War HUH!

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, February 13th, 2015 - 417 comments
Categories: class, Ethics, human rights, International, iraq, Left, socialism, Syria, war - Tags: , , ,

Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is expected to ask New Zealand to join the international fight against ISIS when he meets PM John Key, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee in Auckland. Our Government is expected respond positively and to make a commitment to a training role (though I bet the SAS will also be there as undercover cover).

I’d prefer it if Key didn’t resort to weasel words. Gerry Brownlee apparently feels the same way, ham-fistedly slapping the PM down in Parliament, then later claiming he meant to insult UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond instead. If we are going to war, then say so, John. This is not about being in the ‘club’ or the ‘family’, it’s about doing the right thing when the opportunity arises. We should be proud we are being asked and even prouder that we are going.

Now, on the surface, that might seem an unlikely position for a lefty to take. Especially one who was opposed to the occupation of Iraq a decade ago. The rise of ISIS clearly relates to the disastrous decision to invade Iraq on the pretext of a dodgy dossier which claimed the Saddam Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction capable of being launched in a mere 45 minutes. Well, the West and allies trusted Bush and Blair and that 45 minutes has stretched like interstellar travel into a second decade with the loss of thousands of lives and no obvious end in sight.

In addition, the West has sought to destabilise neighbouring country Syria and into the vacuum we have created has stepped the most backward looking, vicious and inhuman force the world has seen for eighty years. ISIS are fascists hiding behind the Koran.

Their perverted version of Islam is not the issue, however. At heart, they are no better nor more Godly than the Axis forces the world faced in the 1930’s and 40’s. Their clever use of social media has disguised the fact that they treat conquered communities as slaves or worse. While we focus on youtube posted murders, disgusting as they are, behind the digital front, they are daily destroying the lives of the living on the ground. They must be stopped. And if not by us in the west, then by whom?

We in the west have created this mess and we are responsible for cleaning it up. Taking an isolationist stance (not our problem) or hiding from the threat (if we take part we’ll be targets too) is not how the left should look at this. Nor is conflating issues as Martyn Bradbury has mindlessly done on the Daily Blog. We in New Zealand have always been at the forefront of opposing fascism. The Kiwi left recognised it for what it was in the thirties and we fought it then, mainly as individuals, but sometimes as organised labour. Some brave souls made their way to Spain, the wharfies stopped the loading of ships bound for the fascist bloc. By the late thirties, we had no choice but to fight as a country because the fight was coming to us whether we liked it or not.

Bill posted a few days ago about the echoes of the Spanish Civil War in the fight for Kurdish independence. As usual, he was remarkably perceptive. There are real similarities. Last year, I spent some time in Northern Spain. Urged on by memories of my late comrade Tom Spiller, who fought in the International Brigade*, I visited two strangely ignored memorials to the dead of the Civil War.

The first was the town of Belchite, near Zaragoza. It was bombed to rubble by the Republican forces and after the victory of the Fascists, Franco ordered that it not be touched and instead be left to show ‘the savagery of the left’. It remains as it was, and weirdly, it’s hardly signposted, let alone fenced off and respected as it should be. It’s a spooky, mournful place. Dust and bones.

The second and more poignant memorial was El Fossar de la Pedrera. This was a Barcelona quarry used as a grave site by the Francoists to bury hundreds of executed leftists. Nowadays it’s well looked after and contains the tomb of Lluis Companys, the first and, so far, only leader of an independent Catalonia. Companys was shot on the hill above the quarry in 1940. Again, though, it’s not a well signposted memorial and even the staff at the nearby Mont Juic cemetery were confused about exactly where it was and how to get there. Even in Republican Barcelona, some memories are painful to recall.

So what’s my point? On the left, we fight the good fight not for glory, not to be celebrated, not even to be remembered. We fight because it’s the morally correct thing to do. We fight in solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden. As Hemingway’s character Robert Jordan felt in For Whom the Bell Tolls ‘the loss of liberty anywhere, was the loss of liberty everywhere’. Being left means being internationalist, not isolationist. The tyranny of distance does not shield us from the tyranny of ISIS.

War, huh? What is it good for? Well, it’s never good. It’s ugly, awful and without doubt to be avoided where possible. But we have an obligation to the people of Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish homeland not to turn away from their suffering. We can and must come to their aid. We owe them our solidarity.


*Tom talked about his experiences in this Radio NZ program. It’s not an easy listen in parts, but it’s a very moving story.

417 comments on “War HUH! ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    “…They must be stopped. And if not by us in the west, then by whom?…”

    I’ve filed that one away under “not my problem”, but you can carry on with the weary task of carrying on the tradition of the white man’s imperial burden of civilizing the savages wherever they may be found.

    How does the poem go?

    “The sand of the desert is sodden red, Red with the wreck of the square that broke; The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead, And the regiment blind with dust and smoke…… “Play up! Play up! And play the game!”

    Stuff the Americans and the Brits and their games.

    • “..And if not by us in the west, then by whom?..”

      um..!..the oil-rich/armed to the teeth neighbours..?

      ..why not them..?..why us..?..from the other side of the bloody world..?

      ..’white mans’ burden’..indeed..!

      ..and..would they come down here to help us..would they..?

      ..i think you know the answer is ‘no’..

      ..you appear to be more a victim of war-propagandizing..

      ..than anything else..

      ..(much like keith locke was with his wrong-footed/cack-handed support for invading libya/overthrowing gaddaffi..

      ..he posited arguments similar to yours..

      ..and which in hindsight…were so so wrong…

      ..and wrought the clusterfuck that libya currently is..)

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      “They must be stopped. And if not by us in the west, then by whom..”

      If Turkey their muslim neighbour ( and nato member) isnt prepared to intervene militarily then why should a country on the other side of the world do so.

      Side issue: real reason for involvement is OIl.

      • phillip ure 1.2.1

        and to be good/obedient little-spear-carriers/vassals for america..

        ..who can forget that clip of the american official saying they ‘didn’t even need to ask nz’..so sure was he/america..

        ..of us dutifully padding along behind him/them..

        ..no matter what..

        ..is this what we want..?

        ..is this what we are..?

  2. Chooky 2

    A few questions to the old male war mongers, who havent got the guts to go there themselves..

    “We in the west have created this mess …” bullshit…not New Zealand ! ( Helen Clark to her great credit kept us out of it!)…USA and Israel wanted the illegitimate invasion of Iraq…not New Zealand and NOT United Nations!…and NOT many in the West whether from the Left or the Right or the middle of the political spectrum ,,,,,scientists , ambassadors, politicians

    Who created the wars and funded the wars to oust the governments /leaders in the Middle East ( of Iraq, Libya, Syria) which has created the anger, fuel, funding , impetus and vacuum for ISIS? …what is their Middle East end game?…are we going to be pawns in their end game?…Iran and Assad /Syria are being left in the cold in the fight against ISIS for a reason

    Whose New Zealand children are going to be sent off to war on the other side of the world….a war not of our making….to sacrifice their lives? Far better that ISIS is frozen of economic support…who is surreptitiously funding ISIS?

    We should only send troops as part of a UN mission

    According to Naom Chomsky this is an illegitmate and illegal war. Noam Chomsky on Solution to ISIS…..

    And to solve the mess, the US again decided to act against the international law, building an anti-ISIS coalition that is “meaningless, apart from being illegal.”

    “A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The US could then participate in it, but so could Iran,” which is a major military force and would probably wipe out ISIS in no time, if it was allowed to join the fight on the ground, Chomsky believes.


    • “..We should only send troops as part of a UN mission..”

      + 1..

      ..and certainly not as spear-carriers for the fucken americans…


      war-mongering – huh!

    • Olwyn 2.2

      +1 . Well said, Chooky, with particular attention to “…what is their Middle East end game?…are we going to be pawns in their end game?”

    • Rodel 2.3

      Chooky..Great interview with Chomsky explaining the circumstances leading to ISIS , the way ISIS could be eliminated and incidentally the real reason for the TPPA – to isolate China.

  3. Sabine 3


    a load of rubbish.

    ISiS is the desired outcome. What do we really believe happens when we make up claims that turn out to be hogwash, park the Helicopters in the City of Ur, ruining the health of a country by literally dusting it with depleted Uranium, burning down their cities – Falluja anyone? – rape their man, women and most likely children in the prisons we have established – Abu Ghraib anyone? – demonize them at any given time – Fox News, ABC news, CNN news and etc etc etc. And yes it is we – the western world, us the whities the christian nations, the global powers, the industrial nations. US! that have fucked it up beyond believe.

    What do we expect when we allow one country to be the ONLY democracy in the middle east that is allowed to hold over a million people under severe occupation – Gaza anyone? – hold another part of the same population hostage in a some lesser from of occupation – West Bank, when we allow the contintued destruction of homes, farms, groves and the likes – westbank/Gaza anyone?

    What do we expect when we drone bomb Jemen – Pakistan and various other places that are non white and christian under the guise of Terrorism.

    What do we expect when we supply weapons to all players in the games because its the only business we still have going – USOFA?

    What do we expect when all we do is sow misery, so that OUR Interests are safe guarded and to fuck with the rest of them?

    Afghanistan has been in constant fighting now since the late 1970 now…..we expect them to be like us after 40 years of continued fighting>

    Iran – the democratically elected leader Mohamed Mossadegh killed by the CIA in 1953 to be replaced by the Shah who was replaced by the Ayatollah

    Lebanon – the Paris of the middle east…..now only tears and misery

    Syria – we have had no issues with Papa Assad but his Son is very un-democratic especially in not supporting Israel and must be removed – and now only tears and misery.

    Irak – with its propped up Dictator Saddam Hussein that no one had an issue with, who was showered with all the military gadgets he could possibly want in his fight against the Ayatollah, and whom no one stopped when he suppressed his own people. – tears, misery and misformed babies, and compound cancer

    Jemen, who cares about that sand pit

    Lybia – who could forget Gadaffi – I am sure all Lybians are pleased as punch to have been liberated from him.

    As for the atrocities of ISIS – Saudi Arabia beheaded 87 people in 2014 and has beheaded 28 sofar in 2015.
    But I guess some beheadings are more legal than others and certainly the beheadings in saudi arabia are more moral than the beheadings in the name of ISIS.

    No – we should not participate in this War. We should use of Defense Forces to keep our seas free of poachers and help in the case of natural disasters. We should safe the funds and invest in a future that might be possible without Oil or at least reduce our dependence on it.
    We should support the Palestinian People in their right to a Homeland, Eretz Israel is only possible with the eradication of a culture a people that is not considered Jewish.
    We should not participate in this sham that will only result in more bloodshed, more misery and more hate.

    • Murray Rawshark 3.1

      I have a daughter and a son in law in the army. The NZ Army, not the army of the US and A. Fuck your war, TRP. Why aren’t we sending troops to stop the ongoing torture and killing in West Papua? Why aren’t we sending peacekeepers to the US and A to protect people from the police? Fuck your war. Not with my kids, not with any of our kids.

      • Molly 3.1.1

        I too have family and friends in the army.

        All of them strong on integrity, capability and efficiency. Vulnerable in the use of these aspects to promote ongoing war for overseas interests, and against their code of service in respect to human rights.

        I agree with Murray, F**k your war on the already dispossessed and dismembered society in Iraq.

    • alwyn 3.2

      Where do you get your Iranian history from? The real story is –
      Mohamed Mossadegh died, of apparently natural causes, in March 1967. He was 84 years old.

      Where did you find the story you tell that “Iran – the democratically elected leader Mohamed Mossadegh killed by the CIA in 1953 to be replaced by the Shah who was replaced by the Ayatollah”

      I do not dispute that the CIA organised his overthrow, and that he was still under house arrest when he died but he wasn’t killed in 1953 by the CIA.

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        Nope he did not.


        but you are right insofar as I got the death year wrong…he died in 967

        however his government was overthrown in 1953…with all profits from his overthrow going to British Petroleum.

        • alwyn

          “Nope he did not. ”
          I’m not quite sure what this means. As far as I am aware he died of Cancer in 1967. I would regard that as “natural causes”. Actually it is quite amazing that he lived to the age he did. If you read his biography, even a potted one like that on Wikipedia he was a very sickly man throughout his life. If you can think of an illness he had it. That he accomplished as much as he did in his life is incredible.
          I never disputed the overthrow, and yes it happened in 1953. You will see that in the last sentence of my comment, although I didn’t specifically repeat the year in the comment.

  4. Jenny Kirk 4

    Totally agree with your comments, Chooky – including – “We should only send troops as part of a UN mission “

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The substantive argument presented is little more than a long winded version of “something must be done; this something, therefore we must do it”. Obscuring the point with an irrelevant appeal to emotion doesn’t fool anyone. To state the bleeding obvious again – 20-30,000 ISIL fighters do not represent the sort of threat to democracy and freedom that Fascism did in the 1930s, when that ideology controlled an alliance that included three large, advanced, and modern industrial states and represented a substantial challenge to the very existence of the liberal democracies. The New Zealanders who went to Spain in the 1930s would no more go and fight in the Middle East today than they would have gone and joined Churchill with the Malakand Field Force.

    “…On the left, we fight the good fight not for glory, not to be celebrated, not even to be remembered. We fight because it’s the morally correct thing to do. We fight in solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden. As Hemingway’s character Robert Jordan felt in For Whom the Bell Tolls ‘the loss of liberty anywhere, was the loss of liberty everywhere’. Being left means being internationalist, not isolationist. The tyranny of distance does not shield us from the tyranny of ISIS…”

    Garbled emotionalism. Fighting in solidarity for the oppressed and downtrodden cannot include counting Saudi Arabia and Assad as allies. You seem to confuse being an imperialist in a foreign country with socialist internationalism. And, in fact, the tyranny of distance does quite a handy job of protecting us from ISIL if only we minded our own business.

  6. Jbob 6

    The west is resonsible for the increase in radicalisation over the last 30-40 years. During the soviet occupation of Afghanistan, US and Europe helped fund radical sects of Islam who practiced Wahhabism, one of the most devoted forms of the religion. The idea was to create an uprising, through training and provision of weapons etc, to allow the Afghan people to fight back against the soviets.

    Ultimately, one this occupation ceased, these radicals were now empowered and turned their hatred against the west, devoting jihad. So yes, the west had direct involvement in the beginnings of terrorism (whether intentional or not).

    ISIS have proven to have highly capable and educated and use social media to spread global panic. Their terrorism is reaching people around the world directly, and in some cases insipiring local radicalisation for those on the ‘fringe’. With recent attacks in Sydney, a number of foiled plots, how long is it before New Zealand becomes (or allready is!) a target? Its all well and good to say ‘this isnt our war’ and ‘blood has been spilled in the middle east for centuries’, however I think the war is allready here. Its touching our lives daily and if we can assist to turn the power against this global terrosim, we should. Id be loath for the country to sit idly by, then be the unfortunate victim of a terrorist attack.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Chapel Hill shooting and western media bigotry

      But what if acts of anti-Muslim violence are consistent with at least some strands of current western ideology? What if Islamophobia has become so commonplace, so accepted, that it now represents a hegemonic system of thought, at least for relatively large pockets of people in some regions of the West?

      You seem to embody that ideology perfectly.

  7. vto 7

    Are you going to join the defence force to go and fight te reo putake?

    • That’s a silly question. The post is about the proposed commitment of trained kiwi troops, not untrained civilians.

      • vto 7.1.1

        Yes I know that in some ways it is, but it should focus the mind more intensely for those promoting war if you were going to train and bear arms, jump on a plane to the middle east and personally become a target in a war zone.

        Why not become a “trained kiwi troop” trp? Or suggest it to your family members? Your post has a pretty heavy personal / morality component to it after all ……

        • te reo putake

          My family have fought for our country and my son did the apallingly tough trial for the French foreign legion a couple of years ago. I’d be perfectly happy for him to join the NZDF. Me, I’m a bit old and arthritic to be of much use.

          However, if we are only allowed to discuss things that we are personally involved in, then there would be no discussion of parliament here, because none of us are HP’s. Or no discussion about comedy vs offence as we had yesterday because none of us are currently booked at the comedy club.

          So, please address the post, not the author.

          • te reo putake

            MP’s, not HP’s!

