NZ troops to train Iraqis

Tough decisions are rarely black and white.

The decision to send troops to a war zone, even if it is to train locals rather than engage in combat, is one of the tougher ones a government has to make and the complexities of the Middle East make the issue even more complicated.

The Dominion Post editorialises:

 . . . A political force which prides itself on beheadings and crucifixions of the innocent is intolerable to any democratic state.

The problem is that almost every form of Western intervention is fraught with trouble. The West has learnt from the invasion of Iraq, and the long bloody stalemate in Afghanistan, that making war in the Middle East often makes things worse rather than better.

So the choice is extraordinarily conflicted. Honest opponents of intervention should admit that the decision not to fight is deeply troubling because Isis is evil. Honest proponents of intervention should also admit that the war might have a just purpose but it is also probably unwinnable. . .

The government will have considered all of that in deciding to send troops to train Iraqis and Prime Minister John Key explained the decision in parliament today:

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

Last November I gave a national security speech which outlined the threat posed to New Zealand by ISIL.

This brutal group and its distressing methods deserve the strongest condemnation.

ISIL’s ability to motivate Islamist radicals make it a threat not only to stability in the Middle East, but regionally and locally too.

It is well-funded and highly-skilled at using the internet to recruit.

Disturbingly, if anything, ISIL’s brutality has worsened since I gave that speech late last year.

In recent weeks we have witnessed a mass beheading and the horrific plight of a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.

And we’ve seen stories of Western hostages who have been kidnapped and killed in barbaric ways.

ISIL’s outrageous actions have united an international coalition of 62 countries against the group.

New Zealand is already considered part of the coalition because we have made humanitarian contributions, with $14.5 million in aid provided to the region so far.

The Government has been carefully considering its options to expand our contribution to the international coalition.

As I outlined in November, our approach is one that addresses humanitarian, diplomatic, intelligence and capacity building issues.

Mr Speaker, New Zealand is a country that stands up for its values.

We stand up for what’s right.

We have an obligation to support stability and the rule of law internationally.

We do not shy away from taking our share of the burden when the international rules-based system is threatened.

We have carved out our own independent foreign policy over decades and we take pride in it.

We do what is in New Zealand’s best interests.

It is in that context that I am announcing that the Government has decided to take further steps to help the fight against ISIL.

The Iraqi government has requested support from the international community and has been clear with us that security is its top priority.

We have been clear that we cannot, and should not, fight Iraqis’ battles for them – and actually Iraq doesn’t want us to.

Our military can, however, play a part in building the capability and capacity of the Iraqi forces so they can fight ISIL themselves.

I have been open with New Zealanders that we have been considering an option to train Iraqi Security Forces alongside our longstanding partner Australia, in Iraq.

Such an operation would be behind the wire and limited to training Iraqi Security Forces in order to counter ISIL and legitimately protect innocent people.

Mr Speaker, the Government has decided to deploy a non-combat training mission to Iraq to contribute to the international fight against ISIL.

This is likely to be a joint training mission with Australia, although it will not be a badged ANZAC force.

Their task will be to train Iraqi Security Force units so they are able to commence combat operations, and eventually able to carry on the work of our trainers – creating an independent, self-sustaining military capability for the Government of Iraq to call on.

The mission will involve the deployment of personnel to the Taji Military Complex north of Baghdad, and this is likely to take place in May.

The deployment will be reviewed after nine months and will be for a maximum two-year period.

The total number of personnel deploying is up to 106 in Taji, and there will be others such as staff officers, deploying in coalition headquarters and support facilities in the region.

The total altogether will be up to 143.

As well as these people, further personnel and Air Force assets will occasionally need to be deployed to the region to support the mission – for example in support of personnel rotations and resupply.

Mr Speaker, a training mission like this is not without danger.

It is not a decision we have taken lightly.

I have required assurances that our men and women will be as safe as they can practicably be in Taji.

Our force protection needs have been assessed by NZDF and determined as being able to be met by the well-trained soldiers of our regular Army.

So we will be sending our own force protection to support the training activities.

I want to briefly address the issue of special forces.

As I said last November, I have ruled out sending SAS or any troops into combat roles in Iraq.

The Chief of Defence Force has advised me that special forces are not part of this deployment.

