Who Needs History Lesson Now?

Remember Helen Clark criticising John Key for his grasp of history last week?

In Colin Espiner’s story about her speech to a journalism conference she was quoted as saying: “Today’s political editors of the two main TV channels were barely in their infancy, if born, when Norman Kirk brought the troops back from Vietnam…”

I posted  on this yesterday and a couple of commenters said Kirk didn’t bring the troops home, that was done in 1971, before Kirk came to power.

Inventory 2 then said: … the Holyoake/Marshall National government started the withdrawl of NZ troops from Vietnam, although Clark is half-right about Kirk. He came to power in November 1972, and one of the first things he did as PM was to bring the REMAINING troops (of whom my eldest brother was one) home. But when you’re half-right, you’re also half-wrong!

If you are criticising someone else for lack of precision do you not need to be precise yourself; or does this just prove that a little knoweldge is a dangerous thing?

6 Responses to Who Needs History Lesson Now?

  1. Inventory2 says:

    I didn’t intend this to be a “pick on Homepaddock” day!!!

    BTW – you might want to change your tag to JACK Marshall – not Russell Marshall, the Red Reverend as Muldoon referred to him!!


  2. homepaddock says:

    Inventory 2 – whoops: memo to self, think, check, double check then post.


  3. truthseekernz says:

    This is a quibble at best.

    Kirk was PM when NZ finally got out of Vietnam. While national remained in power, NZ had troops in Vietnam.

    Good on Jack Marshall for starting the withdrawal, though there is no way we can know for sure than had National won the 1972 elections they would have carried on the withdrawal. I say that based on past experience of elections tending to lower troop of various nations requirements until they pass.

    We can give credit to one who began the withdrawal but Clark is not wrong to Kirk was in charge when the last returned.


  4. homepaddock says:

    TS – no she wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t precisely right either.

    You are right it’s petty but I wouldn’t even have thought about it had she not attacked Key because he was similarly imprecise over history last week.

    If she’s going to nit-pick she can expect others to nit-pick too.


  5. JC says:

    Truthseeker, thats a ridiculous quibble on your part.

    All combat troops (from a high of over 500 men) and medical people were removed under National. Kirk removed just 43 men involved in training of Vietnamese and Cambodian troops.



  6. Ed Snack says:

    Actually truthy, Clark was almost entirely wrong. As pointed out, all Kirk did was remove a few trainers. All the combat troops went long before. Given Clark’s habitual truthlessness I doubt she knows the difference between removes all the roops and took a few trainers out, fater all, we didn’t send troops to Iraq did we, just a few trainers and engineers…


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