Friday, 5 April 2013

Unnecessary Sacrifice

A Spot of Nation Building

The NZ Army is finally returning from Afghanistan.  Ten soldiers died over that time.  They deserve to be remembered, although it is a very long bow to relate their effort to our own national security.  Essentially, the NZ effort was part of the US/UN inspired global war for democracy, peace and justice. It has had nothing to do with defending New Zealand and its citizens from armed aggression.

Consequently, the politicians have lauded the socio-economic contribution of the NZ Army to Bamiyan province in Afghanistan where it served.  Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President lauded the NZ Army effort, we are told, in terms of its contribution to nation building and to genuine assistance of the Afghan people.  Our Minister of Defence took a similar tack:

Dr Coleman said Bamiyan had come a long way since New Zealand had been in the province.  "When we look at the gains here in health, in education, in infrastructure, in agriculture, in the betterment of the living status of women and children, New Zealand is leaving behind a massive legacy here which people back home should be very proud of.  I think our 10 years here has made a very real difference in this part of the world and it's something that we should look back on. It is a tragedy that we lost people, there's no doubt about that, but it's time to look back and commemorate."
Commendable as this might be in its own way, it makes the death of  NZ soldiers all the more tragic and unnecessary.  What on earth were we thinking as a nation that we committed soldiers to "nation-build" on the high country of northern Asia?  What on earth has that to do with our national defence? 

Putting the question inevitably means that if it were to be answered a very, very long bow would have to be drawn out of the closet and flourished about.  Maybe a spot of nation-building in North Korea will be next.

No comments: