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Killing in the name of

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, December 30th, 2010 - 79 comments
Categories: afghanistan - Tags:

On Christmas Eve, our SAS soldiers in Afghanistan killed two security guards, wounded two others, and arrested 15. None of these people was involved in any terrorist activity. Did the SAS act negligently or was it an unfortunate accident? The Kabul Police want to investigate but, in Afghanistan, our troops are above the law.

It started with a nighttime raid on a building next to the premises of Tiger International Armour in Kabul by the SAS in an attempt to foil a suspected attack on the US Embassy. The raid violated the rule that Afghani forces must lead operations in the capital city.

Tiger International Armour owner Nawid Shah Sakhizada describes what happened:

“When my guards come up into our room and said that this is Isaf firing, what shall we do. We just say that, OK, you are not allowed to fire, to shoot them. From the beginning our security guards did not fire on them,”

Eventually a senior Afghani commander convinced the SAS to stop shooting and apologise

“But I say apology is not enough. I told them, `You did not kill two cows. You killed two human beings’.”

“We want to have them punished and have them … let all people of Afghanistan know that these were innocent people who are dead and innocent people who were injured and the company was only businessmen and they were doing only their business.”

“But then the next day I saw on the news Nato said they had killed two terrorists and arrested all these people. It’s bullshit. Where is the evidence? Where are these people they arrested?”

The men killed by our SAS are Mohammad Sadiq and Abdul Mobin, both married with young children.

The Kabul Police want to prosecute with Mohammad Zaher, head of criminal investigations for the Kabul police, saying:

“When we arrived at the scene people were asking for help, but the foreigners were firing in all directions. We are demanding the punishment of those who were involved in this. They have proved nothing.”

Already an Afghani general has been detained and a colonel fired for their parts in this botch-up but the SAS soldiers, like all foreign troops, have impunity from Afghani law.

Apparently, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) will investigate but who has any faith in the military’s ability to police itself? Have we ever seen prosecutions for all those wedding parties that US drones have blown up? The path to justice for the families of Sadiq and Mobin is closed. It doesn’t have to be that way. In Northern Ireland, British troops were not above the law and every time they killed someone it was investigated by the police as a homicide.

We don’t know the full facts but it looks like the SAS made a hell of a mess of this. They should have more fire discipline. Kabul is a city full of civilians and armed guards – the SAS should know the difference between them and their enemy. That they appear to have fired first and kept on firing when the guards told them who they were looks very bad.

Whether their actions ought to amount to a crime or not, we should all be very uneasy with the fact that our soldiers in Afghanistan have carte blanche to kill whomever they want in our name.

79 comments on “Killing in the name of ”

  1. Tigger 1

    Key getting a White House visit. That’s what they’re killing in the name of.

  2. felix 2

    Let’s see how keen Key is to associate himself with the SAS now.

  3. Gus 3

    Easy when your sitting behind the comfort of your keyboard Eddie. Would love to see you have the opportunity to do what they do for just one hour.

    • Eddie 3.1

      so, you’re saying that whatever the SAS does is OK because they’re the SAS? That we shouldn’t even question whether they were right to kill two innocent men?

      • Gus 3.1.1

        No Im saying that in typical fashion you leap to the conclusion that they made a mess of it whereas for all you know (which is little) that was not the case. Would be an enjoyable hour – for the SAS not you.

        • Eddie 3.1.1.1

          you don’t think it’s a mess that they killed two people, wounded two others, arrested 15, all without encountering the taliban?

          The post doesn’t say the SAS are necessarily criminally to blame for the mess, it says there is a mess and the families of the dead (whom you appear to not give a shit about) have a right to justice and an investigation but they won’t get it because the people killing in our name are above the law.

          As for the ‘be in the SAS for an hour before you can comment on them’ line. What bullshit. Have you ever been an MP or an All Black? No? Well how dare you even question their performance then, how dare you question whether anything an MP or an All Black does it right.

          • Gus 3.1.1.1.1

            And there is the problem with your post. War and in particular special force operations is not like being a MP or an All Black … that point is clearly lost on you. Your definition of a mess in the military sense is just plain ignorance (thats being polite). Get the facts, get an expert military opinion on them and then you could be justified with the position you have taken.

            Again Eddie your reply is characterized by being very emotive and one sided without knowing what really happened. The families that I dont give a shit about … I think I give more of a shit about them than you do. The extent of your caring is what … a crappy emotive factless post? Well done on that, you must be satisfied !

            I think there is one thing we can agree on … its sad that this has happened. Why it has happened … well lets have some trust in the professional and let the experts play the blame game … not unqualified arm chairs critics. You can believe this … the system works the majority of the time and its is beneath contempt to suggest that they are above the law. Huge sacrifices are made by these men at the behest of the Country … is it too much to ask you refrain from this type of dis-respectful post and give the system time to work through what happened.Then by all means hook in if you are outraged by the outcome … based on the facts presented by professional critics.

            I generally like your posts but this time I believe you are being crass and kicking a ‘football’ around without even being qualified to step on the ‘field’.

            Enjoy your new year eve. The guys involved wont be regardless of being in the right or in the wrong … they will be distraught at the lose of life and the wider impact.

    • Vicky32 3.2

      What an idiotic statement Gus! What the SAS did was clearly wrong and bad – I would go so far as to call it evil.
      I am sitting behind my keyboard (actually, in front of it) and I feel entitled to condemn ‘our’ SAS..
      Deb

      • Gus 3.2.1

        Of course it was. Must be wonderful to be so all knowing. Well done. I dont think mine was the idiotic statement !

