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Better to Jaw Jaw than War War

Written By: - Date published: 5:36 pm, February 5th, 2015 - 112 comments
Categories: iraq, john key, war - Tags:

Churchill had many famous quotes, but in one he put it that it was “better to jaw jaw than to war war”.

John Key meanwhile thinks there is no options between ignoring things and war.

He’s accused “the left” (that hideous amorphous beast, that I’m sure lives around here somewhere) of “hypocrisy” because “they” criticise him for not raising human rights abuses with our trading partners and not having an opinion on apartheid – and then having the temerity not to want to sacrifice Aotearoan lives in a hopeless cause in an oil-rich state.

Phil Goff has pointed out that Key seems unconcerned about atrocities in Saudi Arabia (our friends), so why does Key make such distinctions between oil-rich states on the other side of the world?  Surely that’s where the hypocrisy is?

There is no hypocrisy in us here on “the left” wanting our leaders to jaw jaw about human rights problems – and use our new-found clout on the Security Council not to improve our trading possibilities but to angle for those who can’t protect themselves and make the world a better place – and then not wanting to war war in Iraq.

History shows us how many (the Lancet says 100s of thousands) have died because of the last US invasion there.  Was that a human rights improvement?

“The left” wanted rid of Saddam, sanctions seemed to be hurting the people they were meant to protect, but is the IS-ridden Iraqi state the improvement the last war promised?

There are some who say those who participated in that war (not us!) have a moral duty to get rid of this hydra they have created, and there is a certain argument there.

What Iraq would look like if, when the US pursued “regime change”, Donald Rumsfeld hadn’t been in charge of the Pentagon – protecting the oil sites & ministry while the rest of Iraq’s people and culture burned and was looted – is an open question.  If the US hadn’t split their resources between Afghanistan and Iraq, and had gone in trying to make it better for the common people, they may have been able to improve things, but that’s not what happened.

So yes, something needs done to clean up their mess – but us joining their war, and having no control over it isn’t likely to help.  Afghanistan showed how our soldiers were stuck between releasing Taleban to attack them again, or handing them over to US prisons in a move that risked war crimes charges against our troops for the subsequent torture within.  Why put our troops in that situation again?

Far better to provide humanitarian aid to those suffering, support diplomatic efforts, and leave the war to those who started this mess – and can take responsibility for their actions.

112 comments on “Better to Jaw Jaw than War War ”

  1. Humbug 1

    Cowards choice. This isn’t conscription nor will it be a land based war involving infantry. Educate yourself.

  2. Tracey 2

    when will a journo ask john key why we are turning the other cheek to the atrocities being carried out by boko haram … think of those children john. there is no UN mandate but that never stops you does it john?

    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      No club memberships go with facing Boko Haram – and they’re all Key cares about. He’s what they used to call a lounge lizard.

      The smart way, and the moral way, to fight ISIS is to assist the Syrian and displaced Iraqi refugees. This would shrink ISIS and rebuild the lives ruined by decades of militarism and foreign interference.

      Key is neither smart nor moral however, nor is he brave. Neither John nor Max will be anywhere near the front lines that better men will be sent to die on.

    • Paul 2.2

      They won’t ask.
      They are sock puppets.

  3. So the very people who tell me their whole DNA is laced with human rights and standing up for people who can’t protect themselves tell me to look the other way when people are being beheaded by kids, burnt by kids and thrown off buildings. Well, sorry. Give me a break.

    Such a nice man, that John Key 🙄

    Earlier this week, Key emits a dog whistle stating that he expects his reception at Waitangi to be a bit rough.

    Then today, instead of talking about you know, treaty issues, or other pertinent (and more appropriate) political discourse, he decides that Waitangi is the perfect place to lob a ton of raw meat off the balcony.

    What an asshole.

    He really doesn’t understand that as Prime Minister of New Zealand, his job is to govern for the whole country, not just his mates.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Since Labour already agreed with National that ISIS/ISIL/Islamic terrorism was a real threat to NZ necessitating the passing of the latest BS surveillance/anti-terrorism bill, they don’t have a moral leg to stand on this issue any more.

    Now that it’s time to send our troops over to Iraq to play our part in sorting out this real threat to our nation, it’s a bit too late to start complaining about the deployment.


  5. This shit will never stop now… Endless wars, a stock market that will never be allowed to go down, a government controlled spy apparatus that monitors everything… That’s what we have become, slaves to our freedoms, addicts to our desires, consumers of our future…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Oh don’t be so pessimistic.

