Monday, March 12, 2007

Something to worry about

New Zealand is extending its military commitment to Afghanistan for another year. I'm not so worried about this, as the core of that commitment - the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan Province - are building roads rather than shooting at people (though I am deeply uneasy about supporting a government which gives its members an amnesty for past war crimes - shouldn't we be making out support contingent upon respect for human rights, rather than laughing at them?). I am however very worried about this bit:

In addition to these commitments, New Zealand will also again deploy a frigate to join the Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) in the Arabian Gulf. The frigate will join the MIO for just over a month in mid 2008 as an extension of a planned deployment to the South/South East Asia region.

To point out the obvious, the US is planning to bomb Iran sometime in the next year. What are we going to do if he decides to do it while we are supporting him? What are we going to do if he does it before we get there? Either way, our support would be seen as an endorsement of unilateral military action, when we should be condemning it. Because of this, we should not be participating in America's maritime interdiction programme until bombing Iran is off the table and Bush is safely out of office.


Why is NZ more concern with Afghanistan than Irak? What is the advantage?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/12/2007 08:33:00 PM

Sending a frigate to the region at the moment is as good as supporting Bush's wars as it frees up another US/UK frigate that will be used for active operations, in order words to help kill the local population in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

We sent the Te Mana frigate at around the time of the Iraq invasion - perhaps an indication that while NZ publically opposed the invasion of Iraq, Helen still felt she had to give pennance to our so called 'allies' who were bullying all in sundry for "support" for their illegal invasion.

Posted by Joe Hendren : 3/12/2007 11:48:00 PM

afghanistan is little easier to defend politically

anyway I suggest the real solution to this is to not have any frigates (etc)* - then no one can ask you to send them. It is what happens in politics that people will start to thorow around things like our frigate as compromises in negotiations.


Posted by Anonymous : 3/13/2007 07:22:00 AM

Failed attempts to colonise Afghanistan go back to the 19th century - the current conflict is just the latest iteration of this. Colonialism has never been a good idea - either for the colonised or the coloniser - we should not be part of it in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else.

I don't believe this sort of thing helps relations with the USA in the long term. The US has excellent relations with countries like Switzerland, Ireland and South Africa which are rigidly neutral. If we "compromise" by sending a frigate, that just encourages them to want more tokens of support.

Anyway, since we only have one frigate in a guaranteed operational state (the other one is often being refitted and repaired) it isn't sensible to let it leave the SW Pacific until the Offshore Patrol Vessel (HMNZS Otago) is operational.

Posted by Rich : 3/13/2007 09:18:00 AM

There's a protest against NZ's ongoing practical support for the "War on Terror" to mark the 4th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq - noon at parliament on Tues March 20.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 3/13/2007 12:11:00 PM

With respect to Afghanistan and war criminals, you can't take a step in Afghanistan without stepping on or tripping on a war criminal - thats how they wage war, and have been doing so since before Alexander went through on his way back from India, so you essentially have to employ them, because there's nobody else. I saw similar problems in Chile and Argentina - they had a few show trials for the real nasties, but the rank and file just continued on, because everybody was involved in some way or another, and the nation needed the people to do the jobs they were trained to do, albeit they were technically war criminals.

It's still a medieval culture, and brutal oppression and torture of anyone who isn't in your tribe or group is the rule. I still remember the stories of service in the Khyber Pass and similar regions my great grandparents passed on to my grandparents, and when they weren't torturing captured redcoats, they were torturing each other. About the only way to solve this is to break the lock of islam on secular government, find them an economy that isn't black (opium and arms) and emancipate the women completely.

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 3/13/2007 12:38:00 PM