    • Gus,

      Even if you are still dumb enough to believe that 19 Saudi young men (Huh, not young Afghanis?) with box cutters led by a kidney diseased Saudi maniac in a cave in Afghanistan were able to circumvent the entire NORAD command centre and every air controller in the US for more than 1.5 hours and fly two planes into two towers collapsing three steel framed buildings into pyroclastic flows in free fall speed breaking every single physical law of motion than, according to international law, New Zealand is still involved in war crimes.

      The war in Afghanistan is an illegal war of aggression and conquest based on lies and deception and as such is illegal according to the UN Charter of human rights.

      The very fact is that, even if we don’t, our partners in this epic crime are using illegal weapons of mass destruction resulting in genocide over the next 4.5 billion years which alone should result in trials of everybody involved from the lowest soldier to the likes of Helen Clark and John Key in this country for partaking in this war.

      The murderous attack resulting on the deaths of two Afghani citizens is a mere symptom and not the actual crime. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

      Every foreign soldier and that includes every SAS officer and soldier in Afghanistan is also a war criminal according to the Nuremberg war tribunals and every international law governing war and international conflict.

      Period

      Oh, and the “Wir haben es night gewusst” argument doesn’t count as defence according to the judges at the Nuremberg trials.

      (The video link is to a Dutch video of a “comedian” going to German to ask Germans if they knew. They still to this day deny having known about the concentration camp except the blond lady at the end who after telling that she was one of the concentration camp victims says they all knew they just didn’t want to. I link to it because this is how it sounds in German even after more than 65 years and the erstwhile leaders of their country have all been either executed or jailed for the hideous crimes of the German Reich enabled by its citizens.)

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    SAS ‘fired on first’ in Kabul battle

    The Defence Force insists that New Zealand SAS troops in Afghanistan involved in a fatal shootout were fired upon first.

    Right, can we pull out our SAS now while a full civilian investigation is carried out?

  5. deemac 5

    I would not be surprised if the troops were fired on first – the security guards may well have feared they were under attack by Taliban for instance. That is the best interpretation that can be put on this tragedy. But so long as NZ has troops in Ahghanistan, it is likely that more such pointless deaths will occur.

  6. Bored 6

    Afganistan is a total nightmare, quite frankly the “west” in general whether US or the rest of us has made a total balls up since backing the anti Soviet forces years ago. To stay on the basis of “putting it right” goes directly against the track record of cocking it up. Bets to pull out the troops and let the Afganis sort it out.

  7. We should not have any combat troops in any country supporting an illegal foreign occupation. For these troops to carry out this murderous act they had to be there in the first place. The responsibility for this crime rests squarely on the shoulders of whom ever was responsible for those troops being sent there in the first place.

  8. Galeandra 8

    Gus reckons that ‘ the system works the majority of the time and its is beneath contempt to suggest that they are above the law. ‘ Wikileaks shows otherwise.

  9. Gus 9

    Really … post the link to the wikileaks evidence to back up your claim. Easy to toss around wikileaks like you do as if that puts all doubts to rest. Sometimes it is better to not post anything and not be thought a fool than to post something like that and then it be clearly evident you are one.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      You should probably take you’re own advice. The leaks of official US correspondence shows that the system doesn’t work most of the time. The hounding of Assange(sp?) by the US shows that this is to be hidden from the rest of us at all costs.

      • Gus 9.1.1

        The system does work most of the time. You just dont know it. What the leaks have done is highlight failures and official opinion some of which is unflattering. Fair enough. What are you saying now though ? That wikileaks casts a pall over the whole system ? Grow up.

  10. Jenny 10

    The official NZDF statement not accredited to any serving NZDF officer:

    “Our Troops were fired at first”

    Faceless senior NZDF officers, too gutless to risk their own careers by putting their name to the NZDF official claim, that the SAS were fired on first.

    Instead in an act of public damage control, the NZDF get a retiree to defend them.

    Former army boss backs SAS

    Major Lou Gardiner (retired), having no official role, or post in the NZDF, can make outrageous public claims that later may prove to be embarrassing, and not have to wear any consequences if his statements are proved wrong.

    Through the kind offices of Major Lou Gardiner (retired) the NZDF impugn their accusers from a position of safety. In the event that the NZDF are ever challenged, Major Lou Gardiner (retired) and his statements can be cut loose with little harm to the NZDF.

    It seems the NZDF have been reading up on the handbook on ‘plausible deniability’.

    In countering the bad publicity Major Lou Gardiner (retired), is counter-claiming that this is all just Taliban propaganda. (under the principle of ‘plausible deniability, the NZDF can distance themselves from such outrageous claims if need be, ‘)

    It is a classic first step in a public relations campaign, get some non-accountable individual with credible links to the official administration to put your side of the story to the public. While at the same time avoid every opportunity to come out in the open yourself.

    Next step, after Major Lou Gardiner (retired) puts it about that it is all a Taliban plot. Play it down, sit tight, stay hidden, refuse to comment, and wait for the story to fade from the headlines.

    In a statement almost Colonel Blimp like in its racist arrogance, Major Lou Gardiner (retired) “said he would back what the SAS troops said over anyone else, particularly someone in Afghanistan whose credibility could not be confirmed.”

    I wonder what Colonel Mohammed Zahir, director of criminal investigations for the Kabul police, who arrived at the scene shortly after the raid began, would think of this statement?

