Labour says pull troops out early

August 20th, 2012 at 10:38 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Opposition parties are calling for New Zealand troops to come home from early, following the deaths of three Kiwi soldiers yesterday.

’s foreign affairs spokesman and former defence minister Phil Goff said the deaths made it more important for New Zealand to withdraw.

“It’s not a case of cutting and running, it’s a case of managing an orderly transition out of Bamiyan which the Government should have been embarking on already.” …

Labour leader David Shearer added his weight to Goff’s comments, saying the troops must be brought home as soon as practicable.

This angers me, especially as it was a Labour Government that approved the PRT going to Afghanistan around nine years ago.

The mission is scheduled to end in 2013. There is no debate that the troops will come home. The debate is about how.

To renege on our international commitments, and pull the troops out a year early, would be a massive blow to New Zealand’s international credibility and reputation.

I hate the fact we have lost five soldiers in less than a month. But again it is not credible to change policy on the basis of the fact that soldiers die in war zones.

Now if our commitment to stay until 2013, isn’t to a specific month within 2013, obviously it would be preferable for it to earlier in 2013 than later. But one has to balance that against how ready local forces are to step up.

While grossly imperfect, Afgahnistan is a vastly better place for most than when the Taliban ruled and sheltered Bin Laden. Women especially now have basic rights such an education. I have no doubt that the US and allies had to take action in 2001 after the Taliban refused to stop sheltering Al Qaeda.  It was clearly self-defence.

NZ troops will return home. But let’s do it in a way that doesn’t see NZ renege on its word and commitments.

UPDATE:

What shameful grandstanding. In Leighton Smith this morning Shearer clarified that by “bring them home early” he means:

“I think we could have them out early/mid next year”

Now John Key had already earlier said on Breakfast:

“That will be in 2013, it’s possible it will be in earlier 2013 than later 2013.”

So in fact Shearer is agreeing with the Government’s timetable, but just trying to get headlines.

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52 Responses to “Labour says pull troops out early”

  1. Redbaiter (8,039 comments) says:

    Surrender in other words.

    There is no point in NZ entering into any wars, when the war effort will always be betrayed by political opportunists like Phil Goff and David Shearer.

    While the left is predominant in society, our most dangerous enemy is always going to be within.

    Read Ann Coulter’s “Treason”.

    Quote-

    “Liberals have a preternatural gift for always striking a position on the side of treason,” says Coulter. “Everyone says liberals love America, too. No, they don’t.” From Truman to Kennedy to Carter to Clinton, America has contained, appeased, and retreated, often sacrificing America’s best interests and security. With the fate of the world in the balance, liberals should leave the defense of the nation to conservatives.

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  2. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    I was wondering who would be the first **** to politicise these deaths.

    I thought it was going to be one of the minor parties.

    Oh wait, it was.

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  3. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    It is time to bring them home. It is not retreat, it is not surrender. It is acknowledgement that there is nothing to gain in the waste of more lives and more treasure.

    To renege on our international commitments, and pull the troops out a year early, would be a massive blow to New Zealand’s international credibility and reputation.

    No, it may fuck off the US, but last time I looked Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, russia, France, The Netherlands. et al are part of the international community and I don’t think NZ leaving would be seen as a negative by them. Only the US.

    Women especially now have basic rights such an education.

    No, they don’t. Only in a very small part of the country is thsi true. In the majority of Afghanistan they are still seen as inferior to men, illtreated and abused.

    These interventions rarely work out well.

    To take your example of women, Iraqi women now have far less freedom and fewer opportunities that they did under Saddam Hussein’s rule.

    Or take Vietnam. Is the average Vietnamese better off today than in the 1960′s? Why did they have to suffer so much for so little?

    [DPF: You obviously don't consider the vote an essential freedom. How sad]

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  4. Scott (1,739 comments) says:

    Could not agree more DPF. I think it would be very bad for us to pull out because we are suffering casualties. It just sends a message to the terrorists, and sends a message to the enemy, if we can kill a few of them then the rest will cut and run.

    However I do share some of Luke Mutton’s concern about the real nature of Afghanistan. One would hate to see the Taliban return to power. After so many years of blood and treasure expended by the Western powers, it would be a real shame for that nation to return to the barbarism of the Taliban years.

