The Dim-Post

January 22, 2010

Big Trouble in Little Oxiana

Filed under: Afghanistan — danylmc @ 6:19 am

A man's life

My first reaction to the Times photo of the SAS in Afghanistan was they looked really, really cool. Slightly more nuanced thoughts.

1. I can’t see how Stuff or the Herald publishing the photo puts the SAS in any more danger than they’re currently in; it seems hypocritical for the Prime Minister to critique the media for endangering the SAS – he’s the guy who sent them into a war zone!

2. If the Ministry of Defense doesn’t want the media to take an interest in the SAS they shouldn’t devote so much time and energy cultivating an aura of mystique around the unit.

3. Even if publishing details about the SAS does somehow put them in danger, once they’ve been in the New York Times a photo in the Herald isn’t gonna count for much.

4. The guy who wrote the NYT story – Dexter Filkins – wrote The Forever War, which is one of the best books of war journalism I’ve ever read. He comments on the Kiwi response today:

The presence of the New Zealanders was posted on the New York Times Web site Monday and published in the paper the next morning. When I woke up in Kabul on Tuesday, my in-box was flooded with emails from New Zealand.

As word spread, the New Zealand government publicly acknowledged that the commando team, from the Special Air Service, had been deployed here.

“A small element of the New Zealand S.A.S. members were among forces that took up positions close to the incident,” President John Key said.

President John Key? Has a ring to it though, no? Kieth Locke’s republic bill might have just gained a secret yet powerful admirer.

5. Rory Stewart wrote a long piece in the New York Review of Books that I’ve been meaning to link to: it’s a cautious endorsement of the Obama Administration’s strategy for Afghanistan.

6. When I first heard the story about biblical citations on gunsights I assumed that the soldiers were writing them themselves, but they’re actually being inscribed on the barrel by the US based manufacturer! Which sniper rifle would Jesus use?

Afghanistan is arguably the most religious country on earth, and Muslims take their own holy book very seriously – they see the Koran not as a book but as an aspect of God, like His pity or His wrath. So embossing weapons with references from rival holy books is not a smart idea when you’re fighting (and currently losing) a war for the hearts and minds of the Afghans.

About these ads

89 Comments »

  1. And that is a desk bound view far from the sharp end of the stick Danyl. I’m sure people at the sharp end would have a very different view.

    Comment by Wilson — January 22, 2010 @ 6:22 am

  2. Oh my sweet lord, what those men are doing to that donkey must be legal in Kentucky but Afghanistan?

    Comment by Wilson — January 22, 2010 @ 6:33 am

  3. I’m sure people at the sharp end would have a very different view.

    I doubt they care – these debates are about the Defence Ministry and it’s obsession with secrecy, not operational issues.

    Comment by danylmc — January 22, 2010 @ 6:35 am

  4. There is a reason for secrecy, I’d tell you about it but it’s secret.

    Comment by Wilson — January 22, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  5. They should not have published his photo. The Taliban know exactly what he looks like. Killing an anonymous US Marine makes a paragraph in that soldiers local paper. The Taliban could easily now decide to send a suicide bomber(s) out to specifically kill Cpl. Apiata. They know what their target looks like and given they have plenty of potential martyrs a good chance of success. If they were successful in killing such a high profile target they know they would get headlines around the world.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 22, 2010 @ 7:09 am

  6. My first reaction to the Times photo of the SAS in Afghanistan was they looked really, really cool.

    And F&^kin Hard as, bro! Best ad for NZ army evah!

