New Zealand’s new strategic goal in Afghanistan is to be cappin’ mother-fuckers.
We should not be in this war in the first place, we should not be retaliating (for very specific deaths), and we should not be using the United States to exact revenge for those deaths. Period.
Comment by Dan — September 21, 2012 @ 7:27 am
The more pertitent question is why have we been told? Consider that we still don’t know the full details around Willie Apiata’s VC action, “for operational security” yet Key offhandedly mentions this? Maybe having exhausted the Beneficiary Bashing meme it’s the new distraction policy.
Dan, what do you mean by we should not be retaliating (for very specific deaths)?
Comment by TerryB — September 21, 2012 @ 7:46 am
We should really be taking what that analyst says with a grain of salt; the SAS members going over are four officers, not enlisted men.
This is more likely to be to provide extra leadership and support (from people who have seen combat) to a unit that has suffered virtually unprecedented casualties!
But you know, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story and all that …
Comment by SEB — September 21, 2012 @ 7:58 am
That’s a good point SEB.
Or to put it another way; a normally peaceful part of Afghanistan suddenly experiences a speight of attacks. Do the coalition forces do nothing different in response, or do they instead focus on trying to find and eliminate the group responsible?
Comment by Phil — September 21, 2012 @ 8:03 am
Shortly after the last attack several experts said we had to find the bomb maker.. thats in line with the thinking of the last decade of insurgencies in both Afghanistan and esp. Iraq. No matter what this recent deployment is called, I should imagine taking the bomber out is the main job.. otherwise just one man controls the way we move about and at what risk.
Comment by JC — September 21, 2012 @ 8:48 am
Not just kickin ass, but taking names…. What is this Rambo III?
Comment by max — September 21, 2012 @ 9:27 am
The five soldiers we lost over there.
Comment by Dan — September 21, 2012 @ 9:29 am
The military want revenge. That is their warrior right and killing the enemy who killed our soldiers can only ever be a good result.
The point isn’t to knock a martial value system that might be uncomfortable to civilians, but to make sure civiliains stay in charge of it at all times.
Comment by Sanctuary — September 21, 2012 @ 10:06 am
Honestly, what has happened to rational debate in NZ? We’re having a discussion about how the military are actively seeking revenge, but based on what?!
a.) Our own presumptions of how the military would operate
b.) The speculation of an analyst who, since his sacking in academia, is a consultant who is not likely to bypass a headline opportunity when he sees one
c.) An opposition that would use any opportunity to criticise the government’s military policy because it is fundamentally opposed to the deployment in question (and that’s necessarily not a bad thing).
The counterfactual could be this:
a.) The PRT suffered losses of almost 4% of its total deployment, and the largest loss of NZ personal since (I think) the Vietnam war.
b.) They might be struggling slightly to come to grips with this. And the military and the NZ Government are unlikely to want to highlight that troops might be very emotional in a very high stress environment.
c.) In response, it is sending four officers, one less than the number KIA, from our most combat experienced unit. These are not hordes of gun-toting enlisted men or women out for blood. It would seem likely they are trying to provide more leadership support from those best placed to provide it. Frankly, NOT sending these personal would be borderline criminal by the Government.
How is the discussion about revenge?! Because they might be actively seeking the bomber? That would just make sense at an operational level – they would be seeking just as actively if the bomb had gone off and no-one had been killed (though likely with slightly less sense of purpose).
I simply do not understand this perspective … though it is indicative of discussion in the NZ context.
Sometimes I think we default to a negative outlook in NZ simply because we have so little to be truly outraged about ….
Comment by SEB — September 21, 2012 @ 10:25 am
Mr Key said in order to act against the insurgents, “you need to build a case, it has to be within the mandate and the rules that operate there … and that’s what these logistics people do.”
“No offense, son, but that’s some weak-ass thinking. You equivocating like a motherfucker.”
Comment by Psycho Milt — September 21, 2012 @ 10:28 am
Urgh, this is just disgusting. We are part of an invading and occupying army, and we have the gall to say we deserve revenge when they kill our soldiers? The hypocrisy of it is outstanding. How many years have we been killing Afghans in their homes now? Ten? Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been killed, and yet we think we have the right to take revenge after 5 of our soldiers die.
