Quote of the day

Men do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. And if you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity. – William Manchester

I chose this quote in response to the RSA’s submission against changing the New Zealand flag.

The RSA argues we should ask the second question first so if the majority say no there’s no need for a second referendum.

The problem with that is that we wouldn’t know what the alternative would be and that will influence many people’s decision on whether or not they want change.

One argument against change used by the RSA, and others, is that the flag is the one soldiers fought under and it would be disrespectful to them to change it.

That is very much a matter of opinion.

New Zealanders fought under that flag. But they did that because it was the flag at the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they had such a strong attachment to it that it would be dishonouring them if it was changed.

Like Manchester I think the armed services went to war for far more than the flag.

One rallying cry was for king and country . Those kings are long dead.

The RSA says it’s particularly disrespectful to be raising the question when we’re commemorating the centenary of Gallipoli.

But given the tragedy that was and the part played by British officers in what was in many ways a debacle, you could mount an even stronger argument that it would be respecting them to have a flag which didn’t carry the Union Jack.

You could also argue that a flag with a silver fern would be honouring them because that is the symbol on the graves of those who died .

My father was one of those who fought under the New Zealand flag although he’d only been out from Scotland a very few years.

He’s no longer here to ask his view on the issue but I can never recall him expressing any emotion about the flag.

He did however have strong views on independence and freedom . It was those for which he fought, not a flag.

12 Responses to Quote of the day

  1. Andrei says:

    The flag debate

    Another pointless political distraction to keep the people preoccupied as the politicians continue their depredations upon our Nation and lead us into the pits of ruin.

    Just over 100 years ago young men went off with pride to the sound of marching bands and crowds waving that flag cheering them off

    Today our chattering classes are talking of ditching that flag as our young men sneak off like theives in the night to join the fray of what is the Third World War, undeclared

    And our Prime Minister will neither confirm nor deny that they are already in theatre because he would prefer we not think about it much less debate the wisdom or merits of it

    .

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  2. Willdwan says:

    “Where Britain goes…we go.” That was the government line at the time wasn’t it? You can debate the wisdom of that, but the RSA have a point I feel. Individuals may have had their own reasons for fighting, but politicians sent them.

    Andrei, they are not “young men sneaking off like thieves,” they are professional soldiers, going to do a job. May they have success and a safe return.

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  3. Andrei says:

    they are not “young men sneaking off like thieves,” they are professional soldiers, going to do a job.

    So where are the marching bands and flag waving crowds Will?

    Why do we get this in their place?

    Mr Key would not say how many were in the first tranche or when they would go but said it would be “soonish” and it would be staged.

    He said last week after farewelling New Zealand troops at Linton Army camp that some of those heading to Australia for pre-deployment training would be part of the advance party heading to Camp Taji north of Baghdad.

    He had been advised by the NZDF not to be specific.

    Heard Stephen Harper utter similar soothing words to John Keys’ ones calm Canadian citizens qualm over an almost identical mission that the Canadians are undertaking in Galicia – though their mision there is less perilous for now than our mission in Iraq.

    It is like watching a slow motion train wreck

    “Do you know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books? . . . I say, ‘Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?’

    What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers.

    I believe that too.”

    – Kurt Vonnegut

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  4. JC says:

    I started fulltime work in 1963 which meant for the first near 20 years I worked with returned soldiers and knew a few who fought in WW1, I had bosses who were in the Korean war as well and I had mates
    who went to Vietnam.

    Not once can I recall them talking about the flag and I don’t think it was important to them at that time.

    Also, we are really only talking two big wars and both those were fought when NZ was a Dominion of Britain.. we wouldn’t officially become a Realm till a Royal proclamation in 1953. Its really only familial and trade ties that bound us to Britain and the flag.

    But a much more important date to me is 1973 when Britain joined the Common Market.. if ever there was a signal that it was time for NZ to plot its own course it was when Britain abandoned us there and then.

    I don’t mind the old soldiers with their colonial outlook but for the rest of us it looks more like a colonial cringe than anything else.. even our defence has been supplied by America since 1951 through ANZUS and NZ/US trade dwarfs that with Britain and Asian trade makes the comparison miniscule and UK migration here has fallen to 25-50% of all migrants.

    In short the “ties that bind” are now largely history and lie firmly in the Pacific, Asia, Oz and US. We should recognise this with our own unique flag.

    JC

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  5. Andrei says:

    Actually JC following your line of reasoning our new flag should be the old one with the Stars and Stripes replacing the Union Jack.

