There's something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings.
Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq - and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS.
Brownlee, of course, denies this is happening. Although it would appear that his office didn't *quite* get the memo...
So where are we at? The New Zealand Defence Force is undertaking training for a deployment to Iraq. "Contingency" training? Or preparation for joining our domineering TPPA partners in yet another illustrious attempt at Peace Through Superior Firepower.
Either way, it would appear that Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee hasn't exactly been straight-up about what's going on here. Recent statements made in Parliament by this "honourable" member suggested rather strongly that *no* pre-deployment training for Iraq was being undertaken.
Fortunately, New Zealand First's sources have kept us abreast of developments straight form the get-go - and told us that a company-sized force of up to 150 Kiwi troops had been undergoing training for deployment to Iraq from as late as mid-November.
So either we have a situation wherein a newly-elected Opposition MP is considerably better informed as to the interior goings on and force goings-on of the New Zealand Defence Force than the Minister responsible is (possible - we're well connected); or, somewhat more likely, somebody's trying to pull that fine sheep-derived fiber-export we're so renowned for *directly* over the body politik's eyes about ensnaring New Zealand in what will become a deeply unpopular foreign war that we really have very little prima-facie reason to become directly involved in.
Brownlee's knowledge of all things NZ[D]F continued to be shown up in the House by Major Mark during the same exchange, when the aforementioned Illiterate Woodwork Teacher demonstrated a habitual National Party grasp of facts ... by trying to diminish Ron Mark's extensive and transcontinental military service and confusing him with fellow NZ First MP (and one of my favourites of the new intake - one to watch) Darroch Ball.
For the record: Ron Mark is, if you will, a bit of a Parliamentary bad-arse. He spent 15 years in the NZ Army, having joined up at age 16; and with a service record that includes much time with the Special Air Service and more than a year's worth of overseas deployments with our Army to the Middle East. His CV also includes an additional half-decade stint in the military of the Sultanate of Oman - first in the Sultanate's Land Forces, and then in their Special Forces.
So when it comes to discussing the relative merits of deploying Kiwi troops to Iraq, I *suspect* that I might *just* place *slightly* more credence in the contacts, information and analysis of a former New Zealand soldier with extensive deployment experience in the Middle East ... over the breathless assurances of a perniciously treasonous former financial trader, and a man whose greatest contribution to national security thus far was the $2000 fine to the Civil Aviation Authority he coughed up for breaching airport security at Christchurch Airport.
Oh and, as you may have noticed ... nowhere on Mark's resume does there appear the title "storeman".
In fact, the closest thing we have to one of those in Caucus at the moment is first term NZ First MP Darroch Ball - who, in a previous life, was a commissioned officer with the 3rd Logistics Battalion, before discovering a serious and admirable passion for working with youth - first through the Army, and then in a subsequent career as a high-school teacher.. And even then ... "commissioned officer" =/= "storeman", any more than "Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act" equated to "rule of law" ...
In any case, this is evidently how the Nats intend to prosecute their pre-War campaign. Through lies, deceptions, falsehoods, iniquities, and inaccuracies. How else to explain Brownlee hamfistedly attempting to erase from the Parliamentary and popular record the real nature of Ron Mark's actual military service when the latter presents evidence of the Minister's duplicity.
We're rapidly reaching a point wherein every time I hear a Nat MP assure us that they haven't made a decision to send "boots on the ground" to Iraq, I think of this...
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