Tuesday, June 01, 2021

NZDF gives the finger to the Burnham inquiry

Last year, the inquiry into Operation Burnham reported back, finding (among other things) that SAS and NZDF officers had deceived Ministers and the public, and that NZ soldiers had assaulted a prisoner. So will anyone ever be held accountable for that? Of course not:

Two soldiers at the centre of the Operation Burnham inquiry have escaped punishment by the Defence Force, including a Special Air Service soldier who assaulted an Afghan detainee.

Former SAS commander Brigadier Chris Parsons would not face disciplinary action after he had committed an “administrative failing” in a report, Chief of Defence Air Marshall Kevin Short said in a statement.

The SAS soldier that was found to have punched a detainee, who was not named throughout the inquiry, would not be censured because the matter was not properly investigated at the time, he said.

[That "administrative failing" was deliberately misleading the Defence Minister about whether the Operation Burnham raid had killed civilians, and then doctoring records to cover it up].

This is basicly NZDF saying "fuck you" to the entire inquiry, and to the public concern which led to it. They've been clear throughout this entire debacle that they don't think anyone did anything wrong, and now they're using their own coverup and years of delay as an excuse to ensure that those responsible are never held accountable. Rather than being dishonourably discharged and stripped of their honours as they deserve, the criminals at the heart of this will continue to serve, and by their presence continue to corrupt our defence force. And NZDF's senior leadership is perfectly happy with that.

That being the case, I think we need to admit that NZDF as an institution is unsalvageable. They are committed to unaccountability and deceit. And since all they actually do in practice is drag us into other people's wars, maybe we should just do away with the entire organisation, and replace it with a civilian civil defence and foreign aid corps, freeing it up to focus on its core - and valued - competencies: rescuing lost trampers, sandbagging stopbanks to limit flooding, and rebuilding schools after tropical cyclones.