    Is this Afghan eye witness pushing Taliban propaganda, as Major Lou Gardiner (retired) is claiming?

    Colonel Zahir and other witnesses described a scene with coalition forces firing at the Afghan police and refusing to transport wounded detainees for medical care.

    Of course Colonel Zahir is not a member of our fine fighting forces and a foreigner to boot, so automatically his account is not to be trusted.

    We don’t need to hear the facts, or have an investigation. We don’t need to see NZDF officials take any responsibility.

    Just the pontifications of Major Lou Gardiner (retired) in our media will do.

  11. Anne 11

    “It seems the NZDF have been reading up on the handbook on ‘plausible deniability’.”

    Sounds to me like they’ve hired Crosby/Textor 😉
    Are we – the tax-payers – paying the bill?

  12. Jenny 12

    It’s amazing to me that those who send others to kill on our behalf are too cowardly to stand behind even their own words.

    As long as no one feels responsible, or accountable, or has the courage to openly stand up and justify what is done by our soldiers in our name, then outrages are almost guaranteed.

  13. Jenny 13

    NZDF leaders probably believe “The ends justifies the means”.

    Rotten ends, require rotten means.

    The NZDF (or any one else) are not prepared to detail their ends. They also refuse to (openly and honestly) defend the means being used to achieve those ends.

    The closest description we have to what our forces are trying to achieve in Afghanistan, is the vague, “we are part of an international effort to rid the world of terrorism.”

    So what success are we having?

    According to leaked reports the deaths of civilians by foreign forces in Afghanistan is fuelling the insurgency.

    So by even under their own vague ‘end’, of helping rid the world of terrorism, the NZDF have failed.

    The Greens have called for the March withdrawal of all NZDF forces from Afghanistan.

    In light of their abject failure to achieve their ‘end’, the NZDF withdrawal should be sooner, rather than later. Before the blow back from their ‘means’ reaches back here.

  14. Graeme 14

    war is a bitch, people die. in the bigger picture, anything that helps the lives of those poor bastards that live there in future can only be a good thing.

    we tend to forget about the absolute brutality the taliban have rained down on its own people over the years, a couple of innocents killed is small fry compared to the damage done by their own people.

    if you peaceniks had your way, they would be still be stoning woman to death over there for daring to speak when they werent spoken to.

    nice.

    • For Gods sake,

      How exactly can the use of Depleted uranium widely condemned as a weapon of mass destruction actually help the “poor buggers” in the future? And while I have no truck with people stoning other people for whatever reason the Taliban is just a Western name for the more extremist in a feudal and brutal land where we have absolutely no business being and what’s more were our presence is changing absolutely nothing for anybody least of all women for the better.

      • Gus 14.1.1

        Of course this must be based on your numerous visits to the Country and region and of course your in depth research and lets not forget your network of contacts based there … is that how you reach this conclusion ? Forgive my armchair sarcasim, its not personal.

    • Adele 14.2

      Teenaa koe, Graeme

      The bigger picture is that war is not the answer – it won’t rid humanity of its darker ambitions, or the hate fueled ideologies of adherents. On the contrary, its more likely to fuel increased aggression. I also have to wonder how empathetic you were to those poor bastards before the war began – did you know or even care about the plight of the average afghani before being fed Bush tucker by fox news.

      And how flippant would you be at two lives lost if those lives were part of yours. ‘She’ll be right mate, they were great kids – the missus and I will miss ’em – but hang, they’re small fry compared to killing talabanese.’

    • Descendant Of Smith 14.3

      And the invasion has made this better how? To quote from recent letter from Chomsky responding to criticism he had received:

      The invasion of Afghanistan “was undertaken with the expectation that it might drive several million people over the edge of starvation.” That is precisely accurate. Published estimates were that the numbers at the edge of starvation increased by 50 percent to 7.5 million. That is why aid agencies bitterly condemned the bombing, joined by leading Afghan opponents of the Taliban. And why, months later, Harvard’s noted specialist on Afghanistan, Samina Ahmed, wrote in International Security that “millions of Afghans are at grave risk of starvation.”

      So a 50% increase in starvation is acceptable?

      I’m not a peacenik either but I’ve never been able to see any significant justification for going to Afghanistan which I guess is the crux of the issue and it doesn’t appear that things have got better.

      The stoning argument that you propose would be even more justified for instance if South Africa had been invaded to get rid of apartheid – it seems a pretty flimsy justification to go invade another country.

      It’s also quite clear that there was significant opposition within Afghanistan to the Taliban. given time they may have likely resolved the issues themselves – or may not we will never know.]]

      What does seem evident is that the invasion was poorly thought out and planned – in particular the post invasion strategy – even with the prior knowledge of the nine year Soviet occupation and the difficulty that entailed.

    • Colonial Viper 14.4

      we tend to forget about the absolute brutality the taliban have rained down on its own people over the years, a couple of innocents killed is small fry compared to the damage done by their own people.

      We tend to forget how the United States decided to fight a proxy war in central asia, helped move thousands of religious fighters from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to Afghanistan, arm them, train them, help them to defeat the USSR, and then when that happened, promptly shifted their attention elsewhere, leaving the perfect conditions for a newly armed and militant religious movement to take over.

      As a warmonger you should become more familiar with this term: blowback.

    • AndrewK 14.5

      The problem is, Graeme, the people ‘we’ are ‘supporting’ are not the feminist sympathisers people like you pretend they are, their brutality towards women is no different than that of the Taliban. I have no doubt women are still being stoned to death by the ‘good guys’ being propped up by our combat troops.

      It is actually quit naive to believe the West is in Afghanistan to fight for women’s rights, human rights or democracy. The US and its flunkies are building up a military force in the Middle East to ‘secure’ the planets largest energy reserves. As those reserves become depleted and the demand for oil grows, controlling access to that prize will extract a massive cost in lives, resources and productive capacity over the coming decades.

      It is becoming more and more apparent that it is only a matter of time before Iran is selected for ‘democratisation’ in the US’s Orwellian titled ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.

    • Vicky32 14.6

      You’re sadly mistaken Graeme, if you believe that the illegal invasion of Afghanistan has improved life in any way for the ‘poor bastards!’ The Taliban (an American creation BTW) have been replaced by various warlords who are as bad or worse.
      Methinks you are a tad gullible…
      Deb

  15. henry olongo 15

    Having served in the NZDF for some years and alongside SAS operatives, I am saddened, but not surprised by this news. The NZ public are naive about what this corps actually do. They are trained and practised in the murder of targets who are usually armed but sometimes political. That means ‘collateral damage’ is routine.

  16. crashcart 16

    I know it doesn’t help you to make your point Deb but all of that faceless communication comes from Navy Commander Bradshaw. Any slight attempt to google who the communications head for NZDF or hell even reading an article fully would have provided this information. From the moment NZDF had information on this he has been the one fronting and providing any information he recievs.

    The war in Afgahnistan is unfortunate and i don’t think that there is ever going ot be a good end to it. Either the US forces which we back will stay in there forever and there is never any peace or every one pulls out now and les the country decend into caos. I hate to say it but the second option is the only real one as there is hope that at the end of it they will be able to recover from the hell that has been imposed on them.

    As to those who claim these soldiers are above teh law. Far from it. They will always be subject to the laws of armed conflict which stricktly govern when deadly force can be used. There will be an enquiry into what has happened and if these young men have acted contrivention to these laws they have more chance of being found guilty then any regular murderer in New Zealand.

    Oh and one more fact correction. The raid was not a raid. It was a defencive perimiter set up near the US embassy due to inteligence of a credible threat. The security gaurds were entering the cordon when they were stopped to be checked by NZ SAS troops under the control of Afgan security forces as well.

    • Vicky32 16.1

      crashcart, I fear you were mixing me up with Jenny, on the subject of ‘faceless communication’…
      Nevertheless, I want to comnent on something else you have said “Either the US forces which we back will stay in there forever and there is never any peace or every one pulls out now and les the country decend into chaos.”
      Afaik, it is a situation of chaos now! (Did you mean ‘and lets’ when you said ‘and les’? I have assumed that…)
      I hope there is a fair and honest enquiry, but somehow I doubt it..
      Deb

    • Jenny 16.2

      Crashcart, Commander Phil Bradshaw is attached to the navy.

      Commander Bradshaw’s official role is as communications director for the NZDF, a role analogous to that of a Public Relations officer for a civilian corporation.

      Naval Commander Bradshaw’s job, is to hand official NZDF press statements generated in any of the three branches of the military to the media.

      Despite his rank: As a PR person, Naval Commander Phil Bradshaw, takes no more responsibility for what is in official press releases, than does a civilian PR officer employed by a private company.

      He does not attribute the statement to himself, or quote any senior NZDF official.

      This is sharp contrast to the witness of Colonel Mohammed Zahir, director of criminal investigations for the Kabul police. Who did not resort to handing a press release to any official PR spokesperson. Instead Colonel Zahir, had the courage to put his name and reputation on the line, by putting out his own statement.

      To bad our own commanders can’t put out their own statements.

      Instead our military commanders, feel the need to hide behind a PR person.

      As I maintained:

      “Faceless senior NZDF officers, (are) too gutless to risk their own careers by putting their name to the NZDF official claim, that the SAS were fired on first.”

  17. Derek 17

    How do you know they were innocent. If you don’t think the Taleban work hard on propaganda you’re a moron.

    I’m not saying the SAS are innocent but you’re jumping quickly to conclusions. Stinky hippy.

    I’m sure you think we should just let Afghanistan be?

    • Eddie 17.1

      “How do you know they were innocent.”

      How do you know they’re guilty? No-one has claimed these guys were anything other than security guards. No-one has suggested they were Taliban. If you’re going to assume anyone the SAS kills is guilty, then you might as well say kill ’em all. That certainly seems to be how the Yanks fight.

      “I’m not saying the SAS are innocent but you’re jumping quickly to conclusions”

      The SAS apologised for killing these people. Do you apologise when you’re innocent and the others are in the wrong?

      “I’m sure you think we should just let Afghanistan be?”

      Statements don’t end in question marks. The West has a responsibility to Afghanistan. That responsibility does not include going around shooting innocent men.

    • Jenny 17.2

      Derek, Don’t you think that the testimony of someone who was at the scene and is prepared to give his name and rank, behind his statement. Is more credible, than a non-attributable press release from the NZDF?

    • Vicky32 17.3

      “Stinky hippy.”
      Very mature, Derek… 🙂
      Deb

  18. Derek 18

    Eddie, I like your subtle notes on the grammar. It reminds me of the right wing posters on trademe. I feel home….

    Let’s look at your article.

    Early on you hit us with this..

