The war is not over for the children

Written By: - Date published: 5:18 pm, October 11th, 2007 - 26 comments
Categories: iraq - Tags:

For people visiting www.thewariniraqisnotover.com, I am tempted to add another requirement for those feeling genuinely outraged at John Key’s statement on the war in Iraq. Make a donation to the Save the Children Fund and demonstrate some practical support for the bad state of affairs in that sad country.

The effect of the war in Iraq on children

In May 2003, the Save the Children website headlined, “The War Is Not Over For The Children Of Iraq“, then went on to say, “the bombing has stopped in Iraq but the break down in basic services, including power, clean water and waste disposal has led to a sudden and overwhelming increase in gastro-intestinal infections & one of the most serious threats facing children in any emergency and likely to kill significantly more children than bullets or bombs.”

In fact the bombing didn’t stop and Bush’s “War on Terror” continues to this day. John Key can redeem himself a little if he donates at least a week’s pay to the children of Iraq.

How about it John?

26 comments on “The war is not over for the children”

  1. ahod 1

    I don’t think it is the job of ‘the standard’ to tell somebody what to do with their earnings. If you really want to use your position of privilege as media, then use it to get the Government to spend more on cases like that, don’t do a futile gimmick like ‘forfeit your cash Mr Key!’
    I don’t forgive Mr. Key for saying something so thoughtlessly stupid and offencive, but I don’t accept this website saying something like that.

  2. Robinson 2

    Bro, it’s not “privilege as media” it’s a blog.

  3. ahod 3

    Re-think your statement, Robinson. This is a forum which cites news and reaches an audience, a blog is most certainly a media.

  4. Robinson 4

    My point is that it is not privilege (I’d never deny that it’s not media). Anyone with web access, such as yourself, can start a blog and state their own opinions and the opinion of this poster is that Key should contribute to the children of Iraq. Just as your (equally valid) opinion as a commenter on the post is that he shouldn’t if he doesn’t want to. It’s a banal point I know but it’s one we need to remind ourselves of.

  5. ahod 5

    True, it depends how one looks at it, blogs are either the epitome of free speech, or a compilation of unwanted bias opinion. Ironically, the majority of the time, both the former and the latter mean the same thing.
    Po marie.

  6. Lee C 6

    This is a shameful hideous, cynical use of those poor peoples’ suffering so that you can score some cheap political point over here in the relative safety and security of New Zealand. you really should grow up. You are just exploiting the suffeing of others, and making it appear like you are somehow entitled to occupy a higher moral plateau. To think it’some to this. It’s the kind of thoughtless, immature crap you might get in a student rag, not in a blog which purports to be a positive contribution to the Labour movement.
    And to illustate it with a picture of some poor kid running from the aftermath of a car-bomb….. Absolutely disgusting.
    Assholes.
    Please do not reply to this with some lecture on how it is valid to use such images to bring home the severity of Key’s remarks about Iraq. That would just come across as sanctimonious bullshit.

  7. Robinson 7

    Lee – that’s what war is. Key wanted a piece of it. I’m sorry biut when we talk against war it’s not because of some political prerogative but because we understand it means hideous suffering. Many who supported the invasion of Iraq (including Key) have no visceral understanding of this. If they will speak for it they should.

  8. Lee C 8

    To be honest, I came to The Standard from kiwiblog to see how the left might be able to balance some of the rabid sentiments of some of kiwiblogs contributors.
    I didn’t expect to see the most rabid attitudes coming form the blog organisers!

    I can appreciate how you might see Fran O’Sullivan as John Key’s ‘research unit’, after all she does appear to support him, or more to the point challenge Labour.
    I can see how the remark Key made about Iraq could be taken as inflammatory by some, after all, the insurgency is in full flow.
    I can even see how you might call Fran O’Sullivan ‘journalistically lazy’ or ‘biased’? because that would presuppose that the points she made were not properly researched (although I’d suggest they were)

    But for the life of me, I cannot see the point of this feigned outrage about Key and Iraq.