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  5. kowtow (7,968 comments) says:

    When the international forces quit Afghanistan the place will collapse. The Taliban will end up running the country aided by their allies the Pakistani secret services. Pushtoons one and all.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing,but invading these Islamic medieval fiefdoms is a mistake,if you think you can establish a liberal democrcay in them. Sure knock over the ruler you don’t like but you’ve got to put a strong man on the throne and allow the natives to get on with their sad medieval ways.

    Womens rights? Not good enough for the west to expend it’s blood and treasure on. They have to do it for themselves and there is no will for it in those places.

    Kipling understood it well. Afridis are Pushtoon. What has changed?

    http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_arith.htm

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  6. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    Pulling put early IS cutting and running. The government’s timetable will allow an orderly transition. I do not know what Goff is on about.

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  7. tom hunter (4,574 comments) says:

    To take your example of women, Iraqi women now have far less freedom and fewer opportunities that they did under Saddame Hussein’s rule.

    Nonsense on stilts.

    Or take Vietnam. Is the average Vietnamese better off today than in the 1960′s? Why did they have to suffer so much for so little?

    Because the US gave up and quit and then refused to support their former allies, resulting in a communist victory.

    As opposed to Korea, where the UN at least fought the communists to a draw and managed to keep South Korea intact, which has since led the people of South Korea to be very much better off than they were in the 1950′s – certainly much better off than their starving, brainwashed cousins to the North. Good thing that your sort of Labour-type thinking was not dominant in the West in 1950.

    Having said that I agree with those who say Afghanistan will collapse back into Talibanstan soon after we leave – while also agreeing with those who say we should not just cut and run. It may be a futile gesture, but gestures like this count elsewhere in the world as well – and perhaps even to a core of Afghanis who can survive and perhaps build something better in the future.

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  8. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    Isn’t it funny that so many, especially lefties, think that we should get out and leave these medievalists to fester in their own backwardness….but at the same time, think that we should welcome them and their barbarous ways into free societies (and I deference to Redbaiter I use that term very loosely) – and make allowances for the self-same cultures at the expense of our own traditions.

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  9. wreck1080 (3,820 comments) says:

    My criteria for judging the success of the Afghanistan war, is whether the place reverts back to pre-911 environment after international troops have left. In my opinion the place will revert — these people don’t want peace.

    Goff annoys me by using this tragedy to push his withdrawal agenda. Couldn’t he wait until after the funeral?

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  10. Positan (385 comments) says:

    As is evidenced amply here: Labour/Greens voters obviously do so because they’re emotive idiots possessed of no appreciation of either the practicalities or reality.

    Why should we expect such to advance anything rational or intelligent in respect of more complicated matters which, so clearly, they cannot understand?

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  11. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    Goff’s timing using the tragedy of these deaths to push a policy agenda shows what a shit he really is.

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  12. Carlos (687 comments) says:

    This is another example why our society is crumbling.

    If our political leaders advocate breaking their word and not fulfilling promises they made, then why expect the average citizen to do the same. No matter, whether you think the we should be there or not, we have given a commitment to be there until 2013. We should stay. It’s the honourable thing to do.

    My condolences to the families of those brave men who have been lost over there.

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  13. Lance (2,567 comments) says:

    So if the troops pull out early and after these whack jobs subjugate the locals will they will stay in Afghanistan?

    Or will the whole fucking shit bucket need to be revisited in the near future.

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  14. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Goff’s timing using the tragedy of these deaths to push a policy agenda shows what a shit he really is.

    Yeah he should watch his son play sport while giving up the opportunity to attend a memorial service for the slain soldiers.

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  15. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    Two simple questiosn for those of you in favour of this war.

    1. Did you support the USSR invasion in 1979.

    2. Did you support the US led boycott of the 1980 Olympc games?

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  16. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    Phil Goff just wishes he could be back in Queen St, spitting on the troops. That was the high point of his life.

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  17. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    ‘Rick Rowling (552) Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 10:50 am
    I was wondering who would be the first **** to politicise these deaths.

    I thought it was going to be one of the minor parties.

    Oh wait, it was.’

    It was always going to be politicised, I for one appreciate DPF starting a 2nd thread for what appears to be that purpose of that debate.

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  18. Scott (1,739 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller at 11:07 AM– excellent point.

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  19. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    [DPF: You obviously don't consider the vote an essential freedom. How sad]

    It’s a civil right but its worth is conditional upon other aspects of the society in which one votes. If you lack freedom of expression, freedom of religion etc. then the value of the vote is diminished.

