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Iraq and Syria

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, June 16th, 2014 - 77 comments
Categories: International, iraq, john key, national, Syria, war - Tags:

The Middle East has been in the news recently for all of the wrong reasons.

Syria has been disintegrating as the the effects of a brutal civil war become more pronounced. It started in March 2011 after protests against President Bashar al-Assad, inspired by uprisings in the wider Arab world, were met with extreme force. The cost, 160,000 deaths and over a million refugees in Lebanon is mind numbingly huge.  It is difficult to imagine how life can return to normal.  The country itself has divided into two areas, one controlled by the President’s forces and the rest controlled by a variety of warlords.  Starvation and Chemical Weapons are amongst the methods used to maintain control.  The flood of refugees has the potential of undermining the surrounding states.

Next door in Iraq things are potentially more dire.  The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has overrun large parts of the country despite being poorly equipped.  The vacuum in power has raised hopes amongst the Kurds that the long desired state of Kurdistan may become a reality.  Already parts of Northern Syria are in Kurdish control.

Recent events made the administration of Nouri al-Maliki appear to be largely irrelevant.  The Iraqi Parliament recently failed to obtain a quorum to discuss the extreme threat that ISIS poses to the country.  Unbelievable.

Iraq has for many decades been a play thing for the Americans.  Saddam Hussein’s Baath party gained power with CIA assistance in the 1960s.  It then engaged in a reign of terror on its people and built a powerful grip on the country through the nationalisation of oil wells and banks.  Hussein’s behaviour became more extreme and brutal.  The Americans and English eventually invaded on the pretext that Iraq was holding weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.

If there is a general lesson here then it is that Military intervention into a country does not work.  If you want to effect change then diplomacy, aid, and the provision of education are much more likely to work than violence.

I was interested to see what John Key’s views to the military intervention in Iraq has been over the years.  And having had a look through I must say they leave something to be desired.

There is this Herald report summarising two earlier articles as follows:

The first story stated that Mr Key and Rodney MP Lockwood Smith could support a war against Iraq without United Nations’ support, and carried a paragraph indirectly quoting Mr Key as being “prepared to commit any support requested by the United States for a war against Iraq, including SAS and combat troops”.

In Parliament on September 10, 2003 Key said this about an international proposal to allow ships to be boarded and searched for weapons of mass destruction:

What sorts of countries are in that agreement? I look down the list and I see Australia; yes, the roos are there. So is Britain. So is the United States. Our traditional allies are in this agreement. Where is our name? Missing! It is “MIA” just like it was during the war in Iraq—missing.

This country will pay for that—members need not worry about that. There will be no US free-trade arrangement with New Zealand.

It appears that Key was in support of following the United States and the United Kingdom into a war that was frankly insane.  The search for weapons of mass destruction has still not turned up one weapon.

Rather awkwardly Key then said that the National Caucus did not support sending troops to Iraq.  Read the above and make your own mind up.  It was reinforced by Simon Power who on May 1, 2004 said “[w]ithout reservation we will support our close allies Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States when and wheresoever our commitment is called upon.”

TV3 coverage of the issue and Labour’s sustained attack on Key for his duplicity was fascinating.

And in Parliament Michael Cullen showed his biting wit after the onslaught on Key by asking “[i]s it fair to conclude that Mr Key has finally been the first person to find a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, and it blew up in his face?”

Key’s position now is much more cautious.  He was interviewed this morning on Morning Report by Guyon Espiner who unfortunately did not ask him the hard questions.   But it is relevant for us to know when and why did he change his views on Iraq?

And for those interested Labour’s position is that a Cunliffe led Government would not contribute combat troops to Iraq under any foreseeable circumstances and that New Zealand would consider other ways to contribute to multilateral action only if there was an appropriate resolution by the United Nations Security Council.

77 comments on “Iraq and Syria”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    Can Cunliffe explain what a foreseeable circumstance is.

    It sounds like fence sitting to me

    • Populuxe1 1.1

      Of course it is. If the UN mandated peacekeeping intervention he’d be in like flynn

      • Matthew Hooton 1.1.1

        If we are on the Security Council, Prime Minister Cunliffe would have to decide which way to vote on intervention, not just say “we’ll do what the Security Council says”.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1

          In which case he will be guided (at least in part) by the outcome of a democratic process (party policy). Tell me Matthew, how does policy get made in the National Party?

