Monday, April 23, 2007

Still not shooting at anyone

For the past two years I've been using the OIA to monitor the NZDF deployment to Afghanistan, with an annual request asking essentially whether they've been shooting at anyone and whether anyone has been hurt. The answer this year is pretty much the same as last year: a reassuring "no":

No New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed in Afghanistan have fired weapons in the past year in response to anti-government milita action, so to the best of my knowledge, no people have been injured or killed as a result of NZDFactions. NZDF personnel, however, do fire their weapons in routine training, and as part of their preparation for patrols. In general terms, personnel participate in live firing training once every two weeks. Approximately 60,000 rounds of small arms ammunition are expended in training exercises during a six-month personnel rotation.

During the two most recent completed personnel rotations (during the period October 2005 to September 2006) for which injury/medical statistics are available, there were 212 cases of non-infectious disease (including muscular, urogenital, neurological, eye, ear, nose, throat, skin and gastrointestinal conditions); 65 cases of infectious disease (including such illnesses as gastroenteritis and respitory infections); and 26 injuries (mainly work-related). 11 minor dental procedures were also required, and during the period, 228 deployed NZDF personnel received routine medical examinations. Other miscellaneous conditions/events recorded were one gynecological condition, two animal bites and three cases of stress.

Please note that injuries/infections are recorded seperately, and that some individuals may have been affected by more than one condition.

(Note also that there's some overlap in the injury statistics with the previous response).

Meanwhile, it seems that my complaint to the Ombudsmen last year paid off; rather than taking six months to process this request, it went through in the usual 20 working days. Nice to see that Defence are actually complying with the law for once...


Someone is lying to you.

Ten New Zealanders have been awarded the Bronze Star and seven have been awarded the United States Army Commendation Medal in recognition of exemplary service in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2005

These awards were made 16th October 2006. While Phil Goff played up the “peace keeping” side of what kiwis do on these deployments last I note that the NZSAS didn’t do a lot of bridge building for their PUC.

Let me tell you, you don't get the Presidential Unit citation for being a nancy-boy building bridges.

"To be eligible for the Bronze Star Medal, a military member must be receiving hostile fire/imminent danger pay during the event for which the medal is to be awarded."

It extremely unlikely that the Bronze Star was awarded for building a lovely new school.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/24/2007 06:07:00 PM

Anon: The SAS were deployed in Afghanistan at that time. They were specifically excluded from the earlier responses under s6(a) (prejudice to national security). IIRC, they've now been withdrawn and not redeployed - though the government is showing worrying signs of inclining towards sending them back.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/25/2007 03:06:00 PM

I suggest you check your sources.
The NZSAS are most definately still in Afghanistan.....of course you are not smart enough to ask the right questions to find out what is going on...try harder, fool

Posted by Anonymous : 4/25/2007 07:11:00 PM