It is disturbing to find out that a combination of US threats and the Government’s fixation with free trade have led to the commitment of SAS troops to Afghanistan, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
Papers released to the New Zealand Herald show the government had been told that the extent of New Zealand’s “cooperation” with the US after September 11 would be a “touchstone” for future relations.
“Sending troops into a war should not be done on the basis of keeping sweet with the United States, ” said Mr Locke.
“However much the Labour/Alliance government wants a free trade agreement with the United States, it shouldn’t be traded off in lives.
“Helen Clark should remember her words to Parliament in 1990, when the Government of the time was rushing troops into another conflict: ‘the hasty commitment has much less to do with events in the Gulf than it has to do with a Government desperate to curry favour with others.”
“The Greens are also concerned that Cabinet papers show New Zealand was signing up to the “war against terrorism” which is wider than Afghanistan. Does this mean that the next stop for the SAS is Iraq? There is no doubt they US is planning a major assault on Saddam Hussein’s forces.
“To keep in America’s good books and advance a free trade agreement will we be following US special forces into Iraq?” asked Mr Locke. “Into Somalia, or Sudan or North Korea or any other country the White House finds fault with?
“It is time for the Prime Minister to come clean on how far she has committed New Zealand and what price she expects for our compliance.”