          • Matthew Hooton 1.1.1.1.1

            Decisions on using the military in dangerous situations are made by the cabinet, which is responsible to parliament, which is responsible to the voters. Parliament usually debates the matter and could of course vote no confidence in the government if it disagreed with the cabinet’s decision, causing new elections (or at least a new government being formed). I don’t think so-called “democratic processes” within particular political parties should be used to make decisions like this. The act of joining a party and giving a donation in time and money should not give anyone a special say about sending the military overseas.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Much better to join a cabinet club instead.

            • Tom Gould 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Indeed, Matthew, you neatly outline the difference between government and opposition consultation and decision making on such matters. But what’s your point?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1.3

              You’d rather foreign policy be made by lobbyists and Warner Brothers.

    • tas 1.2

      Good. I’d like to believe that if the Iraq situation degenerated to, say, a genocide, then NZ would be willing to send peacekeepers.

  2. Colonial Viper 3

    Iraq? Why are we talking about Saddam Hussein’s country like it still exists as a country? The corrupt, divisive Maliki government favoured by the US ruled on a sectarian basis. Favouring the majority Shia in the south, and humiliating the Sunnis who had previously backed Saddam.

    Now, the ISIS/ISIL Sunni militants are said to have no more than 7000 or 8000 men at arms. How on earth did they manage to rout tens of thousands of Iraqi military out of Mosul, Tikrit, etc?

    Simple – the Sunni locals were so pissed off with the Baghdad pro-Shia government, they supported these ISIS/ISIL extremists – who are all foreigners – in a local revolt against Baghdad led forces.

    As for the US and their allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc who have been fuelling the civil war in Syria with the provision of arms etc to groups like ISIS/ISIL. Those same monies and arms are now being turned against the US supported gov in Baghdad,

    And the US looks like it will have to fight along side Iran, in order to salvage this unmitigated foreign policy disaster.

    US Embassy in Baghdad Green Zone partially evacuated as a precaution

    http://www.news.com.au/world/the-us-embassy-is-preparing-to-evacuate-baghdad-as-tal-afar-falls-and-iraq-masses-forces-at-samarrah/story-fndir2ev-1226955492200

    Well that’s a vote of confidence in the Maliki govt right?

  3. Colonial Viper 4

    ISIS/ISIL gains $400M in cash and gold from looted Mosul Central Bank

    Well, they just became the wealthiest terrorist grouping in the world.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-11/al-qaeda-jihadis-loot-over-400-million-mosul-central-bank-seize-saddams-hometown

    • Populuxe1 4.1

      I think that would still be Wahabi Islam

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        well if you count the monies of the various parts of the Saudi Royal Family who support Wahabism yeah maybe you are right.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      If they own the bank they just print the money anyway, remember?

  4. Ad 5

    I do not believe a successful UN-led military intervention into Iraq or Syria is even able to be imagined, let alone successful.

    Schadenfreude about US involvement in Iraq isn’t really helpful. I cannot see the US and Iran cooperating militarily, ever. The trust is lower than Roosevelt with Stalin.

    Nor would Saudi Arabia and Iraq ever be able to co-operate militarily with Iran – they are competing Islamic forms.

    I do see it likely that Iran will act protect the interests of its version of Islam, once they are threatened. That does mean escalation across the Iraqi border.

    The military and political silence from Saudi Arabia and Jordan so far is interesting. Since this is clearly destined to play out for a couple of years more, which extreme form of Islam will win out in the region?

    And what will the borders of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan look like in five years time? My bet is the ISIS aims will be achieved and there will be an amalgamated state – at humanitarian cost not yet seen since the Pakistan-India partition.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Nor would Saudi Arabia and Iraq ever be able to co-operate militarily with Iran – they are competing Islamic forms.

      Slight error there – the Baghdad govt is pro-Shia and Iran is a Shia theocracy. They got on together just fine. The last thing Iran wants to see are Sunni militants taking out the friendly Shia govt in Baghdad.