However, I want to be clear that special forces could be deployed for short periods to provide advice on issues like force protection or to help with high profile visits – as they have many times before.

Our deployment in Taji will include logistics and medical support, as well as headquarters staff.

It is our intention that Iraqi Security Forces be able to assume responsibility for delivering their own training programmes in future.

The New Zealand Government will retain ultimate decision-making authority over the nature and scope of the activities of the NZDF personnel within the mission, and those personnel will deploy with appropriate legal protections.

Exactly what form those legal protections take will be worked through in coming weeks with our Iraqi counterparts.

We will secure the best protections we realistically can for our personnel.

Mr Speaker, our military has a proven track record of carrying out this type of training work in Afghanistan.

This is a contribution that’s in line with our values and our skills.

But this is not all we will do to help.

We recognise ISIL is not a short-term threat and there is a lot of work to be done in the long-term.

Defeating ISIL will mean winning the hearts and minds of those vulnerable to its destructive message.

That will take time.

As I said last year, we have already contributed to the humanitarian cause and we are currently examining options to provide more help.

We are also stepping up our diplomatic efforts to counter ISIL and support stability in Iraq.

As part of this, we are looking at options to base a diplomatic representative in Baghdad to serve as a conduit between the Iraqi government and our military deployment, as well as assess how we can support better governance in Iraq.

We will also expand our diplomatic engagement on international counter-terrorism by appointing a new Ambassador for Counter Terrorism.

Underpinning all this, we will work as a member of the UN Security Council to advocate for effective action on ISIL.

Mr Speaker, last November I told New Zealanders ISIL had been successful in recruiting New Zealanders to its cause.

Our Government agencies have a watch list of between 35 and 40 people of concern in the foreign fighter context and that remains the case.

Unfortunately an additional group requiring further investigation is growing in number.

We have strengthened the ability of our intelligence agencies to deal with this and they are taking steps to add to their resources.

We cannot be complacent, as events in Sydney, Paris and Ottawa have underscored.

To those who argue that we should not take action because it raises that threat, I say this:  the risk associated with ISIL becoming stronger and more widespread far outweighs that.

I know there is already risk.

New Zealanders do too, because they know we are a nation of prolific travellers who have been caught up in terrorist activity around the world many times before.

Mr Speaker, the Government has carefully considered our contribution to the international campaign against ISIL.

We are prepared to step up to help.

New Zealand does not take its commitment to Iraq lightly.

In return we expect that the Iraqi government will make good on its commitment to an inclusive government that treats all Iraqi citizens with respect.

Sending our forces to Iraq is not an easy decision but it is the right decision.

They will go with our best wishes.

To the Dom Post again:

. . . All the signs suggest that Key is doing what Keith Holyoake did in Vietnam – sending the smallest possible force into the war, mainly to keep the allies happy and to show the flag. And probably the most that can be hoped for from this war is to contain Isis and stop it from building a lasting fundamentalist caliphate.

If it can’t build the caliphate, it loses its theological reason for being. And it then might lose some of its support, and splinter under its own murderous fanaticism. None of that is certain to happen, but it is a defensible aim for limited Western military intervention. It is the best option available.

There is no best in situations like this, but sending a limited number of troops to train the locals for a limited time is less worse than the alternatives.

51 Responses to NZ troops to train Iraqis

  1. Andrei says:

    John Kerry the current US Secretary of State famously said in 1971
    Who will be the last man to die for a mistake

    He was referring to the Vietnam war of course, even as the then President Nixon was pulling US forces out/

    Kerry then built his political career on this which nearly took him to the White House

    The USA began their large scale intervention in Vietnam in 1964, the justification for doing so being based on a LIE,

    The last American forces were withdrawn from that conflict in 1972 though it lasted until 1975

    In 2003 the USA invaded Iraq once again this being justified on the basis of a LIE

    Do you not suspect that we might be doubling down on a massive error.

    And the irony of this happening with John Kerry as head of the State Department given his springboard into politics is twilight zone territory

  2. Andrei says:

    A political force which prides itself on beheadings and crucifixions of the innocent is intolerable to any democratic state.

    Sounds like Saudi Arabia, one of our staunchest allies in this enterprise

  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Theee is also the US blind eye to the 2,060 Palestinian children killed by Israel since 2000.

