Thursday, April 16, 2015


It's sad that here in New Zealand Labour and Winston First (the Greens don't count) have preferred to bury their heads, ostrich like, in the sand and pretend that ISIL and El-Qaeda isn't a threat to western civilisation. Obviously the latent anti-US sentiment always present in sections of the Labour Party has jumped the political fence with those two Parties opposing the decision to deploy troops to Iraq in a training capacity.  

This stands in sharp contrast to the more mature political consensus displayed across the ditch where there is bi-partisan support for the ANZAC deployment.

But clearly the hypocrisy of Andrew Little and Ron Mark knows no bounds when they criticise the Government for failing to secure a full Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) ahead of the deployment. The advice that the Government has secured an agreement with Baghdad sufficient to allow the deployment to proceed with confidence cuts no ice with them.

I agree with the commentator who opined that Little's insistence about the importance of a SOFA is just petty politicking.    A SOFA is the Rolls Royce solution to how to protect our forces from the legal system of the host nation.   There are many reasons why a country might not wish to sign up to it including a perceived loss of sovereignty.

But here's the kicker.   For more than a decade in Afghanistan the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which included British, Australian and New Zealand troops, were protected, not by a full SOFA, but rather a Military Technical Agreement (MTA). The MTA included provisions about who had primary jurisdiction over ISAF forces if they committed criminal or disciplinary offences or damaged civilian property.

And just who was happy to authorise the deployment of  New Zealand troops to Afghanistan covered by the MTA rather than a full SOFA ... quelle surprise.   Labour and Winston First with Peters as Foreign Minister and Mark as their Defence Spokesthingy.

Hypocritical and dumber than a sackful of hammers.

p.s   I wish Ron Mark would stop pretending he was a member of the SAS.   Motor Mechanic and Workshop Manager yes, SAS no.


Noel said...

Does beg the question though.
If Vietnamisation was geared more to "de Americanising" that conflict was the same error committed in withdrawal from Iraq?
i.e inflated evaluations of the capacity of those countries troops.

pdm said...

I heard Mark on the radio this morning. The crap he was uttering was unbelievable.

He has sunk right into the gutter these days - bordering on treasonous.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... Vietnamisation was a decision that owed more to US domestic politics (a war weary nation) rather than an honest appreciation of the capabilities of the RVN forces.

Same same with the decision (of Obama) to quit Iraq.

You're spot on with your observation.

JC said...

Noel and Vet,

You could also say that Iraq was on track when Bush finished his term. He and his advisors knew Iraq couldn't hold together without a strong US support and Obama knew it too.

Obama's force agreement with Iraq was a disaster and later pulling the troops would have been akin to the Allies pulling out of Germany in 1944/45 and leaving the country to the USSR to take over.

Obama had to know the same situation viz Iraq and Iran would happen and yet he walked away when history would have told him forces were needed in country in the same way as Germany, Sth Korea and Japan.

It might have been uncomfortable politically but staying in Iraq would have been the right thing to do.


The Veteran said...

pdm ... Mark has served and I respect him for that. But it's sad his tendency to exaggerate his service ... a trait all too common in the in the Winston First Party.

You will recall the case of Bill Gudgeon, NZ First List MP 2002-2005. His NZ First bio had him as having served in both Vietnam and the SAS. He did neither. Ron Mark explained it away as a 'drafting error' ... some error Ron.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

Mark standing up in parliament wanting to publicly discuss the exit plans and mode of dealing with the eventuality of a New Zealand serviceman being captured did it for me. He really needs to stay within his area of military competence - or perhaps he is; being a dipstick.

Anonymous said...

Mark was a junior officer in a Workshop in NZ and in an identical role as a mercenary in the forces of Oman. He had no exposure to the higher levels of strategy, planing or the political dimension of military operations. He is only marginally better informed that his political colleagues

The Veteran said...

Anon ... don't tell him that or he'll get upset. Many will recall that Mark, as a newbie MP, sided with Labour in the Defence Beyond 2000 Report which was the catalyst for the disbandment of the Air Combat Force ... although to be fair to Mark it could be argued that he didn't realise what he had actually signed up to.