Archive for the ‘Iraq’ category

Air NZ turns into Air Iraq

August 17, 2007

That’s right, it has been revealed that Air New Zealand planes were used to transport Australian troops to Iraq (or actually Kuwait, from where they crossed the border into Iraq). Personally I have no problems with this. I hope (optimistically) that the US can win in Iraq, and bring the country the peace it hasn’t had for a long time. In fact I support sending New Zealand combat troops  to Iraq to help bring stability to the country (although I relise it would be electoral suicide for National to advocate this).

It turns out that Air New Zealand did the right thing in checking with MFAT (Ministry of foreign Affiars) if it was allowed. The fault lies with MFAT secretary Simon Murdoch for approving the flights without informing the government (common sense should have told him to do this). According to David Farrar, Murdoch is a very highly respected civil servant, so a warning should be enough, and Murdoch is apologetic.

However, it’s interesting to see Labour being embarassed over one of their own patsy questions (directed as an attack on Key), and it has done political damage. It also presents great humour opportunities.



August 15, 2007

The Dominion post yesterday had an article entitled “War support surge”  (B4) about the surge in Iraq. It claims that even critics of the war are saying the surge is starting to have an impact. It also points to a CBS poll showing the number of people believing taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do is up to 42%, a 7% increase from May. 31% of Americans think the surge is making things better in Iraq.

In my opinion, it is too early to tell the full impact of the surge. It did (in terms of US soldiers killed and numbers of insurgent attacks) improve things initially, before things returned to pre-surge levels in May, and but things have improved since, with last month seeing (according to this) the lowest monthly Iraqi death toll for a long time. In September General Petraeus (US troop comander) will report to congress on the surge results (and I hope he ignores political pressure to come out with a bias report) and the descison of whether to continue the surge, reduce troop numbers but stay in Iraq, or withdrawl completely should be made then. One area where progress isn’t being made is in the Iraqi government, which has failed to improve relations with Sunnis. As the purpose of the surge was to provide a window of time for the Iraqi Government to improve national unity and survive. I doubt that the Iraqi state is viable in its present form, and thus a partition may be needed, but without doubt much bloodshed would be involved in any partition. 

There are many people in Iraq, the so called “peace protesters”, who want the US to pull out. No doubt many of these do so for ideological reasons, and would call for troops out whatever happened in Iraq. I have nothing but utter contempt for these people, as whenever the US does something they protest vigorously, but turn a blind eye to the actions of Islamic terrorists (if they don’t apporve of them, which they sometimes do). Their real motivation is not peace, but hate of capitalism/conservatism e.t.c. for instance, the deadliest war since WWII was the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which took place from 1997 to 2003 (with fighting continuing in some regions), and killed almost 4 millon people. The peace protesters devoted lots of energy to protesting against Iraq, but how much did they devote to the DRC? probably none.

One thing that we can all agree on is that in hindsight invading Iraq in 2003 was a mistake. However we can not turn the clock back. What is needed is serious and non-partisan thought about what to do now, witht he aim of keeping as much peace as possible in Iraq. the Iraqi people have gone through much suffering, and one can only hope for the best for them and their country.

Good news from Iraq

July 26, 2007

Its not very often that you get to make posts with headlines like this at the moment, but Time reports on the Iraqi soccer team upset win over South Korea in a penalty shootout in the Semifinal of the AFC Asian Cup, has led to significent celebrations amongst Iraqis, many of whom have temporarily put aside sectarian divisions. Lets hope the Iraqi soccer team keep winning.