    As an aside, it would not take much for a local Afghan person to sit outside the Papakura SAS base and do the same, and one would expect the Taliban in the theatre to be doing basic intel like collecting photos of its enemies. Prezahdint Key (and fellow travellers) has to be professionally outraged at this, because it breaks the NZ ‘tradition’ of secrecy over SAS deployment, except when its not such a secret anyway.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 22, 2010 @ 7:10 am

  7. meh. he’ll be in no less danger than running into a building and shooting dead three taliban.

    and BTW, nice to see NZL troops doing their bit to support feldging dictatorships in central asia. top work those lads.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 7:12 am

  8. Well considering the NZDF had mercilessly whored out Willie Apiata to the media when he got his VC, it would be amazing if Taliban intelligence gatherers hadn’t worked out what he looked like before the picture was published. And Wayne Mapp and John Key bleating about this putting him at risk is a bit rich, given he is in downtown Kabul and there can be few riskier places to be just now. As for Major Kritian Dunne bewailing the fact that the gunsight quotations might “cause offence” – I though the whole point of carrying a gun was to be able to give lethal offence.

    Comment by bearhunter — January 22, 2010 @ 7:15 am

  9. Where does Whaleoil stand on the name suppression of the SAS?

    I pray to the flying spaghetti monster that the Taliban can’t read: Book review: Willie Apiata VC: The reluctant hero.

    Dear Taliban and NZ fighting first keyboard commandos,

    Please do not look at the photo of ‘NZ VC holding army guy in action in Afghanistan’.

    Yours
    Terrified of Temuka

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 22, 2010 @ 7:23 am

  10. Why on earth did John Key confirm that that was Apiata?! Wouldn’t it have been better to do the ‘no comment on security/SAS matters’, even if that’s a tad inconsistent?

    I actually thought Apiata was off doing PR duty now that he’d been ‘exposed’, said the TVNZ doco of last year…

    Comment by StephenR — January 22, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  11. Great photo, best PR for the our defense forces in a long time.

    There will be a whole bunch of teenage boys looking at that photo and thinking ‘that’s what I want to do’. Top Gun for the 2010’s.

    Comment by ieuan — January 22, 2010 @ 7:40 am

  12. re the biblical verses on guns thing, it’s pretty offensive to Christians and I can see it is offensive to Muslims for similar reasons. But not in terms of it being from the ‘wrong’ book. My limited understanding of Islam is that they see the Torah and Gospels as expressions of Allah as well, just not nearly as good as the Koran and therefore not worth reading. So quoting from the book should not be, per se, offensive. Putting it on a gun is another matter. Of course the arguments in Malaysia about Christians using the word Allah for God totally contradict this view so what do I know?

    Comment by Roger Parkinson — January 22, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  13. was just in a coffee store, and there were two guys my age looking at that photo in the dompost.

    they called a third dude in from outside to look at it.

    i think the only people freaking out are the wowsers.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 8:02 am

  14. Sanctuary,

    The Taliban know exactly what he looks like.

    Yeah. Just like an Afghan army soldier, only wearing a funny uniform.

    Tendency is fot NZ to overemphasise our involvement in such things. It’s part of our ‘plucky underdog battler punching above our weight’ national mythology. If a photo taken in a public street published in a newspaper or two halfway across the world could tell the Taliban anything important they didn’t already know, the occupation would be over by now.

    Roger,

    they see the Torah and Gospels as expressions of Allah as well, just not nearly as good as the Koran

    Just not nearly as final as the Quran. The reasoning is that the Quran came later, and is therefore His the authoritative word.

    As to the gunsights: the tradition of imbuing weapons with religious or mythological imagery dates back at least to the Iliad. It’s also pretty close to a human universal. What differs is the specifics, and even then, not all that much. Key verses of Revelation and so on scrawled in chalk on bombs remain a commonplace. But with the onset of modernism as prevalent design paradigm, these things being made permantnt seem a little more out of place than it has in the past.

    I think this does have some propaganda value for the Taliban, but inasmuch as the US army has nearly a million of these items and the us has perhaps a few dozen in-theatre, our actions don’t have much hope of changing that. But removing them would be an action consistent with NZ’s general stance on such things — that conflict is a serious business to be undertaken without glee or mischief.

    L

    Comment by Lew — January 22, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  15. They should not have published his photo. The Taliban know exactly what he looks like.