          • vto

            Ok. But this is a different proposition than usual isn’t it? It is not a debate abut comedy / offense or casinos / conventions, it is a debate that will result in our neighbours being killed dead. I don’t see that the personal element can be pulled out so easily….. but its your post so fair enough.

            As to the actual post my 2c lines up with those opposed to your view, especially sabine at 3 above.

            Why do we align ourselves with the USA? Because some of us have the same coloured skin as some americans? Because we sprung from the same well of euro discontent a couple or more centuries ago? That is no reason.

            You suggest that it is the morally right thing to do. Sure I can see that (subject to independent confirmation of the situation around IS, which is non-existent) but the situation is way too complicated by previous events and interventions and wars to even remotely satisfy that reason.

            Sorry, not enough time to continue much further but phil ure also puts it well in his comment at 1.1. Get the Saudis to sort it out. Get the Turks to sort it out. Get the Iranians to sort it out. They are richer, and infinitely better armed, and live there ffs.

            More time needs to pass before we can do this. We need to understand more first. And we are being treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed bullshit

          • Murray Rawshark

            I am personally involved. I have family in the army. That does not give me any more right to comment than anyone else here. Fuck your war and your internationalism of capital. If you want to partake in imperialist adventures, get a horse and go fox hunting.

          • Molly

            Not all troops are the same TRP. I had a friend with a boyfriend in the FFL, and it seemed to be a band of mercenaries – a ragtag bunch of psychologically hardened career soldiers – so not surprised that your son had a tough time of it.

            Going through those hardships alongside other recruits or trainees is a form of manipulation. In the end, the bond between those who make it – and everyone else is pretty strong. You can use that loyalty to get people to commit atrocities as part of group that they would never consider to do as an individual.

            I disagree with your post because in it you state: “We fight because it’s the morally correct thing to do. “. I don’t think it is moral to go in with active troops because this approach has not worked in the past. We are also going in tandem with another country that in any credible MSM would be named as war criminals.

      • Sabine 7.1.2

        surely you could be trained in time?

        • vto

          Yes that’s right. After all, that is what happened in the Spanish civil war, which trp heavily references

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          The US used contractors for driving trucks food service etc. No need to be fully trained in combat…. correction training .

          • phillip ure

            when r u leaving..?..t.r.p..?

            ..u cd send us dispatches from the front..

          • Murray Rawshark

            Yeah, they might even start Abu Graib up again. Then they’d need screws to teach civilised internationalism to prisoners. Arthritis shouldn’t prevent opening and shutting doors. Or the other stuff they did there.

  8. Lefty 8

    We need a new law.

    Every politician who votes to send troops to war should be obliged to lead from the front and be on the first plane off to the slaughter.

    When they arrive on the battlefield they should do their utmost to ensure they are the first one sent home in a box.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Some US soldiers who were in Iraq after the war that deposed Sadaam entered congress.

      They say virtually every soldier thought it was a mistake for the US to remain there.

      Nothing has changed. If there was really a problem that was mattered, neighbour Turkey, which is muslim AND nato would be involved.

      Turkey isnt involved militarily, yet it is impacted by refugees and and ISIS on its doorstep. It must have very good reasons which we are wise to follow

    • Molly 8.2

      Better still, put all those politicians in an arena – aka Hunger Games or Battle Royale, and let the victor be the winner without loss of civilian life or country assets.

      Even better, put them on a country after it has been abandoned (such as Kiribati) due to climate change, and let the warmongers deal with the consequence of failure in that department as well as each other’s need for violence.

    • Ron 8.3

      Oh for the days when Leaders Kings even would lead their soldiers into battle.
      Go John Key volunteer to lead our ‘boys’ into the fray.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.4

      Sounds good until you consider that they’d put working soldiers’ lives at greater risk.

  9. westiechick 9

    It is a mess. Not good guys versus bad guys but bad guys versus badder guys. So do we go help the bad guys?

  10. shorts 10

    Do not those ISIS represents have the right to self determination?

    Sure we loathe their methods and take on their own faith but who are we to judge – we are so much better eh….

    I expect better from the left than marching off to a war that doesn’t at the least have a UN mandate – and even then due to the inherent flaws of the UN we should be questioning the reasons and rationale

    • “..I expect better from the left than marching off to a war that doesn’t at the least have a UN mandate – and even then due to the inherent flaws of the UN we should be questioning the reasons and rationale..”

      + 1..

    • Ovid 10.2

      who are we to judge

      There are moral absolutes. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that yes, murdering a prisoner by burning him alive is wrong. Throwing people off buildings is wrong. Stoning people is wrong. Rigging up children as bombers is wrong.

      “The array of violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups is staggering, and many of their acts may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein.


      Fine, you don’t want military intervention. I can respect that point of view. But the claim it needs a UN mandate comes from a misunderstanding of international law. Article 51 of the UN Charter says:

      Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.

      Iraq is acting in self defence and if its government asks other nations for assistance, it is legal for those countries to provide collective self-defence.

      • Naturesong 10.2.1

        Thing is, it really looks like this is a US gig, not an Iraqi one.

        And with the US, we’ve a pretty good idea of how they conduct wars.

      • shorts 10.2.2

        there are moral absolute, I agree totally… my point was our allies in this fight have abandoned any semblance of morals – by supporting them we support their own crimes against humanity

        I’m not advocating we support ISIS but I sure as shit am saying we shouldn’t support the USA, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Iraq either

        We were not going to be that independent voice on the security council?

        There must be better ways to placate our preferred trade partners and fair weather friends

      • Pasupial 10.2.3


        Iraq can ask for assistance, we do not have to render it (and as Naturesong points out it’s not them we are trying to impress anyway). Let’s think about who is doing the asking:

        …al-Jaafari was propelled into the top job in the mid 2000s largely because of his closeness to the murderous Shi’ite militia leader Moqtada al Sadr, and the bloody sectarian paralysis that eventuated was the main reason the Americans eventually asked al-Jaafari to stand down as PM… The fact that a divisive figure such as al-Jaafari – with all the historical baggage he carries and the links to the Shi’ite militia that he maintains – can be appointed as Iraq’s Foreign Minister is indicative of this same, recurring problem. Which raises the question – what sort of government will our troops be trying to shore up inside Iraq?


        The Shia militia who prop up the government that we’re going to ‘help’ in ‘Iraq’ are easily as brutal as ISIS. They were responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, which involved rounding up random civilians in Sunni neighborhoods, torturing them to death with acid and electric drills and then dumping their bodies outside their homes to encourage other Sunnis to flee (which about 1.7 million of them did). So those are our allies. They’re who we’re training, or helping, or whatever we’re doing. We just don’t hear about their atrocities because the media teams in the Ministry of Defense and the Beehive aren’t promoting them to the media.


        Also; what are the objectives of this war commitment? What would success look like? Assad cemented in power in Syria and a re-occupied Iraq? Concessions in the TPPA for agricultural trade?

  11. It’s concerning to me, that there don’t seem to be any clearly defined objectives, and as a result, no actual plan.

    Recent history shows us that the US strategy of small infrastructure projects, bundles of cash to local leaders while conducting night assassinations and drone attacks resulted in arms sales, private military contracts, disaster capitalism, increased number of militias and small armed groups. Oh, and corruption – lots of corruption.
    And the creation of groups like Al Qaida and ISIL(ISIS)

    And I’ve not seen or heard talked about any plan that is different to what we know will make the situation worse.

    As far the the “family” or “club” argument goes, If my brother is about to do something really stupid, I tell him. “Hey bro, you’re about to make a colossal fuck up, stop and think for a minute!!”

    And it’s not really you and me that pays the price for John Key’s political token to the US.
    The soldiers themselves, and their families are not tokens, and they are the ones that will pay the price for us, in our name. I hope they all return safely.

    It may well be appropriate to send armed forces to Iraq, but I’ve yet to be convinced that this action will actually make things better for the people there.

    Key also presented it as a moral argument to shut down debate, as well as supplying the bullying language for his supporters to use.
    His argument being that you are either for some vague plan of his that is sure to blow up in everyones face, or you’re a coward, like those lefties and greenies.

    This says to me, he does not have an argument. Or at least, not one he wants to share in public

    • Philip Ferguson 11.1

      Moreover, the whole history of armed Western intervention in the region has been to make things worse.

      It was the US-led war in Iraq which created ISIS in the first place.

      What happens is that the West intervenes, makes things worse and then the worse situation is used as an argument for. . . further intervention.

      Osama bin Laden was the creation of the US war to undermine the Moscow-backed PDPA government in Afghanistan and force the Soviets into a quagmire like the US trapped itself in in Vietnam.

      But in creating bin Laden (and the Taliban) they unleashed a monster. They then used the rogue nature of a creature whose existence they were largely responsible for to justify an invasion – and look how that worked out.

      They backed Saddam Hussein against Iran and helped arm him. He was ‘their man’. Then they decided they didn’t want him after all and in destroying his secular regime they opened the floodgates to the Wahabbi fundamentalists; then they say these people are a problem – apparently it’s fine when people are beheaded by the Saudi regime, beheading just becomes an issue when it’s done by the ISIS (largely funded by the members of the same elite who are behind the legal beheadings in Saudi).

      The West should get its nose and its armed forces out of the region altogether.


  12. Stuart Munro 12

    This conflict suffers from a great lack of clarity.

    Little asked some reasonably good questions about it – just what is it that we think we’ll achieve if we follow in the US’s footsteps? The four divisions of Iraqi army who disbanded or defected to ISIS were US trained were they not? Maybe that tactic is not the most promising way forward.

    ISIS is deliberately provocative – but if New Zealand wants to contribute to resolving the conflict then indeed we may have a role to play. Before the suppurating mass of corruption that is the Key government oozed its way into power, we had a modest international reputation for honest behaviour.

    A creative solution might require people who can look at the issues ‘with eyes unclouded by hatred’ as studio Ghibli puts it.

    Lining up to die in ditches or wadis under the militaristic Czars of British and US foreign policy isn’t going to resolve this conflict. And if the conflict isn’t being resolved then no casualties are acceptable.

    There probably is a good rationale for participation – but our role needs a little more development than ‘go where Gerry sends you’.

  13. Philip Ferguson 13

    It’s not quite true that the Clark government said no.

    Just in time for the deadline for NZ companies to bid for reconstruction contracts, Clark dispatched army engineers to Iraq. These were part of the NZ army and were armed, and their involvement freed up combat troops.

    And, of course, Clark said ‘yes’ to Afghanistan.

    I guess my most enduring memory of Helen Clark, however, is that she was the health minister who closed more hospitals than all the previous health ministers in NZ history combined. That was when she served in the Rogernomics government.


    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1

      Your memory has faded. the Clark government sent army engineers under the UN resolution that was aimed at reconstruction in Iraq, You know, schools , hospitals, water treatment plants.

      While they were army and could in a pinch defend themselves, they werent equipped for major self defense, so they had to have other nations to do the protection.

      Afghanistan was also a reconstruction mission, but this time we had NZ army for protection.

      Closed more hospitals than any minister in history is just something you made up

      • Philip Ferguson 13.1.1

        The engineers were armed, part of the NZ army and they were sent just in time for NZ firms to bid on contracts.

        Closed more hospitals is true, you just don’t like hearing bad things about Helen.

        David Lange described her as “so dry, she was combustible” – the drys being the hardliners, the wets being the old softies who weren’t so keen on cuts.


      • tricledrown 13.1.2

        Closing run down hospitals in rural areas with low population.
        The costs of running the health system would be horrendous if we kept rural hospitals open.
        We have one of the best value for money health systems in the world its not perfect.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          And yet, NZ afforded a network of rural hospitals for many decades, and they existed because they served an important need.

          But today, we have a Labour which prides itself on being “fiscally responsible” which means its spending is always within a few percentage points on what the NATs would have done anyway.

    • Naturesong 13.2

      There are quite a few people in New Zealand wanting to know about her time as Health Minister.
      The full story of what and when she knew there were blood products contaminated with Hep C in NZ hospitals for starters.

      • Murray Rawshark 13.2.1

        From (an admittedly failing) memory, I think Goff may have had more responsibility for the Hep C contamination. I remember thinking at the time that any European Health Minister would have resigned over that, but down here in Dogzone….. 🙁

        • Naturesong

          New Zealand is not always well served by it’s health ministers.

          Simon Upton and HIV infections.
          Overseas there were comissions and inquiries, the French jailed their Minister of Health.
          In New Zealand, not so much.

    • tricledrown 13.3

      Closing run down hospitals in rural areas with low population.
      The costs of running the health system would be horrendous if we kept rural hospitals open.
      We have one of the best value for money health systems in the world its not perfect.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 13.3.1

        Can’t agree. The costs associated with having a health system with individual DHB’s has caused massive duplication of management, systems, waste, waiting lists and so on.

        Many of those rural hospitals were run efficiently and effectively.

        Bed capacity was utilised across the country in an integrated way with hospitals like Taumarunui used for doing hip replacement operations for other hospitals when it wasn’t the ski season.

        Once those DHB’s started competing with each other for funding they soon cottoned on that waiting lists meant increased funding so any co-operation between themselves rushed out he door.

        The pressure on wages, overheads, buildings, parking, and many other things were much lower in the rural hospitals. Many rural hospitals had very good equipment raised by local communities – which in the case of Taumarunui Waikato hospital wanted to get their hands on.

        When people from cities had the option to travel to those rural hospitals they didn’t mind and they got a warm welcome. Slightly better than those from Taumarunui who oft get greeted at Waikato with “What are you still living in that hole for” or with a cancelled appointment no one bothered to ring and tell them about.

        The closure of those hospitals contributed to the declining population not the other way round.

        They were closed for ideological reasons as part of the (still ongoing) attack on the public service not for cost reasons.

        The price for such closures was poorer health, less access to medical services, increased death rates and so on for those areas.

        The services delivered to those areas from your so called better hospitals is cheap, nasty and oft non-existent. The pallative care staff in Waikato for instance hate travelling there and don’t give a toss about their patients – I know at least two who were told we’re don’t going to see you any more cause you’re dying a few years ago.

        And it’s not like many of those people can go eleswhere – I know an unwell 92 year old who is terribly unwell who would like to go to be in a resthome near her only family in Wellington. Can’t do that cause it;s a different DHB – her care’s not the issue it’s the demarcation lines between the DHB’s.

        The whole system is a big mess and if you lived in one of those rural areas you would know how abandoned they feel by central government.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Sounds like a competition oriented multi-provider approach short on co-operation and long on market driven contractual structures. Which government was it that introduced the DHB system?

        • greywarshark

          Thanks for background Descendant of Sssmith.

  14. Penny Bright 14

    Anyone in Auckland available for a PROTEST today, outside the Auckland MFAT Office 139 Quay St Auckland?

    Murray McCully is meeting the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs at the MFAT Office at 11am!

    I’m at the other end of the North Island and can’t be there – but if I were in Auckland – I would be there – with banners and placards!

    NO NZ military involvement in Iraq!

    Charge STATE ‘terrorists’ George Bush and Tony Blair for war crimes arising from their unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003, based upon the LIE that Saddam Hussein had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and was linked to those who purportedly were responsible for 9/11.

    Penny Bright

  15. Philip Ferguson 15

    The origins, economics and politics of the Islamic State:
    The author is an Iranian political exile in Britain.

    Explaining Wahhabism and Salafism:
    The author is an Iranian political refugee in New Zealand.

    Also: Syria-Iraq: the making of a catastrophe: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/iraq-syria-the-making-of-a-catastrophe/


  16. Ad 16

    Good on you TRP for putting the case.

    “On the left we fight because it is the morally correct thing to do.”

    Human beings should not be oppressed, and we should as a country help people not to be oppressed. The people in Iraq are being oppressed by ISIS.

    I don’t buy the universalist arguments that ‘we should only intervene here, if we are prepared to intervene in the same way everywhere else.’ I think there are other ways of being morally consistent. Such as: within our means, be seen and known for doing a good job. That is moral.

    I find the track record of New Zealand’s recent military history – the last 30 years – to be trustworthy and respected. So I don’t buy any argument saying I have to be serving in the armed forces to have a real opinion on the subject. The people serving professionally on my behalf have answered.

