Some say the media posing questions about our military presence in Afghanistan is 'disgraceful' and 'unpatriotic'. I say, regardless of the rights and wrongs, the opposite is true
Don Brash's attempted takeover of the Act party has quickly moved the minds of those of a political bent away from recent news about the war we're fighting in Afghanistan to the more internecine battle on the right of New Zealand's politics.
But the war goes on, as does debate as to why we have troops in that country and what the ultimate objective really is. News about our troops in Afghanistan only occasionally pops its head out of the trench, but this past week two stories of SAS attacks have earned headlines and debate.
First, Q+A's interview with Defence Minister Wayne Mapp revealed details of a counter attack on insurgents in Baghlan province after Lt Tim O'Donnell was killed last year. Then came the publication of Metro magazine's in-depth story on the SAS attack in 2002 that saw our soldier detain 55 Afghans and hand them over to US forces, who subsequently mistreated them.
When a government asks its citizens to risk their lives – or take lives – on a foreign soil, it's a time for serious questions from an independent media.
"Why?" should be just the first of many.
One point that's stood out for me this week is that while the media reports discussing the Metro story have talked about the handling of the detainees, none has picked up on the eye-witness reports in the story that our SAS led an attack that resulted in the death of civilians, including a 70-year-old man and a six year-old girl. Hardly Al Qaeda targets.
Yet when we asked Afghanistan-related questions on Q+A, and not for the first time, we prompted a significant amount of feedback.
This is the start of my post at tvnz.co.nz. To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.