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Key: Vietnam War was “right thing to do”

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, May 29th, 2008 - 113 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key - Tags: ,

Yesterday, the leaders of the parliamentary parties apologised to the veterans of the Vietnam War for the treatment they received both while fighting and on their return home. It was not these soldiers’ fault that their government deployed them in a disastrous and unjust war.

Except, now John Key is saying the war and New Zealand’s involvement weren’t wrong either. Incredibly, Key has said that the Vietnam War was justified and New Zealand’s involvement in it was “the right thing to do“.

This was a war in which over two million of the poorest people on Earth died as a superpower attempted to defend a succession of corrupt military governments.

This war remains America’s greatest military shame. A war that should never have been fought. And they have the wall in DC to remind them, name by name, of the cost.

This was a war that all the Western allies, except Australia and New Zealand, rightly refused to follow the US into. It was a war that New Zealand only, reluctantly, joined after years of US pressure in return for better trade and security assistance.

Vietnam was a mistake. We should never have sent soldiers there and they deserve the apology they received for what they went through because of it. Key has displayed a breath-taking, scary ignorance in defending this indefensible war.

Key wanted us in Iraq (he complained we were ‘missing in action’), he is happy he were in Vietnam. Now, there is the possibility (advocated by Senator McCain ) of the US attacking Iran. Would Key lead us into that war too, given the chance?

113 comments on “Key: Vietnam War was “right thing to do””

  1. Steve – how about a bit of context, rather than Key-bashing. I’ve followed the link to Newstalk ZB, and this is the relevant paragraph:

    “Miss Clark, who was a young anti-Vietnam War protester at the time of the war, stands by her vehement opposition to it, but the National Party’s leader says he was too young to take a serious view. John Key says the National Government at the time determined that being involved in the war was the right thing to do.”

    You are drawing a very long bow here with your headline, rather like the Dom-Post sub-editor I have just blogged about:

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/05/misleading-headline.html

  2. gobsmacked 2

    Inventory2, you missed out the following line:

    “He says the conflict came at a time when New Zealand had a strong attachment to the ANZUS alliance, so given the circumstances it was probably the appropriate thing to do.”

  3. gobsmacked: At the very least, this demonstrates Key either hasn’t thought about the great moral issues NZ has faced in the recent past, or he doesn’t want to commit publicly to a view. Either way, voters have a right to know whether or not Key and National would whore the lives of loyal Kiwi soldiers for a better trade deal. This isn’t a trivial issue at all. The current government has had to face it more than once over the past few years.

    We already know beyond doubt that National front benchers, Simon Power and Wayne Mapp, would send Kiwis to die for an FTA with the US. They made that clear in 2003 when they criticised Labour for not joining the invasion of Iraq because of the effect it would have on a possible FTA.

  4. Inv2. My headline says what Key is reported to have said. Key thought Vietnam was a war worth fighting, my posts says so.

    Hardly a long bow

  5. gobsmacked 5

    Steve W, I agree. It’s his indifference to history that is the running theme in his views on international affairs. His line that “the past” is not worth discussing is truly scary from a possible PM.

  6. Inventory, Not quite so long a bow. The next sentence in the original story, which you omit, quotes Key some more:

    “He says the conflict came at a time when New Zealand had a strong attachment to the ANZUS alliance, so given the circumstances it was probably the appropriate thing to do. Mr Key says he does not think it is helpful to relitigate events which took place a long time ago.”

    In context, I think that Key does mean that involvement was the right thing to do.

    Of course he’s wrong. Subsequenetly, records of the time have shown that the main motivation for involvement was the then Governemnt’s desire to keep in the US’s good books, so as not to jeopardise our trade. To be fair, Holyoake kept NZ’s involvement to the minimum, unlike our gung-ho neighbours.

    No wonder Key doesn’t want to relitigate this.

    Weird captcha Dautieng flying

  7. Lew 7

    This is a point of differentiation and a dog whistle. By this statement Key is making the following three points:

    1. He is of a different generation than Clark, Goff, etc.

    2. He disagrees with them on this significant issue of moral and national identity.

    3. He is not afraid to speak out against the current orthodoxy.

    The subtext of all of this is `Key supports the veterans’. This places him in direct opposition to Clark-led Labour, who disbanded the RNZAF strike wing and refused to commit troops to Iraq, and persists in supporting peacekeeping and police operations such as those in Afghanistan, Timor Leste and RAMSI in the Solomons. The dog whistle could potentially lead into debate about closer defence ties with Australia, whose realist IR posture and views more closely align with National’s.

    L

  8. gobsmacked 8

    You’re giving him far too much credit, Lew. He doesn’t think that deeply.

    Key-think: “Vietnam war … Hmm, never thought about it … a National government at the time … better not criticise”.

    That’s the depth of his understanding. He doesn’t read history books. He said so himself. Seriously.

  9. rjs131 9

    Whats wrong with at the time, fighting the spread of communism? Are you saying that things were great for all those communist citizens at the time, or is there something i dont know about life under mao in china, life under kim il-sung, life in the soviet union and eastern europe during the 50s and 60s which meant we should have led the peace loving communists come to power. I think the american military leaders at the time were quite justified in wanting to prevent the spread of communism

  10. higherstandard 10

    Lew

    Thankyou for a considered and rational response.

    Clinton get off your soap box for five minutes – what really matters is that the veterans of this conflict have finally been given the recognition they deserve if you’d bother to listen to the various speeches in parliament you might have noticed that some of the leaders spoke very well (Clark and Key) while others used it as a political soapbox to expouse their own views

  11. rjs131. Are you saying the Vietnam war was worth fighting? 2 million Vietnamese, 50,000 Americans, 37 kiwis, dead, three countries devastated, and all to not achieve the objective NZ and the US fought for, and objective that was always unachievable. you’re saying that was worthwhile?

  12. gobsmacked 12

    RJS131

    They did it (in the famous phrase) “in the wrong way, in the wrong place, at the wrong time”. But at least you have bothered to form a view on the Vietnam war, which puts you above John Key in my estimation.

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    Lew – I’d read that as political opportunism – he genuinely doesn’t give a flying toss about issues such as Vietman and the Aparthied era, so he’s figuring out how he can make political mileage from his apathy and ignorance.

    I’m also somewhat unsure of your theorised subtext, “Key supports the veterans”. Would a Vietnam vet feel negatively towards someone who opposed the war? I doubt many had a good time over there, but that is of course over-simplifying it.

    Still, I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as you say. Someone could equally think “Vietnam was a disaster, Key doesn’t respect vets because he’d do it all over again”. Given the Agent Orange factor I’d think that’s more likely, but I wasn’t there so I can’t assume so…

  14. HS. I’m not talking about the apology, I acknowldege it’s good. What I’m worried about it the possiblity of the deployment of our military being in the hands of a man who wanted us in Iraq and is happy we were in Vietnam.

    Doesn’t that worry you? because it scares the sh*t out of me.