    You are treating it like he said ‘The Holocaust was a lie’ (by the way did you know he has a jewish background, so let’s not go there, eh?)

    You cheapen Iraq’s situation and you demean your own with this infantile posturing.

    How much was there about Iraq in the labour Party Manifesto?

    I’ve just been to Labour’s website. There is not a single mention of Iraq in it!

    That is how much Labour ‘cares’ about the strife in Iraq.

    If you disagree with Key & fine – that is your democratic right but for goodness’ sake, can yo all get a bit of perspective!?

    What do you want him to do, wear sack cloth and ashes and flagellate himself from Auckland to Wellington? Where did this sudden obsession with Iraq come from? Has it replaced the all Blacks, because last I saw that was a danm sight more important to most kiwis than the suffering of Iraqis.

    I humbly submit to you that thhe ‘hideous suffering’ is just word to you. You have no real conception of it. To take a poilitician like John Key and try to nail him up for his remark, which talies with remarks other politicians of other pwersausions have made – does appear partisan in its intent.

    And what is all this nonsense ‘he should donate a week’s wages to Iraq?’
    How many bleeding hearts who think his crime was so heinous have done so already? probably none!

    I din’t support the invasion of Iraq, in fact part of my decision to leave Britain was formed by Blair’s (a Labour Prime Minister’s) support of the illegal invasion. But this cant about Key, it is sooo fourth-division. It doesn’t even register on the f**g plausiblity-meter. It is lightweight-crocodile-tears-hand-wringing-balony.

    And what gets my goat most is the people who are proposing that Key should be hung out to dry for his remark always fall back on the ‘war is hell’ line to justify why they of all people feel they have a monopoly on taking other peoples’ suffering and wearing it like a badge.

    New Zealand is spoiled. Long may it continue to be so.

  9. Lee C 9

    “The war is not over for the children….”

    Give me a break!

  10. all_your_base 10

    Lee C I can’t speak for the other contributors here but I was genuinely outraged by Key’s comment. It was dismissive and insulting. I was morally outraged well before any political judgment kicked in.

    I think he should apologise and, with respect, I’ll continue to say so.

  11. Lee C 11

    all_your_base

    Fine. No problem. your moral outrage is noted and respected.

    But that is a world away from an organised smear campaign, employing the sufferings of others as a rod with which to beat John Key…

    I will donate to “Save the Children” and you can consider my awareness raised about the children of Iraq. So that is good in one espect.

    As for my other points – I’m simply asking for some perspctive and adult common-sense to be applied to this situation.

  12. Robinson 12

    Lee – I don’t think it’s just what Key said that is driving this but his subsequent refusal to apologise. I don’t believe he meant what he said to start with, I suspect it was just a stupid glib statement made under pressure (though if he becomes PM I hope no such error is made on the world stage) – the issue is that rather than just apologise and move on he’s chosen to try to retrospectively justify it with spin – that is disgusting.

  13. Z K Muggletonspofin 13

    One of the joys of writing a post for The Standard is the chance to raise an issue and then sit back and watch the debate, including Lee C taking issue with my “shameful hideous, cynical use of those poor peoples’ suffering.”

    You’re right Lee, it is a cynical use of poor peoples’ suffering, but you are clearly one of those people who misdirect their outrage.

    I simply want to draw attention to a statement made by the leader of the National Party – a man who wants to be Prime Minister! In that I believe I have succeeded in a small way. How about being outraged at Key and the fact that the New Zealand media have largely decided to accept that it was okay for him to say it? Be outraged at that, and frankly, if I get your attention by suggesting that Key spend some of his dosh on helping those who suffer most, fine!

