I love New Zealand. Jesus it's a beautiful place to live. This is my country, these are my people. If the PM handed me a gun and asked me to ship out to the Middle East to do my duty for this great land, I know exactly what I would do. I'd cover my eyes and blub like a baby then run away and hide.
If in the field of combat an opportunity arose where I could help others by putting myself in harm's way - I wouldn't. I'd be too scared too move. If a grenade landed beside my brothers in arms I wouldn't heroically dive on it. I'd stand completely still and wee in my pants. I know this because I often have horrible war nightmares. In my dreams bombs explode and bullets whistle by as I hide, cry and wee. War is terrifying.
Take a look at the tail gunner position on the Lancaster Bomber at Motat. Imagine being the poor World War II bastard given that post on the plane. Hanging out the back, trapped in a bubble hurtling towards faceless enemies doing everything in their power to kill you. On a spectrum of bravery they would be at one end and I'd be at the other.
Most generations end up going to war. Historically if you can get through your life without being conscripted you've won the lottery.
The baby boomers did it.
Bloodshed and burning flesh makes little sense in our safety crazed nation. Kids get dropped off and picked up from school, anyone doing anything wears a high-vis vest and small wet patches are marked with big yellow signs. We are super safe. The closest thing we have to a brutal oppressive tyranny is OSH. It's peaceful here.
We get safer and safer while Iraq gets more and more dangerous. You don't see TV ads in Iraq telling you to be careful in the bathroom. That's because tens of thousands of heavily armed people really really want to kill people.
Last week we were told that our careful little country is once again sending armed personnel into that massive terrifying danger zone. Don't worry though they're only going over to train locals. If John Key asked me to train soldiers in Iraq I know exactly what I would do. I'd go bush. I reckon I could hide in Fiordland for years. Build a bivouac, grow a beard, burn off my finger prints. I could live off native birds and insects. There's good protein in the long-tailed bat, the brown teal and blue duck.
It would be cold, the nights would be long and there'd be no TV. On the plus side I wouldn't be in an horrific war zone. I can't think of anything more terrifying than training Iraqi troops. Some of those soldiers are bound to try and kill their Kiwi teachers. That's what happens over there. It's a horrible hell hole. In the words of M. Gustave "A barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity".
The Kiwi personnel heading over to Iraq will be doing what they are trained to do.
A group of fine New Zealanders. They'll be great. I admire their bravery. I really hope they don't get hurt.
Annoyingly this won't be the last war New Zealand gets involved in. There are so many reasons to fight. Geopolitical, historical and hydrational. With population growth the way it's going many experts predict massive water conflicts in the future.
When the H2O wars kick off I'm sure New Zealand will see fit to send troops. It will be right in the middle of our soggiest winter ever and we'll have people fighting for water in someone else's desert somewhere.
We love helping out our friends. We're such good guys. It's depressing.
Whatever conflicts New Zealand enters into in the future I just want to publicly declare now that no matter how worthy the cause, no matter how strong the justification, I don't want to go. I'm too scared.