    Afghanistan lacks freedom of expression, freedom of the press, Islam is oppressive, the official religion and the president must be a Muslim. A vote in that country is worth shit fuck all in my view.

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  20. Jinky (181 comments) says:

    So David Shearer “agreeing with the Government’s timetable” means “Labour says pull troops out early”. The Govt has already agreed to our troops coming home 1 year earlier than originally planned. So 2013 is “early” anyway. It’s very sad that our soldiers have been killed but they are volunteers and most of the defence personnel I’ve spoken to in any part of the world are aware of the risks they run and accept it as part of the job. family member who is in the navy was gutted when his posting to patrolling the Gulf was cancelled. He was looking forward to mixing it up with Somali pirates!! I’m sure there would be no shortage of volunteers to stay on in Afghanistan if the troops were asked to do so.

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  21. seanmaitland (472 comments) says:

    @Luke Mutton – none of those countries you listed would help us if we were under attack – the US would.

    Listing off a bunch of countries does nothing to prove your argument.

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  22. virtualmark (1,522 comments) says:

    The PRT teams are on six month deployments running on a (roughly) October-April and April-October cycle.

    So the pragmatic decision for the Government is whether the next deployment, through to April 2013 is the last deployment, or whether they do one more after that to run through to October 2013.

    Late in the final deployment an extra team will go from NZ to Bamiyan to help pack down the equipment and bring everything home. Those guys may need a bit more time past the end of the last deployment just to finish the pack down. So we should be all gone from Bamiyan either in May next year, or in November next year.

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  23. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    seanmaitland (129) Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 11:54 am

    @Luke Mutton – none of those countries you listed would help us if we were under attack – the US would.

    Prove it.

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  24. virtualmark (1,522 comments) says:

    seanmaitland, it’s got little or nothing to do with having mates who would help us if we were under attack, since it’s practically impossible to find a meaningful scenario where New Zealand would be attacked.

    But NZ committing troops into Afghanistan has a lot to do with our diplomatic leverage, access to military equipment at good prices etc.

    And, equally importantly, it is priceless training for our troops. An army that trains at home and never deploys loses its edge.

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  25. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller (3,670) Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 11:07 am

    +1 well said.
    I suspect that lefties are actually mentally sick, as to encourage people who don’t believe in freedom and liberty to have a toehold in your place is daft to my mind.

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  26. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Luke Mutton. You are a coward. being a coward only affects yourself, but worse than that you disrespect and dishonour our soldiers on the day of their deaths.
    Just like the NZ Herald running that stupid debate on should we be pulling out of Afghanistan. I can only assume that children are now in charge of the editorial team. Waiting a few weeks would have been the appropriate response.
    What do you think their families are feeling:
    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/08/your-soldier-was-hero-you-hold-that-to.html

    Shearer will lose his leadership over this, I predict. He’s all but said we need to drop preservation of the tenants of democracy and freedom. Fucking idiot.

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  27. campit (467 comments) says:

    First of all my deepest sympathy to the families of these soldiers.

    Second of all:

    Goff’s timing using the tragedy of these deaths to push a policy agenda shows what a shit he really is.

    I think a timely reminder that Phil Goff’s nephew was the first New Zealander killed in Afghanistan is required at this point. At the time it was announced that New Zealand would remain until September 2009.

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  28. kowtow (7,968 comments) says:

    “Mixing it up with Somali pirates”, if only. Another misplaced exercise in modern human rights.

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  29. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    Es and Goff uses the tragic loss of his nephew when he is making a political point against the Government over the war in Afghanistan. As I said the man is a shit.

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  30. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    Monique Watson

    The word you were looking for was ‘tenets.’

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  31. Luke Mutton (247 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (595) Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Luke Mutton. You are a coward. being a coward only affects yourself, but worse than that you disrespect and dishonour our soldiers on the day of their deaths.

    The same old sad and sorry refrain from warmongers everywhere.

    It takes far more courage to stand against the tide than it does to go with the flow. Just what are your credentials to judge me? What is your military service record? Are you prepared to sacrifice a child on the altar of stupidity, or are you OK just as long as it is someone else’s child dying?

    we need to drop preservation of the tenants of democracy and freedom. At least you got that bit right. Running off to every war the yanks start does make us tenants..

