Will she apologise for Iraq?
Listening to the Vietnam war apology statements read out in parliament by the various leaders made me think just how lucky our current Prime Minister is. She and most of the Labour party were against the war - and rightly so. New Zealand forces didn't join the Americans until later (1964) after they requested it. The National government at the time was luke warm and only sent in a small number to appease the US. They were reducing their role when Labour won in 1972 and withdrew the last men. Nevertheless we should not have been there at all and those who sent them should have known better.
Fastforward thirty years later and it was a Labour government who sent in NZ forces to Iraq after the Americans had requested it. The Labour government at the time was luke warm and only sent in a small number to appease the US. Helen Clark sent in the engineers as soon as the dust had settled - as part of the occupation force. Within a short time they were relegated to guard duty at a British compound. Part of the occupation force, part of the war effort. As soon as the 6 month commitment that she had given to the Americans was up it was outski for the Kiwis. Lucky for her, and luckier for the military, there were no deaths or casualties. She even visited them and got a photo op in camo gear playing at being a war-time leader.
Well what a fuckin' hero.
The PM likes to take credit - and the unastute like to give it - for New Zealand's stance not to take part in the invasion of Iraq, the so-called "Coalition of the Willing." The fact the Labour government sent our boys in immediately afterwards was, therefore, what exactly? Unwilling? A last minute, grovelling boot lick for the Yanks because the government is terrified of them and wanted a free trade deal? How can a person rail against the invasion and then send in their troops after the spilt blood is barely dry ? How can someone effect the purposes of the invasion, ie. the occupation, and yet still proclaim some sort of moral superiority to the people who did the dirty work? And when our "humanitarian" work got difficult we retreated under the skirts of the British and then - gone. Pathetic.
The Prime Minister is a shameless hypocrite is she not? Her apology statement about 'nam could just as well apply to 'raq:
those armed forces personnel loyally served at the direction of the New Zealand Government of the day, having left their home shores against a background of unprecedented division and controversy over whether or not New Zealand should participate in the war.
We did participate in that war, the Iraq War, and it was Helen Clark who is so proud of it.