“Hate To Say Ron Told You So” – On Key’s Recent Flip-Flop About Kiwi Troops In Iraq

By   /   June 21, 2016  /   41 Comments

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Regardless of what and whether you feel about New Zealand military involvement in Iraq. Irrespective of whether you think putting Kiwi boots on the ground in Iraq makes us a target; or if you think that training up Iraqi forces somehow makes us safer here at home … the Government has lied, distorted, spun, manipulated and mislead its own people a score of times over this particular issue. There’s just simply no way around it.

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One of the phrases inarguably most common to New Zealand First’s political lexicon is “I told you so”.

On so many things, ranging from immigration to Reserve Bank reform to foreign ownership of our farmland, Winston Peters & Co. are fully deserving of their self-appointed moniker as “Political Cassandras”.

But on the particular issue which lead news coverage last night – that of the New Zealand Defence Force’s mission in Iraq being nearly doubled in duration and considerably expanded in scope – it’s not Winston, but Ron Mark who gets to point to his record of past statements as evidence of considerable political precognition and prescience.

Let’s run back through the record, shall we?

Throughout 2014, and particularly the run-up to the last Election, National made a number of assurances that New Zealand would not be getting involved in Iraq’s internal conflicts. Once elected, Ron Mark called them up on it in Parliament.

Then, shortly after the 2014 General Election, Ron used information from his old Army contacts to make out that the National Government was gearing up to send troops to Iraq.

The Government, of course, denied that this was happening – leading Ron to hilariously surmise that either they were lying … or the NZ Army had thrown off civilian oversight and was operating autonomously in preparation for some form of Coup.

Less than five months later, Ron Mark was vindicated. Despite both the Prime and Defence Ministers being absolutely adamant that they hadn’t directed the Defence Force to make ready for an Iraqi deployment (which is provably false, as it would be impossible to fund the aforementioned preparation efforts out of the previously earmarked operational budget, thus requiring extra funding with Governmental approval to make happen) … in April 2015 the first round of Kiwi troops were dispatched to Iraq.

At the time, a number of New Zealand First MPs – including fellow former Army officer Darroch Ball – noted that it was very likely New Zealand’s role in Iraq would be subject to considerable and capacious ‘mission creep’. Their view was that the public was being ‘softened up’ to a lengthy and larger scale engagement in the Middle East by announcing a smaller scale and shorter duration effort initially – and then over time, progressive escalations in what we’d be doing and how long we’d be doing it for would be announced.

The colloquial term for this is the slightly grotesque metaphor of “boiling frogs”. By slowly increasing the temperature, the person with their hand on the gas-tap is able to get whomever’s unfortunate enough to be stuck in the pot (in this case, the New Zealand Public) to gradually come to tolerate and accept conditions which would previously have been considered interminable.

If the Government had announced that it was sending dozens of Kiwi troops over to Iraq for an at lest four year commitment at multiple sites, it would have sounded abhorrent. So they didn’t. Instead, they waited til pretty much the last possible moment (about a year out from any conceivable 2017 Election) to publicly make out the change.

As already noted, the timing is significant. The Nats wouldn’t dare pull this form of duplicity during the heat of an election year.

And that’s the real issue here.

Regardless of what and whether you feel about New Zealand military involvement in Iraq. Irrespective of whether you think putting Kiwi boots on the ground in Iraq makes us a target; or if you think that training up Iraqi forces somehow makes us safer here at home … the Government has lied, distorted, spun, manipulated and mislead its own people a score of times over this particular issue. There’s just simply no way around it.

The decision to commit our forces overseas is one of the most weighty undertakings which a Prime Minister and ‘his’ Parliament can possibly engage in. It deserves to be deliberated with transparency, openness and honesty – and in a spirit of engagement and consultation with the public mood of the New Zealand People. It should also be put to a Parliamentary Vote – something Key consciously refrained from doing, presumably because he feared he would lose same.

By continually neglecting and marginalizing the truth when presenting this issue to us, the Government has betrayed our trust and placed our serving men and women in danger.

