War on the Vietnam parallel
What is our foreign intervention and occupation policy again? Whatever the Americans (Iraq) and the Australians (RAMSI) say it is?
Conspicuous lack of blue UN helmets on the tour of the troops. Not one. At the behest of Dick fucking Cheney, Israel, pure American greed and most of all the idiocy of the progeny of the Texan aristocracy - via the US military governorship of Iraq - the PM visits our troops in Iraq.
What was she doing? Bringing our troops home? She just sent them there! That's the sort of lame arse thing John Key would have done.
In 1962, Australia sent advisors, as the United States had, but again New Zealand refused to make a similar contribution. Instead, a detachment of Royal New Zealand Engineers and a surgical team was sent to Vietnam, the former consisting of two officers and 20 other ranks. The Engineers were sent to the Southern Republic in a non-combatant capacity to undertake reconstruction tasks in and around the town of Thủ Dầu Một. At the same time a small administrative headquarters was established in Saigon. These engineers would be withdrawn in 1965. The surgical team was made up of seven men and would eventually grow to sixteen, and remained in the country until 1975. The team worked for civilians at the Binh Dinh Province Hospital, in Qui Nhon, an overcrowded, and dirty facility almost completely lacking equipment and bedding. This contingent was dispatched in June 1964. [W]
And if Holyoake had toured the engineers it would have been right to protest against it, but he left - and so did the Kirk government - the surgeons to help the civilians. What did Helen Clark leave? No political fingerprints?
New Zealand began the gradual withdrawal of its combat forces as the training teams were arriving. Prime Minister Holyoake said in 1971 that New Zealand's combat forces would be withdrawn by "about the end of this year," and they were - Whiskey Three Company went in November 1970, the SAS Troop and 161 Battery followed in February and May 1971 respectively, and Victor Six Company and the tri-service medical team left with the 1st Australian Task Force in December 1971, ending New Zealand's combat involvement in the Vietnam War. One of the first acts of Prime Minister Norman Kirk's Labour Party government (elected in December 1972) was to withdraw both training teams and the New Zealand headquarters in Saigon. [W]
So the Kirk government did what Helen Clark did to her own action in Iraq. A brilliant tactician - she didn't help start, but participated in, and then ended and withdrew her troops from her own personal Vietnam. Incidentally therapeutic perhaps , but to involve the military in a diplomatic impasse in the Mesopotamia smacks of Caesar - not the national interests of a small country in the South Pacific.
Playing third fiddle to George Bush - or perhaps that should be banjo. How ignominious. We are on the roll-call of shame. And the NZ military are still there, apparently:
New Zealand is still represented in Iraq by liaison and staff officers working with coalition forces.
So, sometimes I don't know what's worse - the Chairman Mao in dungarees look, or the fact we don't have an ethical foreign policy.