Every time someone tries to defend the occupation of Afghanistan, ask them this question. What if it was here that was being occupied? Would you fight back against the invaders?
Comment by alex — September 21, 2012 @ 10:49 am
I always get nervous about the response to that line of questioning Alex
Given the selfishness of too many I would be concerned the honest would say they supported the occupiers – in a mean spirited attempt to seek favour and profit
Comment by shorts — September 21, 2012 @ 11:12 am
Did John Key announce details of an overseas deployment of the SAS to distract from government troubles?
Did he break protocols for ‘not discussing the nature and role’ of SAS deployments, by saying what they were being sent for, when they were sent and how many were being sent (four men – that being the usual number within a SAS patrol)?
Who is going to hold the PM to account for announcing to the world the nature and role of an SAS deployment – something the PM normally (and should) keep confidential for operational security reasons?
If the Taliban bait the SAS team into an ambush attack, will Key apologise and resign for putting their lives at risk?
What a disgrace.
Comment by Bill Engrish — September 21, 2012 @ 11:18 am
Bill, no military patrol, SAS or otherwise, would be made up of four officers. Ever. That is simply not how it works …
Comment by SEB — September 21, 2012 @ 11:23 am
“How many years have we been killing Afghans in their homes now?”
Stupidest comment since Barbara Sumners open her mouth.
Tell us, how many Afghans have the NZDF killed in their homes, we’d all be interested to know?
Comment by gn35 — September 21, 2012 @ 11:37 am
@14 – SEB you are wrong about that. Clandestine SAS patrols do operate with four men (although they do have other configurations) and have been the standard size since the unit’s inception. Each man has a specialised skill – signals, medic, linguist and demolition (although each has proficiently in the others). Allows two to carry a wounded man and be covered by the fourth. Can bring enough firepower to a fight. The small team also makes them hard to detect. I don’t think it’s a coincidence four of them went to Afghanistan.
Comment by Bill Engrish — September 21, 2012 @ 11:47 am
Bill, I wasn’t questioning the size of the team – but that it would be comprised purely of officers. It would simply not be – it would be predominantly, if not completely, enlisted men. Not officers.
The difference between the two seems to be a minor point, but it is in fact crucial!
Comment by SEB — September 21, 2012 @ 11:55 am
@15 – We don’t know for sure, as casualty lists of civilians are never published, and cannot be meaningfully verified. Propaganda reasons and all that. ‘In their homes’ was a reference to their home country, not necessarily in their living room, though plenty of civilians have been killed in such a way by drone strikes.
What can be ascertained from reading the Wikipedia page on Afghan civilian deaths is that there are more every year. Here are some direct quotes:
Professor Marc W. Herold of the University of New Hampshire estimated in September 2007 that between 5,700 and 6,500 Afghan civilians had been killed so far in the war by American and NATO military forces. He stressed that this was an “absolute minimum” and probably “a vast underestimate”
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that 2,118 civilians were killed as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan in 2008, the highest civilian death toll since the end of the initial 2001 invasion.
2009 was again the most lethal year for Afghan civilians in the American-led war since the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.
2010 was again the deadliest year for Afghan civilians in the U.S.-led war since the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001
In the first half of 2011, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan again brought yet higher numbers of civilian deaths as violence intensified and security spiralled downward.
No, I am not blaming the individuals in the NZDF, they’re just doing their job, blah blah blah. I am blaming the leaders of the Western countries who have inflicted this war on the civilian population of Afghanistan, and then act surprised when some fight back.
Lastly, these are just civilians. Fighting Afghans have also been slaughtered. I must ask you the question directly gn35, if your country was being occupied, would you fight back?
Comment by alex — September 21, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
Looking at the Herald photo, I’d suggest the first thing they need to do is get off that ridge.
The reality of war, brought to you by the picture editor in Auckland.
Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 21, 2012 @ 12:33 pm
Tell us, how many Afghans have the NZDF killed in their homes, we’d all be interested to know?