    If the Taliban have people taking time out from bomb-making and ‘video messages 101′ to check news photos of foreign soldiers for ID purposes, I’m pretty sure they’d be more likely to spot something on the NYT website than NZHerald’s. Once the photo was published it was open season for other media outlets to follow – just as Key couldn’t avoid confirming the SAS’s involvement in that stoush once the news got out in the US. An editor can’t close his eyes to what is already freely available on the Internet.

    Comment by Ataahua — January 22, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  16. Aside from the fact that everyone knows Apiata, is there any concern that such publishing could potentially put the lives of the servicemens’ families in danger, given the changing nature of global warfare? I mean, the point is well made that it is not probable that the soldiers could be in any more danger themselves…

    Just wondering if that is part of the rationale…?

    Comment by Sam — January 22, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  17. No one has ever attacked the families of US or UK soldiers. I think the chances the Taliban will travel to New Zealand and pick on Apiata’s whanau are pretty remote.

    Comment by danylmc — January 22, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  18. “But removing them would be an action consistent with NZ’s general stance on such things”

    I wonder if it would also be consistent with the US constitution, re endorsing a religion. Is it constitutional for the US federal government to shoot someone with a Jesus gun?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 22, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  19. Pascal’s Bookie wrote: “Is it constitutional for the US federal government to shoot someone with a Jesus gun?”

    of course it’s not constitutional. It’s contrary to the principle of separation of religion and state, just like the Pledge of Alleigance is.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 22, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  20. As a Christian, I find it mildly offensive that this company is using Jesus to promote thier killing machines.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 22, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  21. danyl@17 – yes, but I was wondering if it forms part of the official rationale (whether warranted or not)?

    As it turns out, it doesn’t – according to this snippet from the SAS website:

    Why can’t the public know more about the NZSAS?
    It is important that any information about the NZSAS released to the public does not compromise current and future operational security of the unit. The public have the right to know general information on the role, tasks and general outline of the history of the unit.

    Comment by Sam — January 22, 2010 @ 9:34 am

  22. kahikatea – only ‘mildly’ offensive?

    Comment by Sam — January 22, 2010 @ 9:35 am

  23. Isn’t the gunsight scripture references problem a little obtuse? They’re numerical chapter references rather than full textual quotations – if someone hadn’t told us we wouldn’t know or care. (Hmm. Was Dan Brown involved?) Now that it’s been discovered and has created a minor PR own-goal they’re removing the offending serials:

    ‘Markings on the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, which is standard issue to U.S. special operations forces, include “JN8:12,” a reference to John 8:12: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,'” according to the King James version of the Bible.

    The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” the King James version reads’ (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/21/AR2010012102637.html)

    Comment by Ethan Tucker — January 22, 2010 @ 9:38 am

  24. Less profound thought: doesn’t the bearded Willie Apiata look exactly like that dude from The Hangover? It’s as though Judd Apatow is making an Afghanistan movie.

    Comment by anonymous — January 22, 2010 @ 9:47 am

  25. The `ultima ratio regum’ (the final argument of kings’) that Louis XIV had stamped on the barrels of his cannons is at least secular…

    Comment by Leopold — January 22, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  26. Include “JN8:12,” a reference to John 8:12… …stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians

    Maybe it’s just me, but those two verse don’t do a good enough job.
    If I was in the middle of a warzone carrying an assualt rifle with biblical references, I wouldn’t want any crap about God being The Light and The Truth… I’d want some solid Old Testament righteous fury and anger backing me up when I pull the trigger.

    Comment by Phil — January 22, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  27. It’s not the rifle which has the references — it’s the scope.

    But yeah. There’s a whole lot more brimstoney stuff they could have chosen if they’d wanted to go down that path.

    L

    Comment by Lew — January 22, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  28. Of course it was criminally dumb to identify Apiata in a NZ newspaper.

    He is the most highly decorated soldier of all the international troops there, and earned fighting the Taliban. Capturing or killing him would be worth hundreds of Taliban lives in publicity.

    Unfortunately, Apiata now poses a danger to his unit which could be singled out for entrapment if they remain based in Kabul.

    So its off home for Apiata, a possible shift of base for the Kiwis and potentially an increase of security at our airports in case the Taliban decide to make an example of a US ally.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 22, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  29. So its off home for Apiata, a possible shift of base for the Kiwis and potentially an increase of security at our airports in case the Taliban decide to make an example of a US ally.

    Maybe we should all go hide in the Chatham islands, just to be safe.

    Comment by Danyl Mclauchlan — January 22, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  30. Maybe we should all go hide in the Chatham islands Tuhoi country, just to be safe.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 22, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  31. Maybe we should all go hide in the Chatham islands Tuhoi country behind mum’s skirts, just to be safe.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  32. Re: bible-bashing gunsights – pity it’s not Jeremiah 8:12 “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.”

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  33. Just to clarify, I find the idea that publishing a picture of a guy the Afghans have never heard of in a paper they’ve never heard of in a country they’ve never heard of is going to make SAS soldiers ‘a target’ is totally fucking absurd. They’re running around Kabul in body armour with rifles shooting people! Dontchya think THAT makes them ‘targets’?

    Comment by danylmc — January 22, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  34. i think this sums it up nicely, from New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins:

    “The news … that a team of commandos from New Zealand had joined Afghan soldiers at the scene caused a sensation in the little country off the coast of Australia

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  35. hmmm… link again

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  36. That’s not what my Hollywood-derived expertise on asymmetrical warfare tells me Danyl – when Cliff Curtis leads a crack team of Taliban terrorists to NZ to kidnap Apiata’s children and blow up Britomart you’ll be eating your words.

    Comment by gazzaj — January 22, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  37. “Re: bible-bashing gunsights – pity it’s not Jeremiah 8:12″

    Or Ezekiel 25:17, a la Samuel L Jackson:

    “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

    Comment by bearhunter — January 22, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  38. If I was in the middle of a warzone carrying an assualt rifle with biblical references, I wouldn’t want any crap about God being The Light and The Truth…

    Yeah, but imagine if they were using nukes! ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’

    Comment by Repton — January 22, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  39. “in the little country off the coast of Australia”

    I fear the poor man will receive another flood of emails from knizilind (if only to point out that we are bigger than the UK).

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 22, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  40. Or Ezekiel 25:17, a la Samuel L Jackson:

    That’s the shit. It’d add another inch, maybe inch and a half, to the guy with gun.

    Comment by Phil — January 22, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  41. Sam wrote: “kahikatea – only ‘mildly’ offensive?”

    I suppose only mildly offensive because I’m used to people invoking Jesus Christ to justify their own actions or prejudices.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 22, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  42. Danyl wrote: “Maybe we should all go hide in the Chatham islands, just to be safe.”

    … and all fly there naked, and submit to anal and vaginal searches to ensure we aren’t carrying weapons (of course it’s possible that, after much debate, the authorities would relent and agree that only female passengers have to undergo vaginal searches). That would do it – after all, Osama bin Laden hates for our freedoms, so he might decide he’s not too fussed any more if we demonstrate that we can humiliate ourselves and dismantle our own freedoms.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 22, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  43. Quiz

    How many Afghans have died in the fighting in the last 12 months?

    Comment by Simon — January 22, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  44. that is a trick question.

    an afghan is a biscuit, and cannot die in a fight.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  45. Great photo, best PR for the our defense forces in a long time.

    Completely agree.

    It’s not as though the photo came with GPS coordinates or anything. All it confirms is, yes, there are New Zealanders in Afghanistan. And, really, if the Taliban even saw it they’d be like, “Willie Who?”.

    If anything, Mr Apiata’s involvement is a great tool for generating support for New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan.

    Comment by Zoo Neeland — January 22, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  46. Is it just me or does Willie Apiata look like a Maori Chuck Norris in the Herald picture?

