|NZ SAS trained to kill|
The Labour Government sent NZ SAS troops to Afghanistan in 2001 on the basis that a UN resolution justified the ‘war on terror’ in that country. This was never anything more than a pretext to invade and occupy a strategic pivot in the ‘big game’ –Al Qaeda was always a label attached to any militant opposition to US interests in the struggle for control of central Asia to plunder its oil and gas. NZ became the US deputies dog snapping at the heels of the Taliban for the price of some trade concessions. Back then we said “Defend Afghanistan” in what was an imperialist war against a poor semi-colony. There could be no defence of Afghanistan without the defeat of the invading army; the NZ troops included.
The outrage that met Sumner-Burstyn’s comments on the recent deaths of 5 NZ soldiers, shows how mindlessly jingoistic the NZ authoritarian populist rump has become in a global crisis where many retreat into racial national chauvinism. As we have said before, crisis and recession brings out the underlying racism, sexism and reactionary attitudes towards ‘liberal’ values. Classic is Matthew Hooten on Radio NZ rubbishing opposition to the war in Afghanistan by “Grey Lynn liberals”. In a period of social crisis those with a need for authority feel threatened by breakdown of social order and lash out at any scapegoat group they can blame for their fear. The NACTs and their attack dogs like Michael Laws exploit that fear in their baiting of easy targets including paedophiles and welfare frauds. Women who speak out like Sumner-Burstyn are easy targets for rape or death threats.
The logic of this reactionary scapegoating is to exploit fear and build public hysteria to justify a drive to war and for NZ’s involvement in more invasions and wars so that the NZ ruling class gets its share of the imperialist spoils. And as this causes resistance, it justifies more ‘anti-terror’ legislation and against free speech and assembly, and for more spying and restrictions on legal rights as we have seen in the aftermath of Operation 8. This is a slide towards fascism where all those who are perceived as a threat to the ‘social order’ of capitalism became the targets of reactionary groups in society ith the complicity of the state.
In the decade since the last Afghan war began, the invaders have met with the same fate of as all previous imperialist invasions, a long retreat before defeat. The US has no major strategic gains and apart from heavily fortified garrisons like Bagram, has shifted the moving front on the ‘war on terror’ to hit and run Drone warfare. Iran is next and China is not far behind with NZ now roped back as a junior partner in RIMPAC and the US plan to isolate its new global rival China politically and militarily.
Workers have to stand up against the revival of militaristic nationalism (jingoism) and wars of conquest wherever they are; get the troops out of Afghanistan; withdraw from all NATO and UN military forces in the Middle East, and from all RIMPAC and ANZAC agreements in the Asia Pacific. These are all designed to suck NZ into new intelligence sharing, surveillance, wars and invasions in the interests of the US and its allies, against its newly emerging imperialist rivals, China and Russia.