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Scoop Feedback: Brickbats, Bouquets & Views

In this edition of Scoop Feedback: A Devoted Fan - Writes Todd from The United States - Congratulations on Coverage II - RE: Guest Opinion: The First War Of The 21st Century - Geroge W phones Helen C.

A Devoted Fan

You are an island of intellectual honesty in a sea of mercenary dishonesty. Don't give up, don't change.

Stavros N. Stavropoulos


Writes Todd from The United States

I have noticed a great deal of criticism in you coverage of the US response to the murder of 5000 civilians. Do not misunderstand the intentions of our country. Make no mistake, we will hunt these bastards to extinction. It is that simple. Anyone who helps them, funds them, supports them, agrees with them. They can all get on the bus or they can get under it. They misunderstand the fact that they exist at our sufference and that has ended. Our tolerance, patience, and sympathy ends when thousands of our own civilians are killed on our soil. These scum will be wiped off of the face of the earth. It will be as if they never existed.

Todd Simpson



Congratulations on Coverage II

Dear Editor,

While agreeing, generally, with the comments by David Moloney (9 October), there are several things which do not stack up.

One, introduction of the Nuclear Free legislation effectively signalled the "withdrawal" of New Zealand from the Anzus Alliance, and the Labour government of the day knew this would be the upshot. No amount of posturing and playing with words by Helen Clark changes this fact.

Two. Yes, our forces have been involved in a number of conflicts over recent years and some have paid the ultimate price. Yet, how much of this involvement was the direct result of a deliberate policy instigated by a Labour government rather than an extension of ongoing New Zealand defence commitment. A commitment that a Labour government had found would have been political suicide to try and extricate itself from.

Three, Notwithstanding the costs involved in maintaining a fully equipped three service Defence Force, it is the very fact we have such a long and exposed coast line, a resource rich 200km EEZ and vast skies to monitor, police and protect, that we need to do all we can to maintain such a force.

Maintenance of that capability would (and could still) be all the more affordable had we still been able to draw on all the resources and benefits the Anzus Alliance offers.

Typical of this is:

1) the cost of the cancelled F-16 contract. The deal New Zealand had was for 24 aircraft, spares and maintenance amounting to some $44M each. Compare that with the $100M each the Sultanate of Oman are paying for the same aircraft;

2) The cost of our LAVIII armoured personnel carriers at around $7M each and rising, whereas the US has recently purchased the same and a number of variants at $4M each;

3) While the ANZAC frigates were no doubt costly, it will pale into insignificance when compared with the cost and operational costs of the coastal defence and transport vessels now being contemplated by this government.

Such vessels, while a necessary part of a nations coastal defence system, are not designed to cover the range of duties or environments they are likely to be engaged in.

A classical example of this is our recent deployment of the HMNZS Manawanui (all 911 tonnes of her) to the Solomon Islands. Of what conceivable use is an aged diving support vessel to providing the security and reassurance of the region.

All of this could have been reasonable achieved (including other Army purchases) by purchase through (and not necessarily from) a grateful and generous partner within the Anzus Alliance.

But, of course, that is all history now because of the short-sighted, ideological nonsense, warm fuzzies and platitudes trotted out by this and past Labour governments.

Why is it that I am constantly reminded of the children's tale of 3 pigs??

Bricks and mortar (think strong and binding alliances) combined with reasoned and measured response are the only things which will provide a modicum of security in a volatile world.

Not platitudes, warm fuzzies and "sit on hands with mind in neutral (think straw and wood)" with good measures of cotton wool between the ears thrown in.

Mirek Marcanik



RE: Guest Opinion: The First War Of The 21st Century

Jose Lugo asks why we do not look into the possibilities that "electronic democracy" offer us. It must be said that those possibilities are pretty damn ugly. In so-called "Direct Democracy", the kind of decision that now is subject to legislation by a government, would instead be put to the general public in a mass referendum.

Except that it isn't really democracy at all.

It is much more akin to mob rule.

Under Direct Democracy, there is no system of public and considered debate. There would be no deliberate and informed weighing of interests. Thought is successfully removed from the political process.

This would be more of a victory for the corporate opponents of democracy than an absolutism influenced by them, because Direct Democracy permits an illusion of popular mandate without dissent. Just like other forms of mob rule.

It is absurd to imagine, as mr Lugo does, that a mob will never make war, never restrict the flow information through the press or never fail to make decisions in their best interests.

History and psychology show that mob rule neither encourages nor tolerates dissent.

Lugo and his ilk want to use the wonders of communication technology to undermine political thought.



Geroge W phones Helen C

Dear editor

Having watched the Prime Minister on television last evening commenting on her discussion with President Bush one can only wonder at what was going through her mind as she played out a nauseating display of positive glee at being able to advise the nation of this landmark conversation.

I say "landmark" because, in her mind at least, here was the recognition of New Zealand that she has desperately been waiting for in the current crisis, a recognition that she will believe vindicates the Governments stance on defence.

As she recounted the President's words of thanks for the strong support that has been given by New Zealand and the knowledge that she has been "very forward-leaning in offering special forces" her demeanour and voice said it all.

All this mumbo-jumbo surrounding a private telephone conversation (which no one would ever deny actually occurred in the way recounted) for the benefit of the New Zealand media, government spin-doctors and public does not wash.

The fact is, and unlike Australia, there continues to be no mention of New Zealand in any transcript of despatches from the White House, on CNN or any other media I have seen or read.

That is where the true reality of our diminished relationship, resulting from our off-hand treatment of the US and other allies, shows.

Mirek Marcanik




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