  4. TraceyS says:

    I have just read an interesting article in the NZ Listener. Normally I don’t buy this magazine but the baby on the cover caught my eye.

    The article “A Radical Approach” by David Hall is about a method used to counter radicalism by working with the families of those who have concerns about their family members becoming radicalised. To summarise, in my words, it works on the family to ensure that the social needs of each member (particularly young ones) are met and that the family unit (via internal tension/conflict/ostracision etc) does not inadvertently encourage family members to meet their needs for social connection and cohesion elsewhere.

    “So an important early step is simply to resolve any ongoing conflicts. According to Kohler, these area major contributing factor to radicalisation, whether it’s family conflicts, radicalised relatives or even parents’ intolerance of their son or daughter’s religious choices. These are hooks of discontent on which recruiters hang their message.

    As a mother this approach makes intuitive sense to me.

    “I think the violent radicalisation process is essentially about the depluralisation of political concepts and values,” says Kohler. “It cuts everything down so that there’s only one problem in the world, one solution, one future. I try to reverse that, to add more colour to their world view through family, friends, teachers…”

    My Great-Grandfather was a Colonel in the NZ Army. He fought in both World Wars and earned a MC, MBE and OBE for his involvement. Yet I know very little about war or fighting. I am a mother though and I know about mothering and strong, loyal, cohesive family. In fact, I’d say that a lot of those who comment here do also. Our little island of commonality surrounded by a sea of apparent political difference of opinion. Perhaps.

    Here is a way I can be of help in a small way. Anyway, I’ve been doing it all along! I think we should all be looking for our own contribution and not just focusing on the more direct effort and whether or not we have some ideological agreement or disagreement.

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m sure you are right with this, Tracey, especially in regard to those young people from the West who are wanting to join this conflict. It would make sense if they don’t feel they have a close connection to their family. I worry about those who live in the war torn areas who have had many of their close family killed, often in front of them. I’m sure the emotional damage caused by these experiences creates such hatred for others.

    Robert Guyton and his wife actually managed a home for Kampuchean orphans many years ago and they found many were so damaged emotionally and physically that they would never really recover. Wars have long term effects on young people and much of their later violent behaviour is probably caused by the environment they are forced to live in.

  6. Brown says:

    ISIL may be a political force but its aligned inseparably with Islam. The root of the problem is Islam and poking about on the edges without debating the religion in depth to see what it really says (ISIL already know this and act on it) we are just rearranging deck chairs etc…

  7. Willdwan says:

    If Israel really has killed all those children (I would not take the so-called Palestinians word for it) it is by accident while defending themselves from attacks. That you can claim a moral equivalence between that and the endless atrocities of Islam disturbs me.

  8. Andrei says:

    What none of you seem to get is that it is impossible to defeat ISIS/ ISIL/Daish militarily and even if it was the main theatre would be Syria and not Iraq

    On Seven sharp they interviewed the Prime Minister tonight, puffball questions accompanied by images of famous recent atrocities

    The beheading of Copts in Libya – this is a long way from Iraq and on a different continent for the geographically challenged

    The burning of a Jordanian pilot in Syria – this is not Iraq but closer to Iraq than Libya

    They also brought up the threats to the Westfield Malls, which by implication includes New Zealand – this threat comes from Somalia, that is in Africa for the geographically challenged

    And they also referred to the recent hostage crisis in Sydney which of course was perpetrated by a David Grey type who adopted the posture of an ISIS/ ISIL/Daish terrorist for greater theatrical effect.

    All in all its a fine mess with no real solution

    We are going to Iraq to offer moral support to the USA and not much else

    I wonder how many more fires Mr Obama will light before he leaves office or if everything will totally blow up and his legacy will be the President who started WW3

  9. JC says:

    In a way its frustrating that we think Islamic State is a throwback to the 7th century when recent history tells us it’s simply the way Muslim nations behaved in the last century or two.

    Saudi Arabian slavery was only abandoned in the 1960s after US pressure and most of the inhuman atrocities in the Muslim world were only stopped by Europeans within the memory of our parents and great grandparents.

    A good deal of Muslim “colonisation” was in fact an imposition of decent behaviour on an impossibly cruel religion and we should be proud of our ancestors who probably saved tens of millions of Muslims and others from death, slavery and mutilation as a result.

    Not insignificantly the result of decolonization has caused a further 10 million Muslim deaths in the last 30 years and since 911 a further 25,000 terrorist attacks involving innocent fatalities.

    Now, has Key chosen the best alternative to IS and Muslim terror?.. no.. he has like the rest of the civilised world chosen what seems the best of the worst alternatives.

    Without a doubt Key has got it wrong because there is no limit to human and especially IS and its allies’ depravity.. and maybe no limit to it’s tolerance from the NZ left.


  10. Mission: Train a foreign army in a warzone

    What could go wrong???

    Why can’t Iraqi battalions be flown to NZ and trained here??? Why must it be trained in Iraq???

  11. Dave Kennedy says:

    “If Israel really has killed all those children (I would not take the so-called Palestinians word for it) it is by accident while defending themselves from attacks.”
    Willdwan it is hard to get truly accurate statistics but any independent source puts the deaths of Palestinians much higher than Israel and children regularly get killed and are even charged as adults in Israeli courts. I had what seemed to be an independent link under another post.

    JC, I think you misunderstand the reality of Islam. It is easily the second largest religion and the vast majority of believers are peace loving and good citizens. We never condemned the Catholic religion when the IRA was bombing London. While we condemn Muslims for many of their practices (more cultural than religious) we could also condemn Catholics for their abusive priests and their exploitation of unmarried mothers. The Koran recognises Christ and much of its text replicates Jewish and Christian texts.

    Historically too, Islam helped the Middle East develop into a sophisticated and scientifically advanced culture that was superior to the Christian West during the middle ages.

    The Middle East has never really been able to naturally achieve its own political balance in the last 50 years or so as the US and the West have actually engineered into government and supported some of the most corrupt leaders they have had. Saddam Hussein was originally supported into power by the US. There are a number of different narratives floating around about what the US is really doing in the Middle East, this is one:

    Remember after the most recent wars involving the US it has been revealed that the official stories and explanations were later found to be false. Vietnam was a huge mistake and there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Most people in the west have more to fear form their own families than IS terrorists (thousands more people die from domestic abuse than terrorist attacks).

    I agree with you that it is a hopeless war that we should never send troops to, but probably for slightly different reasons, I don’t believe Islam is a cruel religion.

  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    r1016132nzblogger, what a great idea!

  13. Ray says:

    Willdwan it is hard to get truly accurate statistics but any independent source puts the deaths of Palestinians much higher than Israel and children regularly get killed and are even charged as adults in Israeli courts. I had what seemed to be an independent link under another post.

    You could hardly call Alison Weir, a Zionist conspiracy advocate, “independent”. Try and widen your reading experience, Mr Kennedy, if you wish to comment on things you know little about.

    r1016132nzblogger, what a great idea!
    Agreed, this suggestion has been all over the blogs since the deployment was first mooted.
    Not “numbers” bright idea as he would have you believe.

  14. RBG says:

    All very well to talk about countering radicalisation by supporting families TraceyS, but our 5 eyes network helps US drones blast the shit out of families who just happen to be near the targeted cell phones. Mummy love fuzzies won’t fix that hurt.

  15. Willdwan says:

    Nice dodge Dave…the numbers were not the point, as you well know, it’s the intent. What do Israelis want? Somewhere they can live in peace. Isis wants to enslave the world. Like fascism and communism, Islam is a totalitarian system bent on conquest.

    But Muslims are a fatalistic lot, sensitive to symbolism. Get in there and snot ISIS before they get too strong, and the rest should lie quiet for a generation or so. Rinse and repeat. We have been doing this for 1400 years, it’s nothing new.

  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, Alison Weir may hold different views from your own but she is hardly an extremist and I put a link to her to show there is more than one view that is well argued.

    Willdwan, I am still getting my head around it all but ISIS wanting to take over the world is porbably a huge stretch. This is essentially a civil war and any terrorist acts outside the Middle East have been caused by lone (probably deranged) local citizens. I don’t see Muslims any different from Christians when you consider the atrocities and extreme behaviour in Northern Ireland and the Balkans in the 90s.

