Auckland Peace Action and Organise Aotearoa are holding a demonstration outside the NZDF recruiting office at 204 Great North Road tomorrow, Tuesday, 16 October at 12:30 to demand justice and an end to the war in Afghanistan. People are invited to bring their own messages and banners in solidarity with the military’s victims at home and abroad.
We are horrified by today’s revelations of war crimes by the NZDF, in particular the murder of two teenagers and the violation of the Geneva Conventions relating to medical personnel. Nicky Hager’s article in North and South paints a disturbing picture of what’s going on inside the military.
This must prompt the Prime Minister to undertake a full and complete criminal investigation, a parliamentary inquiry into the culture of NZDF and more importantly, a recall of all soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.
We have no confidence in the behaviour of soldiers serving overseas, and we cannot put other countries’ civilian populations at further risk from them. We have had too many stories about NZ soldiers committing war crimes dating back to 2005. Each and every time, the military seeks to coverup what has gone down and hide it from the public. The only right and proper thing is that NZ troops must leave Afghanistan now.
By the same token, the entire structure of the NZDF clearly needs a total overhaul. The culture of misogyny and homophobia that has allowed the abuse of women soldiers and those thought to be gay is disgusting and completely unacceptable. Again, we have heard murmurs about this behaviour from numerous high profile court cases involving abuse by soldiers, but Nicky Hager’s article today shows the extent of it, and clearly NZDF has an institutionalised rape culture.
The military has hidden behind the mythology of ‘protecting national security’ and has cultivated a noble and untarnished public image. Behind that image, however, are some very grim truths. It is time we held the NZDF to account for its actions and the culture of toxic masculinity that breeds there.