A civilian child was killed during Operation Burnham in 2010, but an inquiry has found their death was justified under international law.
Four others died, but the Burnham Inquiry couldn’t determine if they were civilians or insurgents.
So let me see if I can get this completely straight.
The NZDF, after having John Key sign off an a revenge attack for the death of a NZ soldier, oversaw an operation that allowed civilian deaths because of an American Attack helicopter displaying all the restraint their domestic police force does when killing unarmed black civilians in their own country and then the NZDF proceeded to lie, manipulate and deceive every attempt to uncover the truth.
Comparing the ruling to the Hit and Run book it inspired, Nicky Hager makes the following comments…
Ultimately this ruling demands answers to the bigger issue that is clearly in front of us here.
Who does the NZ military answer to?
The NZDF frustrated every attempt by the civilian Government to uncover what the fuck had happened, AFTER the NZDF had sought legal sign off from then Prime Minister, John Key.
The NZDF used the civilian Government to indemnify their actions and then did everything in their power to deceive and manipulate the civilian Government when we attempted to find out what had actually happened.
This isn’t the way a Military is supposed to behave in a bloody Democracy!
State violence with military grade hardware is the most coercive power the State has, that is why in a Democracy the Military has to answer to the civilian Government – that’s the check and balance to that level of State power, yet in this case the NZDF did all it could to deceive those requests for the truth.
The inquiry finds no conspiracy to purposely white wash these deaths, but the defence mounted by the NZDF to explain why secret evidence was locked away in a safe and the incredulous explanations as to how their investigating officer misinterpreted an offical report which he was reading over the shoulder of another Officer are just simply not believable.
They lied, they lied again and then continued lying and their explanation for why they lied is simply not credible and everyone reading the report knows it.
Why does anyone believe what the NZDF has to say? They’ve spent years lying to NZ, they attempted to smear Jon Stephenson and they were outed last year using the SIS to illegally spy on Nicky Hager.
This entire fiasco shows how little actual control over our own armed forces we have.
Heads should be rolling. This is atrocious and a stain on our collective honour.
We may have gone to Afghanistan under some false pretence that we were stabilising a proto-democracy, but our involvement has brought terrible dishonour on our military, our military leaders, our political leaders and ultimately as us as a people.
We didn’t pull the triggers that killed those civilians, but we ordered it and we involved Americans whose nuance in war is as grim as it is for their domestic policing.
This ugly incident is a moment of collective shame and a reminder of why being dragged into other peoples wars is a recipe for abuse.
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