    Comment by Conor Roberts — January 22, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  47. As an atheist I find it hilarious that there has been all the fuss about a biblical reference on a gunsight. The idiotic PC brigade shows once again that it has its head up its arse. Who cares if people from one stupid religion who make gunsights ‘give offence’ to people from another stupid religion?

    Geez. We wouldn’t want anybody to be offended, would we?

    Comment by Dave Mann — January 22, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  48. I suppose only mildly offensive because I’m used to people invoking Jesus Christ to justify their own actions or prejudices.
    That’s funny, I get the same mild offense from people invoking ‘naural justice’ or ‘sustainability’.

    Is it just me or does Willie Apiata look like a Maori Chuck Norris in the Herald picture
    Nah, he’s a dead-ringer for Benicio del Toro in “Traffic” (with a beard).

    Comment by Phil — January 22, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  49. does Willie Apiata look like a Maori Chuck Norris

    FTW! Willie looks even more bad ass in that light!!!!!

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 22, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

  50. We wouldn’t want anybody to be offended, would we?

    The strategy is to prevent the Afghan people from overthrowing their government and supporting the Taliban. So yeah, pointlessly offending them is really fucking stupid.

    Comment by danylmc — January 22, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  51. Well, Danyl, its the wrong strategy. The strategy should be to obliterate the Taliban, dominate the local Afghani population, occupy them and force them to either change their society or remain occupied and suppressed indefinitely.

    This ‘hearts and minds’ crap is nonsense. Where does this wussy feelgood bullshit come from…. an American movie?

    Comment by Dave Mann — January 22, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  52. One side observation about this story is that it does show the state of the media industry in NZ.

    We have had troops in Afghanistan since 2001 and the SAS returned some time ago.

    I think it is a bit worrying that there are no NZ journalists covering the war and we rely on emails to photographers and journos to other organisations after a chance picture to find out what is going on.

    As far as I know no one even has a stringer on their books working in Afghanistan and aside from the occassional visit (courtesy of the NZ defence or Americans) there has been bugger all NZ news coverage.

    It’s not that editors don’t think their is news value in events there (the SAS pictures got a huge run), they just don’t have any money to do the job.

    That is sad.

    Comment by Ian Llewellyn — January 22, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  53. Dave Mann wrote: “Well, Danyl, its the wrong strategy. The strategy should be to obliterate the Taliban, dominate the local Afghani population, occupy them and force them to either change their society or remain occupied and suppressed indefinitely.”

    If you take that attitude, wouldn’t it be simpler in the long run just to kill everyone in Afghanistan? In fact, you may as well just kill everyone in the whole world. Then there’d be no more wars. ;-)

    Comment by kahikatea — January 22, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  54. What I am saying (in a roundabout way) is that if you are going to have a WAR, then you are much more likely to succeed if you play to WIN.

    The idea that you can go into a foreign country under-manned and under-resourced and hope to win over ‘hearts and minds’ by prancing around dressed up as soldiers is, frankly ridiculous.

    What do you think would be NZ’s response if, say, the Chinese tried winning our ‘hearts and minds’ like this? We’d tell them to fuck off and we would resist with everything we could throw at them, wouldn’t we?

    I happen to think the West should be in Afghanistan…. but whichever side of the fence you sit on, surely trying to win an alien culture’s ‘hearts and minds’ is not the job of an ARMY. If you want to win their fucking ‘hearts and minds’ then send in the Mormon missionaries, not the bloody army.

    Comment by Dave Mann — January 22, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  55. “What I am saying (in a roundabout way) is that if you are going to have a WAR, then you are much more likely to succeed if you play to WIN.”

    Well duh. With your knowledge of afghan history, culture and society you should really get a job as General Patraeus’ chief military adviser. I bet he’s never even considered your “let’s just obliterate the Taliban and force them to change” strategy. We could be out of there in a month! So simple. Kind of like you Dave.

