The Press editorial on the SAS:
Just five days before Anzac Day it was revealed that SAS troops were part of an operation in Afghanistan last August in which nine Taleban fighters were killed. Critics of New Zealand’s deployment there have sought to portray the operation as some sort of “revenge killing” following the death in action of Lieutenant Tim O’Donnell. This suggestion was not only incorrect but was also an affront to the SAS.
Undoubtedly SAS troops would have been angry at O’Donnell’s death but these soldiers are also part of one of the most professional and disciplined military forces in the world, which does not undertake unauthorised revenge or rogue operations.
Their job in Afghanistan is to protect the provincial reconstruction team from insurgents and inevitably this involves military action when intelligence reports indicate the presence of Taleban fighters.
And the operation in August had been mandated by both the Afghan Government and the International Security Assistance Force of Nato.
The real message that should be taken from the SAS raid is that it is a reminder of the valuable work being carried out by New Zealand soldiers in a range of overseas theatres. In doing so, these military personnel continue a proud tradition of this nation consistently punching above its weight in its contributions to war campaigns and peace-keeping operations.
The Press is absolutely right.
The people who called it a revenge killing should be ashamed. The job of the SAS is to stop the Taleban fighters from killing people, and the harsh reality is they do this by killing them. It’s not revenge – it’s war.