    “On Christmas Eve, our SAS soldiers in Afghanistan killed two security guards, wounded two others, and arrested 15. None of these people was involved in any terrorist activity”

    SAS = guilty! Security guards = Awwwww

    But then oddly you go on to say

    “We don’t know the full facts but it looks like the SAS made a hell of a mess of this”

    …I don’t know the facts but here I go……it was the SAS!!!! They did it!!!!

    Your answer is somewhere in there. I’ll give you a hint..you don’t know. You tell us that.

    To my original point, you’re just jumping to conclusions. This is a nothing story, it feels a little bit like an episode of Glenn Beck. “Now I’m not saying, but!”.

    • Jenny 18.1

      This is a nothing story…..

      Derek

      Ah Derek I see you are already getting onto stage II

      In countering the bad publicity Major Lou Gardiner (retired), is counter-claiming that this is all just Taliban propaganda.

      It is a classic first step in a public relations campaign, get some non-accountable individual with credible links to the official administration to put your side of the story to the public. While at the same time avoid every opportunity to come out in the open yourself.

      Next step, after Major Lou Gardiner (retired) puts it about that it is all a Taliban plot. Play it down, sit tight, stay hidden, refuse to comment, and wait for the story to fade from the headlines.

      Jenny

  19. Marjorie Dawe 19

    Regardless of whether it was an accident or not, the SAS are trained to kill terrorists. I worry about our good country’s reputation going down the toilet and New Zealanders becoming a target either within NZ or when we travel overseas. We never used to be and I think that our combat troops are putting us all at risk. I hope it is not too late to amend that situation.

  20. Derek 20

    Jenny, what I am trying to say is you have no basis for your argument. Can you imagine trying to write an essay, using your points? Where is your evidence? Even Eddie admits he doesn’t know. What is worse though is the fact he makes an assumption and then tries to pass it off as a fact. It’s exactly the same tactics Glenn Beck uses to convince his audience that Obama is some kind of communist. The reality is, Eddie doesn’t know. You strike me as the kind of person who thinks 9/11 was an inside job.

    Personally I expect better from thestandard. Some of the articles on here are brilliant.

    As for Marjorie, are you f’n serious? You’re worried about the slim chance you might be harmed while on holiday? That’s laughable. You’d rather sacrifice the good people of Afganistan to the harsh control of the Taleban so you can rest easy next summer….classy.

    • Vicky32 20.1

      “You’d rather sacrifice the good people of Afganistan to the harsh control of the Taleban so you can rest easy next summer….classy.”
      Derek, it has already been pointed out to others, that the American invasion has simply made things a whole lot worse, as warlords have replaced the Taleban – who, btw were an American creation in the first place!
      Deb

      • Derek 20.1.1

        So you’re saying that you’d rather have the country under the control of the Taleban. You understand now that under the coalition forces young girls are free to be educated for example? You talk to a huge number of people and they’re a whole lot more happier without the Taleban.

        This is what it comes down to isn’t it? You’re against this war, so anything to argue against it, is taken as fact.

        Do you remember what government sent us to Afganistan?

        • Bright Red 20.1.1.1

          Key sent the SAS back into Afghanistan.

          I don’t get this:

          “SAS = guilty! Security guards = Awwwww”

          are you mocking the security guards that the SAS killed? that’s dark, man. No-one has accused these men of any terrorist activity and the SAS apologised for killing them but your attitude seems to be ‘diddums’. They didn’t deserve to die.

          You need to learn some empathy. But for the good luck of living in this country, that could have been you at the wrong end of a foreign soldier’s rifle

          • Derek 20.1.1.1.1

            Ha, I said what Government?

            No brightred, that is not what I am saying, I think you missed the point. I’m trying to make a point where Eddie has based his assumption on nothing. His story is made to make us feel sorry for the security guards while blaming the SAS, all the while admitting that he (Eddie) doesn’t know. It’s emotional writing that stinks of Fox News.

            Should we leave the country to the Taleban? If only magical fairies existed and the world was a big care bear.

            • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Should we leave the country to the Taleban? If only magical fairies existed and the world was a big care bear.

              LOLz mate don’t even try to start down this track. Did you see how long the US effectively ignored the situations in Darfur and East Timor because they had not strategic interests there? Then pulled out of Somalia when it got too hot, and no benefits to US interests were seen?

              BTW isn’t the reason the US got into Afgahnistan 9/11? And specifically because Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden are hiding there?

              How is that working out?

              You do remember how US interference set up the conditions for the Taleban to take over in Afghanistan right? By shipping in religious militants from all over the Muslim world, training them and arming them with state of the art munitions to fight a proxy war against the USSR?

              And then when the USSR was beaten and US interests had been accomplished, what were all those highly trained and experienced religious fighters going to do?

              Seriously lolz to you mate, perhaps you could look up the term “blowback” next time you are on wikipedia.

              • Derek

                Hahahahaha “lolz”?? Really? Are you a 14 year old drop out?

                I’m going to start down that track. Everyone is moaning about a group of people killed in Afganistan. What is the alternative? You want to leave and give it back to the Taleban?? What happens then to the people living there? Under the Taleban, woman were truly second class citizens, unable to walk the streets with a male or to go to school. People were killed at random with ease. And! Something I’m you enjoy doing every 3 years, woman (and men) can now vote! It’s very easy to have the conversation we’re having here, imagine doing this under the Taleban, then imagine doing this in public, and then imagine doing all that with a vagina!