      Which is why they have sent their elite Quds forces into Iraq to help Baghdad out. Apparently Iranian forces were instrumental in pushing ISIS back out of Tikrit in the last 48 hrs.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Happy to be corrected – imagine if Iran finally becaome the good guys – what will FoxNews make of that?

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          I think they’ll cope with the cognitive dissonance – the Right did fine with the transition of Saddam/Iraq from being the good guys we help in the war against Iran, to them being ME aggressors and WMD bad guys no.1.

          US oil majors would love a piece of the business out of Iran’s massive but under utilised oil fields. That alone could influence the US to eventually be more open minded about Iran.

          • DS 5.1.1.1.1

            Except that you’re talking cogitive dissonance on a far greater scale. 1979-80 still casts a massive shadow over the way the US views the Middle-East, especially the US Right.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.2

            We have always been at peace with Iran.

  5. Colonial Viper 6

    Maps of the conflict.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-13/lines-sand-5-key-maps-middle-east-crisis

    To be clear, ISIS/ISIL have a goal of setting up a fundamentalist Sharia Law state extending across the northern part of both Syria and Iraq, breaking apart the current borders of those two countries.

    The secular Ba’ath state of Saddam Hussein kept a lid on this kind of sectarian violence, but George Bush and Tony Blair though they knew better ~12 years ago when they marched in there with guns blazing.

  6. Wayne 7

    I think the most significant part of the current schnozzle is Iran and its relationship with the US (and on this CV is right).

    In my view for the past year Iran looks like it wants to strike a grand bargain with the US, not as it was when the Shah was in power. But a sufficiently comprehensive relationship so that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States could no longer take the US for granted, and therefore be able to support all sorts of things without too many consequences.

    For Iran, it would mean being able to be a “normal “state again, free from sanctions, and able to have comprehensive international relationships. For the US, ending a “cold war” that has lasted 35 years, diversification of its oil supplies, and having access to a market of 100 million people.

    Arguably ISIS has hastened this process. But it won’t be good news for ISIS.

    I would be surprised if Iraq is the main topic of conversation for the PM and President Obama. Both of them know how to compartmentalize discussions, and Iraq is just not that important to NZ/US relations. I am sure Asia Pacific matters will dominate, including TPP.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Arguably ISIS has hastened this process. But it won’t be good news for ISIS.

      And its worthwhile here to understand who has been funding the extremist Sunni fundamentalists of ISIS/ISIL (who are so extreme that even Al Qaeda in Syria booted them out and now treat them as enemies):

      SAUDI ARABIA (using US oil money, ironically).

      The Sauds appear to want to solidify their dominance in the region by destabilising Syria, getting rid of the Iraqi Shia govt, and isolating Iran even further.

      Problem is that this may be backfiring on them big time…

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Imagine the borders of Saudi Arabia extending from the Mediterranean, to Turkey, absorbing Jordan and Syria. Lawrence! Lawrence!

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          I do believe that the going terminology is a “Caliphate.”

          • Ad 7.1.1.1.1

            Yes – Siege of Vienna redux is next.
            And Books 5 and 6 of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, where it really goes to shit.

            Where is Charlemagne when you need him?

            • Bastables 7.1.1.1.1.1

              You are conflating the Ottoman Empire with the early Caliphate under Abu Bakar, Umar or Uthman and the Umayyad Caliphate all in two sentences. . .

              A magnificent butchering of history, well done. You have just as much grasp of the complexities of the region and it’s peoples as Bush II and his gang of imbeciles.

              • Ad

                If you can’t see each reference as relevant stepping off points, you’re not in the right shop.

                You want to propose your own historiography of conflict, write your own post. Or argue against the relevance of historical context here – do it.

                But don’t be crass. It’s unworthy.

                • mickysavage

                  Agreed. My post was a real once over lightly report on a couple of matters and ignore thousands of years of historical detail. If you want that check out Robert Fisk’s and Gwynne Dyer’s writing on the subject. There is a huge amount of historical context. There are also two countries that are failing and the evidence is clear to see.

                • Bastables

                  The Ottomans had the first Kingdom of saud (Salafist or whahabi) destroyed with the execution of Abdullah bin Saud after his capture by Egyptian (only nominally under control by the pasha in Istanbul) forces in 1818.
                  Your points are not relevant stepping off points as they make it appear as if Islam single mindedly focused on attacking “europe” and paint islam as a monolithic entity.