    I am as ambivalent about arguments from “we should clean up the mess” as I am about counter-arguments from “that mess over there is for them to clean up.” The patrician tone is cloying, as is the retreatist one.

    I don’t think the analogy to 1930s Spain is perfect, because there is no functioning Internationale any more. We are in a different and far weaker time for the left. But it will do. Oppression is no less real to human beings for not being a standard state-on-state war.

    Arguments that “it would put us at greater risk” don’t work. The bombings since 9/11 have been irrational and borderless. They continue, as irrational and borderless as before.

    There should be a UN mandate for intervention, no question. New Zealand is on the UN Security Council and should act like it.

    But how we intervene is secondary to whether we should intervene.

    The left has to be more than a series of arguments. It has to show what it will really fight for. And it’s OK, with a bit of maturity, to agree with military intervention while having reasons from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

    We may find we end up as peacekeepers there for years, once the conflict is contained. I believe we should put our hands up for that as well. We’re still in the Golan Heights after a few decades – and it’s worth it.

    New Zealand has the resource to train the Iraqi army to fight. It is a reasonable and discrete task. It will clearly take a while – potentially years. We should do that.

    Most importantly, because it is the morally correct thing to do.

    • um..!..ah..!

      ..can’t be bothered..!

      ..except to say..wall-to-wall horseshit..

      ..with perhaps ‘morally correct thing to do’..

      ..the most puke-inducing line…of many…..

      • Ad 16.1.1

        That is because you have a weak mind.
        Step up or step out.

        • Pascals bookie

          I will. This:

          “But how we intervene is secondary to whether we should intervene.”

          Is horsehit.

          The nature of the intervention determines whether or not you ought to do it.

          I mean, seeing everyone is dragging out tired analogies, if the plan in 1WW2 was to intervene simply by training Stalin’s troops to fight, and giving air cover for him t conquer Europe, then that would have been a shitty fucking plan.

          • Ad

            Yours is yet another historically shitty analogy.

            The first order question is: should we try and make a difference here?
            Then you form the plan to help achieve that.

            And yes we should.

            • vto

              No we shouldn’t

            • Pascals bookie

              I know it was a shitty analogy, that was the point.

              You say we should train the Iraqi Army, ignoring the fact that the iraqi Army is a sectarian force.

              So let’s be honest about what this:

              “once the conflict is contained”


              We help train (and give air support to) a sectraian force in a conflict. They then (if all goes ‘well’) win the conflict. Sustaining that victory means what?

              What does this all mean in reality, rather than in some fantasy world where the Iraqi govt isn’t a party in a sectarian conflict.

        • phillip ure

          @ ad..

          ..my p.o.v. is elsewhere in this thread..

          ..and how about you detail for us..just why..

          ‘..it is the morally correct thing to do..’

    • Murray Rawshark 16.2

      Zionists claim that the IDF (Infant Destruction Force) is the most moral army in the world. Shades of your “morally correct thing to do.”

      • Ad 16.2.1

        We are not Israel.
        We are from New Zealand, our morality, our army.
        Start with that.

        • The Murphey

          Q. So why are we about to be fighting Israeli wars ?

        • Murray Rawshark

          Your morals are obviously different to mine. I assume yours are the same as Key’s and Brownlee’s.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          How the hell is it Kiwi morality to get NZ involved in an unwinnable sectarian Muslim civil war by supporting the re-placement of Christian military boots on ground, but where there is absolutely no plan to deal with the incompetent, corrupt, sectarian government in Baghdad which has alienated Sunni communities all around ISIS held territory?

          Every time the West has gotten involved in Iraq or Iran things have gotten worse not better for the locals.

          12 years and US$25B of US and UK “training” later and there is nothing but a mountain of FAIL surrounding how the west does things in Iraq.

          Maybe it’s time we learnt a moral lesson from that.

  17. Sanctuary 17

    Perhaps we should send coaches to teach the Taliban how to play cricket, apparently they can’t wait for the world cup to start. Imagine that, moderating an insurgency by fostering mutual understanding and empowering people without threatening their way of life.

    Personally, if I am ever captured by ISIL I’ll tell them I’m a handy left hand opener. Should buy me a few weeks until I’m found out in my first innings.

    • tricledrown 17.1

      Sanctury they would pobably win because the Taliban don’t play to anyones rules.
      They would be bowling with live grenades.

  18. well t.r.p…

    ..aside from silly old ad..

    ..the condemnation for yr war-mongering/pimping is pretty much universal..eh..?

    ..any comment to make on that..?

    ..any answers to the answers to yr questions like..?

    ..’if not us..who..?..’..

    ..did you see them..?..those answers..

    ..will you respond to those answers..or will you just ignore them..?

    ..as ‘inconvenient-truths’ that wd mar yr story..

    ..i mean..you did ask us that question..

    ..it wd be polite if you referenced those answers you asked for..eh..?


    ..maybe start with ‘their oil-rich/armed to the teeth neighbours’..?

    ..as ‘who?’..


    • y’know..t.r.p…

      ..if you stand back a bit..yr support for this war..on the grounds you claim..

      ..becomes more and more preposterous..

      ..what about saudi arabia..?..they are funding isis..

      ..they have executed more people in the last yr..including beheading women for ‘heresy’..

      ..but they are our ‘allies’ in this..?

      ..and if that undoubted oppression/killings by isis..fires up yr war-mongering loins..

      ..where are yr calls for us to go to war against saudi arabia..?

      ..a totally corrupt dictatorship..where women cannot even drive cars..

      ..more ‘oppression’ than u cd poke a stick at..

      ..and once again..who will be our ‘allies’ in this..

      ..but you want us to go to war against a guerilla-group/militia..that has emerged from the american-invasion-created quagmire/hellhole..?


      ..it wd seem yr thinking on this matter has had all the depth of a petrie-dish..

      • JanMeyer 18.1.1

        It’s called realpolitik Phil, an appreciation of which seems lacking in almost all the comments responding to TRP’s pragmatic post. Like when the Soviets (remember that bastion of freedom and liberty?) were our allies in the fight against Hitler. “Enemy’s enemy” and all that … not always pretty but the real world of carefully balanced strategic interests we inhabit.

    • Cheers, Phil. The post was about ISIS, so I kept to them. I could have added in Boko Haram, the Taliban, the Saudi’s or any number of other proponents of bastardry, but ISIS are who we are being asked to oppose today. I don’t buy the argument that if we don’t fight ’em all, we shouldn’t fight the one we can. That line was common in the Spanish civil war too. Its a false equivalence.

      • Jones 18.2.1

        I think the main point regarding Saudi Arabia is that with them (our friends) funding IS, waging a war against IS will only ever amount to treating the symptom and not the disease. Furthermore, to do so for supposedly moral reasons (i.e. because of the beheadings) overlooks the same “crimes” being perpetuated at regular intervals upon the Saudi people by their own government.

        “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

        Going to war is not the answer, it simply begets more war and will just create more terrorists (or freedom fighters – depending on your perspective). To solve the IS problem requires pressure from the international community on Saudi Arabia to stop funding IS and on the US to stop supplying weapons.

        Neither of those are going to happen anytime soon because more terrorists is what the US want… to justify a perpetual neverending war… until it is the new normal and then war truly will be peace. Best stay out of it altogether.

  19. Pascals bookie 19

    The problem I have with this is that it seems to be talking about a hypothetical war we could join.

    In reality, we are being asked to join a plan that exists.

    So the question isn’t just “Is there a hypotheitical war against IS that we should join?”

    but rather

    “Is this plan that war?”

    I’d be keen to hear your answer to that in light of the facts about the plan, and the facts on the ground.

    This piece is the same as the pieces that came from sectors on the left re the Iraq invasion. ‘Actually, the true left response is to support the overthrow of Saddam, this time it really is different and to stay true the heroes of the Spanish Civil War, etc etc etc’ Exactly the same.

    The facts about the war, and the plan, matter. Supporting a hypothetically betterwar than the one that is being proposed isn;t a morally superior position, it’s just preening idiocy.

    You need to make a case that this war will achieve good results. I’ve not seen such a case, and remain open to persuasion.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      Me too. Open to persuasion, and have yet to see anything resembling a plan to do anything other than butcher people to little result. If ISIL is so abominable (which they are) why do we support Bashir and the House of Saud?

  20. Draco T Bastard 20

    They must be stopped. And if not by us in the west, then by whom?

    ZOMG, it’s, like, there’s nobody else in the world. Even the people who are being conquered and enslaved don’t exist.

    Yes, the Middle East has problems. Yes, the West is generally at fault in many of them. But the only people who can fix those problems are the people who live there. They’re the ones who have to decide what sort of civilisation they want and how they should go about getting it. The West going in as ‘liberators’, again, are going to cause even more problems as the West will just try to impose their own systems onto a people who don’t understand them and don’t want them. This has always been the problem colonisation.

    • Stuart Munro 20.1

      They will be stopped in time by the geographical and cultural constraints of the region. Not really trying to Godwin here, but the German eastward progress was halted in part as they went beyond the areas that had sympathetic Germanic populations that could be recruited into garrison roles. ISIS operates within and is a product of deculturised Muslim societies – stable ones resist it successfully.

      Iraq and Syria are broken, this breakage recruits for ISIS more effectively than drone bombing deters them. The cure is to rebuild – and not under the oppressive neo-liberal norms. Of course, certain interested parties, like Halliburton, profit from the status quo and would oppose ‘nation building’. Key, being a sock puppet for the chicken hawks, just isn’t up to drawing the right lines in the sand.

    • lprent 20.2

      That is pretty much what my feelings are on the matter with some variations.

      But I can see a reason for sending arms and training into the region. Just not where John Key and his US led party wants to send it.

      The complete screwup by the US in leaving so many frigging weapons including armour to be scooped up by irregular bandit groups like ISIL with the disintegration of the US trained Iraqi ‘government’ army. Send them to groups like the Kurds and other local minority groups that these bandits are trying to massacre and who their nominal government stopped doing anything for decades ago..

      Recent Iraqi ‘governments’ effectively gave up their claim over them when they so clearly failed in their duties. I think that they could do with some support to defend themselves while that part of the middle east does shake down to some administrative boundaries that aren’t based on 19th and 20th century idiots with maps.

      BTW: Surprisingly good debate by everyone. Stayed on topic, and we didn’t get a single claim that this was all related to coal mines or oil drilling in NZ. I guess Pat O’Dea was the only person crass enough to troll like that.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 20.2.1

        The KRG has asked for assistance, so sending it would be legal. They aren’t asking for troops though:

        Barzani once again emphasized that there was no need for foreign military intervention with ground troops.
        “We need more modern weaponry. We need heavy armor, we need effective weapons that can be effective against the force ISIS seized over the last month,”

    • marty mars 20.3

      + 1 Draco

      You have got to the heart of it I think.

    • Ad 20.4

      “The only people who can fix those problems are the people who live there.”

      Imagine if we had said that to the people of East Timor, or the Solomon Islands, or the former Yugoslav states. They weren’t capable on their own, and have been improved by our intervention. And the New Zealand armed forces made a difference.

      It’s too cute to make previous colonialism the root of evil, and hence stop intervention. The middle east have been at various stages of military “intervention” for the last 5,000 years. Just because a problem hasn’t improved or is getting worse, doesn’t mean we should not intervene.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.4.1

        Imagine if we had said that to the people of East Timor, or the Solomon Islands…

        Or imagine if they hadn’t been invaded in the first place with our full support.

        They weren’t capable on their own

        You’re talking about a society that had been around for a long time before the West turned up and fucked it up.

        The middle east have been at various stages of military “intervention” for the last 5,000 years.

        You do know that the Middle east is the birthplace of modern Western civilisation don’t you?

        Just because a problem hasn’t improved or is getting worse, doesn’t mean we should not intervene.

        The right to self-determination and not to be interfered with by outside forces is what should inform us about our intervening or not.

        IMO, the western governments are trying, desperately, to maintain things the way they set them up in the 19th and 20th centuries. Essentially, they’re trying to be Canute and it’s, inevitably, not working.

      • Murray Rawshark 20.4.2

        Imagine if we hadn’t trained the Indonesian military who were occupying Timor Leste. Our armed forces went nowhere near the place until Clinton wanted them to.

    • Colonial Rawshark 20.5

      ZOMG, it’s, like, there’s nobody else in the world. Even the people who are being conquered and enslaved don’t exist.

      Yep, the white man has to ride in on the white horse to save the barbarian natives from themselves.

  21. thatguynz 21

    So you’re happy for us to go to fight an entity (note – NOT an actual state) that was trained, funded and armed by our supposed allies who have now determined that they are the “enemy du jour”? Fuck me, the world has truly spun on its axis..

  22. Bill 22

    Step 1. Lift the designation of the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

    Step 2. Reverse all the travel/passport confiscation nonsense with regards Syria.

    Step 3. Lift all sanctions and embargoes impacting on the Autonomous Regions.

    Step 4. Give the peoples of the autonomous regions whatever logistical support and expertise they need. (They are the only grouping, as far as I can tell, that are not either tied to a dictatorial, territorial or religious agenda)

    • adam 22.1

      What Bill said.

      Plus – why fight the old fashioned way ?

      Why fight like die hard old colonialist?

      Why not help in ways we can – Like cutting off the funds to ISIS. Cripple any bank, corporation, and state which funds or delivers funds to them – via cyber warfare.

      I’m bewildered why we feel the need to rush into places were we are not wanted, and where, will only perpetuate colonialist mistakes.

      • Colonial Rawshark 22.1.1

        Why fight like die hard old colonialist?

        Because our old colonial masters wish it, and they need “volunteers” from their vassal states/bannermen in their “coalition of the willing” (or whatever the fuck this grouping is going to be called this time around).

      • Bill 22.1.2

        I too am bewildered that people are not picking up on the most obvious, non-confrontational and philanthropic of options that is slapping like a wet fish on the face. Oh, hang on! Deep seated liberalism – the antithesis of democracy, decency and basic human rights as a non bureaucratic norm. My bad. I forgot. 🙁

  23. Liberal Realist 23

    What a load of crap!!

    Does the author not realise that ISIS is a creation of the West? They’re directly funded, aided & abetted by ‘friends’ of the West namely Saudi Arabia & the gulf dictatorships among others. ISIS is armed with weapons supplied (albeit indirectly) by the West FFS!

    To suggest that New Zealand has some sort of obligation to ‘join the club’ and fight ISIS is disingenuous as best, blissfully ignorant at worst. ISIS may be fascists hiding behind the Koran but they’re not of our making and they’re not our problem.

    Following the likely course of action the Government is going to take will only put a target on New Zealand and result in our dutiful armed forces personal coming home in body bags.

    The left needs to stand in solidarity against war not join in because the cause is perceived by some as ‘fighting the good fight’.

    This is about John Key and National licking Obama’s boots. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • I specifically wrote that it’s not about ‘the club’. I don’t care about Key’s weasel words, but, as others have pointed out, ISIS is very much our creation. And even if it wasn’t, opposing them would still be the correct position.

      However, I do wish that we could train the Kurds, rather than the Iraqis. The Kurds seem to be a far more progressive option for the future.

      • vto 23.1.1

        ” ISIS is very much our creation”

        how do you reach that conclusion? …. or point to somewhere you have already explained ta

        • te reo putake

          In the sense that we in the west created the vacuum that allowed them to rise to prominence, VTO. Others have made the point that we sponsored then on a ‘my enemies enemy is my friend’ basis. As we did with the Afghan resistance in the 70s. That didn’t work out as we planned either.

          • thatguynz

            tbh TRP I’m still struggling with the “we” in that context. The US – yes. The UK – yes. NZ – not so much. Others may embrace the notion of a omnipresent “west” however to me it is piffle.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              TRP is so caught up in his own sense of collective guilt he wants to repeat the same exact mistakes that got Iraq to this very spot in the first place.

              He’s also got no answer to why anything is going to change when we are leaving in place the same US supported corrupt, sectarian, incompetent, Shia oriented Baghdad government which contributed to ISIS getting so much support in Sunni areas of the country.

              This has all the ingredients of a sectarian civil war.

      • Pascals bookie 23.1.2

        The Kurds are going to fucked over, again.