All I can say is … I hope the treasured prize of a US Navy ship visit in the near future was worth selling out our own people for.

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"Part Apache; Part Swede. Part Attack Helicopter; Part Kitset Furniture."


  1. david says:

    We should change to Sharia law to make us less of a target. Also roll-over and play dead. LOL.

    We are all target of these fanatics if you don’t prescribe to their world view. They won’t go away if you ignore them.

    Wake up Sheeple.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Who’s they?

      • Aaron says:

        Who’s Dave? is my question.

        Probably the local rep for the National Party social media team but for some reason the link on his name doesn’t go anywhere 🙂

      • david says:

        I said wake up

        • Sam Sam says:

          Not every one shares your frightened little view of the world. You may as well say wake up to nuclear weapons in the same breath.

        • XRAY says:

          Go on David, go the full monty if terror is lurking, advocate for citizens to carry side arms as a daily routine.

          • david says:

            That is just silly. Fascist have to be opposed everywhere.

            • Theodore says:

              David, you’re paranoid. It’s reds-under-the-bed, but with a middle eastern flavour.

              The only reason we might become targets is because dear leader Key has brought NZ to the attention of ISIS nutters. Fucken marvelous. Before that, ISIS didn’t even know we existed.

              And you want us to become more involved??

              Tell us, my paranoid friend, what do you do when you’ve accidentally kicked a wasps nest? Do you kick it again and again, just to make sure the wasps are aware of you??

              You may be aching to be a candidate for the Darwin Award but FFS, leave us out of it.

              • david says:

                Iraqi government appreciates our help and we’re doing some good against evil people. We are not doing that much anyway. Instead of cross the road to help someone in need being assaulted, you people would rather look away and say it’s not my problem. It is an isolated case and will not affected the people I know.

                There is a saying, evil wins when good people do nothing. I don’t think you are good people at all. Enabling evil to win and not willing to lift a finger but mere platitudes.
                ‘I am alright Jack, f’U’ attitudes.

                • Sam Sam says:

                  On the contrary. I would rather give NZDF some armoured vehicles, strategic transport plans, more pay and benifits so the deployment can go out on operations and observe there students in the field.

                  You on the other hand want to go off half cocked. Ill equiped and full of piss.

                • ALH84001 says:

                  Thank you, David for suggesting we put a nice, big, unmistakeable target on our country.

                  If ISIS weren’t aware of us before, they sure are now.

                  As for abusing that quote, “evil wins when good people do nothing”, well, that wouldn’t be necessary had the Americans not invaded Iraq and created the fertile ground for ISIS’s birth. You can blame that on your Yankee mates.

                  • david says:

                    It’s easier not to have principles, i get it. Try to avoid nasty people than to make it better. Better to watch a fight than get involved.

                    • Andrea says:

                      Ask the police how many times they turn up to a ‘domestic’ only to have both parties turn on them.

                      Adjacent and nearby to this nasty gang fighting for their patch you also have the Saudis bombing the pyjamas off people in Yemen.

                      Plus Assad’s team of braves dropping barrel bombs on civilians, when they’re not clogging the rivers with corpses.

                      Now. Where are our gallant few, under-resourced for years, going to go next? And why?

            • Hugh says:

              Key is the facist

        • Hugh says:

          Wake up to keys lies?

    • save nz says:

      +100 – great post.

      “I hope the treasured prize of a US Navy ship visit in the near future was worth selling out our own people for” – yep I bet our Chinese trading partners will be impressed – NOT!

      BTW – NZ government are not smart enough to be a blip in the middle of two superpowers and trying to play both sides badly.

      Our main hope should be to stay out of blatant politics as much as possible and diversify and tap deep into our own economy to provide – just in case…

    • save nz says:

      @David +1 “Wake up Sheeple”

      Our native bird can not fly and relies on hiding to stay safe from predators.