I hate to tell you this, but once we committed NZDF troops to ISAF, anything ISAF does comes under the pronouns “we” and “us.” “We” have killed plenty of Afghans in their homes, courtesy of participation in ISAF.
Comment by Psycho Milt — September 21, 2012 @ 12:33 pm
@SEB, your comments seem very sensible, and have made me reconsider my initial kneejerk upon reading the article… but now I’m worried that I’ve accidentally stumbled into bizarro-Internet where opinions change and people are somewhat civil to each other
Comment by kim — September 21, 2012 @ 12:37 pm
It’s like John Key is a vembot about to explode. He’s been perfect, in his own mind, for a long time now, but the thing about vembots is that they always detonate sooner or later.
Comment by Dan — September 21, 2012 @ 1:26 pm
“That is their warrior right ”
No it isn’t, they’re volunteers and they work for us. If they want to be rambo warriors, they should join a mercenary band or migrate to a less liberal nation, like the US or Russia.
Comment by richdrich — September 21, 2012 @ 1:38 pm
Capping mother fuckers!? I’m just impressed these motherfuckers made it to uni!
Comment by Clunking Fist — September 21, 2012 @ 3:55 pm
Barbra Sumner Burstyn was bang on. what did these morons expect when they joined the military? hugs and kisses? they signed up as hired killers, and should be under no illusions that they too may be killed. I personally dont give a rats arse about dead soldiers – other than to note that the only good soldier is a dead soldier. remember these are people who choose a job wherein they kill whomever they are told to, without questioning why. fuck ‘em.
Comment by terryg — September 21, 2012 @ 5:36 pm
I went ito apublic hose to get a pint o’ beer…
Comment by russell — September 21, 2012 @ 5:49 pm
Wow … thanks. I just hope we haven’t now triggered the apocalypse!
Comment by SEB — September 21, 2012 @ 6:07 pm
“b.) The speculation of an analyst who, since his sacking in academia, is a consultant who is not likely to bypass a headline opportunity when he sees one”
Somebody should compile how many of Paul Buchanan’s predictions and assertions have turned out to be untrue. He breathlessly insisted that the Israeli in Christchurch had five passports in different identities, which turned out not to be the case. He never explained how he got that false information either, or corrected himself, so it’s hard to take him seriously. He pretty much reliably claims every situation is a crisis.
Comment by Hugh — September 21, 2012 @ 7:14 pm
@ Hugh – On the evening of September 12th 2001 (our time) I distinctly remember Paul Buchanan confidently stating on news talk ZB that the US would launch some kind of counter attack within the 48 hours of the attack on the twin towers, that they “had to do it”. So there’s one for your list.
Comment by Exclamation Mark — September 21, 2012 @ 8:35 pm
Sure Terryg. It’s not like the army is routinely used for anything like ordinance disposal, civil defence and emergency work, humanitarian aid work throughout the Pacific or UN peacekeeping duty – they’re just guns for hire right?
Just remember that they’re all murderer’s and to tell them to go fuck themselves when your being rescued, sheltered and fed by them in a major civil emergency.
Comment by Gregor W — September 22, 2012 @ 10:07 am
I care a lot about the soldiers, because it’s not like they are the ones that chose what country to invade. I think the blame here lies with Key. Our soldiers should be home now, it’s gone on for too long.
Comment by Dan — September 22, 2012 @ 2:49 pm
I have just seen the comments disparaging me. The hard fact is that I did not write the headlines to the story in question and pointed out to the reporter that the four SAS officers could well be detailed to the four infantry platoons that comprise the bulk of the PRT and which do the patrols. There was a message being sent, but it was not just to the Taliban.
I reject the accusations of headline-grabbing, and the mention of my unjustified dismissal by SEB was just a gratuitous cheap shot. As for Hugh, well, he has issues with me because I call him on the rubbish he continuously spouts over at a blog I am involved with, so I guess he feels more comfortable venting here. Hugh: please stay here.
As for the post 9/11 prediction that I am purported to have made. I was wrong. It was not 48 hours before the US began to retaliate. It was 36.
Comment by Paul G. Buchanan — September 28, 2012 @ 6:31 pm
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