                None of you want to answer that! The alternative? What would happen if we all left?

                Regardless of what you think, the war will continue. Let’s also not forget it was the LABOUR government who committed our troops and support.

                PS: I like the 100 level history lesson on Afganistan. So cute lolzz *–**Love**–**

                • Pascal's bookie

                  For someone who claims to object to emotional language and fox style argumentation you are awfully fond of this argument about the ‘Taliban taking over’ and what that would mean for the women there, who would lose their newfound liberal democratic freedoms.

                  Now, seeing as how I’m turning over a new leaf for the new year, I’m going to assume that this argument of yours is heartfelt and genuine*, rather than the asshatted dishonest and partisan (why would anyone care that it was a labour govt that first sent troops) bullshit it most certainly appears to be.

                  So I’ll just ask for your thoughts on an incident from almost exactly year ago.

                  No emotive nonsense in response please.

                  Hard analysis of the facts and strategies in play with regard to COIN doctrine and preventing the rise of the Taliban, and how that intersects with the the right of women to an education that you are, I am charitably assuming from your comments, very concerned about.

                  http://www.newshoggers.com/blog/2010/01/not-winning-the-village.html

                  ABC has a story from Afghanistan right now about a female Major on a PRT team who, after the local malevillagers cancelled a meeting about a new girl’s school, went ahead and had a secret meeting about a secret school with the women of the village anyway.

                  The entire story, by embaed Karen Russo, is presented through a lens of women’s rights and children’s education = good. And that’s fair enough. But there’s no mention whatsoever of the long-term consequences of the Major’s decision to go behind the menfolks’ backs. This is an area that the U.S. military is trying to wrest from Taliban control, and the menfolk are the ones with the guns. What’s going to be their reaction when they discover that their American would-be-friends have deceived them and undermined their wishes in this way?

                  The fallout of this subterfuge is almost certain to be a counter-insurgency fail, and an officer in a PRT team, who are meant to be the switched-on experts, should surely have taken all this into account when deciding on a course of action. I’m left wondering whether it’s just the case that the major got over-zealous and over-optimistic or whether she had a “check-list” of things to do and worried that her promotion review prospects would suffer if she didn’t check all the boxes no matter what. Either way, it is just another example of how the U.S. military seems to be incapable of getting real about COIN, uanble to turn words in manuals into actions on a systemic basis.

                  What are your general, or specific, thoughts about that? I trusts it isn’t too emotional for you.

                  *In order to assume this I’m having to accept that you are just plain ignorant of several facts, not the least of which is that the current plan is to co-opt elements of the Taliban into the government structure, rather than trying to defeat them. Another strongly related fact is that Obama’s mission, as stated in his speeches on the subject, is solely about preventing safe haven for AQ. The sort of government Afghanistan has beyond that is explicitly of secondary importance, if that.

                  • lprent

                    Pb: I think he looks like a bit like a dimshit troll. But he hasn’t done nothing to kick in my moderator instincts yet part from some characteristic moronic cackling and some badly argued ideas regurgitated from one of the usual sources (and he misunderstood those).

                    You should try him on the 19th century history in the area. I seem to remember many of the same arguments about what happens when empires leave (or far more frequently get booted out through a failure to finish a war).

                    Personally I suspect that he won’t get around to reading the policy and will get a ban for basic stupidity.

                • Colonial Viper

                  You are welcome for the lesson mate.

                  Didn’t really expect you to learn from history – but then again you did not disappoint.

                  None of you want to answer that! The alternative? What would happen if we all left?

                  The Afghan people would look after themselves, like they have for the last four thousand years.

                  BTW, lolz 2 u for advocating the compounding of previous US errors in the area.

    • Jenny 20.2

      “Jenny, what I am trying to say is you have no basis for your argument. Can you imagine trying to write an essay, using your points? Where is your evidence?”

      Derek

      Derek

      I have never commented on the facts of the case itself.

      Just on the cowardice of the senior NZDF officers who refuse to personally back their version of these events.

      Instead of using an intermediary to put their case. Those officers in a responsible position need to come out and openly stand behind their words.

      By not taking personal responsibility for the actions of their subordinates, senior NZDF officers are showing a lack of accountability.

      No one in the NZDF being personally prepared to be held accountable for the behaviour of the SAS, virtually guarantees abuse.

      Are they ashamed of what the SAS are doing?

      Gen. Rhys Jones, or some other responsible senior officer, in the NZDF, needs to take some responsibility for these events. and put out a statement in his own name.

      “I General …….., as the officer responsible to all New Zealanders for the overall actions training and the deployment and behaviour of the SAS. Give my personal assurance that the SAS did not fire the first shot.”

      As the commander I take full responsibility for the actions carried out by the SAS in their deployment.
      During the unfolding of the particular alleged attacked on a civilian compound in Kabul, the SAS acted in line with training and under the operating directions of engagement as given to them under my warrant which are by law not outside the Geneva Conventions.

      If any subsequent disclosure relating to these events, determines that any, or some, of my above assurances are incorrect. Then I will hand in my commission.”

      My simple point is that those who take it on themselves to kill other human beings for a ’cause’ , should be at the least be able to make a case to explain and justify their actions. And courageously be prepared to face the consequences if their explanations and justifications fall short.

      Operational secrecy is a poor excuse for not accepting responsibility.