      Look at how we were 100 years ago – read Pinker on violence and those better angels.

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    All wars start and end with a conversation.

    The art of war is keeping the time between those conversations as short as possible – to do otherwise ‘is the height of inhumanity’.

    Check the fate of gays in Nigeria or activists in Saudi Arabia or US citizens in the USA, or Chinese citizens in China, and then tell me again why we only shed blood for oil.

    • Tracey 6.1

      cos we bow down to the mighty dollar in all things. it is the measure of all things for those unable to find a small enough ruler to measure … other things

  7. Jay 7

    Isn’t the question, “will we do something about burnings, beheadings, the sexual enslavement of prepubescent girls and women, stonings, and the execution of homosexuals, or not”?

    Imagine that you’re a prepubescent girl being raped right now. Or a man about to be beheaded by a ten year old boy wielding a blunt knife. Do you care that the war is over oil, or that the usa hasn’t invaded Nigeria? What would you ask nzers to do if that was you? Would you want humanitarian aid? It’s happening NOW. What are we going to do?

    Nevermind who started it, or if there’s trouble in the other countries that noone cares about. What are we actually, as a country, going to do about it?

    It’s either something meaningful, or its nothing. The Japanese have contributed humanitarian aid. Didn’t protect their citizens at all, so not wanting to get involved for fear that we’re next won’t wash.

    Should the whole world say, “we don’t believe in war “, and go back to our own countries? Should we say, it’s not my country, so they can do what they like to its citizens?

    If your neighbour was beheading someone, would you call the police? Would you expect the police to arrest the man, or would you want them to give his wife humanitarian aid? Or would you write a stern letter to him telling him you disapprove?

    We all feel that world war two was a righteous war because of what we discovered the Nazis were doing to the Jews, homosexuals etc.

    Should we just have jaw jawed about that too?


    • b waghorn 7.2

      The American s have spent over half my 42 years on this earth causing mayhem in Iraq thanks to JW and JWJ and its only getting worse.
      The USA needs to take a back seat and get the UN involved until all parties are sitting around a table talking there will be no peace in Iraq.
      If kiwis start coming home in body bags from Iraq what has started out as thinking we are doing the right thing will soon turn to hate .
      The deep scars left in the psyche of NZ from the four big wars of last year are only just healing in my opinion.

      • Alpha z 7.2.1

        the last time kiwi soldiers came in body bags–key said he was too busy to attend the funeral~because he was watching his son play sum game. key is a arsewhole.


        • Alpha z

          “The latest deaths bring the total number of Kiwi soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 10.”

          “The Prime Minister earlier said going to his son’s baseball game instead of attending the funeral service was a “difficult decision.
          I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job,” Key said.

          cancel game ticket! can see son again but not dead soldier.
          pm, nah. brain dead pm.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.3

      Isn’t the question, “will we do something about burnings, beheadings, the sexual enslavement of prepubescent girls and women, stonings, and the execution of homosexuals, or not”?

      Hey so what are we going to do about the incompetent sectarian government in Baghdad which drove the people into the Sunni north of Iraq into the arms of ISIS?

      Do you also want us to cut all ties to Saudi Arabia, who are major funders of ISIS?

    • sabine 7.4

      the prebusecent girls being raped in NZ under the current government are shit out of luck, see Roastbusters.
      the women beheaded last week in Saudi Arabia was shit out of luck, they are our friends and we fly the flag halfmast in honor of the King who died.

      as for all your other question….Iraq has not done anything to he US…remember the pretty pictures of Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein, when the US armed Iraq to fight against Iran.
      Remember Iran, whose democratically elected President in the 50’s was killed, a Shah was installed and the Petroleum was secured for BP?
      Remember Afghanistan who unitl 1968 was a country known for its stunning beauty, its hospitality and its exports, fruits, nuts and carpets? No you don’t?

      Then maybe before you go about asking bs, you go about thinking, reading and realise that we – the western world have the middle east so fucked up that really it is just simply fubar now. And no matter how many boys and girls in uniform, the children of other parents we throw at it we will not undue the mess we have created.

      we have lost that war around 1920 when the english bombed Bagdad for the first time, and we have lost it for certain when the US parked their helicopters in the City of Ur.

