Iraq war: New Zealand government caught between big brother Bush and truth

Bush and the Iraq war, cartoon

By John Braddock:

New Zealand PM quashes criticism of US military escalation in Iraq

16 January 2007

The New Zealand Labour government’s duplicity—and cowardice—over the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq was underscored last week when it silenced critical remarks made by a senior cabinet minister about US President Bush’s plan to dispatch a further 21,500 soldiers to the war-ravaged country.

With most MPs on summer holidays and Prime Minister Helen Clark headed to the ASEAN summit in the Philippines, duty minister Jim Anderton was left to comment on Bush’s escalation announcement.

In a Christchurch Press report, later published nationwide, Anderton, who is ranked third in the cabinet, compared the US strategy in Iraq to the mistakes of Napoleon, Genghis Khan and Vietnam.

“It is hard to see how an additional 20,000 to 25,000 troops are going to be capable of making any real difference and this has an eerie Vietnam revisited element to it.

One wonders whether the lessons I would have expected to be learnt from that fiasco have been learnt in any way at all.
Bush with Mission accomplished banner in 2003
It is literally years since Mr Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and announced the war was over.

I don’t know whether he remembers that,” Anderton said.

Anderton’s limited observations produced an immediate and sharp rebuke from Clark, who intervened from overseas to publicly insist that they were “not made on behalf of the government”.

From the beginning, Clark has run a double-handed policy on Iraq, distancing herself at home in order to adapt to the widespread hostility to the war, while manoeuvring in the international sphere to comply with Washington’s open-ended “war on terror”.

In 2003, one month after tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in the main cities and provincial centres around New Zealand to protest the invasion, Clark was forced, under the threat of economic sanctions, to apologise to the White House for suggesting the war would never have happened if the Democratic Party candidate, Al Gore, had won the presidency.

Bush’s Iraq escalation strategy causes divisions in his Republican party: here.

Bush’s TV interview: here.

How much the Iraq war costs people in the United States: here.

Anti Iraq war art in Britain: here.

George Bush, and escalation in Iraq, cartoon

12 thoughts on “Iraq war: New Zealand government caught between big brother Bush and truth

  1. *The Texas Strategy*
    Posted by: “hapi22” robinsegg
    Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:57 am (PST)

    Bush will NEVER shut down the Iraq war as long as his pals are making
    gobs of money off it.

    Bush has lied to us from before the start of the Iraq war and, then, all
    the way through the Iraq war. WHY would anyone believe a word this liar

    We are Charlie Brown, Bush is Lucy, and the football is Iraq.

    Do not ever trust Bush about anything.

    It is past time to quit believing a word coming out of that liar’s


    *The Texas Strategy*

    The New York Times
    Jan. 15, 2007

    Hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces have described President
    Bush’s decision to escalate the Iraq war as a “Hail Mary pass.”

    But that’s the wrong metaphor.

    Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas
    Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep
    Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down — and
    squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention
    billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.

    The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan
    scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by
    faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking
    military success.

    The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.

    Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and
    loan associations to generate phony profits — it involved making
    high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers — came
    to be known as the “Texas strategy.”

    What was the point of the Texas strategy? Bank owners were certainly
    gambling — with other people’s money, of course — in the hope of a
    miraculous recovery that would bail out their negative balance sheets.

    But the real point of the racket was a form of looting: as long as they
    could keep reporting high paper profits, S.&L. owners could keep
    rewarding themselves with salaries, dividends and sweetheart business

    Mr. Keating paid himself a million dollars just weeks before his holding
    company collapsed.

    Which brings us to Iraq. The administration has spent the last three
    years pretending that its splendid little war isn’t a big disaster.
    There have been the bromides (we’re making “good progress”); the
    promises (we have a “strategy for victory”); and, as always, attacks on
    the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq.

    Who you gonna believe, the president or your lying eyes?

