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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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.


At 29/5/08 6:55 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think only someone who would put an axe through someones window would take a UN sanctioned deployment of engineers who were only there 6months and equate that as hypocrisy.

At 29/5/08 7:18 am, Anonymous travellerev said...

Actually,according to a Vietnam era ex-soldier friend of mine there are still some three hundred ex-army personnel in Iraq to this day, learning about modern warfare it seems.
He claims to know at least 60 of them personally.
Any chance of following up on this one?
It could be the start of an war crime investigation for partaking in an illegal war of aggression.
The only good thing is that if John "We're missing in action" Key would have been the prime minister it would have been an all out; let's help the US commit Genocide.

At 29/5/08 8:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post Tim, might be a good idea to link to this every time Bomber pulls out one of his slow news day "Key want us in Iraq" posts.

At 29/5/08 4:40 pm, Blogger Bryce Edwards said...

Good post. History is being rewritten to suggest that Clark and the Labour Party were against the war on terror. This conveniently forgets a few things:

* Labour fully participated in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (which isn't actually going a whole lot better than in Iraq).
* Labour sent a frigate to the gulf to help the US in the war
* Clark was quite ambivalent about sending troops to Iraq, professing a strong preference for a UN-mandated invasion, but an invasion nonetheless
* She fully believed that Iraq possessed 'weapons of mass destruction' and spoke numerous times in the lead up to the invasion about the need to disarm Sadam Hussein.
* Clark refused to have any criticism of the invasion of Iraq (until many months into the invasion when it was obviously a disaster)



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