    Perhaps you can remind us all how many foreign troops are in Afghanistan and how much it’s costing given that you think the adventure is under resourced and undermanned. Then you can go sign up.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — January 22, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

  56. Bible quotes on guns plays to the whole Crusaders-declaring-war-on-Islam idea that many nutters over there already subscrive to. This will just confirm to them that the west really is at war with Islam and needs to be violently resisted. Assuming they hear about it.

    Comment by chiz — January 22, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  57. “Maybe we should all go hide in the Chatham islands, just to be safe.”

    OK, so I overreacted.. after all, we live in an “incredibly benign” strategic environment, the Brits don’t have a “D” notice on the media publishing names of SAS in action, and the Aussies and US don’t go to extreme lengths to protect the names of their SAS and Navy Seals respectively.

    Or maybe you and others should recognise that most Western nations protect the identities of their elete troops in battle for security reasons.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 22, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  58. apiata’s unit spoke briefly to the journalists before they engaged the “taliban”. then, apiata – who has extensive media training – emerges, from a gunfight, with no helmet or protective goggles.

    looks a lot like he’s not too worried about being photographed, and becoming the pin-up boy for the NZ SAS.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 22, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  59. Re the biblical reference thing. What a joke – Muslim fundamentalists already think they are engaged in a religious war. Whether it’s against godless heathens or Christians is neither here nor there, because America is the great evil Satan anyway.

    Are the Taleban likely to be offended? Well, aside from the fact they find offense with anything, including burqas that show too much ankle, they don’t have a problem with religious references on their preferred currency: “In God We Trust”.

    Comment by ZenTiger — January 22, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

  60. Che,

    “Apiata, who has extensive media training – emerges, from a gunfight, with no helmet or protective goggles.”

    Yeah, he comes out onto an Afghan street looking like an Afghan.. brown skin, black beard, black or brown eyes.. he could well be used as a less foreign looking point man to deal with the population and Afghan soldiers, same way as the Brits are using the Gurkhas.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 22, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  61. Zen, “In God we trust” is fine for a muslim.

    And it’s not about offending the taleban. If we are to win over there, it will be because the Taleban end up with (hugely) less popular support than the government.
    Having the government appear to be propped up by talebaptists can only = fail.

    But hey what the fuck would Petraeus know about it anyway.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60L0SO20100122

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 22, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

  62. it seems hypocritical for the Prime Minister to critique the media for endangering the SAS – he’s the guy who sent them into a war zone!

    Oh fuck off, Danyl. I guess it’s also “hypocritical” of Apiata’s whanau (who I know, being a distant relative) to be critical of the publication of this photo because they didn’t stop him from joining the Army in the first place.

    I also suspect John Roughan would have a few things to say if I published his address, home phone number and photos of his family because I deemed them news-worthy. Mostly though a lawyer.

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — January 22, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  63. Thought it would be pretty obvious that JC would use the Barrett M82 .50 cal:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_M82

    Comment by hefevice — January 22, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  64. Go to Google images and type in “NZ troops afghanistan”… Crikey there are a few there…. The secrecy around the SAS, and special forces in general, is simply a lie sown to create a myth.

    Comment by MIke Smith — January 23, 2010 @ 1:06 am

  65. JC. not sure how many afghans wear NZL uniforms… if you spend your life around military people, you pretty quickly learn to distinguish small things like NEW ZEALAND written on someone’s shoulder.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 23, 2010 @ 6:27 am

  66. @Craig

    Seems like you should politely tell that President Key guy to STFU, about now! Holes and digging and all that.