    • Tracey 7.5

      a child is being raped in nz right now or at least between your post and mine.

      i dont have to imagine it.

      children are being raped and enslaved right now in many parts of the world. they are not thinking why hasnt nz helped me… they are in survival mode wondering why the people in the other room or house wont help.

      as for this “war” you speak of these are my thoughts…

      taleban… still operating
      al quaeda … still operating
      isis operating 2 years…

      how did the afganistan war and war in iraq work out? those 3 groups still operate…

      how many of those groups had direct or indirect assistance from a major power at some or all points of their existence?

      cut supply of weapons today from all countries supplying them and turn on the resulting black market. why do you suppose that hasnt been tried Jay. Thoughts.

  8. mickysavage 8

    I listened to Key’s speech today at Waitangi and had two immediate impressions:

    1. How inappropriate.
    2. I bet he is engaging in a bit of diversion creation and rabble rousing for the hell of it.

    Not the best reason to commit us to a war caused by many stupid decisions made about the middle east over the past few decades.

    • Paul 8.1

      Anything to keep Sabin out of the news.

    • fisiani 8.2

      How surprising that Honest John riles you so easily.

      • mickysavage 8.2.1

        fisi you are one of the more annoying trolls. Your comment about a “white feather” is particularly annoying. How about you lift your game and actually contribute to the discussion.

        • Paul

          It takes more courage to oppose war sometimes.

          • mickysavage

            Yep I started to type a comment about my great uncle who was Irish and refused to fight in the first world war and was jailed and given a white feather and who was an utterly decent human being but then deleted it. And there was my uncle who refused to fight in the second world war but joined the red cross and saved many human lives. Fisi’s thinking is so one dimensional and stupid. And he is obviously a troll in that he tries to rile rather than debate.

      • tricledrown 8.2.2

        Magot Thatcher covers up for pedophile spy
        Unfortunately the Russians had kept all the evidence.
        NZ Judge appointed for enquiry with increased powers

  9. Morrissey 9

    A little more about this primus upper class bastard inter pares …

    “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

    In Sudan in the late nineteenth century, Churchill bragged that he personally shot at least three “savages”.

    In South Africa, where “it was great fun galloping about,” he defended British built concentration camps for white Boers, saying they produced “the minimum of suffering”. The death toll was almost 28,000.

    When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance against British rule in India, Churchill raged that Gandhi “ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back. Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed.”

    In 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal, caused by the imperial policies of the British. In reply to the Secretary of State for India’s telegram requesting food stock to relieve the famine, Churchill wittily replied: “If food is scarce, why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?”

    Up to 3 million people starved to death. Asked in 1944 to explain his refusal to send food aid, Churchill jeered: “Relief would do no good. Indians breed like rabbits and will outstrip any available food supply.”

    In 1920 Churchill advocated the use of chemical weapons on the “uncooperative Arabs” involved in the Iraqi revolution against British rule. “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas,” he declared. “I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes. It would spread a lively terror.”

    Read more….


    • adam 9.1

      If you want to really read some sick stuff from Churchill – try laying your hands on “the unpublished papers”. Ravings of a sick and twisted mind. Only seen one or two of these essays he wrote later in life, and quite frankly thought he was a evil little man. Bugger the good he did – he was bloody close to being a right fascist himself.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1

        Boy you lefties really want to have our primary schools teaching either Deutschlandlied or Gosudarstvenny Gimn SSSR.

    • joe90 9.2

      Churchill was a pig of a man – Gandhi?

      Sept. 26, 1896: “Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir* whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” — Vol. 1, p. 410


      Jan. 23, 1909: “I acquainted the Governor with what had happened and told him there was urgent need for separate lavatories for Indians. I also told him that Indian prisoners should never be lodged with Kaffirs. The Governor immediately issued an order for a lavatory for Indians to be sent on from the Central Gaol. Thus, from the next day the difficulty about lavatories disappeared.” — Vol. 9, p. 270


  10. Penny Bright 10

    Who has read ‘War is a racket’ by Major-General Smedley Butler, published in 1935?

    I’ve never read anything like it.

    Be interested in what others think?

    Penny Bright

    • GregJ 10.1

      One of the few American’s to have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice. A very interesting character.

      The book is quite short (51 pages) – you can read it here. (pdf)

    • Flipnz 10.2

      WOW! That is calling it as it is. If only we had leaders with such wisdom, insight and the courage to act in opposition to the money and in support of the people.

      The capitalist assumption is that making money is supporting the people. Sometimes it is not.

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    I am suspecting/thinking that there is ANOTHER REAL motive for ISIS to be seen as ruthless in their ways and in trying to get very wide global publicity for their ‘mission’. They are wanting us to enter their war to trap us and the world:

    See this link:

    So now it’s a family not a club

  12. Ovid 12

    I find myself a lot more hawkish than I expected in regards to IS and the events of the past week. Sure, I did object to the invasion of Iraq. I wasn’t convinced that there were WMDs and I felt that containment of Saddam through the no-fly zones and sanctions was enough to keep him in check. I also objected to the decommissioning of the Iraqi Army in the aftermath, thinking they’d need to remain for security.

    But “I told you so” offers little comfort to the families of those beheaded, burnt alive, thrown off buildings and stoned. I’m fully aware the actions of IS have been calculated to elicit anger from the west. Well, they have succeeded. I believe they must be stopped.

    • adam 12.1

      But, ISIS can be beaten with economic warfare. Strangling supply lines and supporting those in the region who oppose them. If we cut off their money – you know the thing that buys the weapons…

      Why the hell do we need to recall our SAS and other retired troops?

      When can help – just smarter help.

      Sending in troops = waste of bloody time and effort. And that jingoism will pass if you get internationalist and look for solutions other than at the end of a barrel.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.2

      Sorry mate, as long as the Iraqi government remains utterly corrupt, sectarian and consistently pro-Shia, the Sunni north of Iraq is always going to look for ways to challenge Baghdad. Whether it is by supporting ISIS or by other means.

    • sabine 12.3

      so you are enlisting?

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    Do these talking wealthy RW dudes get their OWN kids to become soldiers for the sake of patriotism and would they want their OWN kids to be deployed to distant ideology/religious/sectarian driven foreign Muslim lands, because, as Key says, “It is the Kiwi way to care for human rights” and oh, also because we are “family” with US/UK and going to “help Iraq” is the “price we have to pay” for being part of the 5 eyes “club”. So many reasons, so much BS!

    There is an article on Stuff on Key’s speech today (which he says he “hadn’t planned” and was made on the spur of the moment without notes). Read the OVER 300 comments under the article to see what Key is thinking, but what the ‘people of NZ’ are really thinking:

    Here is the link:

    • Tracey 13.1

      at least until the recent past leaders declaring war went to the battlefields and witb their sons. the biggest exceptions found in ww1 and 2.

      • Clemgeopin 13.1.1

        It is quite abhorrent to me to hear the very privileged wealthy ‘leaders’ pushing for other people’s sectarian/religious/selective ‘human rights’ dubious war in distant lands while they and their own kids are shielded from mortal danger, exposing the soldiers that come from the economically poor or Maori families to go and fight and die. I particularly cringed when Key said convenient hypocritical crap such as “It is the Kiwi way to care for human rights”, “we are “family” with US/UK” “going to help Iraq is the price we have to pay for being in the club” etc.

        I might even agree to support Key if he asks every National party and ACT MP to send at least one of their own children along to Iraq either to fight or to do humanitarian/ambulance/nursing or driving duties for a year in Iraq along with the soldiers he wants to send there.

        Of course, that won’t happen because that is not what the privileged rich do. But the rich know how to fool and tell the less privileged what to do. The kids of the rich are precious. Not expendable unlike the kids from the ordinary or poor families that volunteer to become soldiers.

  14. sabine 14

    for the national 101st keyboard brigade
    Mark Twain
    the war prayer

    Part two

  15. Lloyd 15

    Ultimately in this war the Kurds will be screwed. Happens every time. New Zealand troops committed to a war will inevitably blow innocent people’s heads off and burn others to death. It is what happens in a war. Do we need New Zealanders’ taxes go towards such atrocities?

    Churchill’s “Jaw, Jaw” quote is one of the few of his that I respect. Did he actually write it or was it a speech writer?

    Remember Churchill was central in organising the disasters of Gallipoli and the defence of Greece against the Nazis. Both places where New Zealand men were cannon fodder. Can’t understand why New Zealanders have this respect for him as a defender of the empire….

  16. Jamie 16

    I am from the right and I object to the war because it is un-winnable when senior members of our allies are providing funds and arms to the enemy

    -remember Sec of State Hilary Clinton and Benghazi???
    -or Senator John McCain and Syria???


