Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Reconstruction or destruction; Life and death.

What does the word Reconstruction mean to you? Putting back together, repairing some thing that’s damaged.
When military men and women hear this word they think of rebuilding hospitals, or schools, water supply systems, roads or infrastructure. In my day in the military I assisted with some reconstruction activities but the reconstruction was carried out for the most part by the RNZ Corp of Engineers.
For nine years our soldiers have, according to the press releases issued, carried out this role in the Bamiyan province in Afghanistan and the SAS played the role of protectors. Then the SAS were withdrawn and protection became a larger part of the Reconstruction Teams role, assisted by local police.
Put simply our reconstruction team would ensure a school was rebuilt, its role was not to decide who attended that school, yet Key takes a PR approach by pushing the fact that woman and girls are attending those schools. I would suggest that that indicates changes in social behaviour by the local people.

The Facts about NZ deaths in Afghanistan:

On August 10 2010 while out on patrol Lt. Timothy O’Donnell of Fielding died and the casualty rate was about to expand, February 20th 2011 Private Kirifi Mila died in an accident, August 2011 Cpl Doug Grant was killed in action, September 2011 L/Cpl Leon Smith died in Action, April 2012 Cpl Douglas Hughes of self inflicted wounds at a forward patrol base, August 5th 2012 L/Cpl’s Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone were killed in action and six others wounded, August 19th L/Cpl Jacinda Baker, Cpl Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris, are the latest to be killed by an roadside bomb.

These were not the only New Zealander’s to die in Afghanistan, the following died while serving in other countries armies.

Nov 2007 Capt Matthew Ferrara [US army], July 2008, Sg. Sean Patrick McCarthy [Australian Army] March 2009 Cpl Mathew Hopkins [Australian Army], Dec 2010 Pte Jack Howard [British Army]

After the latest five casualties I believe New Zealanders were at last shocked out of their media / Government / Military PR induced complaisance. A compliancy brought about by absolute manipulative spin supported by poor and almost superficial reporting by our main stream media, especially our overseas owned news papers and TV networks whom appear to express only an American perspective of international affairs.

Constant PR about how great things were going in Afghanistan and the Bamiyan province in particular has led to a totally erroneous view of the political and economic and social conditions that actually exist. The Government has still not admitted that our troops operate out of a US base, commanded by them. We have never been fully informed for example, that the CIA uses the same base.

This week when the Greens sought a urgent debate, to debate the events of the past three weeks the Speaker Lockwood Smith refused permission for an urgent debate on the deaths of kiwi soldiers in Afghanistan , this is a shocking misuse of the speakers’ powers and Smith should feel ashamed of himself.

It was bad enough that the PM stayed away from the services for L/Cpl’s Durrer and Malone and instead decided to watch his son play baseball in the USA and take a holiday at the same time. Our main stream media gave him plenty of space to convert his dereliction of duty into a sob story about how hard worked he is, they suggested that he is a Father first and a Prime Minister second and for this behaviour we should respect him. I half expected to see him on the cover of ‘Woman’s weekly’. The PM’s child like comments about Hungarian efforts in the province next door to Bamiyan also left a sour taste in ones mouth especially ex-servicemen and women. It was petty and stupid, but what we should expect from a PT PM. Read about the PM’s holiday in the USA by going to

No matter from which perspective you come, the Afghanistan invasion has failed, it was like using a sledge hammer to crush a walnut…it was in fact a war of revenge by the US after 911. It has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and thousands of service men and women at a financial cost of trillions. It has boosted the drug trade and expanded war lord growth in the region. It has done nothing for democracy or freedom. The British know it, the Russians know it, and U.S. and its coalition of the so-called willing which includes New Zealand know it but is yet to admit it as they search for a face saving device for exit. Hence the PM’s crap about not fleeing the scene.

Nicky Hagar in his book Other Peoples War clearly sets out the facts of what goes on and is still going on Jon Stephenson along with Hagar are the only two NZ’s to report on what is actually happening with our troops in Afghanistan in our bases in Bamiyan and I would recommend that Speaker Lockwood Smith get off his chuff and read that book rather than Standing Orders. He should also realise that failing to make debate possible simply heats the debate up.

Nicky Hagar will be in Palmerston North as a guest of the Friends of the Library on the 28th of September 2012 to present his findings regarding Afghanistan and the role of our troops there. He brings vast experience as an author and investigative journalist. This gives us an opportunity to listen to a public relations free version of the history about our involvement in this now devastatingly event.

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