    Interesting too that Lee C also said, “You are treating it like he said ‘The Holocaust was a lie’ (by the way did you know he has a Jewish background, so let’s not go there, eh?).” Clearly Lee, you have a selective view on what should be debated and what shouldn’t be debated. Would it be okay to raise with you the idea that the genocide being committed against Palestinian children by Israel (with US money) can be justified because the same was committed by the Nazis against Jewish people?

    Let’s have open debate on all issues and let’s be outraged against those who can’t focus on where the real problems exist?

  14. r0b 14

    No one appointed me “manners monitor”, and I’m not going to bang on about it all the time. But can I just say that it is a pleasure to read a thread where people are treating each others views with respect.

    If we can establish that culture at The Standard, then we will have achieved at least one remarkable thing.

  15. Sam Dixon 15

    Lee C – that’s what the war looks like.

    Those who choose to look away, pretend its not happening, belittle or ignore the suffering of people in a war which they supported … well, they’re the disgusting ones.

    That is what the war looks like.

    You can either say ‘sorry, I acknowledge the suffering it causes but that’s the price of the cause I believe in’ or ‘this price is not worth the cause’ (which is the main reason I’ve always opposed the war) but to bury your head in the sand, that’s not good enough.

  16. Z K Muggletonspofin 16

    While I’m following the debate here, let me take issue with the comment from Ahod. To refresh, he said, “I don’t think it is the job of ‘the standard’ to tell somebody what to do with their earnings. If you really want to use your position of privilege as media, then use it to get the Government to spend more on cases like that, don’t do a futile gimmick like ‘forfeit your cash Mr Key.”

    ‘Choice’ is a wonderful thing and blogs and the internet are prime examples of how we can all now have our say. We take that responsibility seriously here at The Stanadard. So, I’m not telling anyone “what to do with their earnings”; you can choose whether to spend or not. The issue here is that mainstream media chose to ignore a very important statement from one of this nation’s leaders. John Key has some choices as well and he needs to be held accountable for that. After all if people want choice, they should in equal measure, take responsibility for those choices.

  17. Arena 17

    Jeez spare me Muggletonspfin. War politics and the assendency of right/might is part of history. Nazi Germany was bad and the USA and Israel are good! If we take oil and the USA out of the picutre and replace it with Arabs and peaceniks, were f#cked.

  18. Lee C 18

    Well, if we want to argue semantics, I’ll put my cards on the table.

    As far as I am concerned, the Iraqui conflict was not ‘a war’

    It was an illegal invasion, I understand taken up against the wishes of the UN.

    Does it follow that I now use that as a basis to demand everyone who has referrd to the ‘illegal invasion of Iraq’ as a ‘war’ as being ignorant of the international situation, and indifferent to the suffering of the Iraqi people?

    Does it then follow if they refuse to apologise to me, I should get a petition up and demand they contribute a week’s wages as atonement?

    How many people who are feigning outrage that Key has said ‘The War is over’ would hae taken exception to it being called a ‘War’ in the first place? I would have.

    In my heart of hearts, that is one of the very things that is offending me about this whole debate. The selective use of language to score points at the expense of other’s suffering.

    It was not a war.
    and no,
    It is not over.

    But you are all so busy picking over the rotting corpse of one glib statement by Key to see that you are as guilty of glib misinterpretation of the situation as he was.

    It was not a war.

    WTF are you starting to talk about Palestine for? What now you want to bring up Israeli genocide and suffering as a back-up card for the moral positioning you have clearly taken over ‘the war’?

    Talk, by all means about Saddam gassing the Kurdish people at least we can keep some kind of context.

    Thanks for the heads up on what war looks like. I can only assue yo are being provocative with such a glib statemtn.

    I grew up with war in the UK, whether it was Docklands, Falklands, Brighton, Eniskillen, you name it, even down to family lore about getting bombed out by the Luftwaffe. I have been on both sides of the argument and divides. I signed petitions, complained to the press, argued and condemned the illegal invasion of Iraq at the time, in the UK. I also have friends directly affected by the tube bombings which was a retaliation for the illegal invasion of Iraq and the war in Aghganistan, by Al Quaeda. I have seen what politicians can do with a little bit of paranoia and moralising. It even turned me from being a dyed in the wool Labourite to the cynical twisted person I am now.