      Not vainly prancing around the world golf courses like peacocks…

    • Pedro says:

      So how many fanatics were in iraq in 2003 David and what about Libya David prior to 2011?
      You take issue with fanaticism and rightly so, however your suffering from historical amnesia and being selective in who you define as a fanatic. Western governments are inundated with fanactics, by you not even being able to acknowledge this fact displays your ignorance. Read Howard Zinns ” The true history of the United States” you will find out who the true enemy is, if you can open that arrow slit of a mind up enough to absorb it.
      Tell me if your country had been effectively decimated, invaded, bombed, millions displaced, over 1 million killed, would you be a peace advocate towards more Western intervention?
      Time for you to wake up David, follow the money where does ISIS get there weaponry from? From what failed interventionist policies have they formed from?
      20 billion of our money is to be wasted on advanced militarism David if for one moment you believe there is a monetary return on that figure, then you have learned nothing.

  2. Dave says:

    Latest survey on Paul Henry show revealed that the majority of people who did the survey agreed with Key. Will be interesting to see what other polls reveal.

    • Bert says:

      “Paul Henry” show, well that puts the poll into perspective then doesn’t it.

      • Dave says:

        are you from sesame street or just some other muppet?

        • Sam Sam says:

          The confusion is your own. You’ve mixed up opinion with journalism. Easy enough mistake but hard to fix when you’ve got deaf ears

        • Sally's Husband says:

          Dave, if that’s your attempt to make a persuasive argument, you’re as effective as the Mad Butcher trying to sell discount sausages at a Vegan picnic.

          However, we (Sally & I) do find you amusing.

        • Mike the Lefty says:

          sorry Dave, Kermit the frog already has a gofer so he doesn’t need you.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      That’s not a survey with any sort of basis for being accurate about it:

      1. It’s self selected rather than random and
      2. the majority of people who watch Paul Henry and are willing to pay to partake in the ‘poll’ are those who agree with Paul Henry.

      The only possible result from that ‘poll’ is the one that it got. That was pretty much pre-determined which, IMO, is why they run them – they’re trying to show popular support for Key’s and National’s policies even if there isn’t any such support.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        Hi Draco T Bastard,
        Anyone who watches Henry needs a shrink and some sedation and a brain transplant.

        Any poll from that quarter wold brig some nutty results we should ignore these idiots don’t feed these monkeys any more remember when I used to say that on the Standard before I left for here, we had Gosman always trolling and eventually we ignored him/her and it left us.

        Good to see you again mate.

    • ALH84001 says:

      Dave says:
      June 21, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Latest survey on Paul Henry show revealed that the majority of people who did the survey agreed with Key. Will be interesting to see what other polls reveal.


      Really, Dave?

      So we should get into a war that is none of our business based on a fucking public opinion poll???

      Are you grown up?

  3. Mike the Lefty says:

    Key’s hypocrisy is so blatant that the MSM probably won’t even notice it.
    When Labour PM’s (such as Helen Clarke) flip flop then they are liars, poor leaders, set a bad example, etc. Boo Hiss!
    When John Key flip flops: Good thinking PM! It was a courageous and sensible decision, Bravo! Bravo!

  4. Theodore says:

    The wonder is that people believed that lying turd in the first place.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Another lie!!!!! That’s two lies in 24 hours!!

      Is the keyster trying to beat his past record of committing 259 lies so far in eight years.

      At this rate he will clock up another two hundred plus before he and his crumby lot are thrown out of parliament next year!

    • Sally's Husband says:

      True, Theodore. When I first heard Key’s promise to send “training staff’ to Iraq, I thought the original period would soon be extended longer and longer. That’s how Key operates.

  5. Sean says:

    How many actually NZ forces are there? A few dozen? A hundred? Believe me, no one notices. They are just another group of white guys that Iraqis ignore.

