It's no surprise there will be no inquiry into allegations about the SAS raids in Afghanistan.

The process by which we've got to this decision is flawed.

The Chief of the Defence Force and the Prime Minister have looked at video footage taken from aircraft that were involved in the 2010 raid in Baghlan, and have said there's no case to answer.

Bill English says he didn't see all of the footage, but of what he saw he's confident that troops involved in the raids met the "benchmark" of acting within the rules of engagement.


The advice from defence head Tim Keating is there is no need for an independent inquiry.

Neither Lieutenant General Keating nor the Prime Minister were in their respective roles at the time of the raid.

Neither were involved in the decision-making process that led to the raid. Neither would have been involved in the aftermath.

The footage is from aircraft. Our troops were on the ground, and from what we've been told, none of the SAS soldiers involved in the raid have been spoken to about the allegations in the book Hit and Run.

Again, this is not a criticism of our Defence Force. Our Defence Force have - and continue to do - remarkable work all over the world.

But you have to take heed of Wayne Mapp's comments. He was the Government's Defence Minister at the time. A very capable and well-respected Cabinet Minister. And he himself served as an infantry major in the Territorials, specialising in military intelligence.

It was Mapp who said the raid was - quote - "disastrous". A "fiasco", he said.

Surely his opinion and position on this is important. Something isn't sitting comfortably on his shoulders. And we know - and the Government has confirmed this - civilians died in that raid.


There should be an inquiry. I don't think it should be public, but it should be independent.

I don't understand why, when there are so many questions to answer, we won't budge on this.

Is it because they're Afghanis? Is it because they're people from a failed state on the other side of the world who we don't identify with? Is that why we find this easy to dismiss?

Is it because the Government is relying on the wrath of right-wingers to discredit Hit & Run authors Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson?

Again, we're playing the man and not the ball on this.

You cannot discredit Mapp's concerns. He was the Minister. He says there should be an inquiry.


And what I would point out is this.

Right now we're in the midst of a two-month inquiry into why we shot a dog at Auckland Airport.

A dog that was running amok, and held up 16 flights.

We're investigating a dog's death.

Come on, New Zealand.

Should we not be investigating how a 3-year-old girl was shot dead while in her mother's arms in a small village in Afghanistan?


What does that say about us? About you and me? Why are we horrified by shooting dead a dog, but not the killing of an Afghani toddler?

Answer that question for me, and tell me again that we shouldn't have an inquiry.