  17. Paranormal says:

    Really r1016132nzblogger?

    You’re concerned with Green on Blue attacks but then, you would be happy flying a whole bunch of potential jihadis into the country? Haven’t really thought that through have you.

  18. TraceyS says:

    “I’m sure the emotional damage caused by these experiences creates such hatred for others.”

    Why are you sure about that, Dave?

    It makes more sense that those who have been harmed or compromised by fighting in their past would want to get away from it. To the other end of the earth most likely.

    If you read this article you might realise that the research does not support poverty, mental illness, and poor physical health as risk factors for radicalisation.

    “New research from Queen Mary University of London has found youth, wealth, and being in full-time education to be risk factors associated with violent radicalisation. Contrary to popular views, religious practice, health and social inequalities, discrimination, and political engagement showed no links.

    Interesting that Metiria is pushing the child poverty barrow today by asking for donations to that cause. Wouldn’t parents be better off spending their spare cash doing things with their kids?

  19. TraceyS says:

    I wouldn’t mind guessing that political engagement also shows no links to whether or no someone is like to be a supporter of worker exploitation.

    But, Dave, if you’ve got the time please go ahead and provide some evidence. I’m all ears.

  20. TraceyS says:

    *likely* to be

  21. Paranormal says:

    DK, are you aware the Saudis are building a massive wall along their border to keep out IS.

    IS have declared the caliphate is back in existence and stated goals include ‘raising the flag of Allah’ over the White house and taking jihad worldwide.

  22. TraceyS says:

    Will try again!

    I wouldn’t mind guessing that political engagement also shows no links to whether or not someone is likely to be a supporter of worker exploitation.

    But, Dave, if you’ve got the time please go ahead and provide some evidence. I’m all ears.


  23. TraceyS says:

    “Mummy love fuzzies won’t fix that hurt.”

    Not for those people – never said it would either! Just that it could help prevent kids from joining a violent cause.

    Are you a mother RBG? Do you understand that exposure to violent events, even through the TV or newspaper, does traumatise kids? Extra mummy love is indeed required and it is not a “fuzzy” nice to to have. This must not be overlooked.

  24. Willdwan says:

    Ultimately it does not matter what ISIS’ long term objectives are. Strictly Islamic societies are hopelessly unproductive. So many restrictions, so little opportunity, poor education (none for half the population), corruption, etc. So they quickly need to turn to other forms of income to continue. Piracy, theft, slavery, conquest, such is the golden age of Islam. In the end they have no alternative, but they use the Koran to justify their pillaging.

    I do not believe for a moment Islam will ever dominate the world, but they could do terrible damage trying. Shut them back in their box and nail down the lid.

  25. RBG says:

    Seeing your family blown up by a drone is likely to radicalise anyone- THAT is my point TraceyS.

  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, with respect, we are talking about two different situations. You are talking about the attraction to radical behaviour from young people in the west while I was referring to those actually in the war torn region. Surely their experiences will be quite different. I actually didn’t disagree with what you were saying.

    This speech of Russel Norman’s has been widely supported as he provides a good history of what has been happening in the Middle East.

  27. JC says:

    DK, the facts around Islam as it relates to the decision to go back to Iraq are pretty clear to me.

    First is that its a duty on every Muslim to expand the religion and kill every non believer they encounter.. although payment of the poll tax may allow some to avoid the sword.. but only at the pleasure of the Muslims.
    That is the teaching of Muhammed and not one word has changed in obligation to it because there has been no separation as ocurred in Christianity into the old and New Testament, nor has there been a Muslim Reformation and there is no central authority as occurred in Christianity to interpret, enforce or modify the Holy Book.

    There has been no check on the religion except that imposed by Christianity for most of the last 1400 years. There has never been a time when Islam has proposed a permanent peace with non believers bar that imposed on it.

    As Churchill put it “The River Wars”..

    “Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

    That quote is just 116 years old and remains true today.

    Now to turn to your moral equivalence re the IRA and the like.. all we have to do is turn it around and have an IRA murderer justify his actions by saying “But the Muslims do it to!” and straightaway we would spurn him with justified contempt because there are no excuses, no justifications for that sort of terrorist murder… in fact we codified a “Just War” through Augustine of Hippo long before Islam rose and 900 years later through Aquinas to condemn the sort of terrorism imposed by criminals and Muslim terrorists.

