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Get out now

Written By: - Date published: 2:21 pm, January 6th, 2020 - 76 comments
Categories: defence, Iran, iraq, law, military, uk politics, us politics, war, winston peters - Tags:

General Soleimani was visiting Iraq at the request of the Iraqi Prime Minister to discuss mediation between the US and Iran. Following his assassination by the US the Iraqi Parliament has voted to ask all foreign troops to leave the country. New Zealand’s remaining troops should bring forward their scheduled departure and leave immediately.

This is the least that New Zealand can do to distance us from the appalling cretinism shown by the US and its NATO allies. This is not because they are threatened but because the actions of the US violate all the norms of common justice and international law and are to be condemned.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is relatively restrained, having been reported as expressing “strong concern.” He is right about that.

At least he has not joined the NATO countries in demonising General Soleimani, who was probably more responsible for the defeat of ISIS on the ground than any of the coalition forces who bombed Mosul and Raqqa to rubble at the cost of thousands of civilian casualties. Even worse Boris Johnson on return from holiday in the Caribbean stating that “we will not mourn this man.”

Talk about pouring petrol on the fire. Blogger/analyst The Saker has it that the US is now at war with Iran and Iraq, de facto and de jure. He has a useful summary of the facts to date as well as his analysis.

This isn’t going to end quietly. How badly we have yet to see, but as the US military dive for cover and the tweets from Mar-a-Lago get more feverish it is certainly right to be very worried.

76 comments on “Get out now”

  1. Anne 1

    Excerpt form Kiwipolitco:

    That brings up the calculus, such as it is, behind Trump’s order to kill. Perhaps he thinks that this will stave off the impeachment hearings while Congress argues about whether he should invoke the Wars Powers Act (WPA). …. There is bound to be some dickering over the legal status of the drone strike but ultimately what is done is done and no post-facto amount of arguing will change the facts on the ground. Be that as it may, the impeachment process might be delayed but will proceed.

    So, the narcissistic orange scumbag thinks he can avoid the impeachment process by starting another Middle East war? Why am I not the least bit surprised?

    I wonder how that will go down when the mounds of body bags – be they soldiers or innocent American citizens – start to grow in size?

    • mauī 1.1

      He can't be impeached through the senate, so he has nothing to avoid.

      • Incognito 1.1.1

        Yes, he can. Whether he will is a different matter. He’s stacking the deck so that he has maximum leverage and advantage to win. He’s not a fatalist and will try turning every situation into an opportunity that pays off for him.

      • Anne 1.1.2

        I didn't say he would be impeached. But he can't avoid the process leading up to a vote in the Senate. The process itself is damaging to him.

        There is always a lag time of 2 to 3 months before voters start to respond, but the chances are his support base will start dwindling away the longer the process exists.

        Imo, that is why he's sabre-rattling against Iran in particular. He's hoping to halt the slide in his popularity by appealing to the nationalist streak present in so many Americans.

  2. RedLogix 2

    I rarely comment on the Middle East, largely because I really have nothing to add that cannot be found by reading reputable people like Robert Fisk. And also because I have a personal perspective on the whole tragic mess that is at a complete, and largely irrelevant, tangent to the political realities this site is intended to discuss.

    Having said that, yes, this is was a terrible miscalculation. Something incomprehensible like this was bound to happen sooner or later, regardless of the personalities involved. Well sooner has arrived.

    The big risk here is that Russia (which has had a deep historic relationship with Iran) for ideological and strategic reasons, and China which has a deep dependence on Middle Eastern oil flow, will back Iran as a proxy. Preparations are being made as I type this.

    I don't imagine there will be anywhere safe in the world, but certainly our troops should not be in the hot mess of it now.

  3. Fireblade 3

    Newshub 2:05 pm today:

    "A military source told Newshub a C-130 Hercules is being prepared to fly to Taji to evacuate all NZDF and other agency personnel in the region. NZDF has been contacted but is yet to confirm it is evacuating personnel".

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/01/new-zealand-defence-force-to-evacuate-personnel-from-camp-taji-in-iraq-as-regional-tensions-flare-source.html

  4. Exkiwiforces 4

    Yes Mike, its time to pop smoke and get the hell out of the sandpit before it turns to glass or whatever they start chucking about on the two range within the sandpit.

    • Sabine 4.1

      if the sandpit turns to glass then we are all fucked.

      just sayin

      • Exkiwiforces 4.1.1

        Sorry, it was the first thing that came to mind, with few countries in that region that have a few cans of instant sunshine to chuck away with all that willy waving going on atm.

        • Sabine 4.1.1.1

          they are quite cabable of it. That is what really matters. They would, they can, and chances are they will.

          They being the monied, highly educated, dressed in expensive finery that has not yet met a war that does not fill their coffers.

          WE are just canon fodder, it matters not how we die. And the day we fully realise that, we might actually do something about it.

    • mauī 4.2

      Thank you for your service.

  5. Brutus Iscariot 5

    New Zealand needs to disassociate itself with the US's vile policy.

    I see Trump's latest threats are to bomb Iranian cultural sites. This is explicitly stated under the Geneva Convention as a war crime.

  6. adam 6

    Ever get the feeling Saudi Arabia really does not care how many Yanks get killed to push it's agenda.

    The guy who did more to rid the world of ISIS, got killed.

    Begs the question, who has the guts now, who has the guts?

    • RedLogix 6.1

      An insightful point. Saudi will be up to it's neck in this somehow, somewhere. Trump is really just a bit player in a deep tragedy a thousand years old.

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        And there we have it. Trump is a player and loves (!) the game because he believes he will come out on top and be the winner because he has always seen himself as one, the only one, number one.

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          That expresses the nature of the man very well. It made him a good real-estate mogul, and a great reality TV star, but ultimately it will prove his undoing as a President. So far he's won an uncanny series of gambles, many of which his opponents confidently declared beforehand as 'impossible'.

          But this one … well it's too soon to tell exactly how it will turn out … but this time I think he's been both played by dark actors, and overplayed his hand.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.1.1

            The age-old fire in that part of the world will continue to ravage and it’ll remain a ‘hot spot’ for quite some time.

            I’m not sure yet that Trump has overplayed his hand. I don’t think he cares about anybody else except himself and he will try to squeeze some kind of ‘profit’ from this move/deal. My fear is that he’ll succeed too because he’s unpredictable, holds quite a few of the cards and tries to stack the deck. Just to be clear, many others stand to ‘profit’ too; the stakes are high but others carry the risks, as is always the case.

        • joe90 6.1.1.2

          And the world's his fucking sandpit.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.2.1

            He’d never play in the sandpit by himself. Too boring, no challenge, no win.

            • joe90 6.1.1.2.1.1

              If, as reported, assassinating Soleimani was presented as an improbable option and despite the conversation with the Iraqi PM he green lighted it, it looks to me like tRump lived up to his rep as toddler in chief and spiked the ball.

              • Incognito

                Sure. If we keep framing it as if he’s (like) a toddler we’re likely to underestimate what he’s capable of and underestimate him. At our peril. It appears even his (military) advisors underestimate him and I think this is a crucial theme/pattern in the Trump phenomenon. I’m starting to think that the best way to neutralise him is to take the wind out of his sails … Unfortunately, there are very few cool heads around who are in a position to achieve this and there are other hot heads around who have an vested interest in stoking the fire.

                • McFlock

                  If the improbable option story is true, it seems they overestimated him.

                  • Macro

                    Frankly I believe that can be the only conclusion one can draw. By all accounts WH briefings over the past 3 years are somewhat simple affairs. This was a very stupid set of options placed on the table by some obviously naive staffers. Winter holiday season? The B team?

                  • Macro

                    Then again TRump has been highly irritable over the past few weeks following the House voting to impeach. This has been weighing heavily on his mind and the simple fact is the more evidence comes to light the more the fact points to the withholding of approved funding to Ukraine goes square back to the Oval Office – recently un-redacted emails show the order coming from Trump.

                    https://www.justsecurity.org/67863/exclusive-unredacted-ukraine-documents-reveal-extent-of-pentagons-legal-concerns/

                    With all that hanging over him this could well be a Trumpian venture in diversionary foreign policy. It is not the first time he has used it and it wont be the last. But this has the most potential to come horribly unstuck.

                    • Incognito

                      But this has the most potential to come horribly unstuck.

                      Either way, there will be enormous costs in/of lost lives, none of which will be Trump’s or his accomplices’. Supposedly, to save (more or other?) lives and prevent war.

                    • Macro

                      My dad was in the First World War. The similarities of the advent of that nightmare, and what is now evolving are almost too awful to contemplate.

                    • McFlock

                      I was thinking "China and Russia are unlikely to get dragged in, surely", and then remembered the Balkans were much less strategically important in 1914 than the Middle East is today. Shitballs.

                  • Incognito

                    Possibly, yes, and two miscalculations don’t produce the right answer. Has anybody at the top spoken out yet against and/or resigned? Thought not. The Imperial Court is full of cronies and toadies with one Jester on the throne with one hand on Twitter, the other on the button

                    • McFlock

                      That's the even bigger worry.

                      There was a story about one of his early secdef or similar guys in the pentagon getting orders from the orange one over the phone, saying "yessir" and all that. Hangs up, says to everyone in the office, "yeah, we're not going to do any of that", because it was stupid and even nonsensical instruction.

                      Now, with yes men, they might even be volunteering the extreme options because that's what he wants. They don't care, it's good for arms sales (and they have priority for the shelters if they misjudge).

                      Interesting times, as the curse goes.

                    • Sacha

                      Iran expert Reza Marashi reminds us of the various internal interests behind this decision. Click the tweet below to see rest of thread.

                    • Incognito []

                      Ta

                      Long thread but I got the gist of it after a few hundred 😉

                  • Macro

                    Just in and further background to this situation:

                    Two weeks before the assassination 5 top Pentagon officials resigned in 7 days.

                    Those who have resigned include the director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, the principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence, the assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Eric Chewning, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

                    It appears these resignations are associated with the Chump's delay on Ukraine spending, but with such an unprecedented turnover of personnel in the tRump administration it shows that the US govt is floundering with a massive lack of institutional intelligence.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Trump_administration_dismissals_and_resignations

                • joe90

                  He's playing Emperor.

                  Time for 20 July plot 2,0?

                  • Macro

                    Yeah he is – and that is the weird thing about the US and its form of govt. Set up initially to remove the power of Monarchy the President now seems to have far more power than the British Monarch. The Queen cannot declare war without the say so of Parliament. There are many other facets of Govt that Trump has control over which the Queen has little say in.

                  • Incognito

                    Start a Civil War to avoid WWIII? Maybe the Democrats could drop the impeachment process to save American and other lives and calm things (…) down. In other words, take the poisonous dart or thorn out of his side.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Are you not then giving in to narcissistic, authoritarian, man-baby governance?

                    • Incognito []

                      Yes and no. Apparently, even if Pelosi does not submit the impeachment papers to the Senate they can change the rules and go ahead with the trial anyway.

                      https://www.axios.com/graham-trump-impeachment-senate-pelosi-articles-f2f12cd4-4a94-48fd-ab76-a75b7527bda5.html

                      However, if the Democrats back off, and I have no idea whether actually can, it might take some wind out of his [Trump’s] sails and put the whole impeachment thingy squarely at the feet of the Republicans who have a majority in the Senate.

                      If they play it well, the Democrats could focus on other issues during the campaign whilst claiming that they defused or at least tried to defuse the situation.

                      The American public may not be in the mood for a lengthy boringly complex impeachment process.

                      https://www.axios.com/pelosi-impeachment-articles-senate-trial-decision-66b102f3-b79a-4c7c-9446-386e5ae9a03b.html

                      At the same time, they could try to slow him [Trump] down without confronting him head-on and in a way that just makes him more ‘jittery’, or should I say ‘Twittery’?

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/pelosi-says-house-to-vote-this-week-on-war-powers-resolution-to-limit-trumps-action-on-iran/2020/01/06/4d1a4a22-3038-11ea-a053-dc6d944ba776_story.html

                    • Peter

                      And pullout of the election too?

                    • Incognito []

                      No

                    • McFlock

                      Except that if the orange one is a kindergarten-level bully, bullies view backdowns as weakness. So a dem backdown will only encourage him.

                      However, if he's actually a genius playing 4d chess and really committed to the bit of the Nixonian madman doctrine, he will avoid serious harm, because he's only playing a madman he isn't actually prepared to endanger the world. And the impeachment just gives the Kanye-level (he's a genius, you know) performance artist more material to commit to the bit, so the dems backing down is again a negative.

                      But I think the first scenario is far more likely, anyway.

                    • Incognito []

                      Again, yes and no.

                      I do think he’s quite prepared to endanger the (rest of the) world. Possibly, he’s a genius the way he always has everybody on the back foot and second-guessing. He acts on (his) instinct. Well, he’s POTUS now and might even get a second term. Genius or not? You decide.

                      I think that a ‘back-down’ by the Dems will only have the desired effect if indeed Trump views it as a weakness. Trump will go after them like a hyena smelling wounded and weakened prey. Change the fight (back) to the election campaign and divert attention away from war, mission accomplished and hopefully a war averted.

                      Anyway, I think the Dems have very little power with regard to the impeachment process; it is out of their hands now, largely.

                      Of course, the whole thing could blow up depending on what Iran (and Iraq) does now.

                    • McFlock

                      Regardless of impeachment, I think he and his team believe a serious war is to their personal political and financial advantage.

                      Similarly, I'm not sure the Pencians have completed their foreign policy plans regarding biblical prophecy.

                      Additionally, a backdown might put his focus back on domestic politics, or it could just teach him that the way to get what he wants domestically is to further fuck up geopolitical flashpoints. What next – an attempted capitation strike against North Korea because the dems again refuse to cancel obamacare?

                      Backing down from bullies in the hope they become more reasonable and fair is always a bold move, and rarely has positive outcomes from what I've seen.

                    • Incognito []

                      Agree with most of that. But Bullying 101 does not apply to Trump and there’s no chapter on/for Trump in the standard textbook AFAIK.

                      I can see two main choices that are polar opposites:

                      1. Double-down and go for broke
                      2. Back off and gently change the game in your favour

                      Personally, I don’t think the Dems will have the guts to do anything too risky and unexpected but if they want to attract Trump’s attention and divert it away from other things, they’d better come up with something good. And by that I mean something that looks more attractive to Trump in terms of political and financial advantage.

                      Trump is not yet feasting on the carcass, he’s still hunting. Give him a bigger more juicy prey to run after whilst making the current one look like a leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. There’s a good chance he’ll bite because he doesn’t necessarily go for the weakest but for the bigly juicy one.

                      He goes for ‘feels’ as much as the people who vote for him. Use it against him in a smart way.

                      It might actually focus the Dems into an effective campaign.

                    • McFlock

                      I mean, it's an option.

                      I just think if they give him an inch, he'll take a mile but only declare it as a millimetre on his tax return.

                      As for the dem campaign, that depends far more on who gets the nom: I reckon a few like Biden will run a bog-standard, servicable campaign that will get their arse handed to them, but a ticket with Sanders and/or Warren even as vp will have a bit of a spark to it.

                      It's the one thing that's out of the orange one's tiny paws: if he gets someone who tries to debate his nonsence, he'll win. If he gets someone who can handle a three y.o.'s tantrum, he's in trouble.

        • Blazer 6.1.1.3

          Trump represents the reality of western materialism…the ultimate embodiement of…'always be sincere,even if you don't really …mean it'!

  7. joe90 7

    Independent Kurdistan American-occupied vassal state.

    FIFY, Marco

    /

    • Poission 7.1

      The Lebanese want Iran to f/off out of there too.

    • Sabine 7.2

      someone should tell this idiot the story about the kurds and its 'allies' the US ….and how that went all down the drain when the shitter in the shitty house ok'd the invasion by Turkey into Syria.

      but then the dumbfuck is an American and i guess he has shits for brain.

      • Macro 7.2.1

        Marco Antonio Rubio is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Florida. A Republican, he previously served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

        So yeah! Sh*t for Brains.

        • Sabine 7.2.1.1

          looking at the current state of affairs in the US i think shits for brain is accurate.

          it just means that lots of other shit for brains elevated this particular shit for brain to a place he should never have been elevated.

          i mean you have a fucking orange turd trying to burn down the world for shits n giggles a second ball of vanilla ice cream and a new tower with shine golden letters on top of it all.

          Makes perfect sense to me. Shits for brains run the world and we wonder why stuff does not work out for us.

    • In Vino 8.1

      Oh dear…

      Well, at least this time we don't have lots of Right-Wing morons screaming about Chamberlain! Munich! Appeasement is terrible !!!

      Because Trump is behaving like Hitler, and we seem to have run out of people like Chamberlain.Or just people with brains..

      Righties, please remember what Hitler brought upon his own people.

      • Sabine 8.1.1

        they wont believe the stories i have to tell them. Left and rigth is quite good at yelling Goodwin when they don't want to listen.

        Cause i begged people before the election to consider just what they were supporting. And all i got was Killary, her fucking emails and he is the saviour of the economically anxious white male working class. And you know what, just about right now the white male working class should be fucking anxious. Cause i smell a draft coming.

        • In Vino 8.1.1.1

          Yes, Sabine.. I gather you experienced some of what Hitler brought upon his own people, and I agree that there are now too few who have any grasp of real horrors.

          It amuses me that 'Goodwin' is yelled any time Hitler's Nazism is raised, but the same yellers are silent when the boring old Munich/Appeasement/Chamberlain canard is resurrected, always in favour of some stupid venture like Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc

  8. Muttonbird 9

    Surely it's time to send the USA a message that we will no longer participate in their phony wars.

    At least the cogs are beginning to turn.

    Imagine being “invited” to train troops and liberate a country, only to be uninvited 5 years later because you were doing such a piss-poor job.

  9. Yep, it's a state of war now. George Galloway says Iran won't hit back via its proxies because it is proud and instead will do the job itself. Trump saying any attack from Iran will be met with far greater force leaves Iran in the position of either bowing as a vassal state or hitting back, which means the United States will hit back even harder and it will be all on

    • Anne 10.1

      Well, I suppose it is incumbent on us to open our doors to some of the sane Americans – and there is a few of them. They won't want much to go to Aussie atm.

      I'd be happy about that. Is everybody else? 😐

      • In Vino 10.1.1

        I have huge sympathy for sane Americans.. Another underprivileged minority?

      • Blazer 10.1.2

        The doors have been wide open for some time…especially to rich merkins…the perfect ..bolthole.

  10. RedLogix 11

    For those of us interested in the why's of the Trump Presidency (as distinct from their daily dopamine hit) here's an excellent Atlantic article that does a deep dive into his personality. It's a longish read but accurate and for a piece written before he was elected … exceedingly prescient:

    Nearly two centuries ago, President Andrew Jackson displayed many of the same psychological characteristics we see in Donald Trump—the extroversion and social dominance, the volatile temper, the shades of narcissism, the populist authoritarian appeal. Jackson was, and remains, a controversial figure in American history. Nonetheless, it appears that Thomas Jefferson had it wrong when he characterized Jackson as completely unfit to be president, a dangerous man who choked on his own rage. In fact, Jackson’s considerable success in dramatically expanding the power of the presidency lay partly in his ability to regulate his anger and use it strategically to promote his agenda.

    Who, really, is Donald Trump? What’s behind the actor’s mask? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost. It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump, fighting to win, but never knowing why.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/

    In essence, the big gamble in the expectation of the big win is the very nature of people like Trump. He’s the very opposite of cerebral, he’s deeply instinctive and impulsive … and it has to be said he’s been uncannily good at it. No he’s not playing a genius level game of 4D chess, but he is playing with a powerful toolkit most liberals are very unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.

    It’s enabled Trump to win … the most important thing to him … many times in his life. But every now and then he loses … biggly. Only this time there may be 10’s of millions of lives at stake, and contrary to what many people here imagine, I don’t think Trump has a track record of wanting that level of disaster.

    • Anne 11.1

      Only this time there may be 10’s of millions of lives at stake, and contrary to what many people here imagine, I don’t think Trump has a track record of wanting that level of disaster.

      Couldn't agree more but not for altruistic reasons. Millions of lives lost isn't likely to mean anything too much to him (narcissists of his magnitude don't do empathy) but he knows his credibility with even his most ardent supporters would evaporate overnight and he would be gone by morning – so to speak.

      • RedLogix 11.1.1

        Look at Trump's record, frequently he provokes in order to break up a deadlock, then negotiates with what falls out from the resulting disorder. The Middle East is the ultimate locked up narrative, players with ancient agendas locked into an eternal game. As numerous US Presidents have discovered to their chagrin, it's such a complex knot of conflicting demands there is no sane, rational path through it.

        Trump's approach is 'fuck it' and he gives the entire bumfuzzle a calibrated poke to see what happens. Whether he has made a tremendous miscalculation remains to be seen. My gut feeling is that of all the gambles Trump has taken so far, this one is by far the dodgiest.

  11. Blazer 12

    'treat those two imposters, triumph and disaster….exactly the same'-R.Kipling.

  12. Exkiwiforces 13

    This been catching up on latest Willy waving or how big is my dick contest in the Sandpit and I think it’s safe to assume that Aunty Helen is glad she is not Sec Gen for the UN atm?

    Well 3 days of mourning in Iran finishers tomorrow and they have a new bloke to replace old mate, who was kill and the sending in troops into the Sandpit, then some muppet within the Pentagon sending out a letter to Iraq stating the US and it’s Allies will be withdrawing from Iraq and the local Shia pollies voting for the US & Allies to boot out were the other pollies within the Iraq parliament boycotted the vote.

    So a state of confusion all around, which is the usual way to kick off a war and considering the amount of Willy waving or how big is dick and muppet will hit that button for shits and giggles by mistake.

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