Brian Rudman's piece on the Herald today wonderfully deconstructs some of the war-mongering talk of some politicians and, indirectly, the media. The Herald has been on the fear-mongering band wagon again today with a series of articles regarding the Middle East, one of which is titled "Fears grow over..". We can expect more of this leading up to the decision, which is due next week.
To: New Zealand's Minister of Defence, Hon Gerry Brownlee
Don't send our troops to Iraq
Parliament will soon be deciding whether to send troops to support the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. History has repeatedly shown us that military force does not stop these organisations (1). In fact most of the time it seems to make things worse, not only for the country in which the fighting happens, but also for the rest of the world.
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Sydney have left us scared and confused. The last thing we want is to contribute to an escalation of global terror. We need to look at options besides sending troops to address this issue.
Please do not send our troops to Iraq.
(1) Rand Corporation (2008). How terrorist groups end: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG741-1.pdf.
Why is this important?
For more than 30 years (1) NZ has been fighting fire with fire. We keep sending troops to fight in the Middle East and it has only succeeded in bringing more death and destruction, not only to the innocent people in those countries, but more recently, to our friends and families closer to home.
A 2008 report (2) found that only 8% of terrorist groups, since 1968, have ended their activities as a result of military force. In fact, more terrorist groups ended due to completing their goals (10%) than as a result of military force! So the question is, what are we hoping to achieve by sending Kiwi troops to Iraq and Syria?
So far all we’ve heard is that joining the fight is the “price of the club” (3). In the 1980s, allowing United States ships to dock in our country was also the ‘price of the club’. But then we stood up. New Zealanders decided to be nuclear free despite our obligations under the ANZUS treaty (4). We knew nuclear weapons made the world a more dangerous place and we took action.
As a New Zealander, I am proud of what we did then and throughout our history we have always been a nation that has done what is right. I believe that we need to continue this trend.
Parliament will be debating sending troops to Iraq soon. We need to stand up and say "no more fighting". We need to let our government know that we are done supporting wars which make this world a more dangerous place to live in. We need to let them know that we do not support sending our troops to Iraq.
(1) Tucker, S. C. (2010). The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts. ABC CLIO: Santa Barbara, CA.
(2) Rand Corporation (2008). How terrorist groups end: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG741-1.pdf.
(3) NZ Herald (2015). Prime Minister John Key: Isis fight 'price of the club'. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11389202.
(4) New Zealand bans nuclear material (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZUS#New_Zealand_bans_nuclear_material.