  15. mike 15

    Steve, your selective quoting in the post heading is inflammatory,

    “Mr Key says he does not think it is helpful to relitigate events which took place a long time ago.”

    Couldn’t agree more – apology given – good – move on

  16. gobsmacked 16

    That “pingback” (Inquiring Mind) is hilarious – John Key was too young, so naturally he has no opinion!

    Hitler may have been a bloody good bloke, I don’t know, I wasn’t born.

  17. Lew 17

    gobsmacked: I’m not sure this is Key’s own deeply-held opinion; in fact, he has steadfastly refused to give a personal statement on the matter. This is his position on the matter as National leader. He doesn’t necessarily hold it himself (though I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and think that he does).

    rjs131: The entire premise of the Viet Nam War was flawed, we realise that now. I think what you’re saying is that they couldn’t see it then. However this ignores the fact that the premise behind the war was a very far cry indeed from the actuality of what happened – from the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to My Lai to Kissinger’s secret carpet-bombing campaign in Laos and Cambodia, it was a bad war with phenomenally bad consequences.

    This is not to cast any aspersions on those who fought it. Just those who led it, though in some cases the Nuremberg Defence remains as hollow as ever.

    L

  18. Billy 18

    “probably the appropriate thing to do” in the context of ANZUS is hardly the blood thirsty boots and all support you are painting it to be, Steve.

  19. higherstandard 19

    SP

    No Steve it doesn’t worry me one bit I am quite comfortable with either National or Labour being in charge of deploying our military …… as I suspect is our military, what would scare the bejesus out of me is the Greens in charge of where to deploy them.

    And in response to your video on McCain try this one

    I’ll call the US election for you now – McCain will win and he’ll be damn good President.

  20. Lew 20

    Matthew: “I’d read that as political opportunism – he genuinely doesn’t give a flying toss about issues such as Vietman and the Aparthied era, so he’s figuring out how he can make political mileage from his apathy and ignorance.”

    Yes, I agree.

    “Would a Vietnam vet feel negatively towards someone who opposed the war?”

    Viet Nam vets are not the voting bloc Key is targeting here – it’s those who think `supporting the vets’==`supporting military operations’. That is, people who think the Clark government is soft on defence.

    “Still, I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as you say.”

    Fair enough, it’s a complicated business.

    L

  21. gobsmacked 21

    “The premise behind the war was a very far cry indeed from the actuality of what happened – from the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to My Lai to Kissinger’s secret carpet-bombing campaign in Laos and Cambodia, it was a bad war with phenomenally bad consequences.”

    Amen to that, Lew.

    Lunch now, but when I return I will be very disappointed if I don’t see a Santayana quote somewhere in the thread. It’s obligatory in these discussions, folks … 😉

  22. Steve Pierson said “What I’m worried about it the possiblity of the deployment of our military being in the hands of a man who wanted us in Iraq and is happy we were in Vietnam.”

    You’ve got a source for the comment “and is happy we were in Vietnam”? Please oblige!

    [he said is was “appropriate”, that means he was happy with the decision. I suggest you get something better to argue with than semantics. SP]

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    Ok Lew – I guess that means the subtext isn’t specifically “Key supports the veterans”, more like “Key supports the military”.

    On that topic, I feel Clark has been a good leader WRT NZ’s armed forces. The only real gripes are funding – an armed services is the single greatest black hole for funding though (show me an army that’s happy with the level of funding it gets and I’ll show you a country spending 30% of GDP on defence) – and the Air Strike wing. The A-4Ks were operationally worthless and the F-16s may have been a good replacement in their own right, but I think NZ could far better spend such a sum on other areas. Project Protector, for example.

    What I’m getting at here is that I don’t think Key projecting a pro-military sentiment will have a lot of legs.

    I would tend to look upon this with a favourable bias though.

  24. higherstandard 24

    Mat

    I’m pretty certain the largest back hole for funding in NZ is Health, however, I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  25. TomS 25

    Lew – If National wants to fight an election on Labour’s record on foreign relations, all I can say is bring it on! I don’t know a single person of any political persuasion who think we should have had a bar of the Iraq war, or who still believe in the domino theory, or don’t think Australia is closer to the United States than we would be comfortable with.

    Don’t confuse a woolly warm and fuzzy “support the troops” feeling with a lessening of the overt anti-Americanism and support for internationalism amongst New Zealanders.

  26. Pascal's bookie 26

    There would have been some interesting political problems with the f-16’s as well.

    We got offerred them because of the coup in Pakistan. Pakistan had bought some f-16’s that had not been delivered, and the coup meant the Americans rightly backed out of the deal. They offerred them to us.

    Cue Sept 11 2001 and the Military dictatorship in Pakistan becomes Washington’s BFF with military deals back on the table. Who knows where this would have left us. It’s not open and shut.

  27. Hey guys – don’t really have an opinion on the Vietnam war (but I did watch Rambo 4 the other day – surprisingly good!). I’m just linkwhoring to my latest post (at least I’m honest about it – unlike your mate Bryan):

    http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/stupid-or-crooked/

  28. Lew 28

    Matthew: “I guess that means the subtext isn’t specifically “Key supports the veterans’, more like “Key supports the military’.”

    Yeah, in this context I think the two are intended to mean the same thing.

    “I feel Clark has been a good leader WRT NZ’s armed forces.”

    Yes, I wrote a paper on this at skool the other year, defending her 2000 statement that we exist in an `incredibly benign strategic environment’, and essentially arguing from a liberal internationalist perspective that peacekeeping, police actions and regional security, stability and democracy-building work in the Pacific are what NZ needs to be doing.

    TomS: “I don’t know a single person of any political persuasion who think we should have had a bar of the Iraq war, or who still believe in the domino theory, or don’t think Australia is closer to the United States than we would be comfortable with.”

    The Clark statement above is still widely ridiculed, though, and a lot of people want a stronger (read: more realist) defence posture than Clark has advocated. National is appealing to these sentiments more than those you list above. I think if Goff succeeds her, he will try to claw back some of that ground for Labour.

    L

  29. higherstandard 29

    Tom

    I can’t say there is a lot of overt anti Americanism in my neck of the woods.

    Certainly derision about the current President but not Anti USA

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    HS – I was talking in worldwide terms (and I’d have you there, global arms expenditure is HUGE), but the frames of reference are a bit loose – you could theoretically pour untold billions into both and not see the water-line.

    Globally defence would have it, but domestically i’d give it to health.

    Pascal’s bookie – hadn’t though of that, but from memory we were offered them in ’96? might have been a done deal by then. And now we’d have a modern(ish) air strike wing. And for what?

  31. Felix 31

    gob, thanks for pointing to that pingback.

    They refer to Mr Key as a “21st Century politician”, supposedly in contrast to the current government.
    I suppose in a sense he is very much a 21st Century person as he has no thoughts, memories or opinions about anything that happened in the 20th.

    captcha: at troops

  32. Pascal's bookie 32

    “And now we’d have a modern(ish) air strike wing. And for what?”

