Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ANOTHER APOLOGY DUE PERHAPS?

Following on from the brouhaha which is Wai2500 where some Maori ex-servicemen are calling for an apology and recompense for alleged wrongs visited upon them as Maori perhaps, in the interests of honest debate, we should have a full and frank discussion regarding the incident in the breakout from Minqar Qaim in June 1942 which saw members of 28 Maori Battalion over-run a German Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) and bayonet to death all 80 occupants including doctors and wounded.

The incident is well documented in the book Armageddon by Sir Max Hastings, former editor of London's Daily Telegraph.    Sir Max shares the view of German historians that while more than a few Germans were hanged in 1945 for killing prisoners, the allied forces should honestly confront there own lapses.  Further commentary on the incident can be found in the book Myth and Reality - the NZ Soldier in WW2 written by John McLeod in 1986.

The breakout from Minqar Qaim, carried out mostly at night, was described as a blazing inferno with viscous hand-to-hand fighting and no quarter given.    One member of 19 Battalion reported two Germans shot while attempting to surrender,    Another saw a wounded German picked up and thrown into a burning truck.   It was in this context that the bayoneting took place.   The ADS was located in a trench.   It was not marked with a Red Cross found in 'normal' field hospitals (one up from an ADS).

War is shitty.   Bad things do happen.   However it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Victor gets to write the history.    Disciplinary action taken during the war might have handed a propaganda victory to the Germans.   Post the war there would have been huge pressure not to sully the reputation of 28 Maori Battalion as a superb fighting unit.

An inconvenient truth perhaps but it does beg the question ... does Maoridom/NZ Government owe the Germans an apology?



18 comments:

James said...

Great point, if Maori are more entitled to compensation than their Pakeha comrades, are Maori more obliged to apologise for wrongdoings committed by NZ forces?

Undeniably there were many atrocities committed, and one can also look at the Battle of Monte Cassino and the "take no prisoners' orders issued by the CO of the 28th Maori Battalion.

Speaking of, why is when members of the 28th Maori Battalion die, it is national news, but when any member of the other battalions (at least half a dozen other infantry battalions) die, our media don't care?

Are Maori soldiers more equal than the rest of us?

Shelldrake said...

Good point. At least 18 other battalion size units in ME and Italy plus 5hose in the Pacific.

Better PR management

The Realist said...

I didn't know anything about this atrocity until an old German mate of mine mentioned it a few years ago.
While it may not be general knowledge in New Zealand, it appears it is in Germany

Anonymous said...

Good thing you said perhaps. An apology is worthless unless it made soon after the event. The rainbow Warrior apology is is just an old bloke who as young man, like all of us, jumped at the chance of doing something exciting for his country and now wants to clear his conscience.

The Labour Govt/Crown apology to Vietnam Veteran was made under duress so is worthless not to mention totally unnecessary .
The German Govt apology to Jews was worthless because it wasn't them that made the decisions.

I fully agree with your fog of war scenario and to even contemplate such an apology would be wrong even bearing in mind that the "fog of war" has been used to excuse atrocities committed in cold blood. We are so indoctrinated with the idea that an apology makes things right that we are in danger of doing the same things because an apology will make things OK. But, and it is big BUT you cannot denigrate Maori for doing what Pakeha did on the select committee enquiry on Agent Orange which is lie, dissemble and deceive. We set the standard and who are we to say, Don't do as I do, do as I say.

lord Egbut Nobacon

The Veteran said...

Lord EN ... I have the HSC transcript. Please detail the names of the 'Pakeha' who "lied" to the SLC.
I await your response with interest.

And I must say it's somewhat fascinating your argument (unsubstantiated at this point) that somehow it's OK for Maori to "lie, dissemble and deceive" in evidence placed before the Waitangi Tribunal. That strikes at the very hear of our justice system remembering that evidence at the hearing is given on oath.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea whether the WAI2500 evidence is given on oath but I know the evidence given before the select committee was not.

