In an unscripted speech on a marae today Prime Minister John Key told Maori leaders that New Zealand are not going to turn the other cheek to the horrors being seen in the Middle East.
Key’s unprepared statement in the meeting house at Te Tii Waitangi Marae came with an attack on the left wing.
After a peaceful welcome on the marae, various Maori leaders addressed him including prominent leader Kingi Taurua who said Maori were suffering because of their service in fighting for “other people’s sovereignty” over the decades.
Key said he agreed in part.
“I am with you, we should not go and fight other people’s wars.”
Diplomacy was what was needed but New Zealand also needed to support other people around the world.
“The day before yesterday a Jordanian pilot was burned to death with petrol and yesterday some gay people were thrown off a building because ISIS don’t like their sexuality,” he said.
“A few weeks ago 10-year-old kids were rolled out to behead soldiers who were part of the Iraqi forces. ”
Key said he heard from the left wing every time he went to countries with different human rights records to New Zealand.
“I am regularly reminded by the left that they have an intimate knowledge of apartheid and the Springbok tour,” he said in reference to the 1981 Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand that divided the country.
Key has since admitted he does not remember where he stood on the tour.
“These are the very people (the left) who tell me their whole DNA is laced with human rights and standing up for people who cannot protect themselves, then they tell me to look the other way when people are being beheaded by kids, burnt alive and thrown off buildings.
“New Zealand is not going to turn the other way,” he said.
“We may join 60 or so other countries around the world trying to protect people who cannot protect themselves because the do nothing other than live in a country they want to call home.
“I reckon that is doing something for human rights.”
Here’s my problem with sending our troops over to help out in Iraq.
Firstly, ‘Iraq’ doesn’t exist anymore. Iraq as a modern country was invented by the west after WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. An unrelated group of rival ethnicities, tribes and faiths patched together into a geographical fiction and held together by various tyrants until 2003, when the US invaded and the country disintegrated in the aftermath, flying apart into a chaotic failed state filled with millions of refugees, militias and rival warlords fighting in a massive bloody civil war spilling across the borders into several of Iraq’s neighbors, with most of the regional powers fighting each other via local proxies. That’s what we’re sending our troops into. We’re only calling this disaster zone ‘Iraq’ because it’s embarrassing to our allies, the US and the UK – who invaded Iraq, botched the post-war occupation and bought about the unimaginable carnage and destruction of the resulting civil war – to acknowledge that the country we’re helping no longer exists.
ISIS seem like evil people. It would be a good thing if they’re weren’t controlling a large section of the-country-formerly-known-as-Iraq. But we’re aware that ISIS are bad guys because there’s a propaganda campaign being waged against them by the west, who intends to go to war with them, so all of their atrocities are heavily publicised. The Shia militia who prop up the government that we’re going to ‘help’ in ‘Iraq’ are easily as brutal as ISIS. They were responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, which involved rounding up random civilians in Sunni neighborhoods, torturing them to death with acid and electric drills and then dumping their bodies outside their homes to encourage other Sunnis to flee (which about 1.7 million of them did). So those are our allies. They’re who we’re training, or helping, or whatever we’re doing. We just don’t hear about their atrocities because the media teams in the Ministry of Defense and the Beehive aren’t promoting them to the media.
And maybe if we really were helping ‘the people’ it would be worth it anyway. And maybe it’ll be different this time! Maybe the UK and the US militaries won’t fuck this up, horribly, and cause untold suffering and death but still fail to reach any of their objectives. But realistically, their version of ‘helping’ ‘Iraq’ will be to flood the conflict regions with development money, which will be spent on weapons, and property in London and Dubai. They’re vaporise thousands of ‘suspected terrorists’ with drones. They’ll arm and train ‘a professional army’ who may defeat ISIS and will definitely set about ethnically cleansing any territory they capture, torturing male detainees to death and imprisoning female captors in rape camps (human rights will not improve). These are all just routine outcomes of western interventions in this region of the world, so unless anyone can convince me it’ll be different this time I regard New Zealand intervention in Iraq as a bad idea.