    Fly overs and airshows I suspect. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    The problem with the strike wing is that it cost a lot of money and saw very little use. If we had of needed it to defend invasion, (highly unlikely given that the only country with enough force projection to invade us is the US), it couldn’t help.

    In any other theatre that NZ forces are likely to be in need of air strike capability we will be there as part of an alliance.

    How often has Australia used their fancy jets outside of airshows?

  33. Matt – I’m pretty sure those f-16s were we offered were ex-National Guard F16As, already 15 years old, they’ld be 25 years old now. So, not even modern, let alone useful.

  34. rjs131 34

    Any war is crap………..i personally think that fighting the spread of communism was a noble objective. If their aim was to deprive the Vietnamese of the living conditions that other communist people suffered at the time then i think that is worthwhile.

    While the devastation reaped on the people and the countryside was horrific, it must be remember (rightly or wrongly) that this was an intervention in a civil war. Tens of thousands died before and after the americans intervened. To liable every death in that country at the foot of america is a little inaccurate

  35. higherstandard 35

    mp

    Worldwide agreed no contest.

  36. yeah, well, they deprived 2 million people of living conditions pretty conclusively.

    captcha: ‘of servicemen’ this thing is incredible

  37. Lew 37

    RJS131: “To liable every death in that country at the foot of america is a little inaccurate”

    This statement is strictly true, but its implication (that the US weren’t directly to blame for the majority of evil in Viet Nam) is utter bullshit.

    L

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    Felix – good call…

    Everyone – I brought up the F-16s as an example of the discontent people may feel towards Clark and her policy viz-a-viz defence. All good points, but I can guarantee there are people out there who are bitter about it.

    I never said it was rational!

  39. TomS 39

    I am sick and tired of the A-4’s being continually raised as an issue by right wing half-wits. By constantly mentioning the A-4’s all they show is they are blockheads incapable of following a rational argument.

    The A-4 force consumed a disproportionate amount of the defence budget in fuel, parts, wages and maintenance. Even with the money spent on them the airframe was basically obsolete, with OK 1980’s era avionics. No one in the defence establishment could come up with any sort of realistic scenario in which the A-4 force might be used. Any “hot war” mission involving our allies in a place like Afghanistan could be done better with more modern equipment by the United States, and the RNZAF’s A-4’s would frankly simply provide an easier target than the jets of the USAF. In peacekeeping and disaster relief the strike wing was a complete waste of money. The F-16’s were unaffordable from an operating costs point of view and were of a model (F-16A Block 15) that had avionics no better than those of the Kahu Skyhawks. The reality of the RNZAF strike wing was it was retained as our contribution to an Empire Air Training Scheme in the event of WW III and was a classic example of having armed forces ready to re-fight the last war. Further, practically nothing was spent on upgrading the military from the time of the first oil shock in 1973 until Labour came to power in 1999 – a quarter of a century. Labour on coming to power in 1999 had an underpaid and run down military facing block obsolescence, huge calls on the public purse after a near decade of incompetent management of infrastructure by a do nothing National administration and a public with no appetitive for massive increases in defence spending when no one could produce a realistic threat scenario. So Labour looked at who did what in the military and drew the obvious conclusion – the army followed by the Navy followed by the airlift component did all the useful work that helped meet our foreign policy objectives and international obligations. Under Labour, the army has received new soft vehicles (Pinzgauers), new armoured vehicles (LAV’s), new anti-armour (Javelin) and anti-aircraft (Mistral) missiles and the defence force has had significant pay rises. Defence spending has risen in real terms, and the money has been spent wisely and realistically.

    So to all you right wingers who bang on about the strike wing, just fuck off and die, you ignorant pricks.

  40. erikter 40

    Yes, it was the right thing to do.

    Fighting against communism is always a good cause, regardless of the prevalent anti-American bias and selective quoting of some bloggers around here.

  41. F E Smith 41

    I’ve always thought that the Spanish-American war was America’s greatest military shame. Far less justification for that than Vietnam ever had..

    Or probably worse, if you are willing to include it, was the military support and then legitimisation of the coup d’etat in Hawaii in 1893.

  42. Nicaragua anyone?

  43. Pascal's bookie 43

    “Fighting against communism is always a good cause”

    Objectively pro-Hitler!

  44. Tane 44

    The backing of the fascist coup in Chile, while not technically an invasion, was hardly the United States’ finest hour.

  45. TomS. Great informative comment. Not sure about the ending.

    F E Smith, ‘sod. That looks like it could be quite a long game. I would contend that, at least, Vietnam is the war Americans are most ashamed of.

    erikter. 2 million lives and they didn’t stop Vietnam going communist.

  46. erikter 46

    “The problem with the strike wing is that it cost a lot of money and saw very little use.”

    Impeccably said, Pascal’s. Or are you a reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain?

    Why do you bother with any sort of insurance then?

  47. Tim 47

    Rjs131 and Erikter – Are you saying millions of people should die because you’re afraid of communism?

    Franco and Hitler fought against communism. Does that make them nice guys or make their wars justified? What about the CIA’s support of repressive right wing regimes in South America like Pinochet in Chile? What about McCarthyism which led to the persecution of thousands of law-abiding citizens because of the spectre of “communism”?

    The fact is the Soviet Union, China and North Korea were and are not communist (or socialist) countries. They are actually countries ruled by an elite cabal with no interest in the working class whatsoever. This is certainly not Marxism and it betrays your ignorance of what Marxism and communism is.

    I guess with your worldview anything (including supporting corrupt anti-communist regimes or killing innocent people) is justifiable if it’s done to fight communism. Never mind that some people might actually choose a communist political system instead of being exploited by imperialism.

  48. higherstandard 48

    Rather a lot of Anti US sentiment on this thread

  49. Matthew Pilott 49

    erikter, have you got insurance against The Rapture, or Alien Abduction. Both exist you know, I can probably point you in the right direction if need be.

    I can only conclude from your argument that New Zealand should get nukes, anthrax and VX as well – I mean if you’re going to look at defence with all the context a three year-old could throw at it, then that’s the stupid result you get.

    Really, HS? I didn’t think so, being critical of US history doesn’t necessarily translate. It could easily be much worse, I’ll say that…

  50. Tane 50

    Rather a lot of Anti US sentiment on this thread

    More anti-invading-countries-and-killing-people sentiment to be fair HS. I’ve no gripe with the American people.

  51. erikter 51

    Tim, you may be an unabashed communist, but do not expect the rest of us to follow suit.

    Marx was wrong in his analysis of the way people can organise to successfully create value. To Marx, ownership of the means of production was the main fixture in a society’s ability to produce wealth and justice.

    The right to all property in a Marxist society was to rest with the state, in trust for the people.

    Marx also argued for the collectivisation of the division of labour. All working together for a common goal would be far more productive than markets collating the disparate choices of individuals.