    And finally we get to the meat in John Key’s sanwich.. IMO he should have taken the long route to justify going back to Iraq as opposed to just the moral aspect.

    The long route starts in Rwanda in 1994 when the UN Security Council was preparing to completely withdraw from anything to do with the massive slaughter of 800,000 people there. Only little NZ on the SC objected and such was our moral outrage that the UN and the rest of the world shamefacedly owned up to their responsibilities to the Tutsi people.

    Out of that shame came the UN pact that we support of “Responsibility to Protect”. That says when a nation cannot protect its people from massacre the world must step in and do the job.

    Now fast forward to the last ten years when NZ has spent a decade getting back on to the SC.. Helen Clark, Labour and Nat PM and foreign ministers and David Shearer approached dozens of countries to support our bid. We promised we would represent the little countries, that we would try to water down the Veto and provide a moral voice so that never again would we have another Rwanda; we also pointed out our track record in 1994 of being the only country to stand up for Rwanda at the SC.

    So thats where we are now.. we support the Responsibility to Protect (RTP), we have a track record of standing up against genocide and mass murder where a nation cannot do the job itself and we have made promises to do so again when we take our seat at the SC shortly.

    We have no choice in this matter, our Parliament (except for the Greens) have supported our position on Rwanda, on the RTP, on going into Iraq and Afghanistan a decade or so ago and on our bid and promises made for the seat on the SC.

    All thats happened now is that the Parliament (except for the Greens) also agrees to go back to Iraq but Labour and several small parties are putting political advantage over morality.


  28. Andrei says:

    Ultimately it does not matter what ISIS’ long term objectives are. Strictly Islamic societies are hopelessly unproductive. So many restrictions, so little opportunity, poor education (none for half the population), corruption, etc.

    What a grotesque caricature

    Do you think these people will develop solutions to their problems under a barrage of cruise missile attacks and drone strikes Will?

    And why is mass murder via hi tech means by remote control any less barbaric than more primitive means?

    The USA with the biggest military machine the world has ever seen can bring a Nation to its knees in a matter of weeks and has done so on many occasions

    But having broken humpty dumpty it is much, much harder to put him back together again

    And then we wonder why people from those devastated places don’t like the West – finding solace and guidance from their own cultural heritage

    And not Dr Phil as Tracey basically suggested above

  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    “First is that its a duty on every Muslim to expand the religion and kill every non believer they encounter.”

    JC, it really saddens me that you are perpetuating such dangerous misinformation that only increases the fear and hatred against followers of Islam. I can find many verses in the Bible that supports sacrifice and killing and I challenge you to do the same in the Koran.

    My comments regarding the IRA and the Balkans were merely used to point out the hypocrisy of claiming that followers of Islam are more likely than those of Christian heritage to be involved in genocide and terrorism. It is obviously not true.

    Our Government is currently trading with countries committing much greater atrocities than ISIS with little protest:
    -Nigeria ($300 million worth of trade) 10,000 people slaughtered last year alone.
    -Indonesia ($1 billion worth of trade) Between 150,000-400,000 killed
    -Sri Lanka ($306 million worth of trade) over 100,000 tamils have been slaughtered by the Sri Lankan military and police.

    This Government speaks loudly about the atrocities in the Middle East, but you will find nothing of note about any of the above. I wonder why?

    As John Key himself said, we are only sending troops because we are obliged to as members of the club (and in this he was obviously meaning the Five Eyes, although that has been unsuccessfully denied since).

  30. Paranormal says:

    How very selective with the language you use and the truth you espouse again DK.

    Sri Lanka ‘slaughtered’ Tamils. I’m not denying there were deaths, but it was a decades long civil war with atrocities on both sides, no one was blameless.

    Nigeria is successfully fighting Boko Haram and does not fit into the RTP box –

  31. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, if our government seriously wants to limit atrocities and mass loss of life in the in the world should we not offer the same level of support to other countries as we have Iraq? Should we not condemn worse atrocities than what ISIS committing with equal vigor? Why are we friendly with Saudi Arabia and not protest their abuses when they behead people and imprison children?

