Cunliffe on Iraq

June 14th, 2014 at 5:36 am by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant blogs:

With  turning into a mess again, and the US refusing to rule anything out while pointedly saying it can always count on Australia, people in New Zealand are asking the obvious question: if the US starts another war, will our politicians join it?

John Key hasn’t spoken up yet. As for David Cunliffe, he’s just been asked about it by Newstalk ZB’s Felix Marwick. His response is pure mush:

Cunliffe on troops to Iraq: “would depend on the circumstances when request made. Won’t hypothesize what answer wd be w/out having specific facts.

a difficult decision and would rely on the position taken by the United Nations and our partners. Can’t rule anything in or out.”

And there you have it: David Cunliffe ain’t no Helen Clark. If you want New Zealand to stay out of America’s stupid wars, you’ll need to vote for someone else.

Update: And meanwhile, John Key says the chances of his government contributing to any intervention are “remote”. Its a sad day when looks more warmongering than National.

Labour seem to struggling with clear quick decisions. It took a week or so to declare they would not force a by-election in Epsom – a decision the leader could have made instantly as it was obvious the public would hate a party that caused a million dollar by-election that wouldn’t even see an MP elected before Parliament was dissolved.

Likewise, should have been easy to say something along the lines John Key said – which is that the chances of NZ contributing ot military action in Iraq are incredibly small – especially considering any intervention is likely to be air strikes, and thanks to Labour we don’t have an airforce capable of striking anything!

UPDATE:

Cunliffe Iraq

Cunliffe has obviously been got to, and is now saying definitely not. I have no problem with his latter statement, but what people will note is it is entirely different to his first statement which was it would depend on the circumstances.

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51 Responses to “Cunliffe on Iraq”

  1. Komata (1,142 comments) says:

    As we once again we get a ‘yeah / nah’ reply, surely for just ONCE, Mr Cunnliffe can actually come out and say something definitive, as befits the leader he seems to believe he is?

    Is he so emasculated that he can’t even do that without referring to inhabitant /s ‘the War Room’ before speaking? Can he not ‘think on his feet’ – or is he not allowed to ‘in case he offends someone’?

    BTW: As DPF notes, given labour’s very pacifist base back in its early days, his reply has certain irony . . .

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  2. lilman (931 comments) says:

    Yanks should burn the lot of them,just sick of Muslims being predictable,just a waste of space. over them.

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  3. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    What I don’t get is why IS thinks that NZ wouldn’t contribute. Didn’t Helen take us into an “American war” last time? We actually have a treaty with the US that requires mutual defence (which is pretty good from a NZ point of view, bad deal from a US viewpoint) – there are obviously circumstances where we’d get into an “American war”. We also were supportive of the intervention in Bosnia, and that was the right thing to do. Is IS looking for Cunliffe to renounce all war always no matter the situation?

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  4. EAD (832 comments) says:

    Both Cunliffe and Key should rule out immediately NZ Troops being involved in this battle between the 2 branches of Islam – it really is none of our business.

    What is interesting to note though is the obsession and media hyperbole that follows from a word “gotcha” moment (to me at least, actions speak much louder than words). Such questioning just goes to highlight the narcissism of small differences that exist between the two main parties (the “NatLab” as I call them) that tickles the cockles of the MSM.

    Why doesn’t Newstalk ZB’s Felix Marwick question both Cunliffe & Key on the elephant in the room of the increasing Islamic presence in New Zealand that is encouraged by both Labour & National? This is of much more concern to a large number of our citizens compared with word “gotchas” about hypothetical situations which no matter who was in power, we would be highly unlikely to get involved in.

    I would like to see Marwick ask the following questions of Cunliffe and Key:
    • How many “Kiwis” already fighting out there will eventually end up back in New Zealand with the experience to instigate rebellion?
    • How many Muslims terrorists are here already, sleeping, ready to start such activities?
    • Given the very, very long list of atrocities carried out in the name of Islam, should NZ initiate an immediate ban on all future Islamic immigration and expel all who are not prepared to assimilate themselves and confine the expression of their religion to a private affair?
    • If you don’t wish to put a ban on Islamic immigration, what makes you believe that the future for NZ will be different to all those countries that have allowed a large Islamic population to gain a foothold?
    • Given that these extremists running amok and slaughtering thousands by the day were the same ones fighting against Assad (who is trying to protect his people against these animals), does John Key still stand by his comments made to the UN?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9221733/Key-Syria-deal-doesn-t-go-as-far-as-I-d-like

    More and more each day, the political elite and media circus of this country become distant from the concerns of ordinary citizens…..

