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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Mike Hosking – Minister for War Propaganda?

9 March 2015 5 comments

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Get some guts - John Key

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Media personality, Mike Hosking,  is well known for his close connections to the National Party and open support for Dear Leader John Key, as he made abundantly clear in February 2013;

“We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them [National] in Government.”

Hosking later attempted damage-control by refuting any affiliation with National in an interview with Listener journalist, Diana Wichtel, later that same year. But attempts at “plausible deniability” fell flat.  His assertion;

“I didn’t actually say they should be re-elected, I don’t think.”

– seemed to jar badly with his earnest declaration that “we have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them [National] in Government.”

Hosking’s support for National has recently taken a further – and potentially deadly – step, with a column in the NZ Herald extolling Key’s virtues for decision to put New Zealand military personnel in Iraq. He referred to Key’s decision as “the right, honourable and only thing to do”.

Interestingly, Hosking also expressed  these insights before arriving at “the right, honourable and only thing to do”;

We have been there before and with little success.

The troops we’re going to train have been trained before with little success.

The troops we’re training are corrupt, as are their leaders.

History shows that intervention in this part of the world has never gone well.

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If John Key has made a mistake, it’s in trying to argue that we’re not going to war. We are, we indisputably are.

The more he downplays it, the more trouble he’s got if it goes pear-shaped.

The more he tries to define the terms of engagement, the more trouble he has explaining how little, if any of it, went to plan.

Because it won’t, and it won’t because it’s war.

History shows us that former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, was fully expecting to be hailed a hero and a liberator when he rolled into Baghdad.

Recent history shows Chuck Hagel, one of Rumsfeld’s successors, got the shock of his life at just how sophisticated, ruthless and well-financed the current enemy are.

They defined the conflict, they told us how it was all going to unfold, and look what happened. Look what’s still happening.

But through it all, despite it all, we must play our part. It is the right, honourable and only thing to do.

So… Hosking admits that “we have been there before and with little success… the troops we’re going to train have been trained before with little success…  history shows that intervention in this part of the world has never gone well” – and still he wants New Zealand to become involved?

A very clever man once said;

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That man was Albert Einstein.

So… Hosking wants to repeat past exercises that yielded “little success” and where “history shows that intervention in this part of the world has never gone well” – and expects different results?

Perhaps Einstein had Mike Hosking in remind when he framed that now-famous statement.

Hosking might pause to ask himself if his unquestioned devotion for Dear Leader and the National Party has unhinged his sense of perspective?

Hosking might pause to consider that the current state of Iraq and the growth of ISIS/Islamic State is a direct consequence of American interference in Middle Eastern politics and invasion of Iraq in March 2003?

And Hosking might reflect on the justification used by President G.W. Bush at the time – the threat of   so-called “weapons of mass destruction”, which Saddam Hussein supposedly had in his possession. Weapons which, it turned out, never existed.

The war was based on a lie.

Having created this unholy mess, Hosking now supports involvement by our armed forces – supposedly in a “training capacity” – to become embroiled in a hell-on-Earth created by Washington’s hawks and neo-conservatives?

Have I left anything out?

Oh yes, one further point. US casualties (dead only, not including injured, maimed, psychologically damaged/brain injured, etc) in Iraq numbered 4,491. Coalition dead numbered an additional 318 by 2009.

How many New Zealand deaths will it take before Hosking no longer believes that our involvement is the  “right, honourable and only thing to do”?

And when we finally withdraw, after two years (or whatever length of involvement actually eventuates – John Key’s word on this matter cannot be taken at face value), and Iraq is still a mess riven by sectarian violence, what will we have achieved?

Because no one will possibly be able to suggest, with a straight face, that 140 New Zealand army personnel will be able to make one jot of difference where the combined might of the United States, Britain, and other coalition nations failed.

Remember Einstein’s statement:  Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Unfortunately, the insanity of repeating the United States’ actions, and most likely achieving the same results, will most likely also achieve another similar outcome: casualties.