    I agree that the Tamil Tigers committed war crimes too (and could have expressed that better), but since the war there has been ongoing persecution of the Tamils from the Sri Lankan Government and little has been done to address the previous war crimes.

  32. JC says:

    “I can find many verses in the Bible that supports sacrifice and killing”

    Really? What parts of the New Testament ie, Christianity, call for the slaughter of Jews and non believers?

    “My comments regarding the IRA and the Balkans were merely used to point out the hypocrisy of claiming that followers of Islam are more likely than those of Christian heritage to be involved in genocide and terrorism. It is obviously not true.”

    Uhuh.. can you point out to me where Christians have been involved in 25,000 acts of terrorism since 911 alone as has Islam. Or evidence that Christians have killed 10 million fellow Christians over the last 30 years as has happened in Islam.

    “Nigeria”.. is not a failed country and receives considerable military support from France.

    “Sri Lanka”.. is not a failed country and has received considerable trade and humanitarian support from NZ for decades.

    “Indonesia” is not a failed country but we had a military presence supporting Timor Leste over about a decade.

    The facts are we currently have a small military presence in Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Soloman Is, Sinai, Israel, Sth Lebanon, Sth Sudan, Sth Korea and Antarctica. Iraq has asked us for support along with our Western Allies and we are responding appropriately.


  33. In reply to Paranormal

    Training the Iraqis (if that is the actual mission) in NZ would remove the risk of sniper, IED, mortar, and DU (Depleyed Uranium) poisoning for a start.

    It would remove the threat to our airforce being shot down by all those surface to air missiles the yanks gave ISIS at Benghazi

    It would also help us not to get sucked into Syria

  34. Dave Kennedy says:

    JC you are putting words in my mouth, misrepresenting me and your history is biased.

    I would appreciate your source for the 10 million fellow Muslims killings over the last 30 years. I think you will find that the US and allies were responsible for quite a few. I also wonder how many Afghans were killed by US and Russian forces, and don’t forget those killed in the Balkans. War and conflict isn’t

    My concerns are still valid that disproportionate attention is given to the Middle East than elsewhere and I think when you talk about “failed countries” you must thinking about their economies and not their human rights records.

    Australia and now New Zealand are getting a name for ignoring abuses in the countries they trade with.

  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry I didn’t finish a sentence above in the third paragraph, it should have read-War and conflict isn’t just a Muslim issue and much is to do with the level of disruption occurring in a region and much has been caused by the West’s interference.

  36. Andrei says:

    We can’t fix the world Dave Kennedy, only our little corner of it

    And it certainly can’t be fixed with stealth bombers, cruise missiles and drone strikes.

    It can be fixed by following the rule of law and encouraging others to do the same.

    To the topic of this post – we are involving ourselves in a war which cannot be won, an unjust war at that, and on the basis of false pretenses.

    The people of the Middle East will never sort themselves out (and only they can do it) while people from outside distort their political processes for their own personal gain and profit

  37. Dave Kennedy says:

    I agree with you, Andrei, but we do need to express our concern regarding human rights abuses with consistency and independence.

    My real concern about the Middle East is what we can do to make amends for the mess many of us have collectively made.

    What I find concerning here is the superior attitude some commentators have regarding us vs Muslim nations. It wasn’t that long ago when South Africa practiced apartheid, the US wasn’t much different in the 60s and Australia has treated its aborigines appallingly (and now doing the same to refugees).

    Being part of the Five Eyes is supporting illegal drone attacks and being part of the ongoing conflict in Iraq. As Russel Norman stated in his speech, the US has found through its own research that continued action only increases the antagonism to the West. Whats the point?

  38. TraceyS says:

    “We can’t fix the world Dave Kennedy, only our little corner of it.”

    That was my point Andrei but nobody seemed to get it. You got smart and Dave and RGB tried to redirect me from my “corner”.

    Who is Dr Phill by the way?

  39. TraceyS says:

    “but we do need to express our concern regarding human rights abuses”

    And when that is done you will be calling for action next. No?

  40. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, if you remember I actually agreed with you, it was you who didn’t appear to understand where others were coming from.

    Dr Phil is a psychologist and US TV personality who solves relationship problems:

  41. Dave Kennedy says:

    And when that is done you will be calling for action next. No?