    I do have a idea on how to go about winning the War on Terrorism and hopefully avoiding WW3

    To win an irregular war you have to out G the guerrilla

    It involves bringing battalions of Iraqi troops to NZ and training them to a high standard

    -training would involve the construction of our infrastructure (kind of like what the Roman legions were doing when they weren’t fighting or fornicating)


    The plan is a bit rough and ready (like me) and needs a bit of polish

    If any can come up a better plan for victory that doesn’t involve universal slaughter and turning the middle east to glass I would like to hear it

    Not holding my breath…

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      It involves bringing battalions of Iraqi troops to NZ and training them to a high standard

      Uh, NZ barely has two battalions itself, with very limited combat experience.

      What’s to stop hardened Iraqi Army units from taking over our nice fertile country.

      IMO Iraq now presents us with the perfect no win scenario. You win by not going in.

    • Tracey 16.2

      i think cutting off the supply of militaria is a good place to start. ALL nations stop overtly supplying a group involving all permanent members of the SC oversee missions to wipe out black market supply. cant be a worse idea than the failed ones to date… without guns and food… there is no G just brrrrrrr.

      • Colonial Rawshark 16.2.1

        Very nice in theory, however the US is the world’s biggest exporter of arms, they are selling another 170 M1 Abrams tanks to Iraq for US$5M a piece, why would they want the arms trade to stop.

        • Tracey

          i know. it isnt put forward as an option cos of that. it is nonetheless an option. dr mapp may have a comment. Buwahahahaha

  17. chaffnz 17

    Please stop asking each other to ‘sign up’ as if that is the only way someone can demonstrate they believe a conflict to be just. As a servant in uniform I find it offensive. I have chosen to serve. I have made that choice and I dont expect every citizen of this country, employing me through a democratic process, to suddenly have to ‘sign up’ to make that employment any more valid. If your military servants feel the war is completely unjust then they will just resign. But then if your soldiers feel like that. Then you the people will too. And the government will be undone. The system works. Like as not, we your servants are representatives of you the people. Stop telling people to ‘sign up’. If u dont like the decisions made on your behalf by your government then vote them out, or leave.

    • Truth is the first casualty of war. The soldiers involved will be the last to figure out the real reasons for going to war. Talk of human rights, justice, or nation building is all just bullshit

      I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

      Major General Smedley Butler (highest ranking & most decorated US Marine)

      • Flipnz 17.1.1

        “Talk of human rights, justice, or nation building is all just bullshit…”

        No it isn’t. What is bullshit is capitalising (making money) on war.

    • Flipnz 17.2

      Agree. Asking people if they are going to sign up is not a comment and is just trolling.

    • Tracey 17.3

      are soldiers not trained to follow orders without question? how easy is it to resign from our military? how many soldiers do you know who have resigned cos they object to the reasons for going?

    • Ad 17.4

      Nicely said.

  18. Time to share this excellent article from The Dim-Post:

    Here’s my problem with sending our troops over to help out in Iraq.

    Firstly, ‘Iraq’ doesn’t exist anymore. Iraq as a modern country was invented by the west after WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. An unrelated group of rival ethnicities, tribes and faiths patched together into a geographical fiction and held together by various tyrants until 2003, when the US invaded and the country disintegrated in the aftermath, flying apart into a chaotic failed state filled with millions of refugees, militias and rival warlords fighting in a massive bloody civil war spilling across the borders into several of Iraq’s neighbors, with most of the regional powers fighting each other via local proxies. That’s what we’re sending our troops into. We’re only calling this disaster zone ‘Iraq’ because it’s embarrassing to our allies, the US and the UK – who invaded Iraq, botched the post-war occupation and bought about the unimaginable carnage and destruction of the resulting civil war – to acknowledge that the country we’re helping no longer exists. […]

    As someone later observed: We don’t have a plan on how to win or even a solid victory condition as far as I have seen.

    • GregJ 18.1

      Yep – that’s a pretty good summary of the dilemma. Add in a similar situation with Syria and it is pretty hard to see how you find a way through.

      Perhaps a Shia Arab state in the South, a Kurdish entity for Northern Iraq & Northern Syria (which the Turks and the Iranians will resist), and some sort of Sunni Arab state in the Centre – with an Alawite/Shia entity in the West. Of course that still leaves out the Assyrians, Yazidis, Druze and various other minority groups who have all suffered at the hands of all of the above groups.