        There’s a reason the Iraqi govt doesn’t want western ground troops. They are happy enough with Iranian Qods forces, but have been clear they want everyone else to stay out, and just help in other ways.

        Syrian tweeps now posting pics of Iraqi special forces fighting IS in Syria alongside Assad and some of the militia from Iraq.

        This is the actual war we have to take a position on.

        • tricledrown

          The claim by Key he is not going to not stand by when the likes of Isis burns an Jordanian pilot to death.
          So its alright for Israeli fundamentalist’s to pour petrol on a teenage Palestinian boy and set him onfire burning a noncombatant to death!

      • Liberal Realist 23.1.3

        Regarding the ‘club’ comment – okay, fair enough – I got that wrong.

        I have to firmly disagree with you stating that ISIS is our creation. IMO ISIS is the creation of western imperialism and of regional interests. New Zealand wasn’t part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nor had we ever played any role in western meddling in the middle east over the last 100+ years.

        Why can’t the US & the UK train the Kurds? They’re the nation’s primarily responsible for this mess, not us?

      • Murray Rawshark 23.1.4

        The Peshmerga don’t need our training. They are battle hardened and are the best light infantry in the world. They need funding and supplies, but FJK has decided the PKK are terrorists, because Turkey.

        Our training them would be equivalent to my training the Kiwis for the next Anzac test.

        • Bill

          The Peshmerga are the military arm of the liberal expression of Kurdish nationhood within Iraq. The PKK and the autonomous regions within Syria in contrast, are completely different entities (embodying cultures and religions far more diverse than those contained within any definition of ‘Kurd’) with absolutely different modes of governance. Just saying.

          • Murray Rawshark

            My understanding is that the PKK military forces moved into the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq a couple of years ago and have been fighting alongside the Peshmerga, against ISIL. The Iraqi Kurds I have spoken to are certainly big fans of the PKK.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              I’m sure both Baghdad and Ankara are very ambivalent about this development.

  24. Wynston 24

    te reo putake, in the words of Mark Twain “First get your facts right then you may distort them as you choose”. New Zealand was not part of G Dubya’s “Coalition of the Willing” that created the mess that exists in Iraq!

    • I didn’t write that we were, Winston. But we are part of the west and we are involved.

      • Wynston 24.1.1

        Your writing certainly inferred that we were. As to our being involved, we will be only if the government wants us to be, not because we should!

        • te reo putake

          First up, apologies for misspelling your name above, Wynston. Auto-correct got the better of me.

          I would argue that even if we (NZ) didn’t send troops to Iraq, we were still involved. Generally, in the sense that we are part of the West and specifically, because we are part of the Five Eyes network which was providing intel for the coalition that invaded Iraq.

          But more importantly, my argument is that we should go because it’s the right thing to do, whether or not we were involved in bringing down the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. ISIS need stopping and if we can help, why not?

          • Pascals bookie

            “ISIS need stopping and if we can help, why not?”

            Because the plan on the table to do it seems to be to back one side in the sectarian war, ignoring their warcrimes. Which will not solve the conflict that lead to ISIS, it will inflame it.

            What is the end game of the actual plan on the table?

            How do we get from ‘Shia militia retaking Mosul’ to ‘Shia militia putting down their weapons welcoming Sunni to a genuine power sharing arrangement and everyone in Iraq singing kumbayah’?

            We can’t, right? That’s wishing away the actual conflict that ISIS is a symptom of eh.

            Here’s what I see as the outcome of the actual plan that exists:

            Assert Shia control over Iraq and make it clear to Sunni what their new status in Iraq is.

            Fine, if we are honest about that, and honest about what it will entail. It will have fuck all to do with ‘western values’.

            What happens next? Are the Gulf states going to all of a sudden not care the Iraq is an Iranian ally? Or will they continue to fund the next iteration of Sunni jihadists against Shia?

          • Liberal Realist

            “Generally, in the sense that we are part of the West and specifically, because we are part of the Five Eyes network which was providing intel for the coalition that invaded Iraq.”

            Can you be certain that we provided intel to coalition forces in 2003?

            Were we a full fledged part of the 5 eyes alliance in 2003? The article linked below states that New Zealand was ‘reintegrated’ into the 5 eyes alliance in 2009 after a 2 decade absence. I know Waihopai Station continued to operate during this period but that doesn’t mean that we provided any intel to the invasion forces in 2003.

            Hence IMO your argument that we are involved is a straw man.


            • te reo putake

              You probably need to read the whole article, LR. What is refers to is NZ being able to receive intel from the others again after 2009. In other words, a resumption of the full partnership. That doesn’t mean we weren’t gathering intel for them in the intervening period. It’s not like we shut down Tangimoana and Waihopai when we declared ourselves nuke free, is it? Spooks gonna spook!

              • Liberal Realist

                TRP IMO you’re implying a very casual link between NZ being ‘involved’ in the Iraq invasion as part of the West because we may, and I must emphasise, may have provided intel to invasion forces in 2003.

                I’d suggest that the strength of your argument that we’re involved and therefore have a responsibility is weak on this basis.

                Neither of us can prove that intel was or wasn’t supplied to the invasion forces in 2003 however you state it as fact, just because Tangimoana & Waihopai were in operation during that time.

                • What do you reckon they were doing at the spy bases, if not spying? Our involvement, direct or indirect, is not the significant part of my argument anyway. ISIS need to be stopped and faffing about isn’t going to do it. If we can help, we should.

                  • The Murphey

                    Q. What contribution to sustainable stability eventuates if ISIS are stopped ?

                    Q. Will you support the next ‘war’ against quasi terrorist group the west manufactures directly and indirectly ?

                    Q. Have the comments section given you pause for thought ?

                    Q. Could you ever come to terms in yourself by accepting your position on this subject is incorrect change your view then admit it publically via retraction ?

                  • Pascals bookie

                    “ISIS need to be stopped and faffing about isn’t going to do it. ”

                    What part of the plan on the table isn’t “faffing about”?

                    • Rolf

                      True that IS need to be stopped, but so does the US. I simply don’t believe that using drones to burn children and people alive is the answer. IS is a product of US intervention in the Middle East, not the solution.

                    • Touche! I really meant waiting for unlikely soft options such as sanctions against the house of Saud, but I know what you mean.

                      As I wrote in the post, I don’t rate Key’s weasel words. I’d say this has been planned for months and he has a fair idea exactly what our role really is.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      There are only a few thousand ISIS fighters spread out over such a vast area. Most aren’t even properly militarily trained. Why don’t Jordan and Iran just move a couple of divisions into Iraq, join up with the Iraq security forces, and wipe out ISIS. Should take them a few weeks at most.

                      Why involve NZ when Iraq and its immediate neighbours can solve the problem very quickly with US air support?

                      Or is wiping out ISIS not that easy? What are we not being told?

                    • Pascals bookie

                      Wiping out ISIS isn’t that easy, basically.

                      You are not going to get them to commit to a pitched battle.

                      They’re fortifying Mosul, by some accounts, though what that means is unclear. Reports of trench building and blowing bridges. probably tunnels as well. So taking it will mean enough troops to do it slowly, and thoroughly and cautiously, without making yourself look worse than ISIS in the eyes of Mosul citizens.

                      But they are an irregular force, who fight asymmetrically. Battles are symbolic to them at least as much as they are strategic. They are interesting in that they have changed asymmetric warfare to include elements of maneuver warfare: “we have taken this town and now control these lands” etc, but it remains to be seen how much of that is genuine and how much is propaganda.

                      They remain an irregular force though, and a really good one (not morally, obv).

                      They’ve won a lot by not fighting armies. I doubt they intend to change that in a hurry.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Irregular forces which hide out amongst the local population for any length of time tend to be able to do so because they have the active support of that local population. Also remembering that many Iraqis still have an AK47 or two stashed away and could resist (or join) ISIS if they wanted to.

                      Which is why I think this is actually evolving into a civil war, with the north of “Iraq” entirely discontent with the rule from Baghdad.

  25. McFlock 25

    Thanks for the post, TRP.

    I reckon that ISIS is a global problem, because burning people in cages is a step up in fucked-uppedness. Execution is bad. Beheading is pretty quick, but still bad. Slow beheading is fucked up. But these guys are looking to bring back the brazen bull, ffs.

    I quite like Bill’s comments about the PKK – they really are the ones to sort at least some of the problem But the downside is that then they’ll want a chunk of Turkey, and Turkey also plays hardball counter-insurgency. And then there’s still Assad’s regime – if PKK take over most of ISIS territory, will PKK want to expand over Assad’s non-kurdish territory, or will other militia keep fighting Assad?

    as for direct NZ involvement, I reckon we need to figure out what sort of end-state we are there to achieve, and it has to be something beyond “eliminate ISIS/ISIL” We need a positive objective (as in “thing we want to see”, rather than happy clappy ‘positivity’). And achievable. Just jumping on the bandwagon or being only bilateral is a recipe for another ten years and no stability in the region.

    • Chooky 25.1

      “I reckon that ISIS is a global problem”…and who funds and supports ISIS? ( certainly NOT Iran or Assad/Syria)…who else ….ummm….Saudi Arabia?….(where they also have a lot of beheadings and human rights abuses and brutality towards women)….and who are Saudi Arabia’s friends ….( USA? Israel ?, UK?, New Zealand?…we had our flag flown at half mast recently by John Key Nact for the death of their King)

      …recognise a few contradictions here?

      ….why should young New Zealanders have their lives put on the line for this mess?

      ….better to go as a UN led multi-national Peace force

      ….the solution is political as the experts say

      • Liberal Realist 25.1.1

        Our ‘friends’ Saudi Arabia + the gulf dictatorships of whom ‘we’ mourned the loss of a ‘great’ leader by flying flags at half mast… /sarc

        Chooky – you beat me to the punch with your last edit!

      • McFlock 25.1.2

        As trp points out in their post, conflation of different issues doesn’t address any of them.

      • Anne 25.1.3

        …better to go as a UN led multi-national Peace force

        Excuse my inexcusable ignorance on this matter, but where exactly does the UN stand over the ISIS question?

        You can’t go as a UN led multi-national peace force when you’re dealing with mentally f****d terrorists. They’re way beyond reasoned diplomacy.

        No doubt the ‘5 eyes’ nations are at least in part responsible for this atrocious mess. Indeed I had some personal experience of the paranoia and madness that accompanied the 1st Iraq war in 1991 – right here on NZ soil. Extremely nasty it was too.

        So, where does it leave the UN? Is there any initiative they can take in these circumstances? Genuine question.

        Edit: agree greywarshark @26 (below). I am very confused too! Funny thing, I also attempted to clear my brain with a lemon and barley water refresher.

        • Chooky

          @ Anne…I dont know where the UN stands on ISIS…but I do know where Kofi Annan stands and Noam Chomsky…and other experts…there can only be a political solution to this


          According to Noam Chomsky this is an illegitmate and illegal war….the US has again decided to act against the international law, building an anti-ISIS coalition that is “meaningless, apart from being illegal.”

          “A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The US could then participate in it, but so could Iran,” which is a major military force and would probably wipe out ISIS in no time, if it was allowed to join the fight on the ground, Chomsky believes.


          • Anne

            Thanks for that Chooky. Chomsky talks sense so why don’t they go to the Security council? Will read the links this evening and that may provide the answer but off the top of my head, I suspect it’s because the US wants to be the boss of this war!!

    • Colonial Rawshark 25.2

      I reckon that ISIS is a global problem, because burning people in cages is a step up in fucked-uppedness. Execution is bad. Beheading is pretty quick, but still bad. Slow beheading is fucked up. But these guys are looking to bring back the brazen bull, ffs.

      The west OK’s burning up and pulverising hundreds or thousands of civilians (including children) up with GPS guided incendiary and thermobaric munitions. Beheading and tearing up limb to limb up to a thousand Palestinian children using precision US/Israeli ordinance – also OK. Also OK is torturing people to death (when done at western government approved Black Sites).

      Hanging someone live on national TV while he is being verbally abused on sectarian, religious and tribal grounds like Saddam Hussein – also OK. Selling the rope he was hanged with for millions of dollars – also OK.

      But “barbarity” like burning a military officer up in a cage is NOT OK. It is just so unacceptably AWFUL.

      Get that? We have the moral HIGH GROUND and dammit, we say that is NOT OK.

      (Gawd lets try not to be soft in the head easy propaganda targets, yeah?)

      • McFlock 25.2.1

        If you don’t see the difference (both in outcome and sheer ability to premeditate and commit it as a course of individual action) dropping a bomb and putting someone in a cage to light them on fire, you’re a fucking imbecile and possibly a sociopath.


        I mean, I could go on about things like individual abrogation of responsibility to collective action and separation between act and consequence, but if you’re genuinely suggesting moral equivalence between those two types of action, well… that’s just fucked in the head.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Oh yes McFlock, “the West” has “unintentionally” killed thousands upon thousands of civilians including children, and we kill more again and again and again and again.

          but that’s OK according to you because we DIDN’T MEAN TO.

          Sounds like a typical irresponsible primary school kids excuse. Or a recidivist drink driver’s. Or perhaps one a sociopath might give.

          BTW I’m pretty sure the rendition programme and torture programme the west conducted was pretty intentional and “pre-meditated.” As was supplying more high tech ordinance to Israel as it was bombing Gaza back to the stone age. I noticed you ignored that though. Sociopathy perhaps? Or are you simply “fucked in the head?”

          • McFlock

            Way to not read the words on the page.

            Seriously, do you not see any difference in the sheer willpower required to press a button (or even pull a trigger) vs immolating some guy in a cage right next to you? Is the difference between those acts literally inconceivable to you?

            • Pascals bookie

              It’s horrific.

              But horrific shit happens in sectarian wars. And that sux, but it’s not some new intrinsic thing to ISIS.


              there is nothing new about it. There’s a generation of fighting age males who grew up during the Iraq civil war. The threshold for “shit I’m prepared to do” probably differs.

              • McFlock

                Fair point.

                But I’m fed up with talking about things we should have stopped, well after Lake Victoria had so many bodies washed into it that the chemistry of the water was altered.

                I guess my position is that this shit needs to be stopped, as global citizens we should put our hands up to help stop it, but we need to figure out an array of strategic outcomes we desire beyond “stop X” and we need to do it in a way that helps the long-term stability of the region.

                • Pascals bookie

                  I get it, I really do. It’s just that I can’t see this war as being that solution.

                  And this war is the one we are being asked to support.

                  • McFlock

                    Yeah, true.

                    Dunno if it’s better or worse than doing nothing because the yanks are also bad, though.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      As long as the west supports a corrupt, sectarian, Shia dominated government in Iraq, the northern Sunni areas will continue to support movements like ISIS.

                      By the way, have you even paused for a moment to think what will happen if “we” “win” and ISIS is defeated, and Baghdad forces march into the northern Sunni towns which supported ISIS fighters?

                      Yeah, bet you hadn’t got that far. It’ll be a bloodbath of sectarian show trials and executions.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Most decent military strategy depends on troops being able to do ‘nothing’ for months on end, waiting for ‘the victory that may be decided in a single day’.

                      Not having a plan, having no exit strategy, and lying to one another about the motives, isn’t just the height of inhumanity, it’s a recipe for defeat, and make no mistake, the bloodsoaked Caliph isn’t joking about the invalidity of all nation states.

            • greywarshark

              @ McFock
              It surely is part of an escalating trend of violence. Not a supreme crime on its own but part of a determined behaviour by brutalised forces who have bastardised the Geneva Conventions.

              • McFlock

                Everyone’s on a continuum of violence.

                Dunno about the west escalating – looking at tokyo or dresden, for example…

            • Colonial Rawshark

              It goes both ways. The USA imprisoned ex CIA team leader John Kiriakou for exposing the American torture programme. (In fact Kiriakou is the only person associated with the US torture programme who has been prosecuted – because torture is OK when the west does it).

              Kiriakou knew of one US torture victim who had been waterboarded more than 80 times.

              You wanted an example of comparable western commitment and “willpower”. What do you think of that one. Maybe ISIS is just following the west’s example that nothing is out of bounds any more.

              • McFlock

                still not quite the same as burning someone alive, is it.