    This would acurately reflect our position in the world

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  6. MarcW says:

    I agree we don’t need to know details of the itinerary for troops leaving for their current mission. We have never before been kept up to date in such detail on the activities of our armed forces, but sometimes the nitty-gritty just has to be with-held for security sake. If it was published, all that would happen was that the usual ‘rent-a-mob’ losers would be out creating as much mayhem as possible and whining when they got their asses kicked. You know who they are Andrei – the Morses, flag burners and soldier spitters we have amongst us, and who hypocritically hide behind the protection provided by those going overseas into potential danger. You appear to be in love with Putin Andrei, why don’t you ask him how selling SAM missiles to Iran will assist in peacekeeping in that region. Or perhaps ask the relatives of MAS370 victims?

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  7. Willdwan says:

    Marching bands and flag waving would worry me. We have moved on from that kind of jingoism I hope. Save it for sport.

    JC, I feel the same way about Britain abandoning us for the EEC, but I remind myself it was just a handful of politicians who made that decision, not the whole cultural entity which the flag represents.

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  8. Andrei says:

    Marc nothing would horrify me more than people spiting on those we send into the maelstrom or even worse persecuting their families while they are on active service

    That is tatamount to treason and should be treated as such with the full force of the law, regardless of the justice of the cause for which they serve.

    What concerns me is that we are involving ourselves in a situation for the wrong reasons and without public debate.

    I know some history Marc and I also know the real reason for our involvement is not to acheive anything in terms of restoring peace and stability to Iraq but to provide window dressing as members of a coalition with the purported aim of defeating what is an evil force.

    In fact the real aim of the Iraq campaign is to resecure Mosul for the Western Imperium.

    There is no military solution to the problems that beset the Middle East and North Africa – it cannot be done with violence against the natives of those places by people from far off lands while flooding the region with arms.

    A local leader will have to arise who will gather the people together to rebuild their shattered homelends. It is the only way

    The problem is that every potential leader who does appear is quickly murdered under the claim he is a terrorist of one stripe or another and the chaos is just increased.

    The missiles going to Iran, Marc, are a defensive system, an air defence system that is designed to protect Iran, a sovereign Nation, from foreign aircraft entering their territory with malice in their hearts,

    It is not an offensive weapon like a cruise missile or a stealth bomber which are designed to bring death and destruction to defensless people living in foreign lands – the distinction is vital.

    They are designed to protect Iranian citizens, who have the God given right not to be subject to being killed in their own homes from foreign bombs.

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  9. JC says:

    Wildwan, the entity that best represents us is the Anglosphere, that grouping of US, Canada, Oz and NZ that were former colonies of Britain.

    Britain is there but it seems to be irretrievably lost to us because its become Europeanised and about all thats left is nostalgia.

    JC

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  10. Andrei says:

    Marching bands and flag waving would worry me. We have moved on from that kind of jingoism I hope.

    Of course we haven’t, updated it a bit and refined it but it is ubiquitous as ever,

    Both things were born on the battle field, the Flag to show the warriors where their commander was situated and the musicians had phrases they played that represented various orders, advance, retreat and so forth.

    We are tribal creatures, flags, anthems, gang patches all the same thing.

    JC’s appeal to the Anglosphere represents a shared history, language and culture that binds the nations he mentions together and that makes sense and provided it is used in a positive way it is laudable.

    But it doesn’t confer an inate superiority over others.

    Iran for example is a democracy, we don’t like to acknowledge this but it is.

    We might like to think our democracy is superior in some way or the USA’s is but is it?

    Hillary Clinton will spend probably close to billion dollars to try and acheive the White House and nobody, no matter how qualified they might be can aspire to the White House without the support of Rich Donors, so without those peoples approval a candidate is dead before they begin

    Thats why only about half of all eligible voters in the USA bother – not much of a democracy really when you think about it – you need the patronage of the rich to participate and the plebs only get to choose between which of the two the oligarches have put up for them to choose between

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  11. Willdwan says:

    Doesn’t all the real power in Iran rest with the priests, Ayatolla whatever they call them?

    Fair point JC. I guess my reluctance to change the flag comes from fear of the new one. Some PC, cringe inducing, lower sixth, art student effort I expect. Too depressing to contemplate.

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  12. Andrei says:

    Iran is an Islamic Republic Will – with an elected Parliament and a 12 member council, members of which serve under some term limit and which is appointed by the head of State who is an Islamic scholar under the constitution and elected by a body of Islamic jurists

    Its not a system that would suit us who are rabidly secular in our outlook but it is no less democratic than our system. We are blind to our own flaws of course 🙂

    It is up to the Iranians to change it if it doesn’t work for them – it is not our business how they run their country

    And it is far more democratic than our main “allies” in the ME audi Arabia

    Iran gave the USA a massive black eye bck in 1979 and they haven’t been forgiven yet

    Looks like the USA is forgiving Cuba at last – taking it off the list of terrorist states. When was the last time you heard of n act of Cuban terrorism?

    Cuban gangsters yes, but they all live in Miamai, Cuban Terrorists, not that I have ever heard of.

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