The defence force announcement that it is being a “good employer” in allowing Defence Force personnel to opt out of the troop deployment to Iraq is more about covering John Key’s backside than out of concern for the troops themselves.
We all know the deployment has nothing to do with what’s in New Zealand’s interests. It’s not a deployment based on principle in defence of New Zealand’s interests but is being made on behalf of US global strategic interests. It’s a deployment to try and sort out a mess created by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003. This latest incursion will increase the problem further.
Allowing soldiers to opt out will give Key an easier ride in the event of casualties. Anyone killed or injured will be “volunteers” and will be used to give some cover to the PM.
It’s a false offer however because any soldier who does decide not to go for principled reasons will have their career destroyed and be labelled as unreliable – even cowardly – within the army. Just look at this country’s history of treating conscientious objectors to see the way the Defence Force treats reluctant fighters.
There have been many apologies for past wrongs but nothing yet for the shameful treatment of hundreds of principled New Zealanders who refused to fight in past wars.
Meanwhile John Key follows the long line of politicians sending soldiers to war for no good reason.
“Forward he cried from the rear and the front ranks died” goes the Pink Floyd song and so does John Key send New Zealand troops to risk life and limb as part of the price our soldiers must pay for this country to be part of the five-eyes “club”.
Key should put his children where his mouth is and send them to the front line.