    • SPC 18.2

      All nation states are invented. Saying they do not really, or rightly, exist is a device for some purpose.

      And the idea that a nation state needs to be of one homogenous group in terms of ethnicity and religious sect is very dubious.

      Apparently the obligation to provide collective security to member states of the UN can be ignored if one no longer recognises the real existence of a member state … in which case there is no obligation.

      That said, there is a real problem.

      Iraqi unity becoming superseded by Sunni and Shia inter-group separation and violence, of which IS is just a symptom. Particularly with the incorporation of Shia militias who have been ethnic cleansing Baghdad (why Sunni members of the Iraqi army did not resist the IS invasion) and Diyali province into the Iraqi army.

      Our training new units in that army does not make things worse. Particularly if they are Sunni units that occupy areas retaken from IS. Better still would be a federal structure for Iraq that allowed Kurds (in practice now) and Sunni area self government.

      • Colonial Rawshark 18.2.1

        Iraqi unity becoming superseded by Sunni and Shia inter-group separation

        ? This was completed many years ago.

        Bremner started it in 2002 by eliminating all Baath party members from civil administration, and then making redundant the entire Iraqi armed forces.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Actually it was probably 2003/2004 that happened….

          • SPC

            My opposition to the 2003 regime change was that foreign forces entering the Sunni area of Iraq was wrong.

            The case was one for liberating the southern and Kurdish area and leaving the regime to become one of Sunni self government. Ultimately the three areas would come to an arrangement over oil revenue sharing that would have allowed a federal structure for Iraq.

            It is still their best future option.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Well that sounds workable but I have not seen such an option, federal or otherwise, on any negotiating table.

  19. SPC 19

    1. Our soldiers would be training, not at risk fighting.

    2. The UN, we are on the UNSC, has a policy of collective security of nation states.

    Iraq’s government was elected and Iraq was invaded by an armed group based in Syria seeking to rule over both.

    3. Iraqi soldiers (and Kurds) would be the ones fighting Islamic State forces.

    • Colonial Rawshark 19.1

      1) ISIS can launch attacks within 20km of Baghdad, and can launch suicide attacks within Baghdad itself. No where in Iraq is not a combat zone.

      2) The Americans and the UK used up 12 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to try and train up Iraqi forces who immediately ran away from ISIS, abandoning critical bases and equipment to the enemy.

      3) Iraq’s government is utterly sectarian and corrupt, and has lost the confidence of the northern Iraq Sunni areas, which is the situation which allowed ISIS to thrive.

      4) Iraqi forces are known for shooting dead their western trainers.

      • SPC 19.1.1

        1. No one proposes to train Iraqi units in Baghdad.

        2. We know why. And so do you – your 3.

        3. IS thrived in Syria. They took the north of Iraq only because local Sunni army units would not fight to continue Baghdad rule over them while Shia militia were ethnic cleansing Baghdad of Sunni.

        None of which details why IS cannot be beaten, Shia militias can do it but their motivation (ethnic cleansing areas and establishing military supremacy in the state is not a human rights based solution).

        4. New Zealand soldiers can die driving trucks or during exercises here.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          So you intend that we help western forces beat an Insurgency which has the support (sometimes tacit, sometimes active) of the local communities and tribes. While the central government continues to be unchanged, incompetent, utterly sectarian and alienating to those same communities.

          This is a recipe for being bogged down in a failing anti-insurgency campaign for years, and I believe that you can see that too.

          4. New Zealand soldiers can die driving trucks or during exercises here.

          Those aren’t deaths due to the actions of Iraqi soldiers.

          • SPC

            If it were my policy, I would expect Baghdad to offer Sunni areas self government within Iraq (and the Kurdish area) within a new federal structure.

            And to build up/train a Sunni national guard force (and incorporate some of the locals) to take over areas liberated from IS.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              If this was a serious option on the negotiating table then I can see that our involvement in Iraq in some form might have some productive meaning.

              • SPC

                The whole point of being on the UNSC was to have our voice heard.

                So we can and should at least try and improve the chances of the mission being successful by offering up a better plan if we are to take up a part in it.

                It is harder to make such a contribution as a bystander not willing to get involved.

                • Tracey

                  i wonder if other plans have been offered up but not being the US preferred option we dont hear about it.

                  china does not appear to be a target of terrorism… i wonder why not?

