It's not called 'cutting and running' - it's called coming to our senses: why NZ should be angry with the mainstream media coverage of the war
The argument to stay in Afghanistan is that we must not 'cut and run' from our 'peace keeping' obligations, which conveniently allows us to sidestep why we are in Afghanistan in the first place and the things we have had to do to stay there.
I call bullshit on this 'cut and run' argument because why we are there and the real cost to us demand a better justification and honesty than 'we can't cut and run'. When you are occupying another people's land, every hour, of every minute, of every second must be justified.
I feel embarrassed referring to our 10 deaths as a reason to leave, when the dead and wounded count in Afghanistan is over 40 000 with 250 000 externally displaced and 500 000 internally displaced. Where was our concern for the lives of those we are occupying, if only our concern kicked in at their first 1000 hu?
New Zealanders should be furious at the way our mainstream media have let them down by letting our leaders and military off the hook. The two best journalists on this issue, Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager have both been maligned and ignored.
Nicky's brilliant most recent book, Other People's War is aimed at the NZ military and their attempts to lie outright to politicians about what our armed forces are doing.
Our mainstream media have acted as puppets for Army propaganda over our right as citizens in a democracy to know what is really going on. We have allowed our 'Kiwi Camp' to be a cover for the CIA, yet this base has been sold via the embedded mainstream media as some type of rainbow coloured peace force planting unicorns and candy canes of love.
Guyon Espiner declares that he has been to Afghanistan, as does Vernan Small. Both note that the CIA were there, yet neither believed that information was news worthy or relevant??? I'm sorry, the CIA are using our bases as a front because Provincial Reconstruction Teams don't get attacked the way Forward Operating bases do but neither Vernon or Guy smiley think that fact is news worthy in any way shape or form?
From the book...
having CIA operatives inside the Kiwi base fitted poorly with the deployment's stated goals. Why would the New Zealand authorities risk the New Zealanders working at Kiwi Base, and the credibility of the New Zealand peacekeeping mission, by mixing them up with a CIA operation? After the suicide attack on the FOB [forward operating base] Chapman, the issue of CIA operations inside a provincial reconstruction team was widely discussed. The Times wrote that "PRTs have been criticised widely for endangering civilian aid workers by blurring the line between development staff and the military.
So much for intellectual curiosity on behalf of two of our bravest news journalists.
It's not as if our teams actually built anything of any use with independent reports citing the spin work we did for the locals to hide what we are really doing as "poorly planned" and "wildly exaggerated".
The mainstream media's self censoring compliance with the NZ military and their outright willingness to don a flak jacket and helmet and play the intrepid journalist shtick is actually part of the problem.
Beyond the Kiwi Camp front for the CIA and our self censoring mainstream media puppets, was the shock revelation that our military have lied and deceived our own politicians about what we are really doing in this war for America...
Defence Force staff responsible for the deployment of Orion aircraft and Anzac frigates to the Gulf in the "war against terror" ignored instructions from then prime minister Helen Clark to keep their operations separate from those being conducted by the United States against Iraq. The book quotes unidentified officials and former diplomats as agreeing that Clark - lacking a strong defence minister - fought a lone battle against never ending efforts by the Defence and Foreign Affairs ministries to rewrite Government policy and buy military equipment which would enable New Zealand to build bridges with the United States.
New Zealand diplomats resorted to underhand tricks when they did not get their way with the last Labour Government. For example, when Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials did not like a particular Government policy decision, New Zealand's ambassadors in Washington and Canberra were told to sound out the views of the local bureaucrats. The ministry would then tell Government ministers that the Americans and Australians had made it known they were very concerned and there could be "relationship implications".
...how has the NZ Military managed to get away with running their own foreign affairs without any real scrutiny from the mainstream media?
John Armstrong was one brave voice on the revelations Hager had unearthed...
'Candyfloss' PR exposed in all its cynicism
Those who think Nicky Hager is just another left-wing stirrer and dismiss his latest book accordingly should think again.
Likewise, the country's politicians should read Other People's Wars before condemning it.
Whatever Hager's motive for investigating New Zealand's contribution over the past decade to the United States-led "war on terror", it is pretty irrelevant when placed alongside the mountain of previously confidential and very disturbing information his assiduous research and inquiries have uncovered.
With the help of well-placed informants and thousands of leaked documents, Hager exposes the cynical manner in which the Defence Force has purposely misled the public by omission of pertinent facts and public relations flannel.
This is particularly the case with regard to the "candyfloss" image the military has built around the deployment of New Zealand soldiers in the Bamiyan province of Afghanistan.
That image is of our soldiers acting more like peacekeepers armed with nothing more dangerous than a shovel.
Before Other People's Wars came out, award winning journalist Jon Stephenson wrote his whistle blowing Metro article detailing the handing over of civilians to known torture units in Afghanistan by our troops.
The willful ignorance towards what had been revealed by Hager was over shadowed with the level of aggression the Government meted out to Jon. The PM lied about him in the media, the Minister of Defense attacked his credibility and the Defense force lodged complaints with every media watch dog they could only to quietly drop all those complaints.
Those who have been brave enough to go beyond Small and Espiner have been vilified and threatened, yet they have done more than most others to highlight what we are actually doing in Afghanistan.
We are propping up a corrupt narco state to ingratiate ourselves to America in their latest empire building binge, leaving now isn't 'cutting and running', it's coming to our senses.