    Do human beings optimise their potential in a collectivised society? Does it work as proposed?

    The final arbiter is reality.

    Marx’s economic model in practice, the USSR and elsewhere, COULD NOT produce wealth or justice. The rationale for collective ownership failed.

  52. erikter. Should I buy flood insurance if I live on a hill?

  53. TomS 53

    Steve Pierson:

    I’m sorry, but you get this strike wing argument all the time, you tell these dunderheads, they look at you, blink, you can see the cogs turning, and then they just repeat the same bumper sticker. I suppose arguing with a right winger is like dealing with Auckland’s traffic – if you let it get to you you just end up with road rage, but every now and again you have to vent!!!!

  54. higherstandard 54

    MP and Tane

    That the US fought a cold and sometimes hot war against communism in all its various guises is something I for one am very thankful for.

    If people like Tim want to live under a communist system they’re welcome to it but I’ll take the US despite all its bad points over the alternatives of the Soviet Union and Mao’s China any day.

  55. Pascal's bookie 55

    “The final arbiter is reality.”

    So Vietnam was a fnckup then?

  56. Tane 56

    I’ll take the US despite all its bad points over the alternatives of the Soviet Union and Mao’s China any day.

    HS, I’d suggest you do a bit of research. Have a read about the death squads in Chile and the systematic raping of nuns and murder of priests in Central America. You might get a bit more perspective.

    It’s not a case of whether you get to live in the US or in the Soviet Union – that’s an obvious choice. It’s about whether you get bombed and your family killed because some guy at the top in the US thinks your country’s a little red for his liking.

  57. erikter 57

    “It’s about whether you get bombed and your family killed because some guy at the top in the US thinks your country’s a little red for his liking.”

    What about the counter-argument, Tane?

    It’s about whether your country get invaded and you and your family killed because some guys at the top in the USSR Politburo think your country’s a little liberal for their liking.

    People in Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukrania, Afghanistan, Finland, amongst others experienced just that.

  58. Tane 58

    erikter, why do you assume I support Soviet imperialism any more than I support American imperialism?

  59. Draco TB 59

    The history of the US is filled with shameful military interventionism. The land of the free doesn’t like other countries choosing a different path to them and that don’t do as they’re told.

    This thread seems to have wandered off topic.

  60. gobsmacked 60

    Well, I’m strongly pro-American myself.

    The essential requirement for wars like Iraq and Vietnam is that the American people are lied to. Eventually the truth comes out (not least because of the American constitution and the determination of free citizens to challenge its government) and the people learn the truth. Then they oppose the war, as they do now, by a huge margin. The protestors are the patriots.

    As for NZ, Helen Clark has led the country for the entire length of the Bush Administration, not Key/Brash/English etc. That’s something to be very, very thankful for. (Compare: Howard, Blair, many other client states at war, and their angry populations. They envy us).

  61. TomS 61

    erikter – perhaps you ought to study a little history. Whether we like or not, the USSR was given a free hand in Eastern Europe as a result of the November 1943 conference in Tehran. Its setting up of puppet regimes in the territories it over-ran in 1944-45 was done so with the tacit agreement of the USA and UK. Apart from that, Finland’s winter war in 1939-40 and the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 are the ONLY two occassion where the USSR actually invaded another sovereign nation. Whatever your views of the Soviet Union, it always adhered to a vague legalism and the USSR never embarked on the sort of reckless global adventurism the United States has indulged in. Just off the top of my head, Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Laos are all countries that the United States has invaded (Korea was a U.N. action).

  62. Tim 62

    I support peoples’ rights to choose which political system they want. If they want to be socialist, they should be able to do so without being invaded by the US Government. This has nothing to with an anti-US posture. The Vietnam War destroyed the lives of plenty of Americans conscripted to fight and die in a war they didn’t want or believe in which was waged by fools in the White House.

    If a country decides it wants to be socialist, it shouldn’t be invaded because of that. The whole “war was justified because it stopped communism” argument is bogus.

    The whole “USSR and China are communist = bad” argument is also bogus, look at the legions of failed capitalist states in the world today eg. Niger, Chad etc. It’s a simplistic and unjustified comparison in my view. Of course I don’t want to live in the USSR and China, but they’re not really socialist or communist states in the true sense of the word.

  63. Billy 63

    “The whole “USSR and China are communist = bad’ argument is also bogus”

    How so? Isn’t the murder of tens of millions of innocent people usually regarded as a bad thing?

    Yup. I’ve thought about it and I’m going with bad.

  64. Lew 64

    Tim: “If they want to be socialist”

    Very naive. The problem is typically that people want it in theory, but they end up not wanting it in practice. And there’s the secondary issue that socialist nations have had expansionistic tendencies. The domino effect is seen as mostly bogus now, but in the context of the Cold War it wasn’t so clear.

    “The whole “USSR and China are communist = bad’ argument is also bogus”

    I’ve got one question for you, Tim: have you read The Gulag Archipelago?

    I don’t consider people qualified to comment on communism (or any form of socialism) unless they’ve read The Gulag Archipelago. If you’re going defend something, know what it is you’re defending.

    L

    PS: I’m not interested in hearing the `communism doesn’t necessarily require totalitarianism’ line. It does, temporarily, and so far in history proto-communist states have singularly failed to progress beyond that stage. They are run by people, after all.

    Captcha: `suffering Shirley’. Don’t call me Shirley, tovarisch.

  65. Katipunan 65

    Rather than apologising to Vietnam veterans on behalf of the nation, Helen Clark should apologise personally to the vets, the people of Vietnam, and the people of Cambodia for her prominent involvement in the so-called “peace’ movement, a treasonous hate group founded, funded and directed from Moscow.

    North Vietnamese General Giap has extensively described in post-war memoirs and interviews the step-by-step defeat of US forces, not on the battlefield, but in the streets of America and its allies.

    A relative handful of dedicated Communists mobilised thousands of those whom Lenin once termed “useful idiots’ (like many of you pinkos posting on this thread) to influence public opinion against the US, thus aiding and abetting North Vietnamese Communism’s quest to crush South Vietnam’s independence.

    After the US pulled out in 1975, the Vietcong murdered millions of South Vietnamese. Hundreds of thousands of others made a perilous journey to freedom in small boats.

    Pol Pot’s Communist Khmer Rouge regime came to power in Cambodia and was responsible for almost two million deaths (or one third of the country’s population) through execution, starvation and forced labour.

    Clark and her radical lefist student mates throwing bags of human excrement, spitting, and screaming “baby killer’ at returning Vietnam soldiers owe everyone an apology: for being on the wrong side of history.

  66. Tim 66

    Billy: You clearly haven’t actually read what I’m saying so I won’t bother to respond. Read my posts again including the one at 1.28pm.