  21. Derek 21

    Haha getting you hippies wound up aren’t I? Pascal, would Afganistan be better off under the control of the Taleban? Short answer – no. Woman’s rights under the Taleban are an example I have used. 8==3

    That’s a wonderful link you have provided and I think you’re right, based on that 1 scenario, we should pack up and leave this war. And let’s not forget some guys who were or weren’t taleban were accidently killed, it’s all too much, let’s go home..

    If we go back to the original point, it’s bullshit based on 1 guys opinion. Michael Laws does an opinion piece as well you know…

    Go back to riding your unicyle up and down Cuba Street.

    [lprent: You are obviously a just a bullshitting troll without any ability to even argue your point in an interesting fashion. Read the policy and write something worth reading or I will boot you off the site permanently. There is nothing in your past comments that shows you are worth keeping here. You appear to be incapable of contributing.. ]

    • Pascal's bookie 21.1

      Perhaps you could try reading my comment Derek. I’ve already addressed the issue of your ignorance about the current plan in Afghanistan.

      You don’t seem to have any thoughts about the link. That’s a shame.

      As in, shameful.

      We are remarkably fortunate to live in a country whose military is both all volunteer and sworn to follow civilian orders. I consider this to be a very precious thing in many number of ways. The least important thing about it is its historical rarity. But even for that least important reason, it is something to take seriously.

      In order to take it seriously, a citizen should think about whether or not the nature of our military (volunteer and under civilian control), places any duty upon them (as a citizen). It clearly does to me. The military have very few options with regard to their deployments. Citizens therefore should take very seriously their duty with regard to keeping an eye on what those deployments are about and their chances for success or failure.

      That at least is my view, yours seems to differ, as is your right of course. But still, (and this again is just my view, which is similarly my right), as I said, shameful.

      • Derek 21.1.1

        I can agree that the tactics used by the Americans in Afganistan haven’t been the best. The fact it has lasted this long is obviously an example of this. But this war was never going to be short or easy. No one of course has ever gone to Afganistan and won.

        I have indeed read your article, and it is a worrying sign that seems to be a recurring theme in this war. The Americans (and it’s allies) must work closely with the locals to make this thing really work.

        However,

        I do think that if everybody leaves, Afganistan will again be where it was when the Russians left. I do support the war in Afganistan, but more so, I think New Zealand’s effort which, at least under the Labour Government, seemed more focused on rebuilding and working with the Afghani people as the most effective approach. This is why I use woman as an example of this. They have schools for girls, not seen under the previous regime, which have been created through simply working with the locals. This is surely an example that something is working.

        History will teach us that this war cannot be won, but surely the positives outweigh the negatives.

        • Pascal's bookie 21.1.1.1

          The point of the link isn’t just that it is an example of an hard to deal with incident, but that it is a description of the dynamic writ large.

          “working with the locals” and building schools, and what not is great stuff in and of itself, but if and where it runs counter to the primary aim of the mission, or conflicts with those aims, then what does that tell you about the primary aims of the mission and how we will have to fight in order to achieve those aims?

          That link describes a situation where ‘working with the locals’ to deny the taliban control of the area would mean not schooling the women. But schooling the local women behind the local men’s backs means not only that the men will lose all confidence in working with us, but that we will be responsible for what happens to the schools and those involved in them when we leave, as leave we eventually will.

          The ‘taliban’ are largely pashtun and make up at least a plurality and more likely a majority of the country. They are certainly the most powerful faction if you ignore the Pakistan border that bisects their nation. The pashtun make up only ten percent of the ANA that we are training. Of those that we train, a huge number don’t show up to duty after training or leave the various military and paramilitary forces within months. Where they are going is an interesting question.

          All the talk about saving ‘afghanistan from the taliban’ hides the fact that the taliban are from afghanistan. We are essentially in the business of defending a government from a huge number of people that don’t want it to be its citizens. The taliban are not the foreigners, we are, and we are propping up the govt. The elections are a joke, the govt itself is horrendously corrupt and Karzai has made many noises that he himself prefers the taliban to us. Which tells you how well our efforts at legitimising his govt as a way of preventing any re-takeover by the taliban is going.

          On top of that we have no plan abut how to deal with the cross border issues. we have no plan to deal with either Pakistani or Indian interests in Afghanistan, and seem intent on further radicalising the border regions with stepped up drone attacks. How this can possibly help stabilise either Pakistan or Afghanistan in a way favourable to western values eludes me.

          So no, I don’t think the positives surely outweigh the negatives.

          • Derek 21.1.1.1.1

            I guess that is where we differ. I do think the positives outweigh the negatives. Sure, thing can be dealt with better, but for me it comes down to whether the people are better or worse off without the Taleban. Personally they’re better off. Sure we can say that we’re foreigners in their country and that they make up a majority, but so did the Nazi’s in Germany when they were gasing jews.

            It’s like the Taleban never killed anyone. They killed their own with ease. At the end of the day, it’s a small number of people exerting their beliefs over a huge number of people. Surely you’ve read articles and books as to what it what like under their control? It’d be Rodney Hide’s wet dream.

            • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1.1.1

              So Derek, why isn’t the US in Sudan saving lives? Or Somalia? Why hasn’t the US intervened in Zimbabwe?

              What makes Afghanistan so special? And how on earth did hunting down Osama Bin Laden suddenly turn into a war longer than World War II?

              I guess that is where we differ. I do think the positives outweigh the negatives.

              You’re welcome to think this of course, but it better be positive as the war effort (including the extra 1400 marines Obama has said are now going in) is now costing a fraction under $1B/month.

