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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the value of soldiering

What are you dying for, Kiwi?

The NZ military staff serving overseas risk life and limb for what? It's not for the interests of NZ, rather it is invariably for the interests of the US and 'The American Way' with all the presumptious arrogance and flaws that attach to this Imperial doctrine. Other commentators may not want to challenge any beliefs or personal decisions directly when faced with a load of dead NZ soldiers coming back home, but this is an obvious time to do so.
NZ Herald:
The convoy of soldiers involved in the Defence Force's greatest day of loss since the Vietnam War was providing an escort for one of them to go to the doctor with an eye complaint.
Dying for an eye complaint.

What do they think they are dying for, and should we care? I don't know exactly what they think (if anything), and I don't really care either. As a civilian with no point in any chain of command I don't care. It is just another workplace death and an accepted one as part of the business of soldiering. Killers killing other killers.

They sign up to kill and they know the consequences are that they are also signing up to be killed. So they are dying for the thrill of the chance of getting to kill someone else - probably a local person defending themselves against foreign invaders and occupiers (that the NZers are). There can be little pity for the NZ soldiers in Afghanistan, that's why you won't hear me lamenting them in particular.

The sympathy in these engagements must lie with the local combatants - they are the freedom fighters in this situation and the loss to their families and communities is a tragedy. Any NZ deaths and casualties are insignificant compared to what the Afghans have lost.

They also sign up to kill their own too. The NZ military forces in the 1860s and 70s killed Maori by the score as part of the government policy of invasion and occupation. These land-grabbing mercenary scum established the corrupt, unconstitutional state based on confiscation and repression that we have now. The military cemetery in Opotiki, for example and like many other towns, has a monument to the Land Wars stating that the soldiers gave their lives... not for 'the Queen', not for 'the Empire', not even for 'God", but for 'New Zealand'. New Zealand was - and always will be - a mistake.

Governments over the years have used the military in concert with NZ Police to suppress people and movements, most of whom have been Maori - in particular at Bastion Point in the 1970s and more recently when the navy was used against the Whanau-a-Apanui fishing boat protesting the Brasilian oil survey ship off the East Coast last year. The NZ military is used as an instrument of colonial oppression and that ought not ever be forgotten. That those Maori signing up are kupapa is also a fact they should be aware of. They are being paid to oppress foreigners and indigenous peoples alike. For what, for whom?

[UPDATE 22/08/2012 8:30am:
John Key said yesterday - on the evening news - that they died for "the defence of New Zealand". That is the official line.]


At 21/8/12 6:02 pm, Blogger garden said...

An awful lot of those soldiers are Maori and you don't give a shit about them as well?

At 21/8/12 8:11 pm, Blogger Arto said...

The Tainui maoris from my district refused to join the slaughter of WW1 for that very reason -the Tainui themselves had been slaughtered and a million acres their land was confiscated because they refused to sell it to the government for terribly low prices. Come the period of WW1 and the Tainui men of fighting age were thrown in jail because they refused to fight for the white opressors.

At 22/8/12 8:50 am, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

What I mean is I don't get wound up about the deaths, just about the situation. Having said that I probably care more than John Key.

I (don't) care about Maori and Pakeha soldiers equally. Maori though have the added embarrassment/predicament of fighting for a NZ government that is and always will be hostile to Maori. That makes them kupapa - even if they aren't killing their own and are killing people overseas they are acting in the spirit of a pro-colonial mercenary kupapa. That they are unaware of what they are doing in the context of the oppression of their own people (and other indigenous people) is something to be sad about.

Michael King's biography of Te Puea Herangi has an interesting section on resistance to the conscription and the way the government illegally used the census information to press-gang Maori in the Waikato. WW2 was different though and this broke down the traditional antipathy towards the NZ military.

At 22/8/12 11:38 am, Blogger Mike Asplet said...

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