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  5. hj (6,742 comments) says:

    Labour seem to struggling with clear quick decisions.
    ….
    Because of the nature of the decision of course. Idiot-smarter-than- everyone wants the left-wing’s Death to America affirmation.

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  6. Dom Knots (155 comments) says:

    Yeah. Let’s get in there and vaporize those god damn moooslims. Meanwhile, the United States pours money into israel for the continued systematic murder and destruction of Palestine and its people. John Key and successive nz government’s have been complicit in those acts and john key will go to war anywhere obama tells him to. He’s a puppet. Get out of Palestinian occupied territories and have break from murder and destruction for a while. Christmas is right around the corner. Tee hee.

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  7. Warren Murray (293 comments) says:

    When Cunliffe couldnt take a clear stand on the Epsom by election he failed possibly the easiest test for someone who is campaigning to be our next PM. I wonder how long it takes him to decide when to get up in the morning and whether he needs to phone the Strategy Committee before putting his slippers on.

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  8. Pete George (23,331 comments) says:

    I think Cunliffe’s response on this is fine, there’s no way of knowing what might happen in Iraq, nor what international assistance might be asked for.

    Key will know more about US views on current developments but if the Middle East escalates around Iraq then pressure could increase substantially on the US to try and sort out a mess they have played a major part in. And if they in turn pressure allies to help it could change substantially from Key’s ‘remote’ claim.

    I think Cunliffe is correct, nothing can be ruled in or out regarding Iraq, Syria and the Middle East.

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  9. Psycho Milt (2,366 comments) says:

    So, Cunliffe gave the honest, correct answer, and Key did his usual thing of appearing to give an answer if you’re not paying attention, while not actually answering at all. Key is certainly a much more skilled politician than Cunliffe, but that’s not a compliment.

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  10. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Agree PM: both gave nothing, and Key did it more skilfully. What I’m more interested in is why anyone in the media would ask such a dumb question, other than in the hope that someone would fumble it so they can make a story about them fumbling it. Asking a hypothetical like that has no purpose unless you think you’re going to get an “I hate America” response.

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  11. Fisiani (995 comments) says:

    When THE Cunliffe is asked a question his first thought is “how can I answer this to appeal to most people” John Key simply tells the truth.

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  12. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Thanks EAD for contributing some pretty well developed bigotry to the thread. What should we do with those who can’t be expelled? Intern them in camps?

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  13. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    It is surprising that the answers each made did not come from the other instead.

    It is Key’s government seeking a spot on the UNSC. Taking the chance to say that New Zealand would respond to UN decisions on the matter of a nations security (collective security for member nations being a UNSC matter) – as the regional caliphate aspiration of the militant group is a threat to the territorial integrity of both Syria and Iraq.

    As for I/S, he seems to think any use of American force for whatever purpose is starting a war. Crying wolf …

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  14. kowtow (7,949 comments) says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2657231/Revealed-Obama-RELEASED-warlord-head-ISIS-extremist-army-five-years-ago.html

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  15. JC (933 comments) says:

    Full crudet to Cunners for this one.. he’s obviously stayed abreast of developments there where one fifth of the worlds cheap oil is located and under threat with the terrorist in direct position to unsettle Saudi Arabia. Brent crude is up and prices via scarcity bound to flow through to us.. we will be *very* glad we have a high dollar if it all goes to crap.

    Reference to “America’s wars” are dumb in the present environment.. its a new direct threat we face requiring a fresh look.. not least because the Europeans face a rapacious Russian oil and gas supplier in a scarce market and are threatened with another economic crash and maybe a cold winter ahead.. expect to see some massive recriminations against greenies who have put the brakes on oil, coal, fracking and nuclear power.

    This latest crisis is simply the inevitable result of failed foreign policies especially by Obama with the Europeans likely to get the first fallout.

    JC

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  16. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Watch the thread turn to criticism of Moslems and opposition to Moslem immigration and criticism of Obama and opposition to Obama at home and abroad.

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  17. Odakyu-sen (526 comments) says:

    Why would any country permit a religious/ethnic group who refuses to integrate to immigrate? It’s just asking for misunderstanding, paranoia, ill feelings, scapegoating, bigotry…

    And that’s how some of the majority will feel. Imagine how the group feels…

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  18. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I thought this was an interesting take on Iraq:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/06/iraq_sunnis_and_shiites_the_u_s_should_never_have_withdrawn_its_troops_in.html
    The US should never have invaded, but having done so should not nhave left?