                  The selective references point more to arguments raised by Islamophobes, which are the same simplifications that have led to the horrific mishandling in “Iraq” resulting in the current insanity.

                  I see exactly where your stepping off points are leading to and spring from.

                  • Gosman

                    The whole point about Islam is it us meant to be a monolithic political entity. That was how it was set up and us what the vast majority of Muslims agree with. It is just the form of that entity that is in dispute.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sounds like sophistry to me Gos.

                      You may as well say that Protestants and Catholics are one nation.

                    • Gosman

                      Not really. Until the Romans co-opted it for their own political ends Christianity was more a matter of individual choice and lifestyle. The same could never be stated about Islam. It was from the outset a political movement as much as a religious one. Muhammed held power in a secular manner. Indeed Islam itself means to surrender oneself to the laws and way of God. This is done via submission to a rigid set of rules or laws which form the basis of any Islamic society. This is why it is more likely for Muslims to argue people should live like they did 1400 years ago than it is for say Christian’s to do so.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, Gosman, if some foreign enemy (Iceland for example) were giving the Exclusive Brethren tactical support and funding they’d be just as big a problem for us as ISIS are for the Shia.

                      Religious fundamentalism is not the exclusive preserve of Islam.

                    • Gosman

                      The Exclusive Brethren don’t have a policy to take political control and impose their fundamentalist brand of Christianity on people who disagree with them as far as I am aware.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Do you think that millions of dollars spent over decades by those Icelanders desperate to control the active volcano and rich mythology tourist market, and the consequent installation of a brutal dictatorship might help focus their attention?

                    • Bastables

                      No that’s a projection GOS, Islam is not a monolithic entity anymore than Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism (any religion is) ect ect is. Like Christianity and Buddhism any single interpretation basis of belief does not long survive the death of the “Prophet”.

                      Treating it as a monolithic entity certainly helps in demonising it and othering a large swath of human beings and was/is especially useful in the colonial process.

                      Alain Quellien French colonial diplomat “For some, the Muslim is the natural and irreconcilable enemy of the Christian and the European; Islam is the negation of civilization, and barbarism, bad faith and cruelty are the best one can expect from the Mohammedans.”

                      All this eurocentric filth ignores that there is a current struggle between competing forms that but their very existence and actions continue to highlight Islam has never been monolithic.

                      Kurds Sunni
                      Kurdish Shia
                      Turkoman Sunni
                      Turkoman Shia
                      various Arab Sunni (african, leventine, gulf . . . )
                      Arab Shia, 12’r shia, 7’r shia . . . .
                      Various form of Sufism
                      Alawites Shia
                      Persian Shia
                      Salifism
                      Khajirite
                      and on and on and on as religion and ethnicity provide boundary markers and community identification.

                      A narrow and pointless Eurocentric view point of course misreads the issue, the people and the religion. This same mental fuckery that led to the misguided invasion of arab socialist baathist Iraq to punish Al Quadia (hostile to Baathists).

                      Because really aren’t all towel heads the same thinking is why now a much more virulent strain of Salifisms is executing unarmed pw and “non compliant civilians”. Non compliance also including adding Ali’s name to ones prayers to the same God of “adam and eve”.

                      But chicken hawks and misreading/butchering of history are always correlated it seems.

                    • Gosman

                      I didn’t state all Muslims are bad. I stated that for the vast majority of Muslims Islam is a monolithic political movement. This is against where Christianity is now for example. Sure there may be a few Muslims not supportive of this interpretation but they are marginalized at best. If Muslims want better relations with the rest of us then it would be beholden on them to drop the more unpleasant views of their faith. No different to White South Africans under Apartheid.

                    • Bastables

                      Your bigotry is as horrific as your Misogyny and pathetic as your chicken hawk tendencies.

                      Not all Muslims are bad just most of them according to the misrepresentation of them with in Gosmans odious little mind.

                      wiki surface primer on how divergent and rich the competing interpretations of a religion are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_philosophy.

                      Reza Aslan’s book “No God But God” is a accessible survey of the evolution of Islam and has a comprehensive .

