Wednesday, April 11, 2018


The government will hold an inquiry into Operation Burnham, the SAS revenge raid in Afghanistan in which six civilians were killed and 15 injured. But that's not all - according to the livestream, it will also be investigating prisoner transfers by NZDF, the truthfulness of NZDF's briefings to Ministers, and whether NZDF's foreign-written rules of engagement authorised assassinations. The latter is a new and unpleasant issue, and highlights the dangers of letting foreigners decide when and in what circumstances NZ soldiers are allowed to kill: we know that many of NZDF's allies (including the USA, UK and Australia) are not moral countries and their moral values around military action and assassination are deeply at odds with those of the New Zealand public (and with international law). Its not clear whether there's any allegation that NZDF soldiers have been involved in assassinations, but if they have, then they may have committed crimes under New Zealand and international law, for which they will need to be prosecuted. "Only following orders" is not an excuse we can accept from those who kill in our name.