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  19. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    mikenmild, the PNAC aim was most likely continuing US military presence in the ME (as a means to secure supply of oil from Iraq and the Gulf to the world market) – but thus was not an affordable cost to the US budget.

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  20. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    mikenmild, Scowcroft was right in his original assessment (and thus accurate about the PNAC long term ambition), but the USA has limited credibility as a broker in Arab politics, let alone the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide – that is making the 30 years war seem like a walk to the park to watch a Celtic-Rangers game.

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  21. eszett (2,374 comments) says:

    especially considering any intervention is likely to be air strikes, and thanks to Labour we don’t have an airforce capable of striking anything!

    Yeah, right, as if our strikewing would have ever been able to strike at anything in Iraq.

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  22. Steve Wrathall (261 comments) says:

    Just declare Iraq a gun-free zone

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  23. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    Very well put EAD.

    “….should NZ initiate an immediate ban on all future Islamic immigration and expel all who are not prepared to assimilate themselves and confine the expression of their religion to a private affair?…”

    That’s what NZ’s liberal progressives in Labour and National are currently doing – allowing Muslims into NZ which will end in the restriction on activites of conservatives/Christians.

    Just look at what Key agreed to on the matter of kids being ‘hit or worse’ – he KEPT every parent from smacking their own children – and Key has more time for parents than he has for Christians! —— That’s not to say he dislikes Christians! —–

    But restrictions is how it will end. Muslims waging havoc outside the home in suburbs is very serious – the police would have to admit that. And anything that a Muslim says ‘incites them’ will go.

    Muslims have only been immigrating to the west for the last 30yrs. For the last 200 hundred years it was unheard of. And it is right now that the west is on it’s knees. The radicals will never stop with that irresistable opportunity. Allah gave them that one chance. The Marxists enjoy the help as they see it as the much heralded revolution.

    Christianity/conservatism kept them out in the past.

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  24. stephieboy (2,539 comments) says:

    I think DPF is rather unfair with his quip against the Clark government and the disbandment of our air strike arm. John Key has shown no inclination to reestablish it and it would be a useful exercise Dave, if you could do some coatings to do that.? Next, where is the money going to come from and coatings of deployment in areas like e.g Indonesia or say Thailand ( in the unlikely circumstances the host country would request them ).

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  25. Ben2001 (21 comments) says:

    Mr Cunliffe’s idea of a firm stand on any matter is akin to that of a one legged kick boxer.

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  26. Simon (715 comments) says:

    Cunnlife on not ruling out NZ involvment in Iraq is consistent with his belief that the State can fix any problem.

    The western States have created lasting peace in the middle east just as well they have delivered health care and education in their own countries.

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  27. stephieboy (2,539 comments) says:

    Harriet, your concerns about Muslim immigrants are based more on hysteria and paranoia..The vast majority are in fact happy to settle and assimilate no differntltly than say Sikhs and Hindus.There is no evidence the majority constitute a security risk and we have laws etc that can deal with the very smal number of potential militant jihadists..

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

    I can’t see that the Electorate would have ‘hated’ Labour for seeking a bye election in Epsom. Not that it’s Labour’s money anyway but it would have put pressure on the Nats soon after another exposure of the failed de-facto MPs Epsom have endured.

    Cunliffe has unfortunately come across as uncertain, equivocal and sensing which way the wind might blow in terms of votes – not a good look.

    Many probably feel that America should sort out its own crap with the pragmatic view that whoever eventually is in control will need to put their oil on the market. Iraq will exercise its own will and arrive to it’s own shape in the passage of time as is proven again now.

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  29. Scott1 (481 comments) says:

    The solution is probably to bite the bullet and realize that overthrowing Assad and getting all excited about Arab spring was a bad idea.

    Or in other words start running international policy based on pragmatism rather than idealism.

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  30. G152 (231 comments) says:

    Liebor are good at sending the boys into danger.
    Ever counted how many of the current liebor parliamentarians have actually served?
    Phyllis is their Defence spokesman.
    With his history ?

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  31. Bad__Cat (140 comments) says:

    Stephieboy, how do we tell the difference. How is our ability to handle the “very small number of potential militants” any different from England, Sweden, Netherlands, France etc etc etc?

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  32. tom hunter (4,565 comments) says:

    Since Cha decided to be a smart-ass and put the following quote into yesterday’s GD, I thought I’d repeat it, together with my own addition:

    Who said it?

    If you’re going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?

    Here’s fun. Take part of that answer:
    It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or ….. one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists?

