Let troops out for takeaways

DAVE ARMSTRONG
Last updated 09:38 10/11/2014
Willie Apiata
Fairfax NZ
Willie Apiata, who didn't win his VC for constructing a particularly imaginative primary school infant block.

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Dave Armstrong

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With gratitude for the past and confidence in the future we position ourselves without fear beside the United States. Where she goes in and meddles, we go in and meddle; where she misunderstands, we misunderstand.

During the election campaign, our prime minister went very quiet on the issue of sending troops overseas to the Middle East. But John Key has finally revealed that we will be assisting in the war against Islamic State. Isis is a particularly nasty bunch of Muslim fundamentalist terrorists who execute people in cold blood.

New Zealand is rightly disgusted by Isis' behaviour and is sending military advisers to help in the fight against them. But no combat troops. Apparently our soldiers won't even leave base - though I hope they'll be allowed out to get takeaways. Given that the US, China and Saudi Arabia all regularly execute their citizens, I look forward to New Zealand sending military advisers to bring down the governments of these countries as well.

Even worse for our prime minister, Isis has nicked his preferred fernleaf design for a new New Zealand flag. Surely he could deploy the police helicopters that descended on the Dotcom mansion to attack Isis for copyright infringement?

Despite his muted support in the past, recently Key has been talking up sending soldiers.

"New Zealand troops came to the call, when required. I think we always have," opined Key at World War I commemorations in Australia, adding that our military have "supported democracy and freedom for a very long period of time".

Sure, we "came to the call" during World War I, but one could argue that blindly "doing our bit" in 1914 simply because a Western superpower asked us to was mass stupidity. Did we lose an entire generation of fine young men simply so we could protect our strong economic ties with our "Mother Country"? Were we shedding blood in the abattoirs of the Western Front in order to keep our own woolsheds and abattoirs busy?

It could be worse. Key seems to have emulated his hero - 1960s consensus politician "Kiwi" Keith Holyoake. He privately opposed our involvement in the Vietnam War so, under intense US pressure, provided the barest military support he could get away with.

You've got to almost feel sorry for Barack Obama. He hires the Hawaiian golf buggy, pays the green fees, and all he gets from his golfing buddy are some measly gun-less advisers with skills in logistics, training and military law.

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Though "logistics" might conjure up images of people with clipboards counting baked bean cans in a warehouse, I suspect our logistics guys will be more concerned with the logistics of blasting an Isis "bad guy" at close range.

Though we were told we were "assisting with humanitarian projects" in Afghanistan, I'm pretty sure Willie Apiata didn't win his VC for constructing a particularly imaginative primary school infant block.

As well as committing advisers, Key has signalled an extension to SIS powers. He is worried that some New Zealanders are planning to assist terrorist forces in the Middle East - though I suspect Kiwis who want to commit terrorist acts with the Israeli Army will be okay.

The Minister-Not-in-Charge of the SIS reckons about 80 New Zealanders are currently "participating in extremist behaviour", though he has been light on detail.

I suspect some of those 80 include people simply big-noting on the Internet, in the same way some Right-wing bloggers, as described in Dirty Politics, freely discussed how they could organise for a Chinese millionaire to finance a "hit" on a pesky journalist.

Surely thinking that Syria's President Assad is a brutal murderer who should be deposed hardly makes one a fundamentalist radical.

Meanwhile, people who are genuinely concerned about an Isis attack on home soil should bear in mind that the two fatal terrorist attacks in this country had nothing to do with Muslim fundamentalists.

The 1980 Trades Hall bombing occurred while a National prime minister was heavily engaged in public union- bashing, and the Rainbow Warrior bombing was carried out by an ally.

- The Dominion Post

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