Air New Zealand's now much publicised charter flight to Kuwait two-and-a-half months ago was never a secret, except to Ian Wishart and his readers. It was a flight with reporters and an ABC TV crew aboard, a charter about which flight industry journalists such as Peter Clark (who made this point on Leighton Smith's show this morning) were well aware, and the flight and the charter itself was reported without adverse comment in airline trade journals--which was all the legs the story really had until the recent beat up. [You can hear Peter Clark at this audio link, beginning 12 minutes in].
But the beat up itself has raised some other points which are worth making, some of which I've blatantly stolen from my colleague Lance Davey:
- "On the TV One coverage of the story, some cowardly little vermin, some pant piddling pissant, suggested that Air NZ's involvement was 'inappropriate' as it could potentially make New Zealand a 'target'. . .
"If they (Islamo-fascists) are that easily goaded (which they are) and if they are that scary (which they are) and if you are that afraid of them (which you SHOULD be) then why isn't our government SUPPORTING THE GODDAMN WAR!?" By the way, the cowardly, pant piddling, pissant was Keith Locke.
- In his press release yesterday, pissant Locke said, "Air New Zealand has now exposed the airline, its travellers and the country to an extra risk of revenge attacks."
Note the word "extra." Clearly, even the pissant is aware that a threat to us down here at the bottom of the world does already exist.
Says My Davey, "He is acknowledging a prior threat, that this is an 'extra risk.' I don't disagree, yes this adds to the risk of attacks, but Mr Locke, simply being a free (somewhat) and secular society exposes us to the risk of attacks. That risk is currently small thanks only to our size and isolation. That is the very reason we should be outright in support of the war."
- That this story has in any way become a political issue says perhaps more clearly than anything else the vacuousness of labelling and identifying "a national carrier," and the danger of political ownership of an airline. There's a danger that every simple commercial decision like this one is potentially politicised.
- It would be nice to think we could stay out of conflict simply by holding our nose and asserting that we're not in one (although it didn't work for Neville Chamberlain, did it?), but the fact remains that we're already in one merely by being part of the free and secular west. In case you haven't noticed, war against us has already been declared. "In the minds of the terrorists this war began long before September 11, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled... " The long, long trail of appeasement, capitulation and death already inflicted upon westerners and non-Muslims is just the beginning of the evidence.
I am somewhat amused by the fact that Air New Zealand has been getting closer to the action and combat zones, than the Royal New Zealand Air Force has been.UPDATE 2: Blair M nails the moral equivalence elephant that's stampeding around the room:
So Phil Goff doesn't like Air New Zealand being chartered to carry US soldiers? Sends the wrong message does it? Not a good look? What about holding hands with a terrorist, Mr Goff? How does that look? You're not prepared for a commercial operation to assist friendly countries in the fight against terrorists, but you're quite happy to get all homo et homo with someone who started their career blowing planes up and shooting innocent athletes.Yes, if you haven't seen it before, that's the famous photo of Phil Goff and Yasser Arafat holding hands during Goff's Middle Eastern visit to pay homage, not long before he sent five-hundred thousand dollars of our money to the murderous Hamas.
UPDATE 3: Liberty Scott hammers another nail into the phony 'moral