A name to go with. Captain Booth an admin officer stationed with 1ATF claimed that (in 1970) he was "sprayed by multiple aircraft at Nui Dat and the leaves fell off the rubber trees because they were not deciduous."

1/. Ranch Hand missions in Phouc Tuy ceased 30/7/68 (Confirmed by MOD)
2/. Rubber trees are deciduous and shed their leaves,
3/. MAC-V directive 525-1 states no spraying by fixed wing aircraft within 5K of rubber.
4/. Nui Dat (and most other Rubber) was owned by Michelin who sought and received compensation for damaged rubber trees.

All the other witness's (Bar one) who claimed to have been sprayed arrived long after the cessation of missions. But you know this as you have the names.

Does it not strike you as strange that no Platoon commanders or sergeants witnessed anything and the fact that no two of the witnesses ever served together. How do you get sprayed in isolation?

I did not say it's OK to lie etc, I said that Pakeha led the way and Maori are following. When your house is made out glass you must be careful who you fling rocks at. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't beleive Maori were represented or present as witnesses at the hearing.

The Veteran said...

Anon ... evidence before Tribunals is given on oath. That is the norm and that it is certainly the case in the Tribunal I serve on. FYI. Tribunals have the power of a Commission of Inquiry as laid down in the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952. If you lie before a Tribunal you do so at your certain peril.

Evidence given to the HSC Inquiry was not given on oath. Evidence given to Select Cttees seldom is.

Referring to your post when you said "you cannot denigrate Maori for doing what Pakeha did on the select committee enquiry (sic) on Agent Orange which is to lie, dissemble and deceive" the only possible inference to be taken is you are arguing it is permissible for Maori to do just that. Sez much for your respect of the rule of law and your respect for Maoridom.

John Booth is of course dead and was dying when he gave his evidence to the HSC. I am not sure it is overly smart to attack the dead when they cannot defend themselves but OTY.

No, I doesn't surprise me that no Pl Comds/Sgts witnessed anything. I have been more surprised if the spraying was carried out with troops in the area. What is not in doubt is the quantity of product sprayed in Phouc Tuy noted in the HERBS tapes. Certainly I never experienced any 'active' spraying but my platoon traversed many areas of jungle (not rubber) that had been sprayed and my diary records the defoliated area as barren and dead and looking like 'moonscape'.

Finally, please do me the courtesy of doing your homework. Look at the list of submitters on page 43 and tell me again that Maori were not represented.

Anonymous said...

I said, correct me if I am wrong and I did not say submitters, I said witnesses. I have no idea who is dead or who is alive. The reason for making such statements when you are dying is pretty obvious and I am not attacking him.

The reason that some of the areas looked like moonscape is because they were great swathes of jungle carved up by B52 strikes.

Please explain or refute items 1 to 4.

As for the latency of dioxin. Following post

Anonymous said...

Please see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15603524

If there was any latency North Canterbury and Marlborough would be roped off.

Tamati said...

Re Minqar Qaim.....I can still vividly recall a story (amongst many others) told to me well over 50 years ago by a 28th Battalion workmate, who at the time of telling was also a Mormon bishop, that on passing through an Italian village near Monte Casino, a couple of pretty local girls were eyed up outside their house. That night, using a jeep 'borrowed' from a cousin, who was an officer, he and some platoon mates returned to this village and after forcing the man of the said house at knife point to have sex with his wife for their entertainment, they then raped the two daughters. I know what happens on tour stays on tour...I'm just saying....

The Veteran said...

Anon ... well, it's clear to me you sit firmly with the likes of David Irving and other 'revisionists' and that's your privilege. As someone who (along with the late John Masters) had a fair bit to do with the HSC Inquiry your 'spin; leaves me cold.

Submitters/witnesses no difference. Try telling Hank Emery he's not Maori and duck.

Yes, you did attack John Booth by naming him as an example of Pakeha who 'lied, dissembled, deceived' to the HSC Inquiry. In your last post you sought to excuse that referring to his state of health. I remember John as a man of integrity. I would prefer to think he said what he believed to be true.

I stand by my comment regarding 'moonscape'. I was there, you weren't. Also no craters.

I don't need to refute or explain 1-4. They stand.

As to 'latency'. For every study suggesting limited cause and effect you can find a second which argues the opposite. For myself I am satisfied with the HSC Inquiry conclusion that we served in a toxic environment ... end of story.

I do however have real difficulty with small number of our colleagues who would argue that each and every misfortune ever visited upon them in life can be traced back to their Vietnam service.

And that's what the WT Inquiry seems to be about.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

I'm on the emailing list for what is being submitted to the WAI2500 hearing. I have always been proud to be a Vietnam Vet [Pronto C/s 51].

The bullshit that I am reading leaves me in my twilight years ashamed to wear my medals, ashamed to appear at any further ANZAC day parades, ashamed to be identified as one of these grasping bullshitting arseholes.

I now understand why so many of my compatriots have become reclusive.

Fuck the entitled cunts.

Anonymous said...

Tinker, my compliments and commiserations. You are right, the Veterans have become objects of pity over the years by the incessant whinging of the few about how they are victims, and the media love it and print the most appalling rubbish on veterans dieing before their time and cancer scything through their ranks and those who vets out there reading it believe it and think they have been poisoned by their country.

Tell your mates that they are fine. They have a 5% to 7% better mortality rate than males of the same age and slightly better cancer rates particularly those that are supposed to be caused by Dioxin.

Veteran: A group of backbenchers who knew nothing about the subject and present with no alternative evidence who spent the the grand total of 8 hours "considering" the evidence does not make the truth out of a lie. It is not helped when one of the committee was Judith Collins who not only had a relation in Vietnam but used the Veterans as a political platform. Conflict of interest I think.

You are wrong in your contention that Rodney Hide was not the committee, unless there is another one? He questioned John Booth. Read the transcript. Lesley Mcoid (hopefully still alive) claimed to have been sprayed in 1969 over a year after the missions stopped in Phouc Tuy. As you well know the target box (spray run) was a US freefire zone and could be and often was attacked by the escort fighters that ALWAYS accompanied the Herby birds. It was cleared of all allied troops through the RAAF liaison Officer at 1ATF who held the rank of a full colonel in the USAF. The target box remained a USAF freefire zone for 48 hours after the mission due to unexploded ordnance that may have been left.

Suffice it to say that that rhetoric does not supplant evidence and veiled insults doth butter no parsnips.




Anonymous said...

Would any sane general let his troops be anywhere near this event. Of course there were no troops in the area. You don't know who you are next to in the jungle.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tpilsch/AirOps/traildust.html

The Veteran said...

Anon ... You are right in saying that Hide stood in for Roy for one session. Should have picked that up but that's the only concession you're going to get out of me.

You are at liberty to label the HSC Inquiry as a fraud but I suspect not too many of our colleagues would agree with you on that. But your attack on Judith Collins is 'interesting'. Yes, she forced the Inquiry; yes she had an uncle who served in theatre who died early on from what the family believes was AO induced cancer and yes, she used it as a political platform. That's what MPs do. Quelle suprise but, conflict of interest not.

But Tinker, you and me appear to be on the same page in railing against the sense of entitlement exhibited some some veterans who see the WT as a free hit to indulge their fantasies.

So it's REALLY surprising that you would champion the right of submitters to the WT hearings to 'lie, dissemble and deceive" on the supposed basis that Pakeha did that at the HSC hearing. And be very clear. That's what you said. One would hope for a retraction and an apology. Not holding my breath.

I repeat ... the WT hearings are nothing more than a make-work scheme by the unscrupulous. Her's another taster to finish up on .... "In the provision of health care to Maori soldiers, was cultural competency ever considered. Was the failure to provide culturally correct health care to Maori soldiers a Treaty breech?."

One of the very few privileges that come with your own blog is that you get to call time. This thread has run its course. No further comment will be entertained.

Anonymous said...
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The Veteran said...

Sorry Anon 7.59 ... I meant what I said.

Anonymous said...
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