First the SAS quote:
Goff told the General that he could expect a positive outcome on redeploying the PRT past Sept 2006 and was reasonably assured the SAS (Special Forces) would deploy again after regeneration.
And the Iraq quote:
Goff noted Senator McCain’s comment that New Zealand should think about replicating its success in Bamiyan by heading a PRT in Iraq.
The Minister said he told McCain that New Zealand was not averse to doing so once the security situation had stabilized.
If I was a Young Labour member who has stuck up posters about how Don Brash would send troops to Iraq, I’d be looking for a new party, or at least a new leader, about now.
Fran O’Sullivan also whacks at Goff:
Frankly it’s been rather delicious to watch Phil Goff squirm on the head of a proverbial pin as he flatly denies the insinuation in a WikiLeaks cable that the former Labour Government was prepared to trade “blood for milk” in Iraq. …
Inevitably, there will have been a number of factors in the former Labour Cabinet’s decision to deploy New Zealand engineers alongside the British contingent in Basra.
But it would be pushing credulity to claim the Clark Government did not consider the clear desire by New Zealand business – particularly Fonterra – to ensure its Iraqi trade did not go down the tubes when the postwar reconstruction contracts were doled out. Particularly when America still controlled the game.
I think it was a good thing that Helen Clark and Phil Goff were mindful of NZ’s commercial interests, when they decide to send troops to Iraq.
Goff, while speaking about nations like France and Germany which had also opposed the invasion, said then that “they will want to be part of whatever benefits will flow from reconstructing Iraq and rebuilding the relationship [with the United States]”.
Given their respective comments in 2003 it would be fatuous indeed to believe the decision to commit troops to the reconstruction effort did not have a tinge of economic reality.
More than a tinge I say.
Goff’s problem is that he is embarrassed by the WikiLeaks revelation.
He should look closer to home.
He had no compunction using notes of a private meeting between former National leader Don Brash and a visiting United States delegation to claim New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy “would be gone by lunchtime” under a National government.
The WikiLeaks documents have something to say on this score too.
Former United States ambassador Bill McCormick wrote in November 2006 that Goff had “misquoted” an Mfat staffer’s notes from the meeting to claim that Brash had promised the nuclear ban would be “gone by lunchtime”.
Julian Assange at least releases the full cables and notes, unlike Phil Goff who broke a decades-long convention and quoted a small extract out of context.