Let us hope that when the first coffins are off-loaded from an RNZAF aircraft, that John Key is on hand to witness their return and attend their funeral. Let us hope he is not off somewhere, watching Max play baseball again.

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Key defends 'hard call' to miss service

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If you’re going to send men and women of to their deaths, you should at least be prepared to see them buried.

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Meanwhile, one Facebook user has suggested that Mike Hosking do the “right, honourable thing” by  joining John Key’s  military deployment in Iraq as a war correspondent;

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mike hosking - iraq war correspondent

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C’mon, Mike, what about it? Get some guts, man, and join the right side!

Probably not. Iraq is an extremely dangerous place to be.

He could be killed.

 

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References

NZ Herald: Media – Hosking plugs car and Key

The Listener: The artistry of Mike Hosking

NZ Herald: Mike Hosking – PM’s call brave and honourable

Wikipedia: Timeline of the 2003 invasion of Iraq

Wikipedia: Casualties of the Iraq War

Wikipedia: Casualties of the Iraq War – Traumatic Brain Injuries

Wikipedia: Casualties of the Iraq War – Coalition military casualties

Fairfax Media: Key defends ‘hard call’ to miss service

Facebook: Mike Hosking- War Correspondant

Previous related blogposts

Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

That was Then, This is Now #26 – John Key will let slip the dogs of war

The Mendacities of Mr Key #8: A roof over your head, and boots on the ground

The Mendacities of Mr Key #10: “Only two years!!”

The Mendacities of Mr Key #11: Sorry, Prime Minister, what ‘mandate’ were you referring to?!

Other blogs (previous, on Hosking)

Against the Current: Mike Hosking claims he isn’t biased. Yeah, right

Against the Current: Mike Hosking says Bash A Beneficiary Day!

Against the Current:  Mike Hosking asks – What is David Cunliffe hiding

Liberation: Top tweets about Mike Hosking and the leaders’ debates


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 The price of being in John Key's club - Iraq - coffins - dead - military - army casualties

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 March 2015.

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The Mendacities of Mr Key #11: Sorry, Prime Minister, what ‘mandate’ were you referring to?!

6 March 2015 2 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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It seems that Dear Leader is still making it up as he goes along. On “The Nation” this weekend (28 February), he told the people of New Zealand;

“Look, I’ve made it quite clear, for instance, to the Australian Prime Minister that we’re out in two years. That’s our mandate that we’ve got. That’s what we intend to follow through.”

Which immediately raised these questions in my mind…

 

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Sat, Feb 28, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

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The Editor
Dominion Post

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Did I hear John Key correctly, on TV3’s “The Nation”, on 28 February, when he confirmed that NZ military personnel will leave Iraq after two years;

“Look, I’ve made it quite clear, for instance, to the Australian Prime Minister that we’re out in two years. That’s our mandate that we’ve got.”

What “mandate” is Key referring to?

It can’t be a resolution from the UN Security Council – no such resolution has been enacted to my knowledge.

It can’t be a Parliamentary vote – Key will not allow MPs to debate and vote on such a critical issue.

And it certainly can’t be an election mandate – last year Key categorically ruled out any NZ involvement in Iraq aside from humanitarian aid. (See “Stuff” story, “No New Zealand forces to Iraq, says Key”, 18 June 2014) That is what New Zealanders voted for: no military involvement in Iraq.

So neither the UN Security Council, New Zealand Parliament, nor the voters in last year’s election have given Key any “mandate” whatsoever.

If he has some other mandate from some other authority, I for one, would be curious to see it.

Otherwise, NZ forces in Iraq? No, not in my name, Mr Key!

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-Frank Macskasy

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[Address and phone number supplied.]

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References

TV1:  The Nation – Transcript – Prime Minister John Key

Previous Related Blogposts

That was Then, This is Now #26 – John Key will let slip the dogs of war

The Mendacities of Mr Key #10: “Only two years!!”

 


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The price of being in John Key's club - Iraq - coffins - dead - military - army casualties

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 March 2015.

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The Mendacities of Mr Key #10: “Only two years!!”

4 March 2015 2 comments

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In his recent statement to Parliament, Dear Leader Key made this commitment to the people of New Zealand when announcing that troops would be sent to Iraq;

“The deployment will be reviewed after nine months and will be for a maximum two-year period.”

The question that should be in everyone’s mind is; why should we believe a politician who has repeatedly told lies; gone back on his word; or mis-represented previous situations?

It was only last year, before the September election, that he poo-pooed any suggestion of sending anything but humanitarian aid to Iraq;

But Key said he did not believe it likely New Zealand special forces would be deployed or requested.

“I don’t think that’s likely,” he said.

“We’re just so far away from probably ever having to make that call.

“But in the end in so much as with any global issue, as things play out New Zealand would always look to the [United Nations] Security Council for its view and its sanction of anything that may happen.

“So you can never say never in a world where the Security Council decides that Iraq needs support of some sort – engineers or whatever it might be. That could always be considered but I think that’s very unlikely.”

Asked if that meant he could rule out New Zealand special forces soldiers being deployed to Iraq, even in an advisory capacity, Key responded; “I would say yes’.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working on a proposal for aid and “I don’t think our involvement in Iraq [will be] any greater than that.”

Eight months later – Key is standing in Parliament explaining why NZ troops are being sent to Iraq. Not humanitarian aid, as he promised in June last year.

This is the same man who;

So why should New Zealanders believe any utterances from John Key about limiting New Zealand military involvement in Iraq – when less than a year  ago he had categorically stated there would be no such involvement in the first place?

Predictions:

1. If National wins the 2017 election, expect NZ Army personnel to remain in Iraq longer than two years.

2. Expect the SAS (or other NZ military forces) to be increasingly involved in military operations in Iraq – known as “mission creep”.

3. Expect casualties.

John Key will break his committment to bring home NZ troops after two years.

We have no reason to trust him.

 

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References

NZ Herald: ‘Sending our forces to Iraq is not an easy decision’ – John Key’s full speech

Fairfax Media: No New Zealand forces to Iraq, says Key

NZ Herald: Govt backtracks on limo statements

Fairfax Media: PM signed papers relating to BMWs

National Party: John Key, Speech: Environment Policy Launch

Science Media Centre: NZ forgoes Kyoto for new climate plan – experts respond

Fairfax Media: Key ‘no GST rise’ video emerges

Parliament: Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012

NZ Herald: ETS changes ‘unlikely’ despite pleas

Interest.co.nz: Key stands behind comment that S&P more likely to downgrade Labour govt than National

NZ Herald: S&P contradicts Key downgrade claim

Radio NZ: PM rules out more asset sales

Fairfax Media: Key claims confusion over texts with Slater

Previous related blogposts

Johnny’s Report Card – National Standards Assessment y/e 2012 – environment

The Mendacities of Mr Key #8: A roof over your head, and boots on the ground

The Mendacities of Mr Key #9: The Sky’s the limit with taxpayer subsidies!

That was Then, This is Now #26 – John Key will let slip the dogs of war


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 February 2015.

 

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That was Then, This is Now #26 – John Key will let slip the dogs of war

2 March 2015 5 comments

The Mendacities of Mr Key #8: A roof over your head, and boots on the ground

15 February 2015 4 comments

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boots and homes

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Recent Timeline of Events: Iraq

18 June 2014

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out sending special forces soldiers to Iraq as the United States mulls options in response to the unfolding crisis there.

Speaking in New York, Key said the New Zealand Government was looking at what humanitarian aid it might provide as tens of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced by a violent takeover of parts of the country.

He said it was high unlikely New Zealand would put “boots on the ground” in Iraq in terms of combat troops.

