Afghanistan Tragedy Exploited In New Zealand

gwhunter69

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Afghanistan Tragedy Exploited In New Zealand Political Campaign
By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Morning Editor
July 02, 2002

Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - More than 8,000 miles from Afghanistan, a small left-wing political party has seized on reports of the accidental killing of civilians by U.S. bombers there as a means to pressure the New Zealand government to stop supporting the U.S.-led military campaign.

New Zealand's Green Party demanded Tuesday that the Labor government withdraw a contingent of elite Special Air Services (SAS) troops from the Afghanistan mission.

At least 30 people reportedly were killed in the raid on a village called Kakarak early Monday. U.S. officials will accompany Afghan authorities to the village to investigate the incident, the U.S. Central Command said Monday.

Greens' foreign affairs spokesman Keith Locke said the New Zealand troops should not be associated with what he called "trigger-happy" and "Rambo-like" behavior.

He went on to attack the U.S. for "hindering rather than helping efforts towards political reconciliation" in Afghanistan; for planning to extend the war on terrorism to countries like Iraq; and for seeking to exclude its forces from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal Court.

"The latest incident in Afghanistan shows just why the U.S. should not be immune from international justice."

Locke hinted that the Greens would raise the demand of withdrawing the SAS contingent in any talks on possibly joining a center-left coalition after a general election later this month, which Labor is widely predicted to win.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff criticized the suggestion that pulling out troops from Afghanistan would be a prerequisite for Green support for a coalition government.

"The suggestion of New Zealand opting out of the international campaign against terrorism is not on," he said.

The incident in Afghanistan was a tragedy, Goff said, but "many more people would die if chaos were to result from a vacuum left by the departure of coalition forces."

He reminded the Greens of the heavy toll taken by the Taliban regime before it was defeated by the U.S.-led coalition late last year, and accused the Greens of remaining silent when first the Soviet Union and then the Taliban was committing atrocities in Afghanistan.

The Taliban and its al Qaeda allies still existed and posed a threat, both to Afghanistan and possibly to civilian targets around the world, Goff added.

"It is naive in the extreme to believe that force is not necessary as one component in the campaign against terrorism.

"These groups operate outside the rule of law," he said. "They thought nothing of the mass murder of 3,000 people on 11 September last year. They continue to threaten the use of weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological or nuclear, if they gain access to them."

One of the main reasons why New Zealanders are going to the polls earlier than scheduled on July 27 was the break-up last April of another left-wing party, Alliance, a junior partner in the outgoing coalition led by Labor.

Alliance fractured in part over the government's backing for the campaign in Afghanistan following last September's terror attacks on the U.S.

A weekend opinion poll put Labor well in the lead with 51 percentage points. The center-right National Party polled 30, while the Greens are at seven points and conservative ACT party at six.
 

spectr17

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In my opinion the story we attacked harmless civilians is BS. When the ground forces called for close air support after taking fire an AC-130 gunship answered. The gunships have low light TV and IR cameras and are creatures of the night. They can see everything on the ground and know when someone is just shooting smalls arms or they are being targeted by SAMs or AAA. In a permissive environment the AC-130 would then engage and destroy any targets deemed to be putting the ground troops or gunship in harms way. Al Queda may be is using civilians as shields or one of the JDAM bomb maybe went astray but it's not likely we attacked civilians as claimed.

This claim was also made earlier in the war if anyone remembers.
 

gwhunter69

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I agree that it is complete BS.  BS or not, first of all, how smart do you have to be to bring weapons to a wedding and then shoot them in the air? Secondly, assuming I was a brain-dead, gun-toting Islamic terrorist firing my gun in the air and fighter jet flew over, do you think I would keep firing?  Hell no, I would haul @ss out of there.  And lastly, this is a war.  If you are toting a gun or hanging around people shooting at jets, then you are fair game in my book.  Collateral damage, my @ss...I call that a direct hit. :soapbox:
 

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"We have a tradition of firing weapons in the air during celebrations."
    -- Afgan party goer

"We have a tradition of returning fire when fired upon."
    -- me
 


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