  6. Edward Kelling says:

    Yes, the Government has been duplicitous over army deployment in Iraq. The real question is, why did the so called western alliance get into this quagmire and what is the purpose of the deployment. It is unlikely any good will come from the inevitable military defeat, of the so called enemy insurgents, who ever they are? Defeating them will serve no purpose if, as always seems to happen, the major combatant be it USA or Russia either installs or supports another despicable dictator, who is entirely dependant on the military might of the benefactor to maintain his/her control. Of course the quid-pro-quo is that the dictator, being totally beholden to the benefactor, gives them what they want in terms of resources, policies and support regardless of the needs, wants and will of his/her own people.
    The raping and pillaging of Iraq, by Haliburton and USA Oil companies, before and after the defeat of Hussein and the installation of the USA’s puppet PM is a real and current example. Of course we must remember that Hussein was supported and armed by the USA to fight Iran. When that war concluded in a stalemate Saddam was no longer needed by the USA, he failed to follow their directive and invaded another USA client state, hence he had to be taught a lesson by the first USA invasion, a lesson he failed to heed, so he was removed by a second invasion.
    This of course is little different than the current situation in Syria who are the client state of Russia which has propped up two generations of the Assad regime, while they have committed horrific atrocities against their own people. Just as Hussein did against the Kurds.
    The current troubles did not start there of course they date back to the conclusion of WW1 when the two conquering European powers, Britain and France, decided to divide up the remaining middle east portion of the Ottoman Empire. They drew lines on the map creating artificial countries that suited their national interests without regard to ethnicity, religion, resources or wishes of the inhabitants. This was totally contrary to commitments the British had to the Bedouin King Feisal for his assistance in evicting the Turks. As a consequence of drawing lines on a map, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan as we know them were created. Following on from the Sykes, Picot discussions which resulted in the creation of these new states, the Balfour Declaration arose which recommended further partitioning of Palestine as a Jewish homeland.
    The point being that for at least the last two centuries the traditional Muslim homelands in the Middle East and North Africa have been raped, pillaged and used as bargaining chips by the predominant, so called leading power of the moment. Those dominating powers have applied double standards to every issue pertaining to their client states. Iraq was not discouraged from attacking Iran, as Iran is not a friend of the USA. American’s plundered museums in Bagdad, the Taliban were cultural vandals and barbarians when they destroy ancient non Moslem icons. Israel is allowed Nuclear Weapons but Iran is threatened with destruction if it should try to develop one. France, Britain, USA and Russia are all bombing indiscriminately in Syria it would appear, without any threat of consequences. Israel apparently sends it agents around the world assassinating people it perceives as enemies, receiving little more than a mild rebuke, but if an Israeli is murdered or killed in a rocket attack then one of the worlds most powerful militaries is set loose for an entire community punishment. All states are expected to implement and abide by UN Resolutions except for Israel and the five big states with the Veto.

    Unless and until the world is prepared to acknowledge some of the past wrongs and injustice and start dealing in an even handed way with all countries and communities attacks in our countries will continue. We must start with a cessation of hostile threats and pillaging of their resources. Then and an opening of dialogue with communities that have been terrorised by our actions. Bombing and military action will not kill ideas, whether they are good or bad, it will only alienate more people thereby creating more fertile minds for radical clerics and others to call to action. The actions will become more atrocious and our NZ haven will ultimately no longer be immune.
    We should not be in Iraq in a military capacity!
    We should be using our UN position to push very forcefully for the rules to be equal and equally applied.

    • crissie says:

      Thank you for your letter.

    • Andrea says:

      The Ottoman Empire was still in business at the time of the First World War and they seem to have chosen to ally with the Germans.

      Known as ‘the sick man of Europe’. Guaranteed to bring out the jackals and opportunists, wouldn’t you say?

  7. ALH84001 says:

    I wonder what the next announcement will be? A further extension? Deployment of our forces into battle?

    I think Key is setting us up for a really bad announcement.

    • Sam Sam says:

      My gut feeling is a Trump or Clinton president will re-invade Iraq

      • Priss says:

        My “gut feeling” is that President/Fuhrer Trump won’t re-invade. He’ll opt for the “cheaper” option and push the Big Red Button!! The American red-necks will orgasm into their Y-fronts at merely the thought of it!!

  8. Smilin says:

    Of course the whole reason for the ME troubles is oil and the control from Israel to Turkey and possibly Iran by Israel for security for the west, nothing to do with democracy for Palestine or Gaza Iraq Lebanon Syria and Kurdistan