    Then wonder as to whether this question ever crossed the minds of the trio of Obama, Clinton, and Power when they decided to destroy Gaddafi in Libya, throw Mubarak to the wolves in Egypt, and wander around for a couple of years saying that Assad had to go. And that’s before we get to the whole “Redline” farce.

    What did they call it again? R2P? No, that’s the UN, but we’ve not heard much about that since Libya.

    Oh I know – SMART POWER – with added Leftism for increased smarts.

    The failures are now coming so rapidly that even the godforsaken WaPo is starting to notice:

    FOR YEARS, President Obama has been claiming credit for “ending wars,” when, in fact, he was pulling the United States out of wars that were far from over. Now the pretense is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain.

    And before we start with the diversionary whine about how this is just about opposition to Obama at home and abroad., let’s note the almost unhinged attacks on Bush that occurred here on KB a few years ago about what he was doing wrong in the ME. Most of those commentators have vanished of course – probably out of embarrassment as The Smartest President Ever checks out.

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  33. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    That’s great tom, we know you’d like to avoid talking about the American failure in Iraq and move swiftly on to Obama. Anything to say on topic?

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  34. WineOh (608 comments) says:

    I think Fisiani is closest to the mark on this one.

    Cunliffe obfuscates while trying to figure out what response is most likely to be popular with the NZ public. Its a clear case of not knowing what he stands for. His first thought is ‘what will the polls do’ rather than what is the right thing for NZ.

    Key states that chances of NZ contributing is ‘remote’ – either this is his personal view or he has correctly gauged that the NZ public have no appetite to get drawn back into a long, painful and expensive occupation – or police action in a country that doesn’t want us there.

    Personally, I think it is unbelievable how quickly and easily the Iraqi defense forces folded under insurgency. How inept were they to not be able to gauge a large build up of forces and deploy against them. Surely the US must be furnishing the government with regular intelligence updates and satellite imaging as to whats going on around them. It also asks the question for those supporting the anti-government forces in Syria – these are the same extremists.

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  35. OneTrack (2,818 comments) says:

    The problem tor Cunliffe is that he is like a possum in the headlights whenever somebody asks him a question. (even friendly lap-dogs like the LSM.

    Virtually every time he has answered a question in the past, (usually badly, along the lines of yeah/nah), his answer has been ripped to pieces on blogs like this and sometimes even in the LSM.

    He is stumbling because he is trying to think up the least worse reply without upsetting anyone. And, as this thread shows, not achieving that goal and it looks worse than ever.

    He is gun-shy.

    Maybe Cunliffe can let #1 on the Green list be the Prime Minister. At least we might be able to understand roughly what they think.

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  36. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Yanks should burn the lot of them

    One of the reasons I don’t pay taxes is because in NZ’s mobocracy fucktards like this might get a say in directing foreign policy.

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  37. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    WineOh, the Mosul area in the north is a Sunni area and the Iraqi units there were also Sunni. The question was how loyal to the Iraqi regime (Shia dominant) in Baghdad, not so loyal that they would die fighting a Sunni Islamist takeover of Mosul.

    The West supported the Free Syria Army, Saudi Arabia supported more Islamist factions of the opposition that became more dominant. The I.S.I.S. group broke away from that and has become a group seeking a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

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  38. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    tom hunter, the premise of the Bush regime change policy was that in principle it was not unique to Iraq but was part of US foreign policy to support democracy emerging from dictatorship.

    The USA has always paid lip service to supporting democracy (though tolerated anti-communist tyrants), but rarely via troops on the ground to impose a regime change. A substantial difference that was put down to replacing the Taleban for hosting al Qaeda and replacing the Baath regime in Iraq “for having WMD” and breaching UN cease-fire terms to allow inspections.

    The problem the US had after Iraq, was that if they could not pre judge what democracy would emerge when supporting the overthrow of tyranny – was that the same applied in any other ME nation, where Islamists would become active in the aftermath.

    The alternative is a policy to support the overthrow of tyranny and support democracy except in Moslem nations, because working with tyrants that ruled over Moslems was more convenient. That would be discriminatory. The alternative was/is to then work with any and all tyrants and give up support for democracy.

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  39. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    And the US did not decide the fate of the Mubarak regime, its unpopularity did. The military chose to pose as facilitating the peoples will in removing him enabling an election the MB would win – all to use any subsequent unpopularity with the people to return to power. Sisi was Suleiman’s (intelligence chief under Mubarak) former boss in the military.

    As for Syria, that began when unarmed protestors were shot in Damascus. And the West was a minor player in supporting challenge to that regimes continuance – it was more the example of Libya that inspired the Free Syria Army than actual western support for the FSA. Most of the support came from Islamist volunteers and Gulf funding (part of a Sunni vs Shia sectarian divide).