                For one thing, it’s water, not fire.
                Then there’s the fact that it’s not supposed to kill the victim.
                As well as the “ticking bomb” argument.

                I’m not saying waterboarding was ok, or is even less bad that beating seven kinds of shit out of someone, but it’s not burning them alive.

                BTW, you do know that your russian mates used thermobaric warheads in a built up area?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Yeah, the Russians really really fucked Chechnya over, including a very large number of civvies.

                  Mind you, the west has contributed to roughly 3M excess deaths in Iraq and Iran over a 25 year period, so it’s horses for courses.

                  I’m not saying waterboarding was ok, or is even less bad that beating seven kinds of shit out of someone, but it’s not burning them alive.

                  Just saying that there was plenty of premeditation and sheer sadistic will power going on there.

                  • McFlock

                    Still not burning a prisoner alive.
                    PB’s example was more compelling.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The US torture victim that Kiriakou referred to survived, yes. Others didn’t. Remember that the point of waterboarding is to make the subject feel like they are drowning to death.

                      PB’s example was more compelling.

                      Sure, whatever appeals to the western sensibility of moral righteousness and liberal indignation.

                    • McFlock

                      nah, more that PB seems a touch less biased in what injustices they get outraged about.

                    • Rolf

                      People there do not have to wait to be even prisoners to be burned alive. The US is sending their drones to burn them alive in their homes.

                    • McFlock

                      at least CR figured out the difference between the different acts that achieve a similar outcome.

                    • greywarshark

                      Isn’t there some term called false equivalence?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You can always get social liberals to back a war by giving them a nice boost of righteous morality that it is good and proper to go kill a certain group of people.

                    • McFlock

                      horses for courses, I guess.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  We’re not being asked to go to war alongside Russians. The stuff they did is irrelevant, and in any case no worse than what the seppos have been doing since WW2, as a matter of routine. Viet Nam is still a mess. We’re partly responsible, so let’s help make a mess of another country. Well, it’s a one, two, three..
                  What are we fighting for?
                  I don’t know and I don’t give a damn
                  Next stop now with Uncle Sam….

          • swordfish

            @ CV

            This is all beginning to sound like Communist Talk, to me.

            In fact, I’m beginning to doubt that you’re even a real American, fella.

        • Murray Rawshark

          Dropping a bomb on a wedding party from a drone requires about 20 years of planning and premeditation, a shitload more than burning a pilot to death. CR is not the one who is fucked in the head.

          • McFlock

            …while always maintaining a level of emotional and physical distance from the act.

            That’s the bit that makes the difference.

            • Murray Rawshark

              That’s the bit that, to my mind, makes the drone pilot worse. It sanitises murder. Send in Seal Team 6 to kidnap the wedding party, tie them to chairs and ask the drone pilot to cut their throats. Why can’t he do it? Because he’s deliberately kept at a physical and emotional distance so he can kill more in the future. Then we call ISIL sick bastards.

              • McFlock

                We call them sick bastards because they don’t need drones.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  What do you mean we, white man? I don’t need drones. I don’t want to kill anyone. I would stand in front of someone and cut their throat if necessary in defence, but I would not press a button to kill people I was never going to meet in a million years. To me that’s the sickness. That we can kill people by video game and feel good about it. It makes us civilised after all, doesn’t it?

                  • McFlock

                    you wouldn’t call someone who sets helpless people on fire “sick”?

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      It’s sick whether they do it from 1m or from 10,000 km by dropping napalm from a drone. I think the second is more dishonest, in that they claim not to be a murderer.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      But us in the moral west, we work very hard to avoid or minimise incinerating civilians! Yes it happens a couple of hundred times a year, year after year, but at least we try!

                      (And we wonder why the Muslim world is not convinced)

                    • McFlock

                      So people who burn prisoners in a cage get points for honesty, now. /sarc

                • Pascals bookie

                  Check out this yarn:


                  Note the dates and how they line up to the explosion of death squad related activity in Baghdad, like with the other ‘burning people alive’ link.

                  They’re sick, but not uniquely sick, or even out of the ordinary for this type of conflict.

                  The Americans only got squeamish about putting the torture victims on TV shows, their propaganda needs were different.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Oh yes, decapitating and incinerating civilians with a screen, a joystick, and a $10M drone is just so much more moral and humane!

                  (Of course, the other 6B people of the world who don’t live in the wealthy west don’t buy this bullshit for even a microsecond.)

                  • McFlock

                    Again, that’s not what I wrote. Please learn to read.

                    Although I love that when the yanks do it you’re on your high horse, but mention russians doing it and it’s “horses for courses” 🙄

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      My point was that the Chechnya death toll was, relatively speaking, a tiny proportion of what the West was responsible for in Iran and Iraq.

                      Nevertheless, it was still horrific and inexcusable.

                    • McFlock

                      whatever, dude.

        • Bill

          1920’s or thereabouts. Black man being burned to death in front of crowds of some thousands. USA. (Balls cut off…lowered and raised from flames for maximum ‘effect’.)

        • North

          And completely fucked-up McFlock is your assertion that wilful western connivance in and funding of the firing of missiles into a targeted Gaza apartment building is done without any appreciation that it will cinder children.

          That is jacked-up, self-rationalising, western sophistry. Who the fuck are you to level the imbecile/sociopath charge ?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            But Israel carefully acts to avoid or minimise civilian casualties, haven’t you heard the speeches?

          • McFlock

            Someone who understands the english language, for a start.

            Go back and reread.

            • North

              It’s really gutless to blithely, butter wouldn’t melt, deny the natural import of your comments McFlock. So GodKey.

              • McFlock

                You flatter me. I know nothing of the “import” of my comments, that is for others to judge.

                But I know what I wrote, and what you claim I asserted, and the two are quite different.

    • Ad 25.3

      +100 third paragraph

      • Rolf 25.3.1

        The recent barbaric burning of the pilot who flow bombing missions on US behalf is the first time the IS has retaliated against the US most frequent burnings of civilians. The next person burned to death may well be a kiwi, and here in New Zealand, as a retaliation for Kiwis burning civilians to death in Iraq on US behalf. Will anyone volunteer their family and children for the act.

    • Bill 25.4

      But the downside is that then they’ll want a chunk of Turkey,

      No. No they don’t. The PKK are not interested in the formation of any Kurdish state and therefore have no interest in any territorial ‘advantage’. That was an aim when they were bound by Marxist/Leninist frameworks of thought.

      But it seems they’ve moved beyond that bullshit and ideas centred on ‘the state’ have ‘withered’ – just as the external expression of the state would have (actually, never would have) withered in Marx’s naive theory of historical progression.

      Do you see the gigantic leap that has been made by participants in the Rojava Revolution in that respect?

      • Colonial Rawshark 25.4.1

        Sadly, I can see the US undermining those guys first chance they get.

      • McFlock 25.4.2

        True, I wasn’t up with the cease fire with Ankara and suchlike over the last 18 months – just recalled the border issues they were having.
        Interesting, makes the kurdish option a bit more attractive. Although I seem to recall the germans are well ahead in that regard.

  26. greywarshark 26

    I’m waitng for felix to come on and say something sensible and succinct as usual. I am confused so far, need a nice drink of lemonade without sugar to etch out my brain. When you get some time felix?

    • Colonial Rawshark 26.1

      No calorie sugar substitutes confuse your body’s metabolism. Unless there is a medical reason, you’re better off with lemonade with real sugar but dilute it down with 30% water.

  27. Sabine 27

    I am wondering if all those that believe we should train the Iraqui soldiers will sign up today/tomorrow or quickly any other day to go and train the Iraqi soldiers.

    however here is an interesting read from 2009 – about training and costs of training the iraqi troops


    here is a read from 2005 – also in regards to training the iraqi troops


    someone who spend time training iraqi troops has an opinion on it


    and if anyone would care to google and read they would see that one can train the iraqi troops and one can give them money and weapons but one can not make them fight for the Yazidis, or the Kurds, or the Sufis, or Christians, or the Sunnis, or the Shia’s etc etc etc.

    and besides, what ever happened to the national party mantra of not spending money we don’t have and paying back our debts, and austerity and more austerity…

    also will the warmongers sign up and hope their kids join to defeat evil isis….especially if we are to put them on the same level as fighting against the Nazis in the 1940. ……crickets I hear?

  28. The Murphey 28

    TRP well done taking the time to post your point of view knowing the hostility the post would receive

    Michael Valley posted on similar subject matter and also got tarred severely so the precedent existed

    That your ‘world view’ is misguided cannot be interpreted as contensious and is confirmed by the responses to your post

    Stick to your guns and remain inflexible otherwise you may face having to accept your ‘world view’ has been based on fallacy’s

    And that just won’t do at all

  29. Sanctuary 29

    I have to say old Bomber is not coping with irrelevancy very well. No matter what you think of Te Reo Putake’s post (in my case, not very much) it is a genuine attempt to put an honestly held case for war. For Bradbury to get all septic about it because it is a contrary position to his is nonsense and indicates a worrying inability to learn from the mistakes which have made him a bit of a joke.

  30. Rolf 30

    Ok, lets get this right, New Zealand is about to send troops to Iraq to fight IS, and IS is about to send terrorists to New Zealand to fight USA here. Sounds like intelligent politics.

  31. Colonial Rawshark 31

    We in the west have created this mess and we are responsible for cleaning it up.

    LOL. I suppose NZ has to do its bit for king and country is what it boils down to. By the way, in case it isn’t clear to you TRP, “WE” here in NZ did NOT create the mess in Iraq.

    But just look at the history of Iraq and how the west has fucked the region (including Iran) over and over.

    So I guess TRP’s message is, if you haven’t “cleaned it up”: try, try, try, try yet again.

    Even if there is no plausible plan for victory, even if there is no plausible plan to exit the theatre once we are in there, even if there is no plausible reason why getting one division of troops from Iran and one division of troops from Jordan supported by US airstrikes won’t sort a few thousand ISIS fighters out once and for all.

    • Murray Rawshark 31.1

      TRP’s “we” is the same club/family that FJK wants so badly to belong to. We are not responsible for the perfidious sins of Albion, nor for the exceptionalist sins of the US and A. We are a Pacific Nation off the coast of a large continent. That continent is neither Europe nor North America. Time we stopped pretending it was.

  32. Colonial Rawshark 32

    To what’s my point? On the left, we fight the good fight not for glory, not to be celebrated, not even to be remembered. We fight because it’s the morally correct thing to do. We fight in solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden.

    Sending our own citizens off to some carefully selected war always requires a veneer of moral justification.

    The people in Palestine have been oppressed and downtrodden for decades. Has the Left in NZ decided that we should take up arms against Israel?

    German intelligence now says that several tens of thousands of people have died in the Ukraine civil war, most of them likely to be civilians in the Donbass region attacked by Kiev forces.

    Has the Left in NZ decided that we should take up arms against Kiev?

    The people of Bahrain are being brutally suppressed by an elite oligarchy backed by the USA and Saudi Arabia.

    Has the Left in NZ decided that we should take up arms against Bahrain?

    Like I said. Sending our own citizens off to some carefully selected war always requires a veneer of moral justification. Lefties are as great at concocting this up as Righties.

  33. Tiger Mountain 33

    I will take this post at face value and answer in a brief straight way.

    The working class and its allies should not participate in or support imperialist wars.

    TRPs post reminds me of KG Douglas sealing his fate as one who had turned, when as a leader of the Socialist Unity Party in the late 80s he urged support for “ANZAC” frigate construction in this country. An unnecessary class collaborationist gesture in other words.

    If this is indication of some support in the Labour party for putting a tin hat on and marching off to the middle East it really is of concern to the rest of the left.

  34. Jay 34

    Hmmm. I wonder if the human beings about to be beheaded, burned alive, stoned to death, crucified and raped care who started it

    The reason we’re going in and Turkey isn’t, is cause we’re better than them

    WW2 was a righteous war, as is this one.

    We don’t have an army of conscripts, you join, you expect to go to war when your government tells you to. If you don’t like that, I expect you wouldn’t join, so don’t bother sticking up for your son or daughter who’s in the army as if that gives you a right to speak out. I expect it’s not too late to resign.

    I suppose though that we could just give the finger to our allies, point out other regions we should be in, and hide behind the idea that this is all somehow some vast conspiracy. You all should be working for foreign affairs. The situation is easily solvable, just do nothing in case we make it worse!

    While the Penny Brights of this world protest against us doing anything meaningful to help the victims of this evil army, brave men and woman from all over the world will risk their lives to fight these degenerate scumbags.

    Maybe some of the anti war protesters could even spit at and assault the police to show how strongly they’re against violence.

    They could even march for gay rights too. The right to marry, not the right to actually live.

    Meanwhile the rest of you lot can pass judgement(not that any of you would have the first idea about what’s actually going on) from behind the safety of your computers, all of which are made from dreaded oil, all of you protected by men and women that are braver than you and who have the ability to do more than sneer, in a country with a proud tradition of uniting with our brothers and sisters in the west and fighting fascism.

    Good on you te reo you’re dead bloody right.

    • Pascals bookie 34.1

      You make it sound like the west’s plan is to raise a huge army and go over and defeat the evil doers, like WW2.

      the plan I’ve seen is that we are going to do fuck all. Just enough to say that we are doing something, and not enough that it will hurt us beyond a few % on our military budgets. Commitments are being made that we won;t get too involved at all, and that our people will be very unlucky to get hurt.

      All this to achieve what?

      What is the plan to defeat ISIS/ Arm the Shia militia? Are they the good guys?

      After they win, how are we to convince them to bring the Sunni into the govt they just fought a decade long war to keep them out of?

      there are no answers to these questions ever.

      There is no plan at all in Syria. The Kurds are to get fucked, and we will wring our hands and say ‘we have to be realistic’.

      there is no moral clarity here.
      But the least we can ask for is honesty.

      But we can’t even get that, because the truth, that we are siding with Iran for a few minutes while we get the current version of Sunni disconetent under control, is too cynical for anyone to line up behind.

      So instead we being served all this WW2 shit and adolescent moral preening.

    • Murray Rawshark 34.2

      Thanks for showing TRP what sort of RWNJ agrees with him.

  35. greywarshark 35

    @ Murray R
    Who was that directed at? It is under PB but doesn’t sound like PB at all. Perhaps you should put a note on your arrow so it can be passed to the correct recipient?

    • Murray Rawshark 35.1

      The number 34.2 indicates that it is the second reply to post 34, made by Jay, who thinks that once people join the army they should just follow orders. Funny how international law doesn’t support that view.

  36. Puckish Rogue 36

    Very good post and if anyone wants to use the fact that I, as a National voter, think this is a good post and want to use it against TRP rather then come up with a decent counter-arguement then it shows what a sad individual you are

    • McFlock 36.1

      not really. You tend to be a bellweather for bullshit.

      I suspect much of the moral complexity of the post has gone right over your head, you being a national party voter and all.

  37. Heartbleeding Liberal 37

    Can anyone making the claim that Saudi Arabia is funding ISIS provide some evidence of that being true? My understanding is that Saudi Arabia recognizes ISIS as a threat to its existence (as ISIS view them as pawns of the West).

  38. Here we have the old social imperialist propaganda were workers are sent to fight one another in the interests of some or other big powers superprofits.

    There already is a popular revolution in Syria, (which is making modest progress against IS) and one in Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava which is doing the same. There are moderate elements in both Sunni and Shia militias in Iraq that are capable of joining forces to fight both Shia and Sunni extremists.

    But the US and Iranians are staging a proxy war to defeat these revolutionary forces under the pretext of fighting IS. They are the main perpetrators of the war for oil between two big imperialist blocs led by the US and China under the guise of a war on terror.

    The war working people need to fight is the class war against our own ruling class and their imperialist masters in Washington and Beijing.

    Below is the revolutionary Marxist position on this, among other, wars.

    “As John Key and the NACT regime struggle to decide how much support for the US war against IS they can give without jeopardising their warm trading relations with China, we say that there is much more to be said about this capitalist war. It is in fact only the most recent in a long history of wars into which NZ has been dragged as a semi-colony of first Britain, then the US, as these imperialist powers fight their rivals and squabble over the spoils of war. That is, as long as they are not collaborating to defeat the threat of international proletarian revolution. Read on…”


    • Murray Rawshark 38.1

      It’s amazing that it still works so well one hundred years after it first saw social democrat politicians lining up to farewell European youth as they marched off to the trenches. We are not fast learners. This is strong evidence against intelligent design.

