What’s “Our Willie” up to? Full disclosure necessary

January 24, 2010

So what is Willie Apiata up to in Kabul?

Certainly he’s not visiting night clubs or giving road safety lectures to school kids.

According to reports from overseas papers and pieced together by Jon Stephenson and Anthony Hubbard in today’s Sunday Star Times, the corporal and his SAS comrades-in-arms have been training Afghan army commandos and playing shoot-em-ups with the local insurgents.

And it seems “Honest John” may have broken a promise that Kiwi troops on the ground in Afghanistan wouldn’t be involved in combat operations.

This is why we need full disclosure.

The ongoing occupations of Afghanistan (8 years+) and Iraq (6 years +) are not cut-and-dried affairs where it’s “obvious” we should be supporting “our” troops and their mission. There can only be real debate on these issues when all of us are in possession of the facts.

Now the issue of identifying Willie and his mates has become a political football and, ridiculously, linked to the issue of name suppression in our courts. [Clark blamed for SAS exposure]


Soldiers in harms way: Don’t ask, don’t tell

January 22, 2010

Philip Poupin/NZH 21-01-2010

Good on the New Zealand Herald for publishing this picture of two NZ SAS soldiers in Kabul.

And cheers to the Dominion Post for going for it again today.

It’s a Kiwi version of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and really quite pathetic that the Defence Minister is upset about this image. He’s said that identifying the soldiers puts them in harm’s way. Presumably because now those pesky Taleban can put a name or a face to the troopers.

That’s just bullshit. These guys wander around Kabul in heavy body armour, armed to the teeth and ready to take potshots at anyone who looks remotely suspicious. That’s about 90 per cent of the population in the reasoning of the occupying forces.

Let’s be clear about this; these SAS troopers are in harms way because of a series of political decisions taken in Washington and Wellington. Read the rest of this entry »