More words from activist filmaker Sumner Burstyn.
This makes great reading. It derives from a comment made about Lance-Corporal Jacinda Baker, one of the three Kiwi soldiers killed by an IED in Afghanistan last weekend:
After the first pushback from the community the comment was removed however as the exchange with a soldier on the link above shows, that wasn’t through any sense of remorse. It is really interesting to note, when reading this transcript that the socalled journalist very quickly descends into abuse while the infantry soldier continues to put his case in clear and articulate terms…
The issue is not whether or not we should or should not be in Afghanistan, or the whys or why nots of having a defence force; the issue is simply that someone has stooped to a vicious personal attack on a young woman who is no longer able to speak for herself – but there are, at the time of typing this, 13752 people prepared to speak on Jacinda Baker’s behalf.
While the freedom of the internet allows someone like Sumner Burstyn to publish her slander, it also allows for that slander to be challenged and not be allowed to become the new ‘truth’ and here a community has come together again to see that wrong righted. I say ‘again’ because this is a very special community, one that spans across the world and across decades – there are names appearing here that I have not seen for years and years and that bring back such memories. We might not meet regularly or even often but we can carry on a conversation that started in a hole full of mud and bugs in South East Asia, or while shivering in the tussock of Waiouru as if that were only yesterday. And certainly we can come together again to speak on behalf of those who can no longer…
There is a lot of anger on the community page and there probably would be at any time but in this month, where we have lost five of our own, a lot of folks are venting. It isn’t an unreasonable expectation that the mollycoddled left leaning loony community couldn’t give it a rest at least til the funerals and grieving are done…
Jim Hopkins of the NZ Herald ends an article yesterday:
Yet, somehow, we still get soldiers. Who don’t hide in other people’s houses or make self-serving speeches or expect everyone else to “do the right thing”. They do it themselves, whatever the cost. On the Stuff website, beneath its report on the death of SAS Corporal Doug Grant last year, readers have posted their comments. One says this: – “Rest in Peace – We shall remember them. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a soldier.”
That’s the essence of the debt every generation owes its troops – a debt unpaid by those who hide in embassies.
Well said Simon. & yes will still give you shit the next time I see you like all those years ago
Good on ya Simon. Its always bad form to miss treat the medic, ask jar heads about navy corpsmen.
Cameron Slater over at Whale Oil has some thoughts on it now too: http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/08/despicable-2/
Burstyn fails on so many levels with her comment. Let’s parse it out…
Is the Afghan war an unjust one? The US was attacked directly, and could trace its attackers back to a group given safe harbour by the Teleban. So in this case I say the war is just. And is Burstyn really saying she thinks the Teleban and warlords controlling Afghanistan are preferable to the current regime (which is by no means perfect but we aren’t comparing it to a first world government).
But OK, let’s accept we shouldn’t have gone into Afghanistan. Should we leave now? In other words, after breaking the place should we leave the Afghans to descend back into civil war? Surely after going in in the first place we owe it to Afghanistan to leave the country in a better state than we arrived. What is Burstyn’s alternate exit strategy?
But let’s accept we should leave Afghanistan right now – the politicians were wrong in 2002 and they’re wrong in 2012. Now we need to link the politicians’ decisions to it being the military’s fault. Should we blame the military for these bad decisions? Is Burstyn saying we shouldn’t have a military at all? Or that everyone in the military are amoral killers? What does she base this on? Does she think that the Solomons, and East Timor, and other places we sent peacekeepers should have just been left to sort their own differences out with guns and machetes? Or does she think that the military – both the generals and the corporals – should refuse to do the politicians’ bidding when they don’t agree with the plan or the cause? We’re talking a VERY slippery slope THERE, since generals who ignore orders from civilian leaders to wage war, will also ignore orders from civilian leaders to NOT wage war. The military is a tool of the civilian government, and when that relationship breaks down you end up with a military state.
I’d be fascinated to hear more of her side of the story – whether she thinks Afghanistan was a better place under the Teleban, or whether she thinks that having a military capable of helping after the Samoan tsunami or the Solomons civil strife is an evil thing, or whether corporals with guns should be able to ignore the command-and-control system around them. Or maybe that she just enjoys trolling for attention based on others’ grief.
Pingback: A moment for the Kiwis | Travels with Shiloh