    Lew: Yep, I’m very familiar with Solzhenitsyn, although I prefer One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

    I don’t see how Stalinist atrocities have any relevance to a pro-socialist argument. Marx never said you needed to enslave and kill, his philosophy was the opposite and conceived as an alternative to the exploitation of capitalism.

    Why shouldn’t people be able to determine their own future without interference from imperialism? There is a history of the US and the CIA backing coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders who might be “communist” (eg Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954). Sorry, who’s “expansionist”?

  67. Billy 67

    Well, I suppose we should have guessed you’d come back with a “they weren’t real communists” argument. Got an example of one of these “real” communist states in the real world, Timmy?

  68. Katipunan 68

    Tim says: “Of course I don’t want to live in the USSR and China, but they’re not really socialist or communist states in the true sense of the word.”

    Communism everywhere it has been tried has a record of failure so dismal that only an idiot or an academic could continue to deny it.

    Oh, I get it, Communism led to almost a century of state-sponsored mass murder and economic misery because of the perversion of a noble ideal, and because the right people have never been in charge.

    Wasn’t it Marx who said: “The bourgeousie as a class must be made impossible”? Lenin who said: “We’ll ask the man where he stands on the question of revolution. If he’s against it we’ll stand him up against a wall”? Stalin who said “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic”?

    Communists regard certain social classes as “diseased.” Some can be cured with a “tenner” in a labour camp discovering the virtue of labouring without reward for the benefit of others, but the vast majority are too wedded to private property rights, individual freedom, the rule of law, freedom of speech etc.

    These must be exterminated lest they infect others and retard the emergence of “the New Soviet Man” or whatever you want to call him.

    “The Idea” is dead, long live “The Idea” eh Tim?

    Unregenerate commies like you are an emetic!!!

  69. Tim 69

    Get real Katipunan – the peace movement was comprised of Americans sick of seeing their brothers sent to die for no good reason. Agreed an apology to veterans is in order, but people got sick of seeing young working class and black men being sent to die in someone else’s war.

    Oh, and another thing is that North Vietnam and Pol Pot’s regime were actually at war, but don’t let that little detail get in the way of your tirade. It was Hanoi that actually overthrew Pol Pot capturing Phnom Penh in 1979, the USA just dropped more bomb tonnage than in WWII on Cambodia, mostly on civilians.

    What, and capitalism works? Millions of people are starving while others are throwing out food. Great system.

  70. Katipunan 70

    Tim said: “Why shouldn’t people be able to determine their own future without interference from imperialism??

    The actual “imperialism” was all that of Sino-Soviet Communism who saw their role as winning a world for Communism.

    The so-called “peace” movement, throughout the Western world, was always a treasonous hate group founded, funded and directed from Moscow.

    As Dimitri Manuilsky stated in a lecture to the Lenin School on Political Warfare in Moscow 1931:

    “Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack … To win we shall need the element of surprise. The bourgeoisie will have to be put to sleep. So we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard of concessions. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will jump at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we shall smash them with our clenched fist.’

    Communists are expert at creating “Popular Fronts’ whose apparent purpose attracts the support of the gullible and well meaning, while covertly advancing the Communist agenda.

    This enables a relative handful of Communists to multiply their effectiveness many times, while sitting back and laughing while those whom Lenin once referred to as “useful idiots’ do their dirty work for them.

    The essential goal of a Communist Front is always hidden behind an ostensible purpose of wide popular appeal. Its Communist puppeteers are well aware of the true agenda, while most of the Front members see only the smokescreen.

    A permanent Communist objective was always to tilt the balance of world military power in favor of Communist military strength. Wherever possible, they created a dialectical conflict between “warmongers’ and “peaceniks’ to achieve this purpose.

    However, to loudly proclaim the real objective of weakening militarily all those countries opposed to Communism would recruit few supporters in those countries. The “peace” movement therefore needed an announced objective that would accomplish the same purpose, but present itself in a totally different guise.

    The ostensible purpose of the “peace’ movement therefore became the preservation of peace in the face of the possible horrors of a nuclear war. Its Communist directors described the demands for disarmament which were to be made to Communist and non-Communist countries alike.

    They failed to point out that these demands would have no effect in the Communist Bloc because there was no public opinion there that they could influence: the people of the Communist countries couldn’t even find out about these demands unless the Communist Party decided to tell them.

    The hidden purpose of the “peace’ movement was to influence public opinion in free countries whose governments were elected and controlled by the people. The “useful idiots,’ satisfied when these demands are nominally extended to all countries, were sold on this magnificent idea and enlisted in the cause.

    The ultimate goal of those directing the “peace’ movement was always to leave the Soviet Union as the world’s only nuclear power. After all, if one side has all the nukes, they can simply go to the other side with the proposition: “Surrender or die!’

    To apply a local example, all talk of the Pacific Ocean being a “US Nuclear Lake’ failed to point out that the Soviet Union maintained at Cam Ranh Bay, North Vietnam, a far larger flotilla of nuclear powered and nuclear armed ships than the US Sixth Fleet ever was.

    The “anti-nuclear policy’ that removed NZ from ANZUS was actually a massive triumph for militant Marxist-Leninism, and for our local embedded Commies with the Liarbour Party.

  71. Tane 71

    Christ, every time communism’s mentioned we get another verbose nutter from the right. You’re not Michele Cabiling are you Katipunan?

  72. Lew 72

    Tim: “I prefer One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.”

    Ivan Denisovich is to Archipelago as MASH is to Apocalypse Now. That’s perhaps a bit frivolous, but a novella just doesn’t have the same impact as that three-volume behemoth. It’s heartening that you’ve read it, but it’s disheartening that despite having read it you still think communism can work.

    “Marx never said you needed to enslave and kill”

    No, indeed he didn’t. He advocated the temporary concentration of power in a few individuals. That’s what caused the dictatorships: it wasn’t temporary. People with power don’t like to give it up. I shouldn’t have to provide examples.

    “Sorry, who’s “expansionist’?”

    The Soviet Union explicitly was at the time. China was particularly so toward Viet Nam.

    The US was aggressively anti-communist, but that doesn’t nullify my point.

    L

  73. Oh yeah – that’s michelle all right. How’s the self-improvement going M?

  74. Katipunan 74

    Tane wrote: “Christ, every time communism’s mentioned we get another verbose nutter from the right.”

    Repeat after me: “A label is not an argument … a label is not an argument … a label is not an argument …”

    If you can’t engage on an intellectual level why not shut the hell up?

  75. It’s heartening that you’ve read it, but it’s disheartening that despite having read it you still think communism can work.

    Could you be any more of a condescending co*ksu*ker, lew?

  76. Katipunan 76

    How’s the stroking yourself in a very small corner going, Robinsodomite?

    [Tane: One more homophobic outburst and you’re banned for four months.]

  77. Lew 77

    I might not like communism, but I’m sure as hell not buying this PNAC bullshit either.

    L

  78. If you can’t engage on an intellectual level why not shut the hell up?

    Right back at you ‘chelle. Are you still pedaling that 19th century faux-Darwinist tripe?