                      Some of the material it covers includes material of Middle eastern thinkers under colonialism: “We Egyptians believed once in English Liberalism and English sympathy; but we believe no longer, for facts are stronger than words. Your liberalness we see plainly is only for yourselves, and your sympathy with us is that of the wolf for the lamb which he designs to eat.” Muhammad Abdu (1845-1950).

                      Western neo-liberal fuckery tracks pretty similar to colonial fuckery, with the same well spring of hate rage and blood it engenders. Selective reading of history in order to “other” fellow human beings, the thinking process of a Chicken Hawk, misogynist, and a bigot.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It’s all very well bringing Iran in from the cold. What will Israel make of this?

                    • Gosman

                      You assume that Iran will get concessions to help out. Iran is just as afraid of the situation in Iraq spinning out of control as the US is.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      That isn’t how it works Gosman. Small nations owe service, large nations, protection (Lao Tzu). The US will be helping Iran as much as the other way around, and whether or not this results in a public softening of relations, those relations will nonetheless be strengthened by the experience.

                    • mike

                      See here.The project for the new middle east map.
                      Map at bottom of page.

                      http://www.globalresearch.ca/iran-and-america-joins-hands-in-waging-the-global-war-on-terrorism/5387998

                      America’s desperation to contain China on the great Eurasian continent,China wanting to build railway lines to Europe and Russia. Dairy produce from France, Europe, etc, etc. The petrodollar exposed and devalued, America Banjaxed.

                      All here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/ the best most informative Geopolitical website on the internet.

      • Gosman 7.1.2

        Qatar is more influencing matters than Saudi.

  7. Anne 8

    I am sure Asia Pacific matters will dominate, including TPP.

    Of course they will. NZ is an important strategic cog in the South Pacific – especially now with China’s rise to super-power status. That is why John Key is getting all this attention from Barack Obama – not because he’s regarded as an important (and enlightened 😯 ) personage in his own right. It is no coincidence that Tony (dumb,dumb) Abbott has just been to the White House for a chin wag with the President.

    Love to be a fly on the Oval Office wall.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      and the Situation Room

    • AmaKiwi 8.2

      “NZ is an important strategic cog in the South Pacific”

      because of our massive high tech industrial output, our enormous military might, and our strategic location: a dagger aimed at the heart of Antarctica.

      If a reasonable size power invaded NZ at first light, we would surrender before morning tea.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Antarctica will have the last unclaimed oil and gas reserves in the world and the major powers will want it in 30-40 years when large parts of the ice are gone.

        The US base in Christchurch give them a head start that China and Russia will not be able to match.

        • AmaKiwi 8.2.1.1

          CV, you’re always the optimist. I think if there are any humans around in 30-40 years they’ll be clubbing rats for dinner and frying cockroaches over a wood fire.

          By most forecasts Dunedin will be one of the few habitable places on the planet by then and I can’t picture them hauling an oil rig with a waka.

  8. well said Mr Savage…

  9. Weepu's beard 10

    Please take that photo off the front page. There’s no need for it.

    [lprent Authors choice. ]

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Why do you think that WP? The whole situation is appalling and I thought there should be a photo to match.

      • Weepu's beard 10.1.1

        It’s no match, it’s too graphic. Is the child dead? Is she alive? Photos convey horror more than words.

        I think there are other images just as powerful but not as blunt. You wouldn’t put that in the paper or on TV. Public forums are the same now.

        • mickysavage 10.1.1.1

          I have changed the image WB. Children are featured but no violence.

          • Weepu's beard 10.1.1.1.1

            Appreciated. I fully understand your point. We don’t grasp acute terror unless we are made to look at it.

        • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.2

          You wouldn’t put that in the paper or on TV.

          You would in the Middle East – there’s no pixellating out the consequences of violence in their media. But yeah, God forbid anyone should actually get an idea of what’s going on over there by seeing photos of it.

    • Anne 10.2

      @ Weepu’s beard.

      Yes, its very upsetting, but it is in keeping with the post. Its a terrible situation and there’s nothing like a real image to remind us just how terrible it is.

