Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Not going back

The SAS returned from Afghanistan early this morning, and according to Defence Minister Phil Goff, they are unlikely to be going back. This is good news. While I'm generally supportive of the mission of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan (mainly because they generally haven't been shooting at anyone), I'm a lot more uneasy about the SAS. Firstly, because they're in combat - and secondly, because of their close cooperation with US forces. The real fear here is that this cooperation involves turning over prisoners to the Americans - meaning complicity in their subsequent abuse and torture in Guantanamo or a CIA "black" prison. Unfortunately, the New Zealand government flatly refuses to answer any questions about the activities of the SAS in Afghanistan, citing "operational security" - and under those circumstances, where there can be no public oversight, it is better to avoid any risk of being tainted by such cooperation.