Thursday, 5 August 2010

NZ soldier killed, ‘Better ties’ with US ‘on cards’

By David

The first New Zealand soldier has been killed in Afghanistan.  

Labour leader Phil Goff (chief champion of this war), is reported to have said it was “not a day for politics”, which simply reflects the fact that on this, as with so many other issues, he has no political differences with the current government.

Green Party Defence Spokesman Keith Locke, once a prominent campaigner against New Zealand participation in this war, now claims to be “proud of the good peacekeeping and reconstruction work that our Provincial Reconstruction Team has done in Bamian Province, and we mourn the loss of one of its members.”

It’s an unfortunate time for Locke and the Greens to jump on the pro-war bandwagon. As UNITYblog posts over the last week have shown, support for the war is collapsing everywhere else. Over the last nine years the anti-war movement has been consistently correct in our predictions about what the results of this war would be.

Thousands of Afghanis have been killed, maimed and made homeless. And what for? They are not “liberated”, but subject to foreign occupation, corrupt central government and local war lords who are just as brutal and intolerant as the old Taliban. Many see the resistance grouped around the “new Taliban” as their only hope regaining national independence.

Osama Bin Laden (remember him?) has never been “bought to justice”, the US are no longer looking for him. Meanwhile, like Bin Laden, the war has crossed over in to Pakistan, killing hundreds and causing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

In the West the war has fed that cancerous growth of Islamophobic racism. Such racism goes hand-in-hand with imperialist war, based as it is on the assumption of the superior value of the life and culture of the “advanced” nations.

The right of the US (along with UK, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the “coalition of the willing”) to invade other countries and rearrange them to the satisfaction of the corporate lobbyists at the State Department, bestowing the free market and puppet “democracy” is taken for granted.

Murdering 3000 people in the US on September 11, 2001 was a “crime against humanity”, but murdering many, many more people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere is merely “collateral damage” and hardly worth worrying about.

The death of one soldier (occupying someone elses country) is treated as a national tragedy, but how many Afghans have been killed by New Zealand troops in nine years of war?

Of course the role of the NZDF in Afghanistan is not primarily killing Afghans, it’s providing support and cover for those who do. Under the guise of a “UN mandate” and “Provincial Reconstruction”, “our leaders” have deployed their forces to lend credibility to US imperialism, in return for closer trade and military ties to the US, (and a boost for Helen Clark’s career at the UN).

In this, the combined effort of Labour and National (oh, and the soldiers too), appears to be paying off. “Better ties with NZ on US cards”, according to a report on Stuff today, “including a step-up in military training and exercises between the two countries.”


Also worth checking out is this post from Socialist Aotearoa, which links to articles by Gordon Campbell and Afghan womens rights activist Malalai Joya.


Anonymous said...

You claim "the death of one soldier (occupying someone elses country) is a national tragedy"

Where does that claim get off?

Its a tragedy for the guys family and friends.

It's only a national tragedy in the establishment brainwashing department.

David said...

I guess I should have put "national tragedy" in quotation marks. [In fact I'll change that now.]

The point I was intending to make is the one you've made. The death of this soldier becomes an occasion for flags at half mast etc, the death of Afghanis is ignored.