Monday, December 8, 2014


As blogged previously and I am adopting a wait and see before rushing into judgement on the 'nice' (or not so nice) Mr Little.

 I thought he exercised a degree of judgement in putting together his Shadow Cabinet, acknowledging the very meagre gene pool available to him, although I have to say he was somewhat 'brave' in banishing arse kicker Clayton Cosgrove to the nether regions.   CC was a leading light in the ABC brigade.   He harbors grudges.  If Little stumbles CC will be in there doing what he does best.

But just when I thought Little was going Ok (sort of) he puts his foot in it by decrying a possible move to commit troops to the war against ISIS and ISIL as 'putting our troops in harms way'.

FFS Noddy, that goes with the territory when you take the 'King's Shilling' (or whatever the modern day equivalent).    That's akin to arguing against the police being allowed to confront violent offenders in case they might get hurt or banning firemen from attending fires because of the inherent dangers faced.

Debate the pros and cons if you will but putting our troops in harms way is not one of them.    If you take that view then you might as well disband the armed forces ... your problem solved.     And one further thing.   There is a deal of difference between committing troops to a combat role as opposed to a training role.   Sure, all soldiers are trained to defend themselves should the need arise and as happened with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan.    But there is a deal of difference in sending soldiers to serve in a training and mentoring role (as is being considered) compared with committing troops to combat per se ..... although I guess those opposed to any deployment will also reject the nuance as inconvenient detail.

I do however take exception to the suggestion that the Special Air Service might be deployed in a force protection role.   That's not what the SAS is trained to do and it would be a total misuse of a very valuable resource.    

But above all and if a decision is made to commit troops and should you disagree with that decision, vent your spleen against the Government and never, ever, against those who serve.   We saw that happen in the Vietnam war and we've seen that happen again in Iraq and Afghanistan.    That's the cowards way to protest.


Psycho Milt said...

Here's the full quote:

"If that's the case and we're going to put our people into harms way the prime minister has to make the case, explain what the mission is, what the objective is, how we get out if it doesn't work. He hasn't done any of that."

Leaving aside the fact that the illiteracy of NZ journalists made "harm's way" impossible to find on Stuff in connection with Little, that is an accurate and eminently sensible response to government statements on this subject that have been anything but sensible.

The Veteran said...

Milt ... given that a decision is still to be made it is perhaps a 'little' premature to demand to know what the mission is, what the objective is and the exit strategy.

I will be particularly interested in the exit strategy bit. Far too often that has been the missing bit in the jigsaw.

Tinman said...

Veteran I'm opposed to sending NZ personnel to this unwinnable conflict.

I can see no upside to it and believe it's not our business to interfere in the business of another country (unless that country specifically asks NZ for help).

Having noted that I've talked to two soldiers recently (one a mechanic, the other a medic) who both want to go.

My opposition is wavering.

Noel said...

If you don't have the public on side before committing forces don't expect those who served to be supported on return.
There was little opposition to Vietnam until a Pulitzer prize article of an event three years earlier was widely circulated and tainted all who served.
Imagine the potential of todays social media.

The Veteran said...

Tinman ... I suspect that if we commit troops to help train and mentor the Iraqi forces it will follow a request from the Iraqi Government.

Like you I have some doubts about this "unwinnable" conflict. That being the case the comments of Psycho Milt regarding the need for a concise mission statement, clear objectives and an understood exit strategy are so important.

For Noel. I sometimes look across the ditch and envy our Oz cousins in that they have managed to built what is essentially a bi-partisan Foreign Affairs and Defense Policy post Vietnam. No such consensus exists in NZL. The 'Left' (with exceptions) is more focused towards an isolationist defense policy, sauteed with a unhealthy anti-american bias and buttressed by the Clark mantra that we live in a 'benign strategic environment' LoL.

But that aside, if a decision is made to commit forces to the conflict in whatever capacity I fully expect to see the Greens plus elements of Labour along with John Minto's rent-a-crowd take to the streets in protest. That's fine and their right. Just lay of those sent to do their duty at the behest of the duly elected government.