must be fought, like once the "crusaders" who invaded their "holy land".

    Australia's government is playing with fire, and sadly Abbott is having limited intelligence, to step up their security measures and propaganda to high levels, now having caused serious frictions within the Australian community, between Muslims and those mistrusting that part of the citizenry. That again is also just helping Isis.

    Perhaps it pays to use secret and spy agencies to use strategies undermining ISIS and their supporters, rather than go in with planes and more? If the 5 Eyes are so "smart" and expert with their technology, they must have something up their sleeves and deal with this challenge. That of course is, if they are competent.

    I fear John Key will risk taking New Zealand into this battle, to have the SAS gather intelligence and so forth on the ground, but if he does so, this country will become a target, for sure, for certain fanatical hit-men and women, who may indeed cause serious damage. Sadly Mr Key is too keen on pleasing his US friends in high office, perhaps to help get concessions for the TPPA deal, and also for a UN seat. But the latter will look less likely, if New Zealand uses the traditional military lever, rather than some alternative means of working with affected states and peoples in the Middle East, to solve the crisis differently, without direct own involvement.

    Only the people on the ground there, affected by ISIS and other groups, have the power and ability to deal with the crisis. So indeed, perhaps make arms available to groups that can be trusted, plus intelligence and so, but then again, will those "allies" stay allies for long, as Afghanistan and also Iraq has taught us a painful lesson?

    A kind of expert on Islamic State, Loretta Napoleoni, was on Nine to Noon on RNZ National this morning, and she also gave a somewhat good insight into the formidable threat and challenge that goes out from that movement. Here is the audio of the interview that Kathryn Ryan had with her. It is worth listening to, at times though she almost sounds, as if the has some sympathy for ISIS supporters:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/20152590/the-rise-and-rise-of-the-islamic-state

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    How can military policy ever be based on anything but death threats?

    Portions of the top brass in a lot of western militaries have been moving more towards attempting to position/align their military arms for a more peacekeeping/policing/nationbuilding role over the last 20-odd years.

    Which is all very well, but the infrastructure, equipment, training and mentality is still combat-oriented, and there is quite a bit of institutional passive and active resistance to movement in that direction, both macro and micro.

    Once governments have sunk billions into a project like the Eurofighter (so that we can achieve air supremacy over Europe if the USSR invades), it's difficult to pull the plug.

    Similarly, if the gunnery sergeant responsible for training a bunch of raw recruits has an old-school mentality, no amount of memos on the soft use of force is going to change the style he passes on.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    What is also bizarre with the Key government's approach to this crisis in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has taken control of large swathes of territory, is how determined they seem on wanting to play a role in it.

    We are told that we are just too small and insignificant a nation, when it comes to doing our bit on dealing with global warming and pollution, i.e. carbon and other gas emissions. It would not make much of a difference, so we rather not bother doing too much, seems to be the general agreement within Nats, and certainly ACT.

    In contrast, when it comes to taking part in military actions, or in "security" and surveillance activity, they jump to the guns, as most loyal fighters for the cause the rest of the "allies" like US, UK, Australia and Canada want to commit themselves to.

    How bizarre, how bizarre, I'd say.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Tonight on the news, responding to the discovery of a previously unidentified fault through wellington harbour, which was last active 6000 years ago

    I’ve been thoroughly confused about why this story’s been given so much airplay today. First all day in the background on National Radio, then all over TV news. Sure, it’s academically fascinating, but it was discovered 2 years ago. There’s always been a high probability that there are many of these undiscovered faults, this really is geological time, and it’s not like anything’s changed in terms of risk or threat or planning. This is exactly what all those people being interviewed are saying over and over again. You wouldn’t know it from the tone of some of the journalistic assertions, though.

    Mostly though, I was thrown by my local Wellington Civil Defence Controller’s comment that an earthquake in Wellington wouldn’t be as bad as a power outage in Auckland (2 minutes into this TV3 report). Obviously trying to be reassuring and maybe he didn’t expect it to be replayed so much, but to me it just came across as a back-handed insult to people of Christchurch who are still experiencing that sucky ongoing situation.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Marc C,

    How bizarre, how bizarre, I’d say.

    Wanna know the rest? Hey, <you know the rest>

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think I hear a no in there. I still can’t be sure.

    Fine, Ben. I think I'm hearing a baited hook being waved in front of my nose I really shouldn't rise to, but I'm certain I should take my own advice and presume good faith on your part.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Tony Blair goes from "nah" to "yeah, nah" on ISIS as blowback for toppling Saddam Hussein.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

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