    Now Mr. Bush has grudgingly sort-of admitted that things aren’t going
    well — but he says his “new way forward” will fix everything.

    So it’s still the Texas strategy: the war’s architects are trying to
    keep their failed venture going as long as possible.

    The Hail Mary aspect — the off chance that somehow, things really will
    turn out all right — is the least of their motivations. The real intent
    is a form of looting. I’m not talking mainly about old-fashioned war
    profiteering, although there is no question that profiteering is taking
    place on an epic scale. No, I’m saying that the hawks want to keep this
    war going because it’s to their personal and political benefit.

    True, Mr. Bush can’t win another election with phony claims of success
    in Iraq, the way he did in 2004. But escalation buys him another year or
    two to claim that we’re making progress — and it gives him another
    chance to prove that he’s the Decider, beyond accountability.

    And as for pundits who promoted the war and are now trying to sell the
    surge: for a little while longer they can be Very Important People who
    have the president’s ear.

    Meanwhile, the nation pays the price. The heaviest burden — in death,
    shattered bodies, broken families and ruined careers — falls on those
    who serve. To find the personnel for the Bush escalation, the Pentagon
    must lengthen deployments in Iraq and shorten training time at home.

    And the back-door draft has become a life sentence: there is no limit on
    the cumulative amount of time citizen-soldiers can be required to serve
    on active duty. Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be reservists.

    The rest of us will pay a financial price for the hundreds of Billions
    squandered in Iraq and, more important, a price in reduced security.

    Escalation won’t bring victory in Iraq, but it might bring defeat in
    Afghanistan, which the administration will continue to neglect. And it
    has pushed the military to the breaking point.

    Mr. Bush calls his critics “irresponsible,” saying that they don’t have
    an alternative to his strategy. But they do: setting a timetable for
    withdrawal, so that we can cut our losses, and trying to save what can
    be saved. It isn’t a strategy for victory because that’s no longer an
    option. It’s a strategy for acknowledging reality.

    The lesson of the savings and loan scandal was that when a bank has
    failed, you shouldn’t let the owner string you along with promises —
    you should shut the thing down. We should do the same with Mr. Bush’s
    failed war.


  2. *Not Only the Worst President, but the Worst Possible President*
    Posted by: “hapi22” robinsegg

    Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:40 pm (PST)

    I don’t think I have ever said to you that this or that is something you
    must read, but this is one column you MUST read.

    I have never read anything like it.

    *Not Only the Worst President, but the Worst Possible President*

    by Jane Smiley,
    Huffington Post
    Jan. 15, 2007


  3. 1,000 US Troops Present Petition for Iraq Withdrawal to Kucinich
    Posted by: “Corey” cpmondello
    Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:50 pm (PST)
    I doubt anyone will listen, atleat we all know the President won’t.

    I believe there needs to be an amendment added to the Constitution that states if the majority of Congress does not like what he or she is doing, they can stop it.

    How is it a man who “cut and run” from his own military responsibility get the job as “commander and cheif” of all the branches of that said military?


    1,000 US Troops Present Petition for Iraq Withdrawal to Kucinich

    WASHINGTON, Jan.16, 2007 — Congressman Kucinich today received petitions from over 1,000 active duty members of the armed services who are calling for an end to the war in Iraq. They are using a little known procedure called an appeal for redress which is provided for in the rules of the Department of Defense.
    The Appeal for Redress from the war in Iraq reads: ‘As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for the US troops to come home.’
    These active duty,active reserve, and guard soldiers have signed this appeal at
    Today on behalf of these men and women who proudly serve America, I will proudly present their appeal for redress to the Clerk of the House for referral to committee” said Kucinich.
    “It is important to remember that many of these soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have seen combat in Iraq. They did not refuse to serve. They did not challenge any of their commanders orders, but they do have rights under the constitution and within the military code to present their grievances to the US Congress.”
    “We should pay careful attention to these brave men and women and I am determined that we should continue to support our troops by bringing them home.”


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