                  • Liberal Realist

                    “china does not appear to be a target of terrorism… i wonder why not?”

                    Not quite – China has had a number of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I doubt the US is willing to agree to any UNSC oversight or mandate.

                  • SPC

                    I don’t. Just as they sought it in the case of Libya. They tried to but the Russians wanted any UNSC resolution to include support for the government of Syria.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Well if the US is serious about obtaining international support – it has to materially take into account the views of the major powers which have a stake in the country in question.

    • Tracey 19.2

      last time we were told they would just be training they were leading sqirmishes.

      • SPC 19.2.1

        In Afghanistan they were training a group to respond to insurgency action within Kabul in Kabul. And as we know went with them.

        In Iraq, is it proposed that they will travel with the group to combat zones to the north of Baghdad?

        From what we have heard they will not be training them anywhere near the area IS occupies.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          You can’t believe the fuckers.

          The SAS don’t go into an operational theatre to deliver basic training and PT to rookies.

  20. saveNZ 20

    Yep the birds have come home to roost. The US and UK find themselves trapped in an un winnable war. Rather than lose face, they turn to their club they try to get more countries to help them. Cos it does not look bad if US and UK soldiers are being burned alive while they are playing golf again.

    How about that Government accountability that the ‘poor’ are constantly told they must adopt?

  21. Jaw Jaw and War War are both tactics employed by imperialist powers to control their spheres of interest.
    Jaw Jaw usually means putting some dictator in place so they can supress the population like General Sisi in Egypt.
    War War usually means imperialism has to step in to take direct control in suppressing popular revolution.
    Often this will mean the enlisting of allies on the basis of “guns for butter”.
    This scenario is as old as the rise of capitalism imperialism towards the end of the 19th century.
    The answer to both is the armed people who throw out both imperialism and its local stooges.
    The NACT role in supporting the US wars today is no different from kiwis going to the Boer War, the “great wrong war”, WW2 against ‘fascism’ and every war since them.
    This is a war in the interests of the New Zealand ruling class, not the big majority of NZers who are workers.
    Our interests align with the Arab Revolution for independence from imperialism and its sundry puppets and dictators.


    • ghostwhowalksnz 21.1

      The interest of the working class are helped by not confronting facism ?. Japanese imperialism wasnt a threat to NZ ?
      You are too deranged !

      • dave brown 21.1.1

        Yes ghost, things are not always as they appear in the war comics.
        WW2 was presented by our ruling classes to us as a war against fascism, but in reality fascism is the extreme bourgeois answer to socialist revolution.
        It is a social movement that rallies the petty bourgeois to smash the working class.
        So the ruling classes enemy was not fascism as such but the threat of socialist revolution arising out of the Great Depression.
        The workers’ answer to fascism was not to side with the so-called ‘democracies’ who had their own incipient fascist movements, against the fascist states, but to oppose both sides in the war.
        Our answer was for workers in all countries to unite against the war between the big powers and instead of turning our guns on workers in other countries, to turn them on our own ruling classes.
        That imperialism and not fascism was the real enemy is proven by the fact that all the big powers used their armies at the end of the war to put down the partisan movements and revolutionary nationalists from Italy to IndoChina.
        NZ in fighting alongside Britain and the US were serving the interests of these countries to defeat their imperialist rivals and take control of their spheres of interest.
        In Greece the allies suppressed the partisans who fought for an independent socialist republic.
        In IndoChina the British handed control back to the French after putting down a popular revolution against the Japanese.
        Elsewhere revolutionary nationalists came to power as in Yugoslavia and China, but always surrounded by imperialism which isolated these movements from the international working class, or pitted them against them in wars of liberation as in IndoChina.
        Always the bottom line for imperialism is to prevent the international working class from uniting and overthrowing its hold over their livelihoods and their lives.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          What a load of nonsense.

          The socialist nation, Soviet Union joined with fascist Germany in invading Poland.

          In fact it was the bourgeois democracies that were intially doing the fighting, as the socialist country was on the side of the war mongers ( invading Finland as well).
          It you thats been reading comics.

  22. Ad 22

    “Far better to provide humanitarian aid to those suffering, support diplomatic efforts, and leave the war to those who started this mess – and can take responsibility for their actions.”

    I do agree with this a long way – it’s certainly the easiest way to get a United Nations mandate for action, which is what all small states like ours should acquire before acting. It’s safe.

    There will be a real question about whether New Zealand sends post-war UN mandated peacekeepers into the region. There are plenty of them in the Golan Heights or Serbia still in harms’ way. That’s less safe, but comparatively safe.

    But I still think sometimes the Left likes to take the morally softest option possible, and leave the heavy lifting to the right’s military experience and tradition. The British left were quite happy to rail against Franco’s fascism, others quite happy to volunteer in central America against military movements there, still others quite happy to support the ANC in its communist military phase.

    We have to have the hard debates that sharpen when it’s right to intervene with guns in a new moral context – one in which it’s not just whole military theaters being contested, but also against an enemy who knows more precisely than any other we have seen how to use MSM and social media to amplify moral outrage.

    The post does not face the hard question: when does the left pick up the gun?

    • Colonial Rawshark 22.1

      That’s bloody simple: we pick up the gun and intervene when the economic, social or international interests of NZ, and especially of our people, are being placed at risk, and military means can help resolve the situation.

      We do not pick up the gun when doing so jeopardises our economic, social or international interests, places innocent Kiwis at risk for no concrete gain, or when military means cannot resolve the situation or worse is likely to exacerbate it.

      • Ad 22.1.1

        No, that’s not enough, and remarkably selfish.

        We pick up a gun – particularly as peacekeepers – when people have a UN mandate to be protected. That means the world has voted and sufficiently agreed that this is the right thing to do. So whether left or right, as a people, we pick up a gun.

        That may mean there is no gain for us at all. We do it because the world and ourselves agree that it is the right thing to do.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Do you claim that there is a peace to keep in Iraq? Do you claim that there is a UN mandate for peacekeeping in Iraq?

          If not, why is what you say relevant to our discussion here?

          That may mean there is no gain for us at all. We do it because the world and ourselves agree that it is the right thing to do.

          Oh that’s a great speech – but why are you committing our troops when there is no exit plan? When it has already been shown that 12 years of training the Iraqi forces has led to nothing but disastrous failure because the Baghdad government is corrupt, incompetent and compromised by sectarianism?

          How on earth do you see sending our troops into that as being “the right thing to do”?

          By the way, as a Leftie I have a very clear idea of the use of military forces, and it doesn’t include committing our men and women to open ended no win situations especially in scenarios where you have already admitted we have no interests at stake.

      • Instauration 22.1.2

        Yes – defence is cheapest when you don’t nurture enemies.
        In Jordans case – defence is cheapest when you are paid to be offensive;
        So – from where does Jordan assume a right to attack the sovereign nation Syria ?

        • SPC

          Syria is the sovereign nation, not a group from Iraq (Al Qaeda in Iraq offshoot Islamic State in Iraq) occupying part of it.

          The governments of both Jordan and Syria regard IS as a terrorist group.

  23. The Fairy Godmother 23

    Interesting that after World War II the Americans adopteted the Marshal plan where they poured Billions of investment money into Western Europe to support the rebuild so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of the Communists. It seems to have worked. The spin off was great for the American economy as the people of recovering Western Europe had money to buy American goods. Pity they don’t have similar thinking today. Far more effective way to stop the influence of ISIS.

  24. The Fairy Godmother 24

    Interesting that after World War II the Americans adopteted the Marshal plan where they poured Billions of investment money into Western Europe to support the rebuild so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of the Communists. It seems to have worked. The spin off was great for the American economy as the people of recovering Western Europe had money to buy American goods. Pity they don’t have similar thinking today. Far more effective way to stop the influence of ISIS.

  25. Jim Hawthorne 25

    “The truth must be protected by an army of lies” – Churchill. Like who funded Hitler – and who is funding Isis as two fairly obvious examples. Both sides always controlled- otherwise people and Nations always choose peace, breeding, good drugs and parties 🙂

  26. War on Terror based on lies? Tell me it ain’t so?!

    “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia” http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/us/claims-against-saudis-cast-new-light-on-secret-pages-of-9-11-report.html

  27. millsy 27

    Makes me think that the West should made a deal with Saddam to leave him in power and not invade Iraq.

    Sometimes it is really better the devil you know….

  28. Sable 28

    This far right government are a bunch of greasy US sell outs. They do not care one jot about the people of this country who I’m sure they viewed in their elitist world as being not better than cattle.

    As long as their puppet masters in the US are happy they are happy. Its as simple as that.

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