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  40. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,833 comments) says:

    I get so sick and tired of these piss weak fucking leftists who comment here without brains of their own.

    They are the ‘we know’ brigade. Never able to do or think anything for themselves. Like the good little Nazis they are, they can only function as part of some low grade mob.

    Yes, that’s you Milky.

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  41. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    “……Harriet, your concerns about Muslim immigrants are based more on hysteria and paranoia..The vast majority are in fact happy to settle and assimilate no differntltly than say Sikhs and Hindus….”

    LOL.

    You seriously suggesting the police arn’t doing anything at alll in way of preperation of Muslims waging havoc anywhere in NZ?

    Of course they are ‘happy to assimilate’ – as all they have to do is to buy/rent houses in the same area. Their youth and organised crime see to it that they end up as a majority of an area. Then they do what they want – first to go is assimilation – and all other ‘western ideas, concepts and government policies’.

    Jewish kids and their mums get rocks thrown at them going to school and back throughout France. Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian women are getting raped in steeply increasing numbers by Muslims. Gays are getting bashed all over europe too – when was the last time that happened in NZ? – honestly?

    Or are you saying that it is harder for them to assimilate into France, England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Italy……….but……..NZ is ‘some what better’ and they won’t do that here? Seriously?

    Muslim immigartion is a very serious matter of public safety. Just like military defense – you cannot get it wrong! These people are real life Soldiers of Islam – taking on police and civil authority in a tolerant and captulating society – in the past it was unchecked Christian Armies they had to face off against!

    If their women and their womenly bits can’t change them when they get to 2% – then you and the police haven’t got a chance. :cool:

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  42. flash2846 (224 comments) says:

    To quote my father “Its Wog on Wog so why do you care? And if you do care ask yourself why the other Wogs don’t”

    Dad (former military) has a point. In every global conflict people of European decent risk and lay down their lives to help the week and innocent. Occasionally they are assisted by African’s, Asians, Pakistani etc. but never the Arab. He’ll take money for use of his airspace though. “Scum of the Earth” Again quoting Dad.

    OK bring on the ‘thumbs down’

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  43. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ‘Adolf’ and the ‘Nazis’, eh? LOL

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  44. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    Who’s winning where.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/11/world/middleeast/isis-control-map.html

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  45. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    A cautious response is probably wise. Obama has ruled out ground troops. Maybe drone strikes instead.

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  46. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    I.S.I.S. is not a long term threat.

    Syria will reclaim the north off them. Iran will work to ensure Baghdad is held. The Kurds could take Mosul now if given back Kirkuk if they did.

    But the problems in Iraq will not go away unless Sunni (and Kurds – Kirkuk as a capital) have autonomy, Sunni once before dismissed an al Qaeda presence from amongst them and would do so again if given autonomy.

    The Sunni in Iraq are validly concerned about a Hezbollah type force being built up in Iraq – this speaks to the regime becoming a tyranny or itself being destabilised from within its own Shia ranks.

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  47. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    In every global conflict people of European decent risk and lay down their lives to help the week and innocent.

    The Nazis were Europeans.

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  48. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    especially considering any intervention is likely to be air strikes, and thanks to Labour we don’t have an airforce capable of striking anything!

    What a silly dig. It is a ludicrous fantasy to imagine that the NZ Airforce as it was construed for forty odd years up until we disbanded it’s strike arm could have been involved such a thing. We could never have transported, supplied, directed and maintained a strike force in range of Iraq even if we had increased by several multiples our expense of maintaining a strike arm.

    We don’t need it, we need observation capabilities for our waters, ships that can intercept others and transport troops and aid to islands with helicopters that can transport and support troops . We can afford only so much and we don’t do these things we actually need well enough. NZ does not need to waste money of pretty and fast things that will never be used.

    When was the last time NZ’s Air Force ever attacked anything with a fighter/bomber? I suspect the Malayan emergency of the 1950s – sixty odd years ago.

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  49. OneTrack (2,818 comments) says:

    Maybe we can save Iraq with our LAVs?

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  50. Pete George (23,331 comments) says:

    A day later…

    @DavidCunliffeMP
    A Labour govt I lead would not commit combat troops to Iraq under any foreseeable circumstances. Proud of our stand against invasion in 2003

    That doesn’t really add anything apart from trying to sound on to it. He should have left it at what he said yesterday.

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  51. jp_1983 (200 comments) says:

    The stone age culture of the Muslims are now fighting the same battles that the Protestants and Cathloics et all fought in the 1500′s

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