Manufacturing public consent to join war in Iraq


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Last week’s visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Ja’afari was another step in the softening up process to prepare New Zealanders to accept our troops joining the war against ISIS in Iraq.

The typical headlines which reported the visit said things like “Iraq asks NZ for help to fight jihadists”. A more accurate headline would have been “New Zealand government works harder to manufacture consent for war in Iraq”.

Most New Zealanders don’t support us joining another foreign war on behalf of the US and their illegitimate Iraqi political elite.

ISIS is a particularly ugly terrorist grouping which makes little distinction between combatants and civilians but the US has no claim to any higher moral ground.

Innocent people have been tortured and murdered in places like Abu Ghraib, Guantanemo Bay, US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq and numerous other countries where the US has “rendered” prisoners of war. The only difference is the lack of video footage.

No wonder a grouping like ISIS has now emerged in reaction to US imperialist policy in the Middle East – spawned from groups of hardened fighters who battled earlier foreign invasions of their region.

In attempting to defend US global objectives the American government has spent an estimated $25 billion arming and training Iraqi troops since 2003. But still this army is unable and/or unwilling to put their lives on the line to back their own corrupt, illegitimate government and who could blame them.

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John Key is now intent on sending New Zealand troops to step in where US billions have failed. He wants us to somehow replace what Iraqi troops lack in loyalty. It’s never going to work and puts New Zealand at extra risk of terrorism at home.

So with the New Zealand public sceptical at best the government orchestrated the visit of Ibrahim al-Ja’afari to give more political cover for a war decision.

And while al-Ja’afari was standing alongside New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully urging New Zealand to join the fight against ISIS the Prime Minister was expressing outrage at the videoed murder of the Jordanian pilot and lambasting the opposition in parliament as unconcerned at human rights abuses.

Hypocrisy has never been a problem for Key who has turned a blind eye to massive human rights abuses much closer to home in places like Sri Lanka, West Papua and Tibet alongside any of another dozen countries.

Some decades back when New Zealanders were reluctant to support our troops fighting in Vietnam we had similar visits from South Vietnamese officials to help massage public opinion.

We should see al-Ja’afari’s visit in the same light.


  1. When are the protests going to start about this? FJK isn’t capable of making logical, rational decisions. His forte is moving money around and that’s it. Stand up, fight back.

  2. Innocent people are being tortured and murdered in america now! People are being executed by the people being paid to protect them, their police are out of control, american people are dying in hospital waiting rooms, they are being denied care because of the almighty dollar. American babies and children are being murdered because their child care system is broken. Key wants to be part of that family?????? Nzers need to wake up this is not about helping the middle east its about the resources that usa wants, this is my humble opinion.

  3. New Zealanders are being sold the idea of having troops in Iraq on the basis that they won’t be put in harms way. Instead they will be training poor Iraqi men who need the money to become the ones who will be slaughtered.

  4. You make a good case, but it would be a much stronger case if you also included an alternative course of proposed action and not just inaction.

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