Give Peace A Chance; The Greens Are Right, NZ should stay away from IS

It is a sad day for New Zealand when someone standing up for peace and freedom is lambasted as sounding as if she had just dropped in from San Francisco circa 1967. The throwaway comment from one journalist was “doesn’t everyone?” Well, no!

The arms trade was worth at least $395 billion dollars in 2012 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) with 86% of the trade coming from United States based companies. A similar amount is spent most years. Clearly some people and organizations do quite nicely out of armed conflicts and are no doubt very happy for them to continue ad infinitum.

The thesis that peace is the best weapon for achieving personal security was also ridiculed out of hand.

Contrary to most politicians and media, we believe the Greens are right to oppose sending troops to carry out military training in Iraq and extra funds for the SIS to counter the threat of terrorist attacks.

The war against IS is not one New Zealand needs to get involved with. The safest thing for us to do is keep out of it. Though sadly that is not what the government intends to do. It wishes to support our trading partners the US and Australia.

Efforts to secure peace through military intervention have been spectacularly unsuccessful since Vietnam – the war those San Francisco hippies were protesting against in 1967.

There has been needless loss of life and injury to soldiers and civilians alike and the dangers do not go away when the fighting stops. Locals must contend with the likes of hidden landmines for decades to come.

The Alliance has said it before and we will say it again. Recent history shows that terrorism will not be killed off. Every terrorist killed makes it that much easier for terrorist organizations to recruit another one and increases the danger to us all.

We, along with many sensible and ordinary New Zealanders, agree with Green Party co leader Metiria Turei who says that what is needed is “a commitment to additional humanitarian aid in the region and a commitment to find an enduring political solution to the war in the Middle East, especially now that we are in a key position to do so on the Security Council.” Let’s at least have a mature informed debate around that.

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