  79. Lew 79

    Robinsod: Yeah, I think I could have been.

    As I said earlier, I’m sure the condescended masses are glad to have you as their knight in shining armour.

    L

  80. Pretty damn good michelle – how’s that lonely, lonely life of misguided belief in your own superiority going? Actually, come to think of it, you and Lew might get on quite well…

  81. Lew – I’m no knight baby. I just got a dislike of your pomposity and some time on my hands. If you’re gonna be all full of yourself at least do it with some flair…

  82. Katipunan 82

    Robinsodomite wrote:

    “Could you be any more of a condescending co*ksu*ker, lew?”

    You couldn’t have summed yourself up better in a single sentence, could you?

    [Tane: And that’s Michele banned for four months. That was quick. See you in September Michele.]

    [lprent: Fast, efficent, and not here…. I was just coming in to see what the fuss was.]

  83. Katipunan 83

    Also, your avatar, if it purports to describe you, shows the wrong end of the horse.

  84. Tim 84

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s get back to the point. I was originally responding to an earlier post trying to say the Vietnam War was justified because it was anti-communist. I don’t think it was, nor do I think any war in purported opposition to communism is justified as a corollary.

    As for John Key, he doesn’t really seem to know where he stood on any important social issue, being the Vietnam War, the Springbok Tour or a nuclear-free Pacific. I’m glad some others did know where they stood and took a stand.

  85. erikter 85

    “Could you be any more of a condescending co*ksu*ker, lew?”

    Tane, you’re trigger-happy banning others

    [T: Not usually, I’ve just had experience with Michele. She was banned for exactly this last time – she’s abusive, verbose and destroys threads. I choose not to have her here]

    , but how can you justify that level of abuse on Robinsond’s part?

    [T: I don’t agree with the Sod’s behaviour, but his saving grace is he actually adds to the conversation and he’s got a sense of humour. He does need to stop having a go at Lew though – that’s becoming disruptive]

    One thing is the right to argue the point and come to a civil disagreement (even a heated one), but surely his sentence above is beyond the acceptable norm.

    [T: Again, I don’t think you saw her behaviour last time. Go back and have a search under “Michele Cabiling”. We ended up giving her four months off after a lot of warnings, and she showed back up here and started exhibiting exactly the same behaviour patterns. I’m in no mood to give her the benefit of the doubt]

    Micky Porton is a disgrace to this blog.

    [lprent: Michele is far more unique than the ‘sod. For a starter he doesn’t paste copied rants. Robinsod merely pushes the line, so gets tolerated. Michele on the other hand just pisses me off, especially her refusal to learn how to link. Tane only just beat me to it]

  86. Also, your avatar, if it purports to describe you, shows the wrong end of the horse.

    No michelle – if you were the clever bugger you think you are you would recognise my avatar and get the joke. But alas you are not quite the great mind you consider yourself to be.

    Tane – Please don’t ban michele. She may be as mad as a cut snake but at least she has some fire in her belly and some opinions (albeit crazy ones) – otherwise I’ve got nobody but Lew-the-bore to tease.

    eriktar – good to see you are concerned about the level of debate on this blog. I suggest if you really want to improve it you take your bigoted bumper-sticker arguments back to the bog where they belong.

  87. Lew 87

    Tim: Yeah, drifted away a bit, there.

    erikter: FWIW I don’t take such things personally, particularly not from Sod, who seems to have launched a somewhat endearing crusade against my vapid pomposity.

    L

  88. Damn! you banned her. Well michele – if you want a good old bit of biffo you are more than welcome at newzblog.

    Lew – at least you can laugh at yourself. If you find self deprecation too tiring then let me know and we can laugh at you in shifts for a while…

    [Tane: It’ll probably double your readership Sod. By the way, lay off Lew okay? Critique the ideas, not the person]

  89. Do mean my readership at http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com (the best site on the web!)?

    I haven’t check the stats for http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com lately but I would imagine that plenty of people visit http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com for its witty and concise take on the modern world.

    In fact Tane – you would be more than welcome to drop in at http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com some time.

    Oh and I’ll lay off lew because I don’t need to get banned again but if he ever feels like a robust chat he just needs to visit http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com

    [lprent: I could just make some URL’s to go straight into moderation. Or possibly write some code to automatically make certain URI’s auto link to the wikipedia article on link whoring. I was wondering what to do on Monday morning. I’ve been meaning to try out the filters in wordpress]

  90. higherstandard 90

    Sod

    I just had a look at your site – it is marginally better than

    http://capitalismbad.blogspot.com/

  91. r0b 91

    “Link whoring” always was an unpleasant phrase. It has now been rendered totally inadequate as well.

    So what was that – a link blitzkrieg? Link warfare? A linkademic? Linkbotting?

    Whatever, I think I’ll go visit ‘Sod’s site at http://www.newzblog.wordpress.com

  92. RedLogix 92

    I’ve no problem with banning Michele, but if you are not reasonably even-handed about it, you’ll fall into the trap that Farrar set for himself. His banning policy is openly and cheerfully biased against left-wing posters, but this has only encouraged the rwnj sub-culture/scum that flourishes under his blog’s refrigerator.

    ‘Sod dearest… are you trying to see how many warnings you can accumulate before they add up to a red card?

    [Tane: Red, I am aware of that and I genuinely don’t want to ban anyone. My concern is with behaviour that disrupts the threads, leads to flamewars or is overly racist, sexist or homophobic. Michele has a history of doing this – it’s why she was banned last time. Her dreadful homophobia is present in nearly every comment she writes. She had a second chance, I warned her to stop the homophobic remarks, she did it again, I banned her.]

  93. QoT 93

    I’m one smeg of a lot younger than John Key, and I sure as hell have strong opinions on things that happened before I was born, even.

    Still, a population ignorant of history has to be a heck of a lot easier to sell outdated illogical National and ACT policy to.

  94. The tragedy of Vietnam is that ALL powers used it as a proxy war, there was significant Soviet and Chinese involvement in Vietnam too, but I don’t believe their embassies had people protesting outside saying “get out of Vietnam”. Nevertheless, the US made a huge strategic error in not siding with the anti-colonial Ho Chi Minh, which drove him into the hands of Moscow. Vietnam suffered from war, but also the communists – nobody can pretend that it was liberated, or that the end result was good at all (or the “choice of the Vietnamese people”). The communist north twice promised free democratic elections (as did the south) and it never happened – by no measure was the north better than the south.

    It threw hundreds of thousands into prison camps after the war, 2 million fled the country of whom hundreds of thousands died on the way (boat people) and there were peasant revolts against so called “land reform” that were suppressed brutally. Vietnam still throws people in prison for political activities, there is no free press or right to protest.

    The war in Vietnam was wrong in many ways, but its objective of stopping the whole country going communist was right. Tragically the lot in the south were next to useless, corrupt and cruel. However, nobody should pretend those in the north were or are noble.