    Key defends naming of Apiata.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 23, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  67. Che,

    Willy isn’t White and he doesn’t look foreign regardless of uniform. Its an edge the Gurkhas are exploiting in dealing with the Afghan troops and populace.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 23, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  68. @JC

    Check the original series of photos from the NY Times, Willie looks Completely different from the Afghans. Different kit,uniform, taller, bigger etc. I would also suspect that anyone in uniform is a Taliban enemy.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — January 23, 2010 @ 8:19 am

  69. Oh fuck it, might as well join in the fun…

    I could be doing a bit to much Pravda watching, but perhaps we can guess the identity of the other SAS trooper in the photo from this otherwise rather bizzare piece from the Southland Times?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3255798/Clark-blamed-for-SAS-exposure

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 23, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  70. i suspect all brown people look the same to JC.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 23, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  71. ps. brits will be using gurkhas because they’re from the same region.

    will be a bit like the chinese using australians to talk to us when they invade (~2050).

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 23, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  72. “i suspect all brown people look the same to JC.”

    Top argument you have there Che.

    Meanwhile you might want to explain why the man is unhelmeted and shows no sign that beard has been constrained with one. Looks to me like he’s deliberately showing that big black beard.

    JC

    Comment by JC — January 23, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  73. vanity? perhaps he doesn’t like helmet hair.

    and the the brown people dig was a low one.

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 23, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  74. “and the the brown people dig was a low one.”

    Well done. I breathlessly await your next mea culpa.

    Comment by Dean — January 23, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  75. Yuk yuk, the liberals are flailing on this one badly.

    Comment by Minty — January 23, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  76. the Filkins piece was good.

    Pity Labour haven’t been bothered to read such things about Obama’s foreign pollicy, they might be able to come up with comments more substantial than they have. But Goff looks determined to remain in a superposition of spin states, collapsing into Don Brash or Keith Locke when someone pays him some attention.

    Comment by Neil — January 24, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  77. But Goff looks determined to remain in a superposition of spin states, collapsing into Don Brash or Keith Locke when someone pays him some attention.

    Gold.

    Comment by georgedarroch — January 25, 2010 @ 10:59 am

  78. Which sniper rifle would Jesus use?

    Smith & Wesson

    Comment by Rich — January 25, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  79. Humour me. Do you think if the Taleban or an Al Qaeda member found an embossed rifle and became aware of the biblical reference they’d use it? Hmmm…

    Comment by Mike Smith — January 26, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  80. Mike, I guess it would depend on whether their familiar with a post-modern definition of irony.

    Comment by Phil — January 26, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  81. ^they’re

    Comment by Phil — January 26, 2010 @ 11:25 am

  82. so… quiet over SAS operations lifted immediately. anyone care to argue that the photo wasn’t a publicity exercise?

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 27, 2010 @ 5:36 am

  83. I look forward to the posts from the right wing blogosphere screeching that Key and Mapp are Taliban collaborators who should be shot for treason.

    Comment by danylmc — January 27, 2010 @ 5:43 am

  84. Yeah, we’ll see an opening of the book on SAS operations. What planet do you guys live on?

    A PR adviser would have told Key and the SAS to tell the press whatever they want to hear, in private the ASSistant editor of the NZ Herald and the Dominion would have had their arses smacked, and nothing will change besides a few carefully edited press releases.

    Comment by Minty — January 27, 2010 @ 6:39 am

  85. planet reality there minty. you should visit.

    what we’ll see is a slough of good-news stories.

    “SAS rescues virgin from clutches of taliban in [semi-fictional] region of [craplackistan]”

    Comment by Che Tibby — January 27, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  86. Che, you’re obviously a refugee from Planet Reality who has lost touch with the Old Country, tell us all about it, *pat pat*.

    Comment by Minty — January 27, 2010 @ 8:17 am

  87. I thin one thing that does get overlooked is how little coverage NZ’s efforts in Afghanistan get from NZ media. I mean for better or worse New Zealand is at war and you might never know from you daily TV, radio or newspaper. Our media agencies, to the best of my knowledge have NO PRESENCE on the ground in Afganistan.

    Comment by Mike Smith — January 27, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  88. News out today: they have yet to fire a shot in anger. Crikey, no wonder Willie was so keen to go back. Has anyone watched Jarheads?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 27, 2010 @ 11:41 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 420 other followers

%d bloggers like this: