Friday, September 30, 2011

Ending the lie

One of the central claims of Nicky Hager's Other People's Wars is that the government and NZDF have spun our involvement in Afghanistan, downplaying our involvement and minimising risks in an effort to gain public support. So our Provincial Reconstruction Team wasn't occupying Afghanistan for the US, it was delivering aid. And our SAS weren't engaged in combat, they were "mentoring" Afghan forces.

The deaths of two SAS soldiers in a little over a month has shown that spin to be a lie, and now the government has finally come clean and admitted it: the SAS are in a combat role in Afghanistan and we should expect more of them to die.

It shouldn't have taken two deaths to get them to admit that. Instead, our government should have been honest with us from the start, and told us what it was doing in our name. That's what "the consent of the governed" means. The fact that they lied to us undermines the legitimacy of the policy, and raises serious questions about democratic control of our military.

The question now is whether kiwis are happy with being lied to, and happy that our soldiers are fighting and dying in a losing war to protect a corrupt, misogynistic theocracy. I'm not. And you shouldn't be either.