    The Lon Nol puppet regime in Cambodia, after all, was corrupt and cruel, but nothing compared to the Khmer Rouge – but by the time that war was being fought the West was withdrawing, tragically. Defending the Lon Nol regime would have been moral, but few paid attention to the horror stories of the Cambodian hinterland in places where the Khmer Rouge were running things.

    We have great wisdom of hindsight nowadays on all these events, the ongoing litany of mistakes, the cruelty of the Western side (though we’ll never know half of the north Vietnamese side’s cruelty) and say what should and shouldn’t have been done – it was the Cold War, and the fight against global Marxism-Leninism was moral. Sadly the concentration on this didn’t mean, in some cases, fighting for freedom and liberal democracy – it meant backing the enemy of our enemies, and in far too many cases they weren’t much better than the enemy.

  95. Luke C 95

    Anyone else hear Key on bfm this morning? Saying again that the Nats supported the right of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to go to Iraq.

    He also said that he still believed Bush and Blair thought that Iraq had WMD’s and supported terrorism. This shows how amazingly naive Key is in terms of foreign policy. All evidence coming out suggests Bush deliberately mislead the public. The more people that hear Keys comments the better.

  96. Lew 96

    Luke C: “the Nats supported the right of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to go to Iraq.”

    This isn’t as extreme a position as you make out; after all, international affairs is a normative field, and the primary actors in this case (US and UK) are the two pre-eminent norm-leaders in that field. If anyone believes they had no right to take the action under international law and convention, their recourse is to NGOs including the International Court of Justice. Until someone does so, then in strict legal terms they did not act illegally – even if there is a prima facie case to answer under international law, as there seems to be here.

    If Key had supported the moral authority of the Coalition to take that action, that would have been a less defensible statement, since `moral authority’ is a more malleable concept than `right’. I think it’s clear that the US and UK lacked moral authority to invade Iraq, and like others before them, they’ll be judged on this by history.

    L

  97. Luke – Iraq did have WMDs, it used them on several occasions. It didn’t allow full inspections as required by umpteen UN Security Council resolutions. The fact that the Hussein thugocracy destroyed/dismantled it is another point, but nobody can pretend Iraq didn’t have WMDs. That’s a fact. It’s a fact it supported terrorism, it cheered on 9/11. It wasn’t allied to Al Qaeda, that was a complete fabrication, but it has long been allied to other terrorist groups.

    You can oppose the overthrow of the Hussein regime, fine, but let’s not pretend Iraq was some innocent peaceful party. This thread isn’t about Iraq, but there is a legitimate debate about whether invading Iraq was the right thing to do – but you can’t pretend it wasn’t run by a dangerous megalomaniac mass murderer. Though I fully expect someone will divert this onto “Bush is the same” hyperbole, which is as tiresome as it is intellectually vapid.

  98. Lew 98

    Drifting off-topic again here, ah well.

    libertyscott: The question is whether those rationales (previous atrocities, previous possession of WMDs, failure to comply, supporting terrorism, and cheering on 9/11) justify invasion led by the USA.

    You can argue that they justified invasion by someone but I think the US and UK would be very far down that list; certainly the customary test for intervention under international law (UNSC resolution) was not met.

    L

  99. RedLogix 99

    Iraq did have WMDs, it used them on several occasions. It didn?t allow full inspections as required by umpteen UN Security Council resolutions.

    Iraq had a PROGRAM to consider ways to make nuclear WMD’s. At no time did they ever actual possess or even so much as test one. Nor did they ever possess any effective delivery system against a properly defended power.

    The chemical WMD systems always were a much lessor threat. They were basically only of limited use against undefended civilians.

    ANY evidence whatsoever that Hussein cheered on 911? Like what this guy said?

    but you can?t pretend it wasn?t run by a dangerous megalomaniac mass murderer.

    Well in historic terms Hussein was pretty much your run of the mill Middle Eastern strongman. For the average Iraqi, life under the socialist Baath Party rule was reasonably ok. Iraq had an excellent education system, more doctors per head of capita than most other countries, working infrastructure in most cities and a decent economy. Hussein was actually quite popular with many average Iraqi’s for this reasons.

    And yes Hussein also maintained political stability by murdering his opponents. Dangerous, yes. Meglomaniac, maybe… but for actual numbers of deaths he was very amateur mass murderer compared to the 100’s of thousands, possibly millions of Iraqi’s who have died either directly or indirectly as a result of Western intervention in that nation’s affairs.

  100. Dean 100

    “he said is was “appropriate”, that means he was happy with the decision. I suggest you get something better to argue with than semantics. SP”

    Well, Steve, I guess that about wraps it up for any chace of you being considered objective or brimming with facts when you make your analysis.

    You’re like some sort of self professed left wing mirror image of whale oil.

  101. gobsmacked: I wonder if Key could be described as uncurious? I don’t know. It’s a genuine question. If so, it would be very Bush-like (according to Scott McClellan and others)

    We can see clearly enough where that leads to. NZ doesn’t need to go there.

  102. libertyscott: Why fudge on the timing? The timing of Iraq’s “WMD” is relevant to the case for war. Iraq had not ad any WMD since 1998. Until Bush decided to invade the place, the only serious discussions through 2000 and into early 2002 in relation to Iraq were WHEN to lift sanctions….not IF. Bush fabricated the pretext of WMD like he fabricated the rest of his case for war. Remember, to be legal, the threat needed to be serious and imminent. No such threat existed and it was obvious at the time that it did not exist in so far as there was no credible proof of any imminent threat.

    The legal argument hangs, in part, on the UN Charter being a fully ratified treaty by the US Senate. Under the US Constitution it is therefore law and cannot cannot be overridden by any state. It is a part of the United States’ law.

  103. Chemical WMDs were used against Iran, the US didn’t turn a blind eye to this, but it was supporting Iraq (as was the USSR) against Iran at the time.

    RedLogix – All you said about Hussein could be said about Pinochet too. The ends do not justify the means. He murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people, imprisoned and terrorised many more, and killed thousands in neighbouring states due to his own adventurism in Iran and Kuwait. The “oh but some things were good” argument is like saying “Hitler was popular, he made the trains run on time and built the autobahns”. Don’t forget Hussein’s “amateurish” murders were deliberate – he bombed civilians to terrorise them. Western intervention has been to kick him out of Kuwait, stop him using air power against the Kurds and Shi’a Arabs in the south, and boot him out of power – it wasn’t to engage in genocide as he did. However, play the moral equivalency game if you like, pretend the Iraqi insurgency seeking to (and has already in some places) impose an Islamist totalitarian state, which targets civilians is the same as US forces. The war in Iraq has been waged badly, but defending Hussein, a genocidal maniac is a non-starter.

