Key doesn’t deserve the moral high ground

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, October 11th, 2007 - 10 comments
Categories: iraq - Tags:

abu-ghraib-torture-715244.jpgNo surprise to hear Key in the House yesterday relying on his research unit – Fran O’Sullivan – to try and weasel his way out of his “the war in Iraq is over” comment.

As posted previously here on The Standard, ministers’ comments made back in 2003 were made in a very different context – on May 1 2003 Bush announced that “[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” Unfortunately it turned out he was wrong.

Ministers’ comments were made well before revelations about torture at Abu Ghraib for instance, and certainly well before the death toll reached anything like its current 80,000 or so.

To overlook the context of these comments is for Fran jouralistically lazy (or biased?), for Key it’s politically expedient.

If I’d referred to “post-war” Iraq four and a half years ago I’d be standing by it. It certainly wouldn’t deter me from demanding that Key be held to account for his dismissive claim – a claim made just 8 days ago.

An increasing number of people seem to agree:

10 comments on “Key doesn’t deserve the moral high ground”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    Politics rule one: fight on your issues, not your opponents’. All Key & co are doing with their “rebuttals” is keeping Iraq at the centre of NZ’s political debate. Good.

  2. illuminatedtiger 2

    Signed. Burn in hell John!

  3. Kia ora Standard. Good on you for holding John Key accountable for his comments. We are just emerging from the grassroots of left-field (we hear there may be a bit of a revival). check us sprouting up against the right in NZ at

  4. ahod 4

    Signed it yesterday, and more than happy to do it. I hope he makes a public apology as I was offended by him saying it.
    I only ever read Fran O’Sullivans peices in The Herald for comic relief.

  5. all_your_base 5

    Cheers ahod and welcome, the bean.

  6. insider 6

    Recent quotes all post Abu Ghraib and the last NZ election

    Phil Goff “We did, however, send a platoon of Army engineers once the formal conflict had ceased and the task of re-building Iraq had begun. “

    Speech notes for address to visiting US Air Warfare College. US Embassy, Wellington March 2006

    Helen Clark December 2005 book launch

    “In that sense, the debate over Vietnam, culminating in Norman Kirk’s government bringing the troops home from Vietnam, set the scene for New Zealand declaring itself nuclear free in the mid 1980s and declining to become involved in the war in Iraq in the early 21st century. “

    Helen Clark November 05 address and reply speech to Parliament after election

    “I believe our refusal to participate in the war in Iraq because it lacked multilateral sanction from the UN Security Council .”

    Note she did not say invasion, she said we did not participate in the ‘war’.

  7. Sam Dixon 7

    Again – insider – its not the phrasing, its the fact that Key was denying that Iraq matters, which is why he didn’t include it in his foreign policy

    – denying Iraq’s importance ignores the fact that its the most destablising conflict in the world at present (displaying astunnng naivity on Key’s part) and ignores the massive human suffering in the ongoing war (displaying a breathtaking lack of empathy on Key’s part)

  8. insider 8

    Bollocks. It is a general document about principles and approaches rather than specific conflicts we aren’t even involved in.

    Labour had no mention of Iraq in its foreign or defence policy either. Are they in denial. If Iraq is that important why are we not there trying to assist in any form not just militarily?

    I could argue that Iraq is having very little impact in the Asia Pacific region, which is where Key says our focus should be (rightly or wrongly). Just how important was it at APEC? Do you think the Chileans think it is of vital concern to them? What role did it play in Fiji’s coup or our FTA negotiations with China?

    Isn’t Afghanistan equally if not more important to us? It is bordered by 4 nuclear powers, a couple of which are potentially volatile, one of which is closely engaged, plus it borders the mid east and could flow into there, is home to an influential form of militancy that is impacting Islamic populations of neighbouring states and, from New Zealand’s point of view, we actually have people there on the ground getting hurt.

    I think there is a bit of an obsession amongst some on the left that raises Iraq well above its regional status, and I think that the obsession is more influenced by views of the US rather than the importance of the war, which is more and more a civil war than a global conflagration.

  9. Tane 9

    Hi bean, welcome to The Standard. There does seem to be a bit of a renaissance happening on the left of the blogosphere eh? I’ve added you to our blogroll.

  10. Thanks Tane! Yes and the right seem to be very uptight about it. What I love is they assume everyone is getting paid to do it. I am getting paid in sunshine and soil mmmmmmmm those crazy, greenie, leftie, pc mad socialists!

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