    But thanks all the same for listening, I’ll get off the subject now.

  19. Sam Dixon 19

    LeeC – I’m not arguing semantics, its Key’s apologists* that are doing that, I’m arguing the semantics don’t matter – its what he clearly meant that matters.

    *he’s got apologists for why he shouldn’t apologise, ironic.

  20. Lee C 20

    My reading of it is:

    Key made an ill-thought out remark.

    His political opponents made lots of capital.

    Key replied that his statements weren’t disimilar to those issued by his political opponents.

    This was interpreted as ‘spin’ and a ‘refusal to apologise’ by his political opponents.

    Therefore we are invited to raise serious doubts about Key’s competency as a future Prime Minister of New Zealand.

    Fine, I got it.

  21. Z K Muggletonspofin 21

    I guess the point about debate, as in academic pursuit, is that it may be difficult to come to any kind of conclusion, which may in fact be the case here. However, Lee C, I accept your moral outrage at my cynical use of imagery and a prompt to John Key to donate to the children of Iraq – so I have learn’t something, I think.

    But you know what, I don’t expect John Key to make a donation because he doesn’t want anyone to take any notice of this issue.

    War is ‘war’ when guns, planes and tanks are used, whether it’s an invasion or not…just like happens on the West Bank all the time – do you get the connection Lee? Even if one calls it by any other name, it’s bloody WAR. Politicians have always minimised the effects of war, particularly if they take a callous view of its consequences. If John Key made an accidental remark, it should be a clear indication that he doesn’t care enough, or worse, that he privately agrees with the reasons the Americans have for it (the war). Sadly one of the problems is that too many people give people like Key too much credence when they need to be pulled up for such offensive rhetoric.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    Lee C: the point is not Key’s remark in isolation. It is that he supported the invasion, and still STANDS BY that support while trying to redefine it as supporting “the right” to invade, whatever that means. And now he wants us to stop talking about it, not because “the war is over” but because he wants the issue to be over. He knows his support for the invasion is politically embarrassing.

    If he said “Look, I was a new MP, followed the party line, am older and wiser now, and regret that I held that view then”, the issue would disappear overnight. But instead he pretends that he was right, and he can only do this by misrepresenting his party’s position, and insisting that it is, in Gerry Brownlee’s absurd words, “like the Boer War or the Crimean War.”

    And this is what happened today:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7040697.stm

  23. So when you guys say that Key made “an ill-thought-out remark”, or “a stupid, glib statement”, who does it compare with this?

    “Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: For obvious reasons, I seldom agree with Fran O’Sullivan. My job is to act in relation to Cabinet responsibility issues, not to initiate investigations into the actions of members of Parliament. However, if members opposite want to tempt me, there is always the possibility of investigations into Nick Smith’s contempt of court, Gerry Brownlee’s act of assault, or whether Mr Groser still uses cannabis.”

    Saying a lot is an occupational hazard of politicians, and there wouldn’t be many in the House who stand by EVERY word they’ve uttered!

  24. Lee C 24

    Both the above; I concur with that –

    However ‘war’ is not “‘war'” Muggle… The Geneva Convention and the UN both have set out their ppositions about where aggression might be ‘acceptable’ or not. And the Iraqi invasion falls short of these, IMO.

    I appreciate the covert methods by which states wage ‘war’ and the effect of a bomb regardless of the legality of its thrower, is the same to the victim.

    http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/GAres3314.html

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/26/news/civil.php?page=2

    http://www.serendipity.li/hr/pilger01.htm
    these links (especially the pilger one) support this idea.