    Steve – Nobody could verify that there were no WMDs in Iraq in 1998, but if you choose to believe a megalomaniac dictator then fine. North Korea has proven the trustworthiness of that. Iran will do so again. The argument about the legality of war is dependent on respecting state sovereignty – if you believe the genocidal Hussein dictatorship deserves such respect then good for you. I don’t. I believe it lost any such right to such protection in waging two aggressive wars, in repeatedly engaging in genocide and operating a brutal totalitarian nepotistic dictatorship. That doesn’t mean there is an obligation to go around and overthrow such regimes – but the regime had no moral rights whatsoever. Reasons to overthrow Saddam include all of that, the unwillingness to allow inspections of WMD facilities on a transparent and open basis, and the malignant nature of his regime which continued to seek the destruction of Israel.

    There is an argument that the West should have sat back and let the regime continue, let it profit from high oil prices today, breach sanctions and build up WMDs again (who honestly thinks he wouldn’t have tried). Yes in hindsight the regime should have been crushed in 1991, but there was a genuine US effort to maintain a wide ranging coalition then that would have been broken up had that happened. About the only cogent argument against overthrowing Saddam is the financial cost, and the risking of soldiers’ lives in doing so (the planning and tactics are a whole other point after you’ve decided to do the job).

  104. r0b 104

    libertyscott: It didn’t allow full inspections as required by umpteen UN Security Council resolutions.

    Iraq allowed full UN inspections from November 2002. The UN reports stated clearly that no WMDs were found.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5878.htm

    On March 7, 2003, just a week prior to the U.S. and British led invasion of Iraq, the U.N. Security Council received testimony from the heads of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons inspectors concerning any weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq. Their testimony represented the unanimous conclusion of over 100 U.N. weapons inspectors who were on site in Iraq for four months just prior to the invasion beginning in November, 2002. Unlike the Bush and Blair administrations, these inspectors, who were from all over the world, had had no vested interest in invading Iraq. They publicly refuted every charge that Secretary of State, Colin Powell, made about chemical and biological weapons could not be substantiated.

    The timeline of all this is explained in detail here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

  105. Dean 105

    oh r0b.

    From your own linked wikipedia page:

    “On October 3, 2003, the world digests David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group report that finds no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, although it states the government intended to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find some “biological laboratories” and a collection of “reference strains”, including a strain of botulinum bacteria, “ought to have been declared to the UN.” Kay testifies that Iraq had not fully complied with UN inspections. In some cases, equipment and materials subject to UN monitoring had been kept hidden from UN inspectors. “So there was a WMD program. It was going ahead. It was rudimentary in many areas”, Kay would say in a later interview.[81] In other cases, Iraq had simply lied to the UN in its weapons programs.[82] The US-sponsored search for WMD had at this point cost $300 million and was projected to cost around $600 million more.”

    Lied to the UN about their programs!

    Equipment kept hidden from inspectors!

    I expect your character asassination of Kay presently.

  106. deemac 106

    can you PLEASE put a word limit on comments!! some of these mad right wing rants take ages to scroll thru. I sure as hell don’t waste my time reading them – they are intended to get us to divert resources from discussing the posts to answering their insane views which is pointless as they don’t take any notice when their positions are comprehensively demolished. The point of blogs like this is debate, not being sidelined into their nutty world views.

    [lprent: Michele (the worst offender today) managed to get banned in almost record time. I’ll keep a closer eye on it. It’d be easy enough to impose a limit – I’ll write one if there isn’t anything available, just to keep it in reserve. Another filter job for monday.]

  107. r0b 107

    Oh Dean

    There was a UN inspections program.

    They didn’t find WMDs.

  108. Paul 108

    Someone pointed out way up at the start that John Key was too young for Vietnam – but he’s the same age as me and I spent my entire teenage years scared of the draft ballot (we were all eligible at 18) – while at the time one had to volunteer to go to Vietnam we all expected that that would/could change any day – it’s a shadow over my teenage years that leaves me unable to join in with the modern ANZAC day fetish – it still reminds me of the RSA who at the time were the first in line wanting to send me off as cannon fodder (good for those young ‘uns character building)

    Honestly Key’s either telling porkies or was entirely disconnected from the world as a youth

    Remember – many years later we found out the only reason Holyoake went into Vietnam was because the US threatened to cut off all trade with NZ if we didn’t – and the Nats folded under the pressure – to keep the farm prices up and kiwis died as a result

  109. Oh brilliant,

    If Key gets elected he will be just in time to lead this country into the next illegal war of aggression. Hi ho,hi ho, it’s of to Iran we go.

    For that new and exiting trade deal with the US. Oh oops thanks to him and his greedy banking mates at the Federal reserve in New York there will be no more USA.

  110. Phil 110

    You seem to be assuming a McCain victory Eve…?

    I cannot help but paraphrase a “West Wing” quote;

    War in Iran? No way. We’re from the National party – we’re stupid, but we’re not THAT stupid.

  111. roger nome 111

    Vietnam was the outcome of erroneous geo-strategic thinking, and as with the Iraq war, faulty intelligence that was elevated to the status of truth by politicians in order to get into a war that was pre-determined by people in the white house.

    Hennery Kissinger (arguably the US’s foremost foreign-policy maker of the cold-war period) concedes the former part now when he admits “we misunderstood the nature of the communist nation state, thinking it was akin to the spread of Hitler’s fascism”. What Kissinger is saying is that the communist block was far less united than Hitler’s fascist block. i.e. China was, in many aspects, in competition with Russia, and many of the soviet satellite states were able to exercise a large degree of autonomy. So the “free world” wasn’t facing a “united communist enemy” as most of the politicians claimed, but was involved in a global system of states with varying degrees of affiliation to the US or Soviet Russia.

    Communism can now be seen as part of a nationalistic “development phase” of the 20th century, which was often a starting place for capital accumulation and infrastructural development, but ultimately unsustainable as a political system because of the desire for higher living standards and political freedom. Communism per see, wasn’t a threat to the US, but the Soviet communist state was. The US’s Vietnam was therefore founded on the erroneous assumption that, “not fighting them there would mean fighting them later at home” (similarities to the “war on terrorism” rhetoric can be found here). Or if we don’t fight them now and stop the spread of communism we’ll end up with a unified enemy that will attempt to defeat us.

    As to the aspect of faulty intelligence being used to justify the pre-determined war: declassified documents show this to be the case.

    As much as anything else, it was an awareness that President Johnson would brook no uncertainty that could undermine his position. Faced with this attitude, Ray Cline was quoted as saying “… we knew it was bum dope that we were getting from Seventh Fleet, but we were told only to give facts with no elaboration on the nature of the evidence. Everyone know how volatile LBJ was. He did not like to deal with uncertainties.

    Page 213:

    http://www.fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/index.html

  112. roger nome 112

    so in Key was wrong on both Vietnam and Iraq – both wars were based on deception through faulty intelligence, and both were strategic blunders.

  113. Hi roger. I do miss you over at kiwiblog deary.
    Kind regards
    d4j
    xx

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