              Did you know that millions of people become homeless each year in the US? Did you know that tens of millions of americans have no health services, even after the latest health reforms?

              A billion USD a month spent in Afghanistan. Wow.

              Spent on a country reputed to have a government with internal corruption from top to bottom. A government that the US is supporting. Wow.

              • Colonial Viper

                I fraked up. The war in Afghanistan is not going to cost the US almost $1B per month this coming year.

                Its going to cost them almost $10B per month ($9.2B/month to be more precise, over US$2B per week).

                Total US$110B in spending budgeted this coming year.

              • Derek

                There you go..http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4542807/SAS-confirms-Afghan-gunfight

                “The video imagery has captured the heat plumes from weapons as they are fired,” Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae said today.

                “It clearly shows the New Zealanders came under fire from an Afghan ‘security guard’ and that the New Zealanders only returned fire in self defence because they were at risk of death or serious injury. The guard was wounded during the exchange of fire and then retreated into a nearby building”

                “The New Zealand forces yelled a command for the Afghans to stop. Because they were in immediate danger they then returned fire at the two Afghan security guards, which resulted in their deaths. The video imagery shows what appears to be a heat plume coming from one of the security guards weapons, indicating that at least one of them opened fire at close range on the New Zealanders before they returned the fire.”

                The Kiwi soldiers had also found items consistent with the intelligence that had suggested an imminent attack on the US embassy.

                • Colonial Viper

                  “The New Zealand forces yelled a command for the Afghans to stop. Because they were in immediate danger they then returned fire at the two Afghan security guards, which resulted in their deaths.

                  Oh, this is effective. I’m sure the Afghan security guards heard this ÿelled command” over the sounds of their AK-47’s, which they were using while doing their job: protecting their compound from armed attack by the Taliban and other bandits.

            • Jenny 21.1.1.1.1.2

              “I do think the positives outweigh the negatives”

              Derek

              Derek I think your faith in the NZDF, (and by extension the US military), is probably sincere.

              So since the NZDF has set the precedent of using retired officers to put their case for them, I thought you might like this analysis of the US military, by retired U.S. Air Force officer, William Astor.

              You can read it here

              As a minor satrap of this mighty force, a lot of the description of the the US officer corp could also apply to the NZDF :

              …..though most Americans don’t know it, within U.S. military circles much criticism exists of an officer corps of “tarnished brass” that is deficient in professionalism; of generals who are more concerned with covering their butts than leading from the front; of instruction at military academies that is divorcedfrom war’s realities; of an aversion “to innovation or creativity… [leading to] an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism” that undermines strategy and makes a hash of counterinsurgency efforts. Indeed, our military’s biting criticism of itself is one of the few positive signs in a fighting force that is otherwise overstretched, deeply frustrated, and ridiculously overpraised by genuflecting politicians.

              The difference between the NZDF and the US military, being that the internal self awareness in the US military of their failings, is in sharp contrast to the NZDF who still tend to believe all their own hype unquestioningly.

              You often heard it expressed by NZDF personal with the myth:

              <"If the US army was as good as the New Zealand army they would have won the Vietnam War."

              capcha – “citizen”

            • Jenny 21.1.1.1.1.3

              “I do think the positives outweigh the negatives”

              Derek

              Derek I think your faith in the NZDF, (and by extension the US military), is probably sincere.

              So since the NZDF has set the precedent of using retired officers to put their case for them, I thought you might like this analysis of the US military, by retired U.S. Air Force officer, William Astor.

              http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175337/tomgram:_william_astore,_we're_number_one_(in_self-promotion)/#more

              As a minor satrap of this mighty force, a lot of the description of the the US officer corp could also apply to the NZDF :

              …..though most Americans don’t know it, within U.S. military circles much criticism exists of an officer corps of “tarnished brass” that is deficient in professionalism; of generals who are more concerned with covering their butts than leading from the front; of instruction at military academies that is divorcedfrom war’s realities; of an aversion “to innovation or creativity… [leading to] an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism” that undermines strategy and makes a hash of counterinsurgency efforts. Indeed, our military’s biting criticism of itself is one of the few positive signs in a fighting force that is otherwise overstretched, deeply frustrated, and ridiculously overpraised by genuflecting politicians.

              The difference between the NZDF and the US military, being that the internal self awareness in the US military of their failings, is in sharp contrast to the NZDF who still tend to believe all their own hype unquestioningly.

              You often heard it expressed by NZDF personal with the myth:

              <"If the US army was as good as the New Zealand army they would have won the Vietnam War."

              capcha – “citizen”

              • Colonial Viper

                I’ve got no doubt that the front line personnel and NCOs in the NZDF are top notch. Some of the management and admin decisions however…you just need to look through the official criticisms of the NZDF purchase process for the multi million dollar LAV III’s to get a feel of a few of the organisational cultural and turf war issues.

        • Deborah Kean 21.1.1.2

          I assume you mean ‘women’ not woman, Derek…
          I really don’t believe that the positives outweigh the negatives… it would be nice if that was so, but it isn’t.
          Deb

  22. Derek 22

    As George W. Bush once said ‘if it feels good, do it’.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      So the Afghan security guard was just doing his job then when he was killed? His job being to protect his compound from unknown armed assault? Not sure how he was to know that it was the NZ SAS assaulting his workplace as opposed to the Taliban etc, since his firm did work for the allies.

  23. Derek 24

    the end

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