“We’re not a country out there looking for a fight.” – Source

 

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out New Zealand military intervention in Iraq, barring an unlikely United Nations Security Council mission.

Mr Key, who is in the United States on a four-day tour, told media that New Zealand wouldn’t send SAS troops to Iraq in a training role, or troops in a non-combat role, as Sunni militants approach Iraq.

“I don’t see New Zealand overly getting tied up in that. That wouldn’t be something we’d want to do,” he said at a visit to the September 11 memorial site in New York.

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“We said we would only respond to a UN Security Council mandate for any humanitarian assistance,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“We are a loyal and active member of the international and the UN. If there’s a UN operation and it’s non-combat down the track, then that is something we could consider.” Source

20 September 2014

National wins third term in government, with United Future, ACT, and Maori Party support.

30 September 2014

New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) personnel are not yet on standby for deployment to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq or Syria, Prime Minister John Key says, but he won’t rule out sending them if asked “as a last resort”.

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Asked whether he would send military personnel if requested, Mr Key said: “I can’t rule out that there won’t be because what you can see around the world is countries being asked to give support.”

As far as sending SAS personnel, Mr Key said: “I can’t rule that absolutely out, but what I can say is that I’ll get advice and we’ll see how that goes, but it would be my least preferred option.”Source

5 November 2014

Kiwi military personnel are on their way to Iraq as New Zealand swings in behind the fight against the Islamic State group.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed three unarmed military personnel left for Iraq this week to assess how New Zealand could help the fight against the Islamic State group…  Source

 20 January 2015

The Government will make a decision in the next month or so about whether to send training forces to Iraq, Prime Minister John Key says.

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The prime minister said…

“We are going through that process of doing the [reconnaissance] to see whether it’s logical for New Zealand to take the next step, whether we should do that with Australia, whether we can find a location that fits the criteria that I set in my national security speech late last year.

“My guess is that by the middle of February or late February we’ll be in a better position to assess whether we are actually going to put people into Iraq to train Iraqi forces.” Source

 

Recent Timeline of Events: Housing

24 February 2014

Prime Minister John Key is ruling out any further sales of state assets, once Genesis Energy is partially sold.

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However, he said there are no more state-owned companies that would make sense to partially sell, with New Zealand Post facing declining business and Transpower operating as a monopoly.

“The truth is that there aren’t a lot of other assets that would fit in the category where they would be either appealing to take to the market or of a size that would warrant a further programme. Or they sit in the category where they are very large, like Transpower, but are a monopoly asset and so aren’t suited I think.” Source

20 September 2014

National wins third term in government, with United Future, ACT, and Maori Party support.

28 January 2015

Prime Minister John Key today confirmed the Government planned to sell 1000 to 2000 state houses in the next year to community-housing providers, with with more sales possible in coming years. – Source

 

“It’s definitely not [an asset sale],” says Mr Key. “The overall focus here is to accommodate more New Zealanders in social housing.” – Source

On 9 February, on Radio NZ, Labour’s Phil Twyford outlined how state houses passed into ownership of community organisations could inevitably fall into the ownership of banks, and then on-sold.
Key claimed on Radio NZ’s Morning Report;

“There will be a contract formed between the Government and the community housing providers that buy the houses. The community housing provider won’t be able to on-sell the house unless they have the permission of the Government. To get the permission of the government, the government would have to consider why the community housing provider wanted to do that.”

Considering that Key has a solid reputation for saying one thing, and then months later back-tracking, there is no reason to believe him or take him at his word. His recent one-eighty degree u-turns on New Zealand involvement in Iraq and selling state assets (housing stock) has sent Key’s credibility plummeting.

The thing that people look to for Key now is not rock-solid committments – but what excuses/technique he will use to break his promises.

Prior to last year’s election, Key unequivocally promised

(a) Not to send combat troops to Iraq,

(b) not to sell any further state assets after Genesis.

It seems that we can now expect;

(a) New Zealand combat troops in Iraq, under the cover of “training” Iraqi soldiers,

(b) State houses being sold to various groups, which will eventually end up in private ownership.

The man simply cannot be trusted.

If his public popularity was not so unfeasibly high, there would be unrelenting, growing  pressure calling for  his resignation.

John Key has obviously learned the trick how a politician can break promises; tell lies; and yet maintain the public’s confidence and his own popularity. He is either an expert manipulator – or the public have become increasingly dumber/dumbed-down in the last decade.

Considering the state of public television, one could be tempted to opt for the latter.

Interestingly, not one journo seems to have asked Key three simple questions regarding NZ troops in Iraq or the sale of state housing to community organisations and others;

(a) “Will NZ troops  in Iraq – supposedly on ‘training missions’ – be given indemnity from prosecution by the Iraqi government? If so – why?

(b) “How will the transfer of ownership of a house from the State, to another entity, increase the number of houses in the country? And by how many?”

(c) How many people on the Housing NZ waiting-list  will actually be moved into community housing?

The first journo to ask Key those questions will open a can of worms that, for the first time, may attract public attention and scrutiny to Key’s mendacities and National’s barely concealed activities.

The public may not like what they see when they begin to pay attention to the government they elected.

Especially when the Housing NZ waiting list continues to rise.

And the first body bags return to New Zealand.

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References

Fairfax media: No New Zealand forces to Iraq, says Key

TV3: Key rules out sending troops to Iraq

NZ Herald: Key – SAS could join Isis fight on ground

Fairfax media: NZ military personnel headed for Iraq

Radio NZ: Iraq troop decision weeks away

Radio NZ: PM rules out more asset sales

Fairfax media: Government to sell 1000 – 2000 state houses – John Key

Radio NZ: State houses sale ‘financial risk’

Radio NZ: PM surprised by turn of events in Australia

Additional

Fairfax media: Andrea Vance – Think twice before joining new Iraq war

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the editor – Key paints a dirty, great, big bullseye on our country!

Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi)

Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua)

Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Toru)

The Mendacities of Mr Key #7: What is Dear Leader actually saying here?


 

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housing endangered

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 February 2015.

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Letter to the editor – “An Alarmed World” according to The Listener

29 September 2014 2 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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This recent editorial from”The Listener”  is not one I ever thought I’d see…

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The Listener - an alarmed world - war propaganda

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My response…

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: Mon, Sep 29, 2014
subject: Letter to the Editor

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The editor
The Listener
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Regarding your editorial, “An Alarmed World”, on 27 September; since when did “The Listener” publish war propaganda from the US State Department?

In terms of alarmist jingoism, it ticked all the boxes.

 
The anonymous editorialist wrote,
“Perhaps it’s time to consider what the world’s fate might have been without the moral resolve exhibited by Churchill and Roosevelt in World War II.”

I would re-word that simplistic nonsense with this point,”Perhaps it’s time to consider what the world’s fate might have been without the dishonest ‘weapons of mass destruction’ propaganda exhibited by Bush and Blair prior to the Invasion of Iraq.”

Instead of “an alarmed world” – which no doubt your editorial  contributed it’s small part – we should be looking at an informed world.

War propaganda is anathema to an informed populace.

Shame on “The Listener” for publishing such jingoistic nonsense. The majority of your  readers are too intelligent to swallow that kind of flag-waving redneckery.
-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

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References

The Listener:  An alarmed World

Other blogs

Open Parachute: The information war – The NZ Listener takes up arms


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Prime Minister commits NZ troops to next US-led conflict zone!

4 September 2012 5 comments

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Correction and apology

4.ooPM *Update*

It now appears that the following quote;

New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. in the next conflicts.”

… was transcribed erroneously by the US State Department.

The words “conflicts” was mistaken recorded instead of “contexts”. The US State Department page has since been amended,

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Source

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Russell Brown posted this link to Key’s actual words,

http://publicaddress.net/assets/upload/269061/986065130/key.mp3

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Whilst highly critical of many of National’s policies and John Key’s actions, this blogger strives to present only that which is factual.  Accordingly, this blogger retracts the story below (which many would have read) and regrets and apologises unreservedly for any embarressment caused to the Prime Minister.

