Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tying yourself to a losing war puts lives at risk

With ISIS having taken Ramadi and the Iraqi army having no will to fight, the question has naturally arisen: how long will kiwi trainers be staying in Iraq? Sadly, John Key doesn't really want to give us an answer:

Prime Minister John Key says he has no advice that New Zealand troops are in greater danger following the advance of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, but would act to protect them if that was the case.


"[I am advised] there's no reason to change our thought process on the risks our people face in [Iraq]. It is a difficult environment as we know."

The trigger for a change in stance would be when NZDF believed there was "an absolute threat to our people".

Key is scheduled to travel to Iraq this year to visit troops and he said the IS advance had not changed those plans.

"Let's put if this way - I don't but if I had a planned trip there next week I'd go."

So, "nothing to see here, move along". And he'll keep saying that right up until the moment one of his toy soldiers has their head sawn off on live TV.

The problem for Key is that with his big "get some guts" act he has tied himself to a losing war. And having invested his political capital there, he will be reluctant to withdraw, because it would mean admitting that it was the wrong decision all along. So, I expect we'll see him forcing those troops to train to the last man, even when it is absolutely hopeless - and in the process exposing them to far greater and absolutely unnecessary dangers, simply to protect his political reputation.