  39. freedom 39

    It is of course a complex issue and we each choose to see certain aspects more clearly than others. I do try to see things from a variety of points of view but keep returning to the soldiers’ graves that connect this world more firmly than any of our grand achievements. Century after century, it has continued. Tens of millions of lives fell in battle for the same lies we tell today. All because of a needless and unending hatred of what others are, others have, or others want. Be it for religion, resources, countries or concubines, they are all just power hungry maniacs wanting more.

    As you suggest Te Reo Putake, War is not a good thing.

    You mention that “The rise of ISIS clearly relates to the disastrous decision to invade Iraq …”

    Yes, but it might also have a lot to do with what happened after the US got there. Slaughtering a million civilians (which is a conservative estimate). Disbanding Iraq’s army. Deserting billions and billions of dollars of munitions and equipment. Ignoring the repeated requests from local and International spokespersons not to put certain people into positions of authority when their religious/political allegiances were not going to contribute to the unification and rebuilding of a broken country etc etc…

    Funny how you failed to mention any of that.

    But yes TRP, war is a bad thing, I agree wholeheartedly with you on that.

    You do present a good argument to support the USA’s steady march across the backs of weaker nations, but should we send Kiwi soldiers to die in a conflict that may just escalate faster and further than any warmonger’s wet dream? Should we be a part of a battle that might spark a global nuclear conflict, yet not even stand in the United Nations to demand the USA at least presents a plan?

    I’m going to have to say no.

  40. Murray Rawshark 40

    Bringing up Spain is an extremely weak argument. The “west” did nothing but run neutrality patrols up and down the Spanish coast, while the fascists sent in a shitload of troops and equipment from the other direction. The “west” did its level best to stop individuals from helping the Republicans. Sending soldiers to help O’Bomber pull his nuts out of the fire is in now way comparable to the International Brigades. Socialists finding their own way to Kurdish territory and helping out might be the closest equivalent, but FJK would consider them to be terrorists.

  41. Paul 41

    What is this post doing on a left wing blog?
    Next fisiani will be an author.
    The fact that pr supports it says it all.
    I thought the left would have learnt the lesson after Blair’s awful sink into the abyss.

    • Murray Rawshark 41.1

      It seems we have slow learners among us, but I think it’s important to be reminded that there are those on the left who can find reasons to line up behind imperialist warmongers.

      • Colonial Rawshark 41.1.1

        Labour is a “broad church”; there is room within it for a few imperialist warmonger “club” members. Even ones happy to support a “FAIL before it has even started” mission.

    • lprent 41.2

      Despite what you may have heard, the ‘left wing’ isn’t exactly a monolithic bloc of people who all think and act the same. That is the wet fantasy of some of our ‘friends’ of the right, but they do like clinging to their wee myths in the same way that they like to inflate other things.

      Like a number of people on this site I am an ex-soldier and have no real difficulty with us using military force – where it is justifiable and useful (think East Timor for instance). But I want to have a damn sight better reason for doing it than to provide photoops for John Key. Which is pretty much the only thing I can see us getting involved in the latest saga from the US’s ongoing screwup in Iraq from that bozo Bush jr.

      This is a site for debate. That means that the range of views that wind up across the left get aired on this site. We select our authors to provide that range of debate.

      In this case, you have a range of views from mine months back that says that the ISIL panic by the west is exactly that – a pile of politicians and media running around looking like idiot chickens because it looks better for ratings and votes.

      Bill and TRP are far more moderate about this kind of stuff than I am..

      • Murray Rawshark 41.2.1

        I’m not a pacifist, but I need a bloody good reason before I’ll agree with FJK risking our kids’ lives.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 41.2.2

        I disagree: the monumental failure of recent US foreign policy is a realpolitik that we citizens have to contend with. It distorts the economy and provides opportunities for the MP for Rodney,

        We can’t oppose the National Party locally and ignore authoritarian sadism abroad.

      • b waghorn 41.2.3

        ‘But I want to have a damn sight better reason for doing it than to provide photoops for John Key. ‘ that raises a interesting thought would most here on the standard be so anti if key wasn’t here and cunnillife was getting us involved.

        • Pascals bookie

          Not me if he was making the same pathetic case proponents of this one are.

          And that’s another thing in TRP’s post that bothers me, (I’d address him but he seems to be ignoring me:) )

          Key’s ‘weasel words’ about the club, etc.

          There is no reason not to take him at face value.

          TRP maintains that Key’s reasoning doesn’t matter, that we should just ignore what the govt says, and support the war they want because there are better reasons than the ones the govt is offering.

          Problem is that this is the govt that will be making the calls, and they probably do think about it terms of the club, and so on. That’s the precise reasoning Key used for why we should have gone to Iraq. He used the missing in action line that Wayne Mapp also used. It’s the way they think.

          Wayne was on here the other week explaining how imoprtant that club stuff is. It affects the order in which people like Mapp get to speak at meetings with other people Like Wayne Mapp.

          This sort of thing is very important to tories, and we should take their word for it when they say they think it’s worth ordering soldiers into a war zone over.

          • Draco T Bastard

            This sort of thing is very important to tories, and we should take their word for it when they say they think it’s worth ordering soldiers into a war zone over.

            Yep, for Tories it seems to be about power, status and who you hobnob with and nothing to do with morality or ethics.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Whichever idiot was pushing us to war in the ME wouldn’t make a difference – I’d still oppose it. It’s the wrong thing to do, simple as that.

        • Paul

          Not at all.
          I despise Blair( UK Labour) for invading Iraq,
          He is a war criminal and should be arrested.

        • Murray Rawshark

          Bw, my position would not change if Cunliffe were the warmonger. If anything, my opposition would be harsher because Labour claims to be better than Key.

      • Sans Cle 41.2.4

        I had the same feeling regarding ‘a monolithic bloc’ reading Bryce Edward’s take on things today…….He said
        ‘Left and Right unite’ in the context of SkyCity deal (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11401591)

        ….then went on to cite quite a few National supporting blogs and right wing libertarian views, with no mention of what anyone else is saying……apart from Toby Manhire.

        I think we should change our taxonomy of political leanings away from ‘left’ and ‘right’ to either
        “honest and dishonest” (but a matter of moral disputation over that classification, no doubt) or
        advocating “social integrity or self-interested”.

      • Paul 41.2.5

        The west created ISIS.
        By invading Iraq in 2003.
        So why on earth would they do it again?

  42. Colonial Rawshark 42

    Since Obama is asking Congress for approval to wage a war against ISIS without any geographic limit (that is, a world wide war), does it mean that NZ is going to follow suit and support this global endeavour.

  43. grumpystilskin 43

    Following the current line on western intervention here, how long is it till a kiwi is kidnapped/killed/whatever by ISIS to justify our involvement?
    That seems to be the course these days..
    BTW, anyone read “other peoples wars” by nicky hager and still think it’s a good idea?
    I’d urge you all to get a copy then see how you feel about NZ’s possible involvement.

  44. Heartbleeding Liberal 44

    Do readers here support the N.Z/U.S relationship? If yes, then do you concede that part and parcel of this is “toeing the line” at times? If no, then where do we look for military allies (or can we rely on our standing army alone to defend our soil?).

    • b waghorn 44.1

      Fuck the yanks they are not a positive force on this earth , just because they have the power and the money people bow to them ,
      If they are such good leaders why are so many living on the streets in there country?? , why do there young fell so messed up the go to school and slaughter there mates??? Why do people across the ocean hate them so much they waste there lives just to inflict a small injury apon them????

      • Heartbleeding Liberal 44.1.1

        Okay, so given that you presumably support a severance of ties with them, do you feel that we alone have the capability to protect our homeland/overseas interests, or do you suggest we make a military ally out of another nation (if so, which?).

        • b waghorn

          Why would people attack us ?? We have no strategic value being way off in the middle of no where .
          If we are not tied to a belligerent blind bully like the US and deal with our neighbours in a open and honest way we’ll be fine.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Heartbleeding Liberal: do you see a military plan on the table which will achieve victory. If it is not there, why should NZ get involved in another doomed to fail military adventure.

          Reminder: the US and UK have spent the last 12 years trying to train up the Iraqi military. They spent hundreds of millions on it. Now we are being asked to do the same. The Iraqi military ran away when faced with ISIS.

          • Heartbleeding Liberal

            I’m no military strategist, but presumably there would be some sort of agenda behind the deployment. I’m not supportive of our involvement, but i think that it may come down to something which has to happen as a cost of our alliance with the U.S/U.K (though Pascals bookie does make some great points in his or her reply).

            • Draco T Bastard

              What alliance? We’re no longer in ANZUS and haven’t been since the 1980s.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              You avoided referencing the fact that the US and the UK failed for 12 years to train up the Iraqi Army, even after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

              Why would NZ be able to do any better in less time, with much less money, when our allies have already failed over and over?

              We should not support military missions which are failures from the start.

              • Heartbleeding Liberal

                I don’t think that N.Z is being asked to eliminate ISIS / solve all the problems over there. I think it is being asked to complete some set of tasks that will help the effort by others. I could be wrong though.

                • b waghorn

                  If were not going there to eliminate them then wouldn’t the better option be to pick up the pH and talk to them.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  You are wrong.

                  The US and UK tried for 12 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to train up the Iraqi security forces. They failed. The Iraqi security forces ran away at the first sign of trouble. Now they cannot even taken on a few thousand ISIS fighters themselves.

                  Why would you send NZers into do a dangerous mission which has failed from the start. The previous US and UK training effort has proven this. Why are you so heartless.

    • Pascals bookie 44.2

      I think it depends on what you mean about our interests.

      On keeping sealanes open, that sort thing:

      Absolutely we should work with the US and other nations. There is no contorversy about these sorts of actions.

      In terms of defending NZ itself from attack, we’re talking about seriously hypothetical events. The fact is though, that if it happens, we will rely on it being in someone’s interest to come to our aid. It’s hard to think of a situation where NZ comes under attack and it is not in the interests of the US to do something about it.

      If someone wants to take NZ, they will have to take Australia as well, or taking Australia will be their actual goal and taking NZ is just a step. There is no way that Aus or NZ came under attack, the other would not come to their aid. It’s just inconceivable.

      Also, any country powerful enough to take NZ and or Australia, is too powerful for the yanks to want holding our real estate. So the strategic facts would mean they’d most likely come to our aid.

      none of these things oblige us to join in on wars of choice that other nations embark on, just as if we decided to invade Fiji to sort out some problem we felt they had, we would not expect to demand the US jump in.

      Worth noting here that ANZUS was not a guarantee, if one party was attacked, the other parties were only obliged to consider helping out. It was mostly about training together.

    • Draco T Bastard 44.3

      The best thing we can do to for our defense is to declare ourselves completely neutral and then operate in a open and honest manner. And then build up our own defensive military capabilities so as to be able to stop all comers who may think of invading NZ.

      • b waghorn 44.3.1

        Fully agree with you if we trained our forces 100% in home d this country would be a impossible target ,its a long sail from any where, it’s rugged as hell ,take a few bridges out an invader would get no where.

  45. Colonial Rawshark 45

    I think the Iraqi government needs help and can’t win in the north of Iraq because this is progressing into a civil war.

    Let me repeat that. This is an Iraqi civil war.

    Which means that we are all being lied to. TRP, and many others, have been deliberately tricked. NZ troops are being sent to train Baghdad government forces up to fight in a civil war against northern Iraqis (and the ISIS forces that they have aligned with).

    • b waghorn 45.1

      That’s the insane thing I distrust the yanks and key I dispise war and yet I’ve felt my self been slowly drawn into the “it’s the right thing to do ” spin,

      • Colonial Rawshark 45.1.1

        Mass media propaganda is very powerful and the psychology of crowd persuasion refined to an artform nowadays.

        Remember in WWII the Labour Govt treated conscientious objectors as traitors. In time we might see similar happening in NZ yet again.

    • WTF 45.2

      Get your facts right, this is not a civil war at all.

      • Colonial Rawshark 45.2.1

        Please explain. If you can. I believe it is degenerating into a civil war, where vast areas of Iraq are de facto deciding that they do not want to be ruled by Baghdad any more.

        • WTF

          “Please explain if you can” rather ironic, I may “believe” in the tooth fairy but that doesn’t make it real, however I digress. roughly 3 and a half years ago ISIS/ISIL/IS didn’t even exist they original formed out of the Syrian uprising.
          original backed by the west to overthrow Assad in Syria. The so called vast areas as you call it are in fact occupied area’s that IS has taken over, If anything the Iraq’s are more united now than they have been for along while with the Kurdish Peshmerga in the north and the Iraqi Shia working in close co-ordination in their attempt to oust IS out of Iraq, not to mention the fact that IS have taken over parts of Syria and are making big noise about taking on the “House of Saud” aswell You could call this a Holy war ie sunny against shia but a civil war no.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Of course it’s a civil war. Huge swathes of Iraq no longer care for incompetent sectarian rule from Baghdad. They’ll tolerate ISIS or assist ISIS or join ISIS, to that end.

            That’s the makings of a civil war. Iraq is fracturing and it is never coming back together again.

            • WTF

              No, parts of Iraq, Syria and soon Saudi Arabia will be occupied by Islamic State and not at the will of the people but by rule of the sword. Regional war yes, holy war yes, civil war no.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Why are you so afraid of the term civil war? A few thousand ISIS fighters in Iraq cannot control the millions of Iraqis who live in the north of the country – unless they have substantial support from local communities who want nothing more to do with sectarian rule from Baghdad.

                • WTF

                  “Why are you so afraid of the term civil war?” I’m not but it isn’t a civil war its way bigger than that concept of such, Ukraine for example is a civil war

  46. Draco T Bastard 46

    New Zealand should definitely not train Iraqi troops

    What you have to understand about Iraq is that the country itself is a meaningless concept as its borders were arbitrarily drawn up in the early 20th century by the British and the French. The Sunnis and Shiites – the two branches of the Islamic faith – who live in Iraq care more about their own people and their respective territories more than the country they are forced to call their home. This tribalism stems from conflict between the two that dates back to the 7th century. Unfortunately, corruption, Western interference and successive opposing regimes in Iraq have only served to intensity this conflict as each has attempted to oppress the other.

    About sums up the local situation in Iraq I think. And the author makes another good point – the Iraqi forces are already well trained and so it’s not the training that’s the problem.

    • wtf 46.1

      AH Iraq forces are not well trained at all, in fact the run away quit regularly, the Peshmerga fighters generally fight to the death but they are not that well trained either.

      • Draco T Bastard 46.1.1

        You didn’t actually read the article did you? They’re not running away because of poor training but because they don’t want to fight the people coming at them. This is the problem with sectarian divides in a country that had borders drawn up by outsiders.

        • WTF

          You didn’t actually read the article did you? Ah yes. “They’re not running away because of poor training but because they don’t want to fight the people coming at them.” Which equates to poor training, sure the article pontificates about sunny on sunny etc etc. But at the end of the day it comes down to poor training, the American army relies on specialist training which sounds good but actually it isnt All it means is that they are good at essential one thing ie specialist, our normal nz army for example would be the equivalent to the American green beret. funnily enough the Kurdish Peshmerga who weren’t trained by the Americans aren’t running away, why? because they are well disciplined, poorly trained but well disciplined.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Nothing will get better until the sectarian corrupt incompetent Baghdad government is gone. The US$25b spent on training Iraqi security forces – pooft into thin air.

            And it will be the same black hole when NZ troops – who apart from the SAS have zero combat experience in Iraq – get there.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Which equates to poor training, sure the article pontificates about sunny on sunny etc etc. But at the end of the day it comes down to poor training, the American army relies on specialist training which sounds good but actually it isnt All it means is that they are good at essential one thing ie specialist, our normal nz army for example would be the equivalent to the American green beret.

            You’re an idiot, and a gun toting dreamer. The US has untold combat experience in Iraq and still got fucked, NZ forces (except for the SAS) have none.