    Yes but action that won’t make things worse. Iraq had their infrastructure destroyed by the war and then US corporates like Dick Cheney’s Halliburton made lots of money ripping off the reconstruction process for their own profit (and Dick Cheney’s).
    The Americans were ripping of Iraq and Iraq was trying to rip of the US so billions got wasted and little was actually achieved.

    Iraq still wants help with rebuilding and engineering and this is where they would really want NZ support. However Key got them to request for military support so he could get our soldiers over there to join the US and Aussies.

  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    However, I agree with Andrei we would be better spending our time supporting those closer to home like some of the struggling pacific communities and West papua.

  43. TraceyS says:

    I did understand where you were coming from Dave (and RBG) but felt you were very quick to change the focus.

  44. TraceyS says:

    “Yes but action that won’t make things worse”

    What action?

  45. TraceyS says:

    And that will be my last comment on this blog…so I can focus more on my little corner, which is small, but growing.

    So I will leave it to you boys to sort out the world’s problems. Good luck.

  46. RBG says:

    ‘redirecting’ you TraceyS? No, arguing a different point of view. Tedious how you so often make the discussion personal and about your interpretation of other people’s motives.

  47. Paranormal says:

    So “Numbers”, lets see if we can put some perspective in there for you.

    To save our 140 odd service personnel (including our non-existent air force) from exposure to issues they are aware of, train for, and are equipped to handle, you would potentially expose our unsuspecting civilian population including civil air lines (as opposed to air force) to risks they would not consider, are not trained for or equipped to handle, by importing possible jihadis.

  48. It’s my service number paranormal, you’d know that if you’d done a day in the armed forces

    Our civilian population is already exposed to higher risk of ISIS kidnap/ransom/decapitation due to john keys foreign policy

    Unsure where you get the exposure to civilian airlines – they would be flying military aircraft.

    They also wouldn’t be entering the country armed

  49. Paranormal says:

    You’re right ‘Numbers’ – I have only been a British Army territorial.

    If you think our civilian population is at a higher risk because of something John Key has done then you are misinformed about Islamic fundamentalist goals to kill all infidels.

    If you stopped to think for a moment you would see IS, or any other islamic fundamentalist group for that matter, would welcome the west transporting ready made jihadis around the world. It would save them a lot of time and effort so they could focus more on the target than the logistics.

    BTW I was suggesting civilian aviation would be a target, just as you were suggesting our almost non-existent air force would be a target in Iraq. I know who is better prepared for that.

  50. “If you think our civilian population is at a higher risk because of something John Key has done then you are misinformed”Paranormal

    Am I???

    Kiwi war correspondent Jon Stephenson says fighting ISIS will make New Zealand more of a target for an attack.

    In an interview with Radio Live, Mr Stephenson talks about New Zealand’s role in the fight, and says “fighting ISIS will put us at risk”.

    “The reality is that New Zealand contributing troops to Iraq is likely to make New Zealanders more at risk because it will raise the possibility of attacks at home.”

    ANZAC 100 year commemorations in Turkey this year. You wanna talk about targets

    “If you stopped to think for a moment you would see IS, or any other islamic fundamentalist group for that matter, would welcome the west transporting ready made jihadis around the world”

    Are you saying we are training the jihadis???

    Alright we wouldn’t have to train the Iraqi army in NZ if Kiwis were lacking the guts, we could train them in an ally middle-eastern country that isn’t a warzone how about that???

    Yeah no shit civi airlines are a target. Certain elements within the yankie high command have been training and arming IS with surface to air missiles – do you remember Benghazi???

    We need to start by cleaning house and holding trials for high treason

    Prosecuting this war is a sick joke when you have Muslim Brotherhood penetration of every single US intelligence organisation – don’t take my word for it, hear what a US 4 star has to say

    Our troops deserve better than this garbage

  51. Andrei says:

    The situation in Iraq has just got a whole lot messier with the battle of Tikrit now underway with elements of the Iranian armed forces involved.

    This operation has been launched by the Iraqi Government without the USA’s blessing and perhaps even without their advanced knowledge.

    The political ramifications of this in Iraq itself and across the wider ME are enough to make your head spin

    We should not have anything to do with this. There is no way out once we go in

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