      We must be constantly reminded.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Interesting how the western power elite say its all for the greater good that they intervened in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc…I wonder if this is what they meant…a body count in the hundreds of thousands in Syria, and over a million in Iraq.

        • AmaKiwi 10.2.1.1

          It’ a matter of perspective. The American Negro slaves had a song based on the Exodus story: “Let my people go” (from slavery).

          It happened! God freed them! But where was He (or She) for the 256 years from the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia in 1607 to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863?

          Maybe in 256 years the people of those countries will rationalize how all this Western inflicted misery turned out to be a good thing. But for the moment I haven’t noticed any mass migration of Americans and Europeans to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, or Libya.

          Maybe they are waiting for 20,000 years until the radioactive dust from the US and UK “spent Uranium” artillery shells has gone through enough decay half-lives.

          • Gosman 10.2.1.1.1

            This is hardly Western imposed misery. Both the Iraq and Syria conflict have at their heart fundamental fissures in middle eastern society. These were not created by Western powers. Admittedly they have probably helped inflame them but that is like stating US unofficial support for the IRA helped inflame the conflict in Northern Ireland.

          • dave brown 10.2.1.1.2

            Well surely the point is that capitalism has no morality but profits.
            People are expendable when they get in the road of profits.
            We won’t have to wait long before this destruction is complete unless we get in first and destroy the collapsing system.
            Fortunately workers around the world are beginning to rise up even if in some places they are led by religious zealots.
            The question is: is fundamentalist morality worse in the historic scheme of things than the amorality of capitalism.
            Hardly, since its survival is the product of capitalism and will be abolished with capitalism.

            • Gosman 10.2.1.1.2.1

              I always wondered why members of the left made common cause with Islamist s. I now know one of the reasons us because some believe it is the vanguard of some glorious proletarian revolution.

  10. Morrissey 11

    Mr Key said “blood is thicker than water and we should stick with the family which has supported us in the past”, in reference to traditional allies the United States, Britain and Australia.

    When New Zealand suffered its only terrorist attack, on the night of July 10, 1985, not of those “traditional allies” came to our aid. They hardly even found it in themselves to speak a word of sympathy for us. Instead, they lined up behind the terrorist state that had sent in the bombers on their botched mission.

    That Key could speak such words is yet another illustration of his lack of knowledge, his lack of compassion and his fundamental lack of seriousness.

  11. joe90 12

    Ya gotta love Boris.

    I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. He wrote an essay on his website on Sunday (reproduced in the Telegraph) that struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.

    He said that the allied invasion of 2003 was in no way responsible for the present nightmare – in which al-Qaeda has taken control of a huge chunk of the country and is beheading and torturing Shias, women, Christians and anyone else who falls foul of its ghastly medieval agenda. Tony Blair now believes that all this was “always, repeat always” going to happen.

    He tells us that Saddam was inevitably going to be toppled in a revolution, to be followed by a protracted and vicious religious civil war, and that therefore we (and more especially he) do not need to blame ourselves for our role in the catastrophe. As an attempt to rewrite history, this is frankly emetic.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10901651/Blairs-Iraq-invasion-was-a-tragic-error-and-hes-mad-to-deny-it.html

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      Prior to the US-led destruction of Iraq, it had a nasty dictator BUT it was one of the most modern and non-sectarian countries in the Middle East. It had a modern infra-structure, a good education system, free quality health care, and a whole lot more.

      It is classic case of the invader spends all his (her) mental energy figuring out how to win the war and giving no thought to how to re-build afterwards.

      The powers who destroyed those countries are responsible for re-building. Instead they turn a blind eye and blame the locals.

      Blair: blinded by his enormous ego.

      • joe90 12.1.1

        Charlie Pierce on the fools involved.

        All that actually happened, of course. And what happened to The Future Of Iraq Project which, whatever you might think of its ambition and the assumptions on which it was built, one of which is the now self-evident proposition that we pretty much suck at nation-building, at least was an attempt to construct a future beyond candy-and-flowers, and which at least had as its fundamental principle that, having wrecked Iraq, we had something of an obligation to fix it for the Iraqis? Donald Rumsfeld happened to it. Dick Cheney happened to it. The utter incompetence of the administration of C-Plus Augustus happened to it.

        http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_National_Forgetting

  12. Chooky 13

    Helen Clark is to be congratulated yet again for NOT taking New Zealand into that immoral tragic man made war!….She stood up against the Americans and the British and the Australians….She had real guts…way more courage than John Key who would have followed his friends and taken us into it …..We need far more women politicians like Helen Clark running the world.