            • WTF

              Ok so WE are going to resort to insults are WE, fine then firstly Quote “You’re an idiot, and a gun toting dreamer. The US has untold combat experience in Iraq and still got fucked, NZ forces (except for the SAS) have none.” There are so many things wrong with this statement that it boarders on the ridiculous. I’m not going to educate you to the ignorance of your belief, If you really want to know (And I suspect you don’t) then educate yourself. Your comprehension skills leave alot to be desired. I have been say all along. Our troops should not be on the ground in Iraq under any circumstances what so ever. no trainer nothing and for many reason which I will not go into here atm And lastly you’ my friend are a pontificating ignorant buffoon who touts belief as fact and when your brain hears truth and cant handle it you go to shut down phase ie insults, defamation and anger

              well i guess they were right, there really is no educating stupid

          • Draco T Bastard

            Which equates to poor training, sure the article pontificates about sunny on sunny etc etc.

            It’s got nothing to do with training and everything to do with their will to shoot their own people.

            funnily enough the Kurdish Peshmerga who weren’t trained by the Americans aren’t running away, why? because they are well disciplined, poorly trained but well disciplined.

            I find it truly amazing when people manage to contradict themselves so blatantly in the same comment.

            • WTF

              Well I’m very pleased you are amazed Draco, But there is nothing contradictory about any of it. the Kurds in the north are made up of multiple religious brands, ie Yarsan, Yazidis, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and of course the majority are…wait for it Sunni Muslim and ISIS is?… that’s right Sunni Muslim and just incase you didn’t know Kurds are not considered Iraqi forces. They are considered as the Peshmerga from Kurdistan a semi autonomous state to the north of Iraq and have been for along time. nice to see ya Draco but I wouldn’t wanna be ya 🙂

              • Draco T Bastard


                The Kurds stand together as Kurds but the Iraqis don’t stand together as Iraqis but in their sectarian and family units.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  WTF has no fucking idea is what it boils down to, and that is bloody dangerous in itself.

  47. wtf 47

    Te Reo Putake you’re a bad joke, [r0b: deleting some gratuitous insults and leaving you on probation / moderation. Try making your points without insults]. I hope they don’t send your 19 yr old son with 7mth training in Humvee’s that even the americans don’t and won’t use any more because they are considered mobile coffins to Iraq. To train/fight against ISIS which were partly trained by the british SAS to fight and overthrow Assad in Syria only to turn around and realise they were a power unto themselves and went their own way.

  48. fisiani 48

    A brave post indeed. Your reasoned and careful assessment has as I and you no doubt expected been met by the usual hand wringers who inhabit here with no compassion or humanity for those suffering under the human rights deniers of ISIL.
    In 1939 they would surely have demanded a hand written silver platter delivered invitation from the League of Nations before standing up to tyranny.
    I can understand the Taliban Greens opposing our meager potential offering to the coalition of the righteous. I despair however if Labour chooses to join the pacifists and flies in the face of the decency of my fellow Kiwis. One day, perhaps a decade from now the tide will turn and New Zealand needs a rational sensible Labour Party.

    • Murray Rawshark 48.1

      You idiot. People like some of us were fighting fascism in Spain while Chamberlain was still thinking about signing over half of Czechoslovakia to Nazism. We were fighting the Nazis in the streets of Hamburg while the likes of you and Honest John were busy recognising Herr Hitler as someone you could do business with. Idiot.

      • fisiani 48.1.1

        John Key can hardly be accused of appeasement as you claim. Do you even understand the concept? You seem confused. Fighting ISIL is the 21st century of fighting the fascists. Failure to stand up for human rights is the equivalent of Chamberlain hoping the nasty people will stop by being asked not to invade Poland.
        You have it totally the wrong way around.

        • McFlock

          the conundrum that springs to mind is that, in the real world, it seems to be a bit like fighting the Naz1s while on the side of Stal1n.

          How does that spell out the moral complexity, for you?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Putting white Christian boots on the ground in Iraq once again is a great recruiting and fundraising tool for ISIS. It will draw in Islamists and money from all around the world.

          They want us to do it. Their goading us into doing it. You’re too blind to see the fucking obvious trap.

        • Murray Rawshark

          I was replying to this:
          “In 1939 they would surely have demanded a hand written silver platter delivered invitation from the League of Nations before standing up to tyranny.”
          which should have been obvious to all but the most microcephalic idiot. The same idiot who would have been a paid up member of the New Zealand Legion in the 30s. One who would have ridden with Massey’s Cossacks.

          You’re not earning your minimum wage today, Fizzy Anus.

        • BLiP

          So much for John Key never having lied to New Zealand . . . http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/key-rules-out-sending-troops-to-iraq-2014061805

        • tricledrown

          So we should be fighting Russia fisianil.
          Iraqi soldiers will be protecting our training soldiers!
          When the Iraqi army can’t protect themselves most likely infiltraitors will dressed as Iraqi soldiers will blow our soldiers up!

          • Colonial Rawshark

            The Iraqi government is relying on Shia militias outside of its direct control to keep ISIS out of Baghdad. Getting involved in a sectarian civil war is a nightmare.

    • Draco T Bastard 48.2

      I can understand the Taliban Greens opposing our meager potential offering to the coalition of the righteous.

      Ah dude, in this instance it’s our allies that equate to the Taliban as they try to enforce their ways upon other people. No righteousness there at all no matter how much you try to claim that their is.

    • adam 48.3

      fisiani – I always thought you were a putz . But Chamberlain was one of yours, you wing nut. If you are going to use history to support you argument, might be a plan to get your facts right. It was a conservative government, which refused to fight fascism. It was a Tory pack of mongrels who stomped on the republic in the Spanish civil war.

      fisiani – you’re an Ideology of the worst kind.

      • fisiani 48.3.1

        Little today sounds like an even weaker version of Chamberlain and John Key sounds more like Churchill. Get your historical facts right.

        • McFlock

          The only thing key might have in common with churchill is possibly the drinking.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Such a fucking tough guy Fisi, go sign on and send us a postcard from Fallujah why don’t you.

        • WTF

          oh no a John Key fanboy. Churchill would puke at the thought of being compared with john (i would rather go to a baseball game than attend nz soldiers funerals )key

        • tricledrown

          Churchill sent our troops on to Gallipoli.
          That was a ddisaster fisianis!

    • tricledrown 48.4

      Fisianis why not just jump on a plane and volunteer to be a mercenary for blackwater or carlisle.
      Your a lilly livered Bully not willing to stand up for your beliefs but happy to send someone else to do your dirty work.
      Jerk you are so far up JK ass you should be married to JerKey.
      No one likes a butt kisser!

  49. GP 49

    ‘ Their perverted version of Islam is not the issue, however. ‘

    From what I’ve read of the Qu’ran ISIS is not advocating perversion but adherence to the verses of the Muslim holy book:

    Chapter 3, verse 32

    Say, obey Allah and the apostle but if they turn back then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers

    Chapter 48, verse 29

    Mohammed is the messenger of Allah and those who are with him are severe against unbelievers and merciful among themselves.

    Chapter 4, verse 24

    Also forbidden are women already married except those captives and slaves your right hands possess.

    The Jews according to Islam are to be murdered if they do not convert, women often have no rights to education, to drive, to marry or not and can face death at any time by merely being accused of fornication or adultery. If a Muslim woman is raped then she can pretty much expect to die for being the victim. Taqqiya is allowed to advance the faith.

    It is often said that this religion is tolerant and peaceful but considering that most of the rapes in Sweden countries are by Muslim men who view western women as whores and there are rape houses in Britain how can anyone believe such a statement.



    Western tolerance of Islamic intolerance will lead to destruction of Western freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of faith or not, freedom of women, reproductive freedom and freedom of women to work.

    The old saw is trotted out about racism – it is not racist to criticise a religion and many people realise that Western nations are in the Middle East to get the last scraps of oil but that doesn’t alter the fact that Western civilisation will die if the West is tolerant of Islamic intolerance – oil or not.

    Christianity has been through enlightenment and most Christians do not seek the death of non-believers realising that people must form their own conscience. Did Christians riot and threaten death when ‘The Life of Brian’ was released? Do Catholics riot and threaten death every time Jesus or the Pope is lampooned?

    Anjem Choudary admits Islam is not a religion of peace and his group has called for the execution of the Pope and the overthrow of the British system:


    By all means be an apologist for religious tyranny if you like but could you bear for any woman you know to have to live with the shadow of death if any form of theocracy gains hold in any free Western nation? Be sure of what you’re signing on for.

    I hold with Christopher Hitchens’ view of how religion poisons everything being man-made and the best rule for life is the Golden Rule.

    [r0b: I let this comment through with some reservation, and I note that one can perform the same sort of quoting of the bible to “prove” the violence of christianity. Such quoting proves nothing in either case.]

    • Murray Rawshark 49.1

      The US doesn’t proclaim “death to all Muslims” as they go about their drone murder program. They just do it, and lie about accidental deaths. Go to any news site and you’ll find comments about “ragheads” and “sand niggers”. Not racist at all, no.

    • Colonial Rawshark 49.2

      Christopher Hitchens follows plenty of unsubstantiated beliefs himself.

      • Stuart Munro 49.2.1

        Except that, being dead, Hitchens is a bit constrained at present.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Well I guess he has found out the ultimate truth for himself, as each of us will one day.

        • North

          SM @ 49.2.1 – I weep not about that. At least we’re saved the pompous, portentous mouthings. The blitherings of a scab. Galloway’s death I would mourn ! He’s fucked them all. A friend of humanity as opposed to Hitchens……who found a generous paymaster…….a la Mike Moore, Prebble, Bassett, Rob Campbell, and a number of my free-educated-in-the-70s ‘professional’ friends, once were lefties. Now worshippers at the temple of TheGodKey.

  50. Colonial Rawshark 50

    Juan Cole: The Sunni-Shia slaughter which is the fight against ISIS

    This is what we are sending our forces into:



  51. Philip Ferguson 51

    Very good piece by Otago University professor Richard Jackson on war propaganda, ‘terrorism’ and minimal journalistic standards in NZ:


  52. tricledrown 52

    Thats not true the US stepped in after the breakup of Yugoslavia to stop Muslims being slaughtered.

  53. Chooky 53

    This also shows what NZ soldiers will be up against


    NZ soldiers will be pawns in this strategic war game to control the Middle East…it is Not New Zealand’s war , although John Key would like it to be…why?

    Helen Clark managed to resist the pressures to attack Iraq initiated by US and Israel and keep New Zealand pure. She is a brave woman and shows up many males as pathetic w..ker warmongers

    …..New Zealand soldiers should only be part of a UN sanctioned Peace Force…otherwise their lives could be sacrificed in vain

    • WTF 53.1

      Couldn’t agree more Chooky, and as for John key he’s sock puppet for Obama. Obama say jump, and key says how high sir.

  54. Who would have thought!

    For years TRP has been the one troll to try to squash any discussion of 9/11 (the reason all these “Muslim” countries were attacked in the first place) and other false flags and now, at the eve of what could very well be WWIII, he is elevated to being an actually Standard writer!

    Of course there are many different writers here as Iprent impresses upon us and therefore it should come as no surprise that a leftist pro war opinion should emerge at some point in time.

    But this is utterly immoral and shameful!!!

    To have this shill promoted to writer with a first piece of emotional trifle about what happened in Spain during the Franco years (WTF) to get the leftist juices about going to war going, is beyond shameful even in the long history of denial and scientific ignorance here at the Standard. (I know you’re not the smartest political guy in the universe but Iprent WTF where you thinking!?!)

    The only redeeming fact pleading for the Standard to remain in it’s top position as one of the most read leftist blogs is the placement of BLiP’s piece against the war. Te Reo Putake might mean the Voice Of Reason but for God’s sake, his is the voice of insanity while BLiP’s piece tries to remain as the Standard should be The Voice Of Reason.

    • Chooky 54.1

      +100 travellerev…but one redeeming fact of TRP writing this Post has meant that some others have come out of the woodwork and shown their true colours…and in some cases there are NO surprises given their past form …so it is a confirmation of sorts ( and bear in mind all who write here are not necessarily who they portray themselves to be )

      …the other redeeming fact is that many opinions on this issue have been given a thorough airing ……and TRP’s arguments have NOT stood up under scrutiny imo…while other arguments have provided very strong and urgent reasons NOT to get involved with this war…. unless it is part of a UN Peace keeping force

      …otherwise we betray our New Zealand soldiers

    • The Murphey 54.2

      The precedent as I noted yesterday were the articles authored by Michael Valley

      IIRC the articles were more a commentary on ME wars as opposed to direct shilling for NZ involvement but I am happy to stand corrected as I won’t read to read such rubbish again to confirm

      Q. Is it possible to be a ‘voice of reason’ when one’s bias is so openly illustrated via fear a fearful and scared perspective in his commentary’s ?

      • te reo putake 54.2.1

        A: Yes, it is. I chose the voice of reason to wind up righties. As you can see from travellerev’s comment, it still works beautifully.

        • The Murphey

          Q. Why would you want to take such an antagonistic position ?

          • te reo putake

            Why not? Conservatism in all its repulsive forms is anathema to me. It’s also fucking our world and impoverishing the majority of the world’s inhabitants. If I can’t take the piss out of fans of Ayn Rand (TVOR is the title of one of her books) then the fight is pretty much lost. Anger is an energy, but so too is humour. If we’re not careful they’ll start killing the cartoonists … oh, wait.

            • The Murphey

              Antagonistic and a warmonger

              You won’t contributing positively to any of the issues you highlight with personality traits such as those

              They are the anathema of understanding and awareness

            • The Murphey

              Antagonistic and a warmonger

              You won’t be contributing positively to any of the issues you highlight with personality traits such as those

              They are the anathema of understanding and awareness

        • North

          Yeah, you strike me as tending to elitist and superior TRP, as does your ally Ad, in a sort of a fantasised, anachronistic, tribal-Labour way. Not on account of your post however, not to say that the wairua is not there evident. You’re an author on the Standard. That I respect. Hope I’m allowed to say this to an author. To be really honest TRP…..your post chills me. You are Left and not merely fantasised tribal-Labour ?

          • te reo putake

            You’re allowed to say it as far as I’m concerned, North, at least this one time. I knew this post was not going to be entirely popular and that some folk wouldn’t be able to focus on the article and would go for the author instead. However, with some exceptions, I’ve been really chuffed with the quality of the debate.

            And as for being elitist and superior, I’ll go with the Dutch footballer who said “It’s not arrogance, it’s self belief” 😉

            Edit: to answer your last question, yes. I’m left. Had an excellent Marxist education as a young man and while I’m in the LP now and obviously supportive (though not ‘tribal’), I still tend to analyse issues on a class basis.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Great to hear you’re “chuffed” with this debate, let’s break out the cigars and cognac and we can discuss how to properly divide up the Middle East, shall we.

              • I am chuffed, CV, you old cynic you! Even your rather defeatist contributions add value. I wrote a few hundred words and got a lot of people debating an important issue. That’s kinda the point of a post on a blog after all.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Whatever, Armchair General Westmoreland.

                  I recommend you get on with distancing yourself from the views in your post and the atrocious senseless pro-unwinnable-war comments you have made here, because 12 months from now the situation in Iraq will still be going down hill and you will want plausible deniability from the fucked up quagmire it will have become for the USA.

                  • No chance, CV. Ask me in a year, or ten years, the answer will be the same. ISIS must be stopped and we can help stop them. If you see an alternative way of acheiving that than what is currently on offer, then please say what it is.

                    • crunchtime

                      You have a wildly, massively overinflated view of the threat ISIS represents.

                      Perhaps you have been watching too much of the news and foolishly believing it?

                      You also seem to have total blindness to the reason for the existence of ISIS.

                      Again, this will come from watching (and believing) the news on telly and in the papers… They like to scare us with sensationalism, and have little interest in disseminating the truth.

                      Military aggression is what started it. MORE military aggression will NOT finish it.

                      Put some more wood on the fire, that’ll put it out…

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Surely more Christian boots on the ground in the Middle East won’t fan Islamist flames. Let’s got with Armchair General Westmoreland who says that we should have a determined faith that we are the righteous regardless of the facts or the quagmire on the ground.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You can’t stop ISIS, TRP, because you have no understanding of how the West was integral to their starting and growing, and to their expanding reach right now despite hundreds of air sorties by the Americans.

