Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hey---cool it--the debate about our involvement in Afghanistan needs to happen!

I was shocked to read about the reaction to a film makers comments on her Face book page has resulted in death threats and various other insults. Another Face book page was created that has provided a base to enlarge this reaction. Since then some saner heads have prevailed but this does not alter the fact that no one should be attacked in such a manner as this lady has been. For a few moments I thought I was in another country; probably one in the Middle East or some tin-pot failed corrupt country.
I am not saying that the comments made by Barbara Sumner-Burstyn were not insensitive given the timing, but to then lambast her in a threatening way is a total over-reaction on the part of some of the participants in the ‘debate.’
A debate is what we need to have. Yes, we all know that any Kiwi joining the armed forces may at some time face and pay the ultimate price is a fact of life. Yes, we know that the armed forces themselves do not choose where they are sent; that role is purely the Government’s prerogative, although they must adhere to what the nations expects. There have been other wars in New Zealand’s past where a huge number of citizens have gone to the streets to make their point, so Barbara’s words represent no more than a ‘literary’ commentary about her opinion and her right to express that must be protected.
She made many salient points about our involvement in Afghanistan and while I don’t support some of them, she has expressed what may be a growing groundswell against our involvement in this USA-led conflagration. I find it hard to understand (other than the timing and some of her claims) why people are moved to utter ‘death threats’ against her. If we do not clamp that down, then we are looking at a crossroads in New Zealand that I find abhorrent. Have we not gone to war in the past for so-called ‘freedom,’ albeit, one that comes with responsibilities.
I am not going to use this blog to further describe my thoughts on our involvement in Afghanistan, as I have done that in previous blogs. I am deeply moved by the loss of our fine young men and a wonderful lady. There famillies grieve ut they accept that such a possibity is a risk that nay 'soldier' takes. 
It was the timing of Babrbara's words that so many have reacted to. The debate however, must continue. Given the claims in the same paper that reported Barbara’s opinions also described how NZ forces are being targeted because they do not have sophisticated equipment---well--- maybe that should raise the ire of some of those attacking Barbara.