    It is possible that:

    Key is an American imperialist
    Key is echoing Bush
    Key is supportive of the American intentions in Iraq, therefore he expresses views which appear to support American foreign policy.

    It is also possible that
    Key expressed a view which relates to the ‘esoteric’ debate which questions:
    whether the Iraqi situation right now qualifies as a ‘civil war’ or ‘insurgency’
    whether the American invasion has now subsided to a structured wirthdrawal of troops, therefore the ‘war’ is over.

    It may be that he was responding to the question with a degree of sophistication that his adversaries simply do not credit him with having.

    It is worthwhile taking into account the incredible amount of aggression with which ‘the left’ pounce on Key’s pronouncements (or in some cases, his silence).

    This is where I think the hypocracy to which I refer somes in: I think that much of the aggrression directed at Key at present, is not bout any particular issue, rather than about a concerted effort to neutralise him as a threat tothe present order prior to the calling of the next election.

    That is why I get angered by people claiming it’s for ‘the children’ it’s rather for ‘the Party’…

    I would suggest, that regardless of how Key responded to the Iraq situation, he would come under fire from some quarter of the left.

    Examples might be.
    “I totally condemn the war in Iraq.”
    response from left:
    “He is lying, he said he supported it at the time.”
    “I support the destruction of Saddam’s regime.”
    response:
    “Key supports American imperialism.”
    ‘The war is over.’
    response:
    Well we know that one.

    The point is, the call for a politician to apologise to the people (oreven the people of another country) is a no more than a sophisticated ‘kangaroo court’ via the media. Plus, it is a court which has already prejudged the defendent as guilty, now merely waits for how he might plead for mitigation. It’s realy no way to run a democracy. It’s McCarthyite, it’s ‘show-trial’ it’s cheapening.

    People posture, political points are scored, but still the babies die…

    It is also possible that Key is not pretending he is right. Perhaps he believes he is right. He is entitled to that opinion, just as you are entitled to your own, isn’t he?

    He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. If he seeks to explain his words, he is accused of denying he is in the wrong.

    If he says nothing he is accused of arrogance.

    It is apparent that the only way for him to regain the trust of some, is to apologise. But we all know that his apology, were it given would be thrown back at him, either way..

    Then, the challenge to those who do not agree, is to point out the error, rather than take the rather lazy chest-beating course, of demanding heads on sticks.

    But in my opinion, much of the political discourse and debate in modern New Zealand is waged in a hysterical and intellectually flabby way.

    It is how the people below have been taught to engage in politics by watching the examples of their leaders. however, the epole are simply been taken for a ride. Their finer feelings about the sufferings of Iraqi children are being exploited to fulfil a narrow domestic agenda: to win the next election at all costs.

  25. Z K Muggletonspofin 25

    Lee C, I and many others took genuine offense to the clear fact that John Key can be so dismissive of a war (bombs, guns, tanks, bullets) that he can so glibly deny that a war is going on. Please take my word for it, rather than attaching yourself to the idea that it’s an attempt to get Labour re-elected. Just like I have to take your word that you left the UK because of Blair’s involvement with the invasion. Okey, I believe you, but I won’t buy your notion that we should all redefine the war as something other than a ‘war’ or that we should swallow all kinds of odd explanations for why Key might have uttered such stupid words.

    Attack the right person; I am against the invasion/war! Apparently so are you! Now, ask yourself if you get the same absolute resolve from anything John Key says? Be honest and stop attempting to explain it with a list of contradictory scenarios!

    In your first comment you said, “You are just exploiting the suffering of others, and making it appear like you are somehow entitled to occupy a higher moral plateau.” No, I take no higher moral plateau. But you do put me in mind of a school yard argument where a point-of-view is dismissed because someone else should get off their perch. Well Lee C, your pulpit rings of hipocracy and double standards. But your real problem is that you claim to be against the invasion, but are now an apologist for John Key. That’s quite sad really.

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