  55. Molly 55

    The Winter Soldier testimonials are worth watching to get some notion of the break between spin and reality of the Iraq invasion and occupation.

    The latest offering on filmsforaction.org, struck a chord with me today.

    In particular Mike Presner at 6:36, Part 2 (who follows testimony about the burning of all the Fallujah birth certificates by the US army):

    My sergeant came along and was upset with me for not making him continue to stand. Uh, he picked him up and slammed him against the wall several times. Um, and then, he left and when the man went down on the ground again I noticed blood pouring down from under the sandbag.

    Ah, and so I let him sit and when I noticed my sergeant coming again I would tell him quickly to stand up.

    And I realised that – I was supposed to be guarding my unit from this detainee, and at that point I realised that I was guarding the detainee from my unit.

    And I tried hard to be proud of my service, but, all I could feel was shame.

    And racism could no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These were people. These were human beings.

    We were told we were fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me. And the real terrorism is this occupation.

    Racism within the military has long been an important tool to justify the destruction and occupation of another country. It has long been used to justify the killing, subjugation and torture of another people.

    Poor and working people in this country, are sent to kill poor and working people in another country to make the rich, richer.

    Without racism, soldiers would realise they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war.”

    As an aside: Try googling Winter Soldier and see how long it takes you to find the veteran site.

  56. crunchtime 56

    I’m dumbfounded that this pile of warmongering rubbish has turned up on the Standard.

    Does this really reflect the views of the Labour Party in general??

    Pure idiocy. As the comments of Santuary, Philip Ure, Chooky, Sabine, etc etc etc illustrate amply.

    “We are responsibile for cleaning it up” – perhaps, but that means the OPPOSITE of sending in troops.

    So often military aggression has been dressed up as “humanitarian aid” over the last 2 decades but also further into the past. It’s not.

    Do not send soldiers or any show of military force.

    End of.

    • The Standard is not the voice of the Labour Party, crunchtime. Read the ‘About’ page.

      • crunchtime 56.1.1

        Are you the voice of anyone but yourself?

        I read the headline of this and expected it to refer to the song “War” by Edwin Starr, an anti-war song. Instead I find this rant in favour of war! So disappointing.

    • Colonial Rawshark 56.2

      Does this really reflect the views of the Labour Party in general??

      We’ll see if Labour votes for or against sending troops to Iraq.

    • freedom 56.3

      Have a read crunchtime
      “We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization. ”

      “Similarly, people should read the site policy before commenting”


  57. Colonial Rawshark 57

    ayn al-Asad military base perimeter penetrated by ISIS suicide fighters

    This is a large Iraqi military base where a lot of US military trainers operate. We’re fools to get involved with this.


    • Chooky 57.1

      pretty bloody sobering….but NOT surprising

    • Didn’t actually happen, CV. The Iraqi army succesfully repelled them before they could breach the base perimiter. Amazing what a bit of training will do.

      • Pascals bookie 57.2.1


        They over-ran al-Baghdadi though.

        You ready to explain what you think the plan is that you are so gung-ho about supporting?

        Please to be referencing the stuff that link highlights re sunni tribal groups who are, surprise surprise, still only getting token support from the govt.

        It’s starting to look like you don’t really know, and that your support is more bout your own moral sense of what you are, than it is about what might actually be achieved.

        Which would be a rather selfish use of our military, I would think.

        • te reo putake

          Happy to have a discussion about military tactics, Bookie. My feeling is that there will be another month or two of airstrikes, then the Iraqi army will seek to cut the ISIS supply lines 40-50 km’s short of Qa’im on the border. Then they’ll work back toward Baghdad. After months of being controlled by lunatics who distort their religion, steal their food, kill their leaders and rape the women, I expect the local population will be reasonably happy to be liberated.

          • Pascals bookie

            So you’re an idiot then. Good to know.

            • te reo putake

              Ha! In the abscence of analysis, all you’ve got is ad homs. Even better to know.

              Just so that we can talk like adults, how about you tell me how you think ISIS can be stopped. Despite the many, many comments on this post, I haven’t seen many alternatives to fighting them. Just to be clear, I don’t consider abandoning the region to fascism as a realistic alternative. What do you reckon should happen?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                First we admit the current non-plan is an utter fail, and start from scratch.

                • What is the ‘non-plan’ as you understand it, CV?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    You already outlined the non-plan. A cutting off and rolling back of ISIS by the numbers. Just like something General Westmoreland would plan.

                    • Ok. So, lets say you’re right. What do we do instead?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      What are you, in some sort of personal crisis? Need to get some adrenalin going with a bit of armchair imperial muscle flexing ? Missing being a player on the world stage with the rest of the big boys? Get serious.

                      Baghdad wanted a sectarian and divided nation, with Sunni minorities disadvantaged and excluded, and the Shia majority in control over the bulk of the country, its resources and its money. And that is the way it ruled the nation.

                      Now, don’t bitch about the outcome of that, and don’t make it NZ’s problem to fix, because we can’t, and neither can the Americans who are an integral part of the problem.

                    • Seriously, CV, how do we stop ISIS?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The answer is obvious, Armchair General Westmoreland. Send more white Christian troops into a Muslim land and bomb our enemies back to the stone age. It worked so well after 2003, let’s go do it again.

              • Pascals bookie

                Fuck off reo.

                I’ve written loads of comments here analyzing the situation. You’ve ignored them all. When you finally respond, it’s with some literal idiocy.

                What did you do for your plan? Look at a map showing ISIS controlled territory, imagine a unicorn, and say “If I put my unicorn at Qa’im, it can move back toward Baghdad and victory!”

                ffs. How would the ‘Iraqi army’ get to Qa’im, what would it’s supply line be? How can you move back to where you start without advancing to Qa’im?

                And that ignores the fact that this isn’t a WW2 style war of maneuver. It’s asymmetric, which doesn’t mean big vs little, but completely different strategies in play on each side. So while you are pushing back to Baghdad, through the insurgent heartlands with your army made of Badr and Mahdi army volunteers, and while your govt is failing to arm Sunni militia who they (for good reason) don’t trust: ISIS will trade land for support.

                See here for how:


                So your plan is stupid, ergo you’re an idiot, which is a conclusion not a premise. And so therefore not an ad hom argument.

                You’re the one proposing we deploy troops trp. You’re the one that needs to justify it, and your abject fucking failure to address the numerous real points raised by many people on this thread is, to be frank, disappointing. You can do better.

                • So you can’t even offer a precis of your alternative?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    The alternative is to turn down getting involved in a failed-from-start military adventure, Armchair General Westmoreland.

                    • No, I asked for the alternative that will defeat ISIS. How do you reckon that can happen, CV?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Well, Armchair General Westmoreland, that way that NZ can win this fight is by staying right out of it.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      You can repeat “what would you do then?” till the cos come home, but it is pointless.

                      Explain why what I would do matters to the question on the table, which is whether or not we should support the actual war that is going to happen? It’s just a stupid diversion.

                      If the actual plan sux, then it sux.

                      I’ve said why I think it sux. You haven’t convinced me, or even tried to convince me, that it doesn’t suck.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      “In evaluating the enemy strategy,” he said, “it is evident to me that he believes our Achilles heel is our resolve. … Your continued strong support is vital to the success of our mission. … Backed at home by resolve, confidence, patience, determination, and continued support, we will prevail”

                      This is TRP yabbering away on this thread.

                      I mean, it’s actually a quote from the actual General Westmoreland, but close enough to the same thing.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    I’m not the PM.

              • vto

                trp: ” I don’t consider abandoning the region to fascism as a realistic alternative.”

                It is in the Ukraine

                • I guess it depends on whether or not you think the Russians are fascist, vto. I think it’s a little more nuanced than that.

                  • vto

                    but I was channelling your own non-nuancing… if you go back and check you will see non nuance in your own singular simpler statement of silliness about adult isis alternatives see …

                    “Just so that we can talk like adults, how about you tell me how you think ISIS can be stopped. Despite the many, many comments on this post, I haven’t seen many alternatives to fighting them. Just to be clear, I don’t consider abandoning the region to fascism as a realistic alternative. What do you reckon should happen?”

                    • Super. You may equate the Russians to ISIS, but I don’t. I doubt anybody but you looks at it likes that, but you might surprise me yet.

                    • vto

                      gotta give it to ya mr putake, this been one loooong post and still here you are batting away frantically like the crazy cricketers – a bouncer, a wide, a spinner, a full toss. and surely plenty underarms..

                    • Ha! Yeah, it’s probably time to put this one to bed. I do have an idea for a follow up post about alternatives to the military strategy, which is why I’ve been asking CV and P’s B how they see ISIS being stopped without using the current plan. Hopefully they’ll be able to point me in the right direction.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Who needs a winnable or even workable plan, or even any real knowledge of what is going on on the ground, just send the Kiwi troops in there, the meat grinder will sort it out, always does, Armchair General Westmoreland.

          • phillip ure

            “..I expect the local population will be reasonably happy to be liberated…”

            ..i am sure they will welcome even more americans raining even more death upon them…

            ..in the ongoing war crime that is iraq..

            ..that will be a welcome novelty for them..

            u really have drunk the fucken kool-ade..haven’t you..?

            ..that is bordering on fucken ‘barking’..

            ..and we will be siding with people who torture..and who kill innocent men/women/children..

            ..with nary a pause for thought..

            ..is this what we are/have become..?

            ..i mean..w.t.f. does ‘wayne’ think happened to those afghanis the nz troops caught..

            ..after they handed them over..?

            i repeat..is this what we are/have become..?

            ..we used to be a beacon o freedom..

            • phillip ure

              now we are a vassal-state/spear-carriers/mercenaries-for-trade for the oppressors..

              ..how the fuck did that happen..?

              ..and how about a u-turn..?

              ..and an ‘independant-voice’ on the security council..eh..?

              ..that must make those who know laugh..eh..?

              ..’cos nothing could be further from the truth..

          • Colonial Rawshark

            I expect the local population will be reasonably happy to be liberated.

            And they’ll even greet the liberating troops with flowers, right? You have no fucking idea.

            • te reo putake

              Nope. I reckon they will be as suspicious as ever of the Iraqi army. But they’ll be a relief after the nutters they’re replacing.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                You think they want Shia militia from Baghdad running their towns more than they want ISIS running their towns?

                Again, you’re fucking dreaming, and by now I’m pretty sure that you’re a direct relation of General Westmoreland.

              • as i said..u really have drunk the kool-ade..

                ..as reports are that isis has been remarkably efficient at setting up working infrastructures to supply the basics in areas they have control..

                ..that winning the hearts/minds of the locals is a high priority for them..

                ..(which most certainly is not the case with the american invaders..)

                ..(c.f..’ongoing war-crime’..)

                ..so really..u r full of it..aren’t you..

                ..are you watching a lot of fox..?

                ..what else to explain yr unthinking parroting of american war-mongering propaganda..?

      • Colonial Rawshark 57.2.2

        Didn’t actually happen, CV.

        Then you better tell Rear Adm Jim Kirby, USN, and Maj Sarah Hawke, Australian Army, as reported in Stars and Stripes online magazine. They said that base perimeter security had been compromised and penetrated by ISIS fighters and suicide bombers wearing Iraqi military uniforms:


        Islamic State militants on Friday penetrated the perimeter of an Iraqi base where about 400 U.S. troops are stationed, according to military officials.

        The latest reports from the field suggest that 20 to 25 insurgents attacked Iraqi army facility at the Al Asad Air Base in Anbar province, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Friday afternoon.


        Australian army Maj. Sarah Hawke, a spokeswoman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said that some militants penetrated the perimeter of the base.

        “The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) supported by Coalition surveillance assets defeated the attack” and “the ISF have since re-secured their facility,” CJTF-OIR said in a statement Friday morning.

        Is that clear enough for you now? Your comment

        The Iraqi army succesfully repelled them before they could breach the base perimiter. Amazing what a bit of training will do.

        Appears based on bad intel – of the sort which gets people killed – and a rose tinted version of how deteriorated the situation has actually become in Iraq.

        Because of course, if things weren’t going to shit in Iraq – those well trained Iraqis (plus the help of hundreds of US airstrikes) you refer to would be handling it themselves, wouldn’t they.

        • te reo putake

          You may well be correct, CV. I heard Kirby on the radio a few minutes ago saying that there was no penetration of the base though, having read your link I assume he was talking about the US part of the facility.

          The point remains, however, that the Iraqi army fought them off. They’ll be doing more of that in the future, hopefully.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            I heard Kirby on the radio a few minutes ago saying that there was no penetration of the base though, having read your link I assume he was talking about the US part of the facility.

            What does it matter. Let’s send the Kiwis in regardless of what the real situation on the ground is.

            • te reo putake

              Good call, CV, glad you’re coming around. It’s great that the Iraqi army can be succesfully trained to take ISIS on and win. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s what needs to happen.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Thank fuck you have such a clear and certain vision of reality, Armchair General Westmoreland.

      • joe90 57.2.3

        If they could breach the perimeter the Al Asad base covers 65 square kilometers, around the same size as lesser Whanganui, so not so much as a win as an invitation to air power.


  58. Chooky 58

    From CV’s link @ 57 above…Ron Paul conludes on where this goes next…

    “Declaring war against ISIS is like declaring war against communism or fascism. The enemy cannot be identified or limited. Both are ideological and armies are incapable of stopping an idea, good or bad, that the people do not resist or that they support. Besides, the strength of ISIS has been enhanced by our efforts.

    Our involvement in the Middle East is being used as a very successful recruitment tool to expand the number of radical jihadists willing to fight and die for what they believe in. And sadly our efforts have further backfired with the weapons that we send ending up in the hands of our enemies and used against our allies and Americans caught in the crossfire.

    Good intentions are not enough. Wise policies and common sense would go a long way toward working for peace and prosperity instead of escalating violence and motivating the enemy.”

    Ron Paul, American physician, author, formerly in US Air Force, Republican Congressman and Republican Presidential candidate


  59. sabine 59

    frankly the US minions could not find their balls without directions


    file this under one can’t make this shit up.

    and we are supposed to send them support? And pay for it? So that dear leader can get his balls gold pleated?

    • Colonial Rawshark 59.1

      note how the US formula for empire is – depose an unwanted leader – put in place a friendly government with bought politicians – back that government with arms and money – help it to suppress popular unrest – is now failing faster and faster.

  60. Pascals bookie 60


    That’s the twitter link to current tweets about Douma, in Syria

    Here’s the one for Yarmouk


    This is the other side of the war against ISIS that trp hasn’t spent a single word talking about. What he thinks is going to happen, with the unicorn army teleporting to the Syrian border and moving down to Baghdad being showered with candy by the adoring former Baathist sunni strongholds on the way, has to ignore.

    This is our ally, defacto. This is what we are being asked to support. Fill your boots.

    • Pascals bookie 60.1

      Read those Douma tweets, while remembering that the west is anxious to bomb ISIS (and some other anti-Assad jihadists) in Syria but not Assad.

      Ask yourself what those people will be thinking. Yeah, ISIS sucks. Yeah they do horrible shit. So do the anti Isis forces. We are picking sides.

      Just be honest about it.

      Don’t say you are picking the side against evil, because the people in those areas fucking know, even if you’re too wrapped up in your weird ww2 analogies to actually look at the current war.

      The main way to defeat terrorism, or at least to avoid being defeated by it, is to be honest about what is happening. You can’t lie to the people on the receiving end of the stuff that drives terrorism. If you do, they’ll support the terrorists.

  61. Colonial Rawshark 61

    RT piece on new US base in Kurdish Iraq

    Also map graphic showing how much of the area has fallen to ISIS – Baghdad has lost control of their country. Such a huge area with several million people living there can only remain under the control of say 10,000 ISIS troops if Iraqi locals are supporting them = de facto civil war.


  62. Sable 62

    There is much to suggest the CIA created ISIS to undermine states like Syria but it lost control. Its NOT New Zealands role to wipe the US’s arse. Let them clean up their own dirty, politically motivated mess.

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  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
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  • State of the Nation
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  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
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