Richard Moore: Anti-war rant an utter disgrace


I imagine there would be very few people in the British Commonwealth who would not choke up a little as they watch their national flags flying and the strains of The Last Post echoing from a solo bugle.

As that final note plays my heart is in my throat and my eyes get a little misty. It brings to mind the countless men and women who have gone overseas to fight for a cause their governments have seen the need to get involved in.

There have been very necessary wars - World War II, Korea, Gulf War I; some not so necessary ones - WWI, the Boer War, Gulf War 2. And also a truly wrong war - Vietnam.

I have nothing but respect for the men drafted into that war who were shamefully treated upon their return to their homelands.

In most of those conflicts our fighting men were doing their duty - for better or worse - and deserve our respect for putting their lives on hold to go to war.

Many of my elderly relatives served in WWI and WWII and when The Last Post is played I remember them - and pay homage to the names inscribed on the walls of war memorials belonging to those men who did not return.

New Zealand has lost five of its children in the past two weeks in Afghanistan - Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer, 26, Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, Lance Corporal Rory Malone, 26.

They were killed by the Taleban, in my view, a ruthless bunch of Muslim fanatics who wish to re-install a brutal, feudal regime on to the people of Afghanistan. The Taleban have killed tens of thousands of people and subjected women to ancient misogynistic laws that see them banned from education and workplaces.

Most Kiwis paid their respects to those who fell in Afghanistan although one - shamefully - did not. Film-maker Barbara Sumner-Burstyn, an anti-Afghanistan involvement type, posted comments on Facebook that infuriated many members of the armed forces.

Sumner-Burstyn accused Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker of "killing innocent people".

"Oh, so fallen soldier Jacinda Baker liked boxing and baking - did they forget she also liked invading countries we are not at war with, killing innocent people and had no moral compass" Sumner-Burstyn wrote.

"She 100 per cent does not deserve our respect for her flawed choices. We are not at war. We are helping America invade another country for their oil. No more than that.

"Go to war expect to be killed. You can't have it both ways - oh nice little career with the military and shock horror when you get blown up."

Unsurprisingly there was a backlash with her receiving abuse and threats.

On her blog she said: "On it the men & soldiers of New Zealand threatened to rape me with chainsaws, to run me over, to burn down my house and murder me. I was told I would be stalked and hunted down. They extended the threats to my family."

Sumner-Burstyn reminds me of one of those feral ratbags who threw blood at returning soldiers from Vietnam.

And, by the way, there isn't oil in Afghanistan, Barbara, the US-led operation is to stop terrorist training and the return to power of the Taleban.

Mind you, she did try to weasel out of the comments about Lance Corporal Baker with "It's been a difficult few days. I made a comment on facebook. A thoughtless comment for which I unreservedly apologise to the family, friends and loved ones of Jacinta (sic) Baker.

"I do not in the slightest gloat at this young woman's death - I bemoan the tragic loss of her valuable life. Certainly my choice of words at the time was not good."

You think?

But then she raved on: "Not one suggested that such violence and brutality might be an extreme response to careless words.

"The violence and brutality of the response has made me even more opposed to our presence in Afghanistan. And it begs the question - if the men of the New Zealand Defence Force behave like this at home, what are they doing when deployed overseas?

"If this is the culture that is endorsed by the NZDF then it is no wonder our country is blighted with domestic violence and child abuse."

And it is people like Sumner-Burstyn with their quasi-intellectual anti-war views who make attacks upon NZ personnel even more likely. The Taleban will know if it can target and kill more Kiwis then pressure will grow from the loony left to bring NZ troops home early.

The Taleban are saying more will die and so it is time to harden up and show them that the land of Charles Upham and Willie Apiata is not scared off doing its international duty.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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