    Maybe before you call others “fucking idiots” you could check your own level of below par intelligence.

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  32. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    It is a complete waste of NZ lives. Just bring them home now.

    “Four years ago, departing British commander Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said a military victory over the Taleban was “neither feasible nor supportable” and that where the Government had no control, the people were “vulnerable to a shifting coalition of Taleban, mad mullahs and marauding militias”. Endangering the lives of New Zealand soldiers for another year is not going to change that. We’ve held the Americans’ hand in this folly long enough.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10825296

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  33. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    ***think that we should get out and leave these medievalists to fester in their own backwardness….but at the same time, think that we should welcome them and their barbarous ways into free societies (and I deference to Redbaiter I use that term very loosely) – and make allowances for the self-same cultures at the expense of our own traditions.***

    @ Brian Smaller,

    Good point. The people complaining of the barbaric behaviour in some of these countries seem to think it is a great idea to welcome them in large numbers into Western countries. However, they don’t magically become liberals by moving to liberal countries. They import their beliefs with them. Hence you now have genital mutilation and beheadings the UK and North America.

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  34. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    Ridiculous grandstanding from Farrar.

    “… But again it is not credible to change policy on the basis of the fact that soldiers die in war zones…”

    I see you are channelling Douglas Haig today. Of course you can change policy if the price becomes to high. That is called common sense. Otherwise you are locked into getting other peoples children killed for our “credibility”. Credibility doesn’t seem to have rated high for the Dutch and the French, who are long gone.

    “…While grossly imperfect, Afgahnistan is a vastly better place for most than when the Taliban ruled and sheltered Bin Laden…”

    We went to Afghanistan to help the Americans rout out Al Qaeda, not make Afghanistan a better place or whatever the hell David Farrar suddenly thinks our foreign policy objectives should be. That objective was achieved a long time ago.

    “… But one has to balance that against how ready local forces are to step up…”

    We’ve been in Afghanistan for ten years. The ultra-corrupt Karzai regime has already had billions thrown at it, and yet all that money doesn’t seem to make it down to the equipment i’ts troops use. The Afghan National Army is riddled with Taliban infiltrators and it’s recruitment rate barely keeps pace with its desertion rate. Will the local military be any more or less ready if we stay three more months? A democratic country with strong accountability and civilised norms of behaviour cannot defeat the Taliban. You would need the sort of repressive savagery displayed by the Waffen SS in the USSR to have a hope of defeating the Taliban, and we all know we can’t behave like that and we don’t want our military to behave like that. We would still be fighting the Taliban in 2022, so we might as well get out now.

    “…So in fact Shearer is agreeing with the Government’s timetable, but just trying to get headlines…”

    I think you’ll find you’ve got this statement around the wrong way. Until this morning, John Key said we would be leaving middle to end of 2013. Now he is talking “early 2013″ – which could be as soon as five months from now. So John Key is preparing the ground for a rapid pull out and now he is actually agreeing with the opposition and with Phil Goff. It is a pity it has taken another three deaths for him to come around to what is the widespread view of the NZ public. We are now currently planning to retreat as fast as we can, another major loss and it’ll become a headlong flight out of Bamiyan and Afghanistan. And IMHO, knowing when to run away is at least as handy as knowing when to fight.

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  35. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Ever stood up for anything Luke? I have.
    You dishonour the soldiers memory by being a lily-livered coward and calling for withdrawal.
    BTW Your mummy may pull your strings and tell you what to do. but I’ll let my kids do what they want. If they want to go into the army then so be it. there are men out there prepared to stand up for what they beleive in and this doesn’t make them pawns. It makes them courageous.
    Bob R. We don’t hold the American’s hands remember. We gave that jig up a while ago. We’re more like Cuba and other socialist countries.

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  36. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Oh, Another mummies boy. Aside from Luke Mutton. I mean you Fishboy. Do you do everything your Mummy tells you to do?
    These soldiers were men when they went off to war. They were self-determining individuals. They weren’t just “other people’s children”. they were people in their own right.

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  37. kowtow (7,968 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller

    The toe hold becomes bridge head and then the host ,with left leaning parties leading the way,passes laws and recognises differences rather than insisting on integration and then what’s next?……….

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/hamburg-gives-muslims-right-to-religious-holidays-a-850241.html

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  38. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Monique Watson- Well put. They are soldiers, we should honour their sacrifice as such..

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  39. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    A very sad day for our country. It is worth noting that these soldiers enlist and agree to deploy as part of their contracts with Defence. They don’t join the Army, Navy, S.A.S. thinking they will never be deployed or possibly face the prospect of losing their lives. They are fully aware of this and agree to do so regardless of political opinions and whether they personally agree with their orders.

    Today is not a day for grandstanding by any political party. Spare a thought for the families. The last thing they want to see on the news is shameless political point scoring.

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  40. Nookin (3,191 comments) says:

    Fish_boy

    Do you Have a link for your assertion that it is a “widespread” view that we should pull out of Afghanistan?

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  41. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    So Shearer wanting troops home early is bad, but the PM preferring to watch baseball instead of attending a memorial service, is good? Hmmm OK. The fact is that when Labour were in government, troops were due home in late-2009.

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  42. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > The last thing they want to see on the news is shameless political point scoring.

    No point scoring from John Key.

    I think he’s still at the baseball.

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  43. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    Good grief Ross! Don’t let the facts get in the way of your personal political point scoring.

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  44. Zapper (968 comments) says:

    ross

    You are fucking pathetic

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  45. niggly (813 comments) says:

    Phil Goff must be the Taliban’s new spokesperson on NZ foreign affairs …

    The Taliban must find Goff priceless …. the gift that keeps giving …

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  46. lilman (934 comments) says:

    Luke Mutton, have you ever lived in a war zone?
    I have and I can tell you the weakest are kept where they are by force and persecution.
    Death dosent choose its victims because men supply a ready stream of poor and downtrodden.
    I would stay for 50 years to help people live fair and equatable lives.
    My experience has left me sure any help we can give should be a priority for our troops.
    So Luke unless you have seen first hand war and its victums , pull your head in.
    Cowardice is a learnt emotion, lets be stronger than Luke Mutton.

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  47. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Thanks Longknives. If I make my point harshly to the peaceniks, it’s because it’s personal to me and probably most other NZers who have relatives who have been in warzones. A Grandfather who fought in WW2, returned home and lost his life to emphysema, another elderly relative flew supply planes in WW2, lost his hearing because of the loud guns. He’s deaf as a post but lives quite independently in Oamaru. Almost 100. An Uncle was in the Solomons in 2000.

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  48. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    Monique: ‘relatives in war zones,’ try dealing from a pack littered with KIA cards it might generate some circumspection, they have a way of talking for themselves.

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  49. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    “Read Ann Coulter’s ”

    Why?…The woman is bat shit crazy.

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  50. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Pull out early? Yeah, why not.

    Can you imagine if, after Dunkirk, this had been the prevailing attitude? “Oh no, we can’t deal with this, let’s sue for peace and leave Europe to Hitler!”

    I know a lot of people are upset at these deaths, and rightly so, but can we just stop and think for a minute. Every 25 April, we commemorate those who sacrificed to safeguard the freedoms that we enjoy, and the words often spoken are “Lest we Forget”. What is it that we are trying to not forget? I beleive we need to remember that our freedoms come at a price, and that price is the sacrifice that people like this are willing to make. Afghanistan is a tough one, but let’s not forget they share a border with Pakistan, which is only slightly more stable than it’s neighbour, and has nuclear weapons! Anything we can do to try and make this region more stable has to be done!

    It should also be apparent that the recent increase in Taliban activity is occuring as NZ is preparing to pull back. They are clearly working to increase their influence once our people have withdrawn. This may end up being something that our children will have to deal with now. It also means that the Taliban will win. Because we have forgotten that sacrifice is part of conflict. We have forgotten the price of freedom and stability. We have forgotten that evil needs apathy to survive. We have forgotten! And that shames the memory of every man and women who has made the ultimate sacrifice in the uniform of our country. I wear that uniform.

    We have forgotten!

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  51. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Well said ROWIWOR

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  52. niggly (813 comments) says:

    Nice piece Right of Way.

    Also some people seem to forget or not realise, the problems are occuring in a small region in the north east that borders the neighbouring Baghlan province (where the Hungarian’s don’t apparently patrol much). In the whole Bamyan province where NZ PRT is based is relatively stable.

    To put this all into perspective, the land area of Bamyan is 14,180km2 which is the same size as Hawkes Bay. Bamyan is a large area, the majority of which is calm.

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