– Frank Macskasy
4 September 2012

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Blogger s have unearthed information indicating that John Key is willing to commit New Zealand armed forces to upcoming conflicts.

According to the US State Department, they reported Key as saying,

New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. in the next conflicts.”

No wonder Dear Leader was warm and chummy with  Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (see above).

Key “welcomes” getting involved  “in the next conflicts”?

One wonders what conflicts Key has in mind? What possible “next conflicts”  are being lined up by the Pentagon where Key  ” welcomes the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. “?

This should be of grave (!) concern to all New Zealanders.

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Full story

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One particular cause for concern is that the  American taste for neo-imperialism in the Middle East, to secure regions of oil production for US needs, shows no sign of abating.

The war drums and propagandising over Iran are heating up.  America’s faithful ally/client state in the Middle East, Israel, is straining at the leash to be let loose on the Iranian state.

See:  Israeli leader demands “clear red line” on Iran

See:  Get tougher on Iran over its nuclear ambitions, Israel tells world

There is also an escalation of American activities in the Pacific, to counter a perception of growing Chinese “influence”.

See:  US moves to counter China in Pacific

See:  U.S. and allies move to counter Chinese power

Only a madman would even contemplate getting further involved in American military adventurism.  Surely, Key would not be that madman?! Or would he?

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As Key screamed hysterically in that clip, in 2003,

Our traditional allies are in there, in this agreement. Where’s our name? Missing! MIA! Just like it was in the war in Iraq, missing! And this country will, this country will pay for that, don’t you worry about that, don’t you worry about thatThere will be no  free-trade arrangement here in  New Zealand [with the USA]. That’ll be one thing we won’t have to worry about is container ships going to America, because there’ll  be none of them  leaving out of this country because there’ll  be no free-trade arrangement because of the shambles, the absolute shambles,  the Government  made of that position… “

If anything has been made quite clear is that John Key is only to happy to ‘snuggle’ up to our American cuzzies.  Especially where a free trade agreement is on offer.  “Cold dead corpses for cold hard cash”, is one one of describing such a  mercenary position.

He has advocated a larger role in Iraq and is now promising the US active involvement  for “the next conflicts”.

Where will New Zealand troops end up? A bloody war in Iran, perhaps dragging Russia into the conflict? A proxy war in South East Asia or the Pacific, as a client of the US  vs a Chinese-backed antagonist? We’ve been down that road before in the 1950s, ’60s, and 70s.

Key seems to have a slavish, puppy-like eagerness to pander to Washington.

At the same time, his attitude to our fallen soldiers can only be described as  cavalier,

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Full story

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To be clear, John Key has never  served in the armed forces, nor has he ever been in a combatant in a warzone. He is that most dangerous type of  leader – someone who has little concept of the horrors of war, nor it’s lingering consequences, but is still able to make flippant committments for our military.

For Key to offer New Zealand military support to unknown, future conflicts in such a casual, reckless manner is a dangerous sign of a man out of touch.

In this area, his political opponant,  Labour-leader David Shearer, who has worked in combatzones and has witnessed first hand the devastastion and human tragedy  caused by war – is far more aware. Shearer is possibly the only man in Parliament with an  awareness of the human cost of war.

New Zealand voters should think carefully before voting for John Key again. They may inadvertantly be sending their children to war because of Key’s fawning desire to appease America.

Key has already said as much,

New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia Pacific, and we welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. in the next conflicts.”

We have been warned.

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Other blogs:

Fearfacts Exposed:   Key – “We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. in the next conflicts”

Tumeke: Did John Key just enter us into a new American war?

36th Parallel: Press Releases: Remarks With New Zealand Prime Minister Key

Public Address: We … WHAT!?

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