    In fact we need an International Feminist Party…the boys have had their day and they have made a f…ing mess of it!

    Tony Blair and George Bush should be hauled before a World Court for crimes against humanity

  13. Philj 14

    xox
    Thanks for the brief history lesson. Our MSM, TVNZ etc. have a role to play in informing the public with intelligent analysis. Unfortunately, TVNZ has largely become irrelevant and a sad joke as a quality Public Broadcaster.

  14. Delia 15

    It is moments like this we Helen.

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    The Government has spent $28.9 million and has 129 officials working on its misguided state house sell-off, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “This is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a policy that won’t deliver a single extra… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis has huge impact on education
    The National Government’s failure to get on top of the housing crisis is having a major impact on the quality of education a lot of school kids are getting, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are thousands of kids… ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister celebrates while arts organisations face cuts
    Maggie Barry was full of self-congratulations for her small arts announcement in the budget, ignoring the pain that a large number of organisations are facing due to her inaction, says Arts, Culture, Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “The Budget delivered a… ...
    3 days ago
  • Regions miss out again in Joyce’s Koru Lounge Fund
      The regions have missed out yet again with Steven Joyce offering just $10m a year for key regional development projects while trumpeting a bunch of re-heated announcements, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The dairy downturn has put… ...
    4 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner misses out in Budget
      The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has missed out on a much needed boost in this year’s Budget, meaning they will be forced to continue their reduced monitoring role of CYFs residences, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern. … ...
    4 days ago
  • Communities miss out in Budget
    Budget 2017 has left community and NGO providers feeling exposed about the services they provide to vulnerable families especially in smaller towns and communities, says Labour’s Whānau Ora Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Approximately $40m will go into Whānau Ora to work… ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget2016: Two Worlds
    Sometimes I feel as if I live in two worlds. The world created by the National Government where everything is great and they’re doing a great job and the world as seen through the eyes of child advocates, community workers,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Parekura would be proud – MTS gets boost
    The Labour Party is ecstatic that the Māori Party have shown support for one of Labour’s proudest policies, says Labour’s Māori Broadcasting Spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “The Māori Television Service was launched in 2004 by the late Hon Parekura Horomia. ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori housing in state of emergency
    The Government needs to declare a state of emergency for Māori Housing, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis. “The extra $3 million a year Māori Housing Network fund will not scratch the surface in… ...
    5 days ago
  • State house sell off in disarray after provider pulls out
     The Government should cancel its planned sell-off of state houses after the second big community housing provider pulled out leaving the process in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “It is time for the Government to back away from… ...
    5 days ago
  • Nothing in Budget to help police to solve crime
    The Police Minister has failed to make communities safer with virtually no new money in yesterday’s Budget for police to address the appalling burglary resolution rates, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It’s a disgrace there’s no money or aspiration… ...
    5 days ago
  • Blog – Budget 2016: What about ordinary working people?
    Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. Green Party workplace relations spokesperson Denise Roche For… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Real wages go backwards for next two years
    New Zealanders’ real wages will fall for the next two years as the cost of living outpaces forecast pay rises, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealanders have been doing it tough for far too long. They expect… ...
    5 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • The give with one hand – take with the other Budget
    The Minister of Health has pumped out media releases to 20 District Health Boards heralding increases in funding for their regions, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “But when you add population growth and inflation into the figures you get… ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget offers no hope of fixing housing crisis
    The Budget’s underwhelming housing measures will give New Zealanders no hope that National is capable of fixing the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “There isn’t a scrap of an idea to help desperate young Kiwi families into… ...
    5 days ago
  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    5 days ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    6 days ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
    The Government’s $40 billion of buying power would go towards backing Kiwi businesses and jobs under a Labour Member’s Bill which will be debated by Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “My Bill – which was pulled from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    6 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    6 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    7 days ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    7 days ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    7 days ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    7 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    7 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    1 week ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    1 week ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    1 week ago

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