Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ending our unjust war

Nearly twenty years after they first arrived, the last New Zealand troops will finally be leaving Afghanistan in May:

New Zealand troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 2021.

The current deployment consists of six Defence Force personnel - three deployed to the Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy, and three deployed to the NATO Resolute Support Mission Headquarters.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after 20 years it was time for the New Zealand Defence Force to leave Afghanistan.

Good. As I pointed out when combat troops came home in 2013, our presence in Afghanistan achieved nothing, other than propping up a corrupt torturing theocracy (to which we can add "misogynistic"). And the cost of that was Operation Burnham, spying on and threatening to murder journalists, decorating a child-murdering war criminal, $300 million (plus however more has been spent since 2013), countless dead Afghans and ten kiwi lives. It wasn't worth it, it was never worth it, and I'm glad it is finally over.

And now it is, we need to turn our attention to preventing it from ever happening again. And one obvious step is to forbid the deployment of New Zealand soldiers overseas without Parliamentary debate and explicit authorisation. This doesn't protect us from politicians herding us into a war, but it does ensure they do so openly rather than in secret, allowing us to hold them to account at the ballot box for it.