If Key’s visit to NZ soldiers wasn’t just media pap, why didn’t he criticise the Camp Taji incompetence?



The media who got to put on armoured jackets and play soldier alongside John Key while he visited Camp Taji gushed breathlessly about all the drama and danger our courageous Cheerleader in Chief was exposed to as he visited the soldiers he said he wouldn’t send back into Iraq before the election, and then promptly changed his mind after winning…

John Key’s drama filled Iraq visit included potential security breach
Planning for Prime Minister John Key’s trip started months ago and it was shrouded in secrecy.

Journalists were asked to sign an official secrets form.

But the first omen that the trip might hit some bumps came when TV3 political editor Patrick Gower forgot his passport and had to be left behind at Dubai on the prime minister’s first run into Iraq.

The rest of us fly out accompanied by a heavily armed SAS close protection squad with our body armour heaped at our feet.

The descent into Baghdad is a stomach rolling dive for the final few hundred meters as the plane flies in fast to minimise the risk of attack.

This was the first aborted effort to get to Camp Taji and the plane was forced to turn back from Baghdad after hours on the ground after a sandstorm swept in.

The only person happy to see the Hercules back on the tarmac in Dubai was Gower, who had spent a few hours cooling his heels at the beach while the rest of the party scrambled in an out of Baghdad.

Our final hours at Taji are just as loud and chaotic as another violent sandstorm sweeps in and we scramble back into our body armour so we can be taken out by a US military Chinook helicopter.

…yawn. Oh the drama, oh the danger, gosh he’s brave isn’t he? Just as the TPPA deal gets signed there’s our fearless Prime Minister staring down the enemy, despite the fact the enemy is actually winning and our training is doing bugger all and our forces are really there to help the US target insurgents to bomb. A bit like that hospital the American’s blew up last week.

When Key isn’t denigrating journalists for asking hard questions or having the NZDF slander them, he’s got them on big brave missions that just happen to coincide with vast erosions of our economic and political sovereignty masquerading as a free trade deal.

If Key’s rough and tough war general posing wasn’t just fluff propaganda, then why didn’t he do something real for NZ soldiers and harshly criticise the disturbing amount of incompetence occurring at the Taji military camp…

Serious problems at Taji military base in Iraq – US report
Incomplete equipment and substandard living conditions for trainees are among the problems dogging an Iraqi military base visited by Prime Minister John Key, a critical American report says.

Published for the US Department of Defense’s Inspector General, it highlighted a number of problems at military bases including Camp Taji, visited by Key this week.

The report, released before Key’s visit and which assesses efforts by US and coalition forces to train Iraqi soldiers, said equipment provided by American forces to Iraqi army brigades training at sites like Taji would at times arrive incomplete, meaning it was “not fully mission-capable”.

A shipment of 250 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles came with none or few of the basic items needed for the vehicles’ operators and crew, while an Iraqi battalion in training at Taji was issued 300 M-16 rifles but only seven cleaning kits.

An Iraqi brigade commander said trainees at one site faced “terrible living conditions”, with no running water, no power and up to 14 soldiers in units designed for two to four people.

At Taji, soldiers were living inside schools run by Iraqi security forces with water and power that was not turned on due to supposed funding issues.

The living conditions were a “significant contributor” to soldiers going absent without leave, the report said.

American personnel at the Taji depot did not have accurate information about the supplies in warehouses, as they relied on a paper-based system and had been denied access to some buildings by Iraqi personnel.

It said American and coalition leaders and personnel carrying out training had reported uncertainty about the “follow-on mission” once counterattack brigades were trained, due to a lack of communication about the plans already in place.

…right, so the entire thing sounds like a clustershit of epic proportions. If Key was genuinely concerned about the soldiers, and it wasn’t just fluff posturing for headlines, he’d have critiqued these incompetences rather than patting everyone on the back.

Because few in the media are willing to be critical of this, most NZers would think Key is great for playing soldier so from the point of view of propaganda it’s probably worked well.

As Key pointed out, we are part of the 5 Eyes Club and we have to shed blood for that membership, even if the war is pointless, even if geopolitical powers are the ones arming both sides, even if the voters were told we weren’t going in before the election, even if it’s only been created because America invaded Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist creating the power vacuum for ISIS to grow. As long as the Journalists had an adventure and Key got to look brave, it’s been a marvellous success.

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The military industrial complex has never been prouder.


  1. And TVNZ have the gall to make fun of Putin’s macho posturing.

    Uncle Sam has the gall to be outraged at the Russian bombing of Syrian rebels when his own bombing of Iraq started this whole fucking mess in the first place.

    He also has the gall to decry civillian casualties caused by the Russian bombs after using his own bombers to take out a hospital.

    He also criticises the build up of Russian forces in Syria while conveniently overlooking his own forces based in Iraq.

    There are an awful lot of pots calling kettles black in this geopolitical clique…

    I just wish someone would put Dear Leader in a fucking pot… 🙂

  2. Its all a game set up by the big corporates and banksters.
    In Wake up New Zealand today, Sunday,it explains the way Greece was tricked into austerity. It tells of countries who’s leaders didn’t comply with the banks orders to take loans ,that leader was removed and replaced by bank chosen puppets.
    The countries took the loans and were driven into austerity,assets were sold ,privatisation took place all with massive profits by banks including goldman sachs,the very ones overseeing our privatisation of everything,and profit no doubt by heads of SOEs.
    Pensions are halved, unemployment escalates, , its a big money game
    run by banking mafia,everyone should read this article because we are being screwed by the same system, assisted by our own brave warrior
    who didnt have to live in terrible condition of soldiers whilst fighting for the corrupt system.
    The One World Order is run by bankers , Italy, Portugal, Spain , and now NZ are the victims of bankers greed. we will be in austerity measures very soon ,enabled by the TPP and other capital letters, UK has been ruined by the same system different name enabled by Tony Blair .Read the article it will make sense of what is happening enabled by our warrior PM.

  3. Gush is the most accurate verb to describe it too. Onomatopoeiac – it sounded so wet. Almost a noun. A gush of slimey goo. I wish he’d drowned in it.

  4. Sounds like a typical military run operation. Both WWI and WWII (and all other wars) had supply screw ups along the lines detailed.

  5. Now is the time to inundate all the mps in parliament,telling what a criminal we have as PM.
    I am really surprised at Maori,Pita Sharples supporting National, because he thinks Key will make safe the treaty of Waitangi for Maori,
    Dream on , the only one Key makes safe is himself.
    Hone Harawira we don’t hear anything from him now, was he so demoralised at losing in Northland election?
    Tama Iti has great strength, wish he would use it .
    Key divides to rule and we will all go down ,time for us all to unite,
    only if we are united can we get rid of this miserable corporate led party before its too late.
    Maybe TDB should advertise its presence from Cape Reinga to the Bluff, seems not enough people are aware of TPP,they wont get much info from the Herald or TV .

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