Monday, 23 April 2012

ANZAC Day = Different things to different people...

The day that the 1st Bn of the RNZIR presented its colours in Malaysia back in 1961 [pictured] I felt proud to be a member of that military unit, naturally I was younger then [21] but still a sense of pride existed because we were helping people introduce a form of democracy they had asked for and because our role wasn’t to destroy but to help create. I believe we succeeded because we had no hidden agenda and we kept command in our own hands.
There were no Americans there and that made a world of difference.

Tonight [Monday] I read of the death of SSgt Les Kereama a retired member of the RNZIR, it brought ANZAC day even more into a stark and more meaningful perspective for me, but ANZAC day is not about me it is about all of us…

ANZAC day means different things to different people, and so it should. Some suggest it commemorates war and thereby glamorises it. Some also suggest that it demonstrates the stupidity of war. Both may be correct to a lesser or greater degree. While others may see it as the human defence of peace and that war is the real learning curve toward peace.
They would suggest that without experiencing war how can we possibly understand peace. And there maybe a slight truth in that, but it’s only slight because in actual fact, it is an excuse rather than a reason. Leaders use wars for their own ends…

·         It is little known that after the US dropped the Atom bombs [2] on Japan and the 2nd world war ended, they sent doctors to the blasted and wrecked cities not to help the population survive, but to measure the success of the bomb so they could build bigger and more destructive ones. There had been secret discussions in the US about the use of Atom bombs…it was decided to use them so they could learn about there power and how best that power could be controlled and developed.

Some suggest that wars have been fought in the defence of democracy and even increasing democracy through sacrifice.
By democracy I presume they mean among other things, the right to vote and participate in the running of one’s country. All of these are worthy thoughts but we have to question if the outcomes of various recent wars have actually achieved such worthy goals. We can each have our view.

·         Is The Afghanistan war leading toward more democracy or less? And if so for whom?
·         Was and is Iraq simply a waste of life rather than protecting democracy? Was it for freedom or oil, since there were no Weapons of mass destruction?  
·         Did Vietnam achieve any great change to democracy, or freedom, and if so what freedoms?

A Wheeler’s Corner reader stated the following;

·         What planet is the PM on to say something to the effect that another two years of NZ troops in Afghanistan will see the country in good shape? He obviously thinks that a magic wand is in the offing. I can’t see any likelihood of that and can’t wait for NZ troops to leave the country so the Afghanis can get on with the job of recovery”.  

This reader clearly proves how our military are not fighting to right wrongs or stabilise a critical situation because our troops in Afghanistan are both commanded by and directly controlled by a foreign power for its political and economic purposes. Nicky Hagar gives absolutely undeniable evidence of this fact in his latest book, as have others.    

Regardless of our views on these issues they don’t lessen in any respect; the bravery and heroics displayed by those soldiers who fought those wars, on all sides. They were not responsible for the stupidly of the various political leaders that forced their servicemen and women and the nation to war.

As a vet I attend the dawn parade and when I march from the RSA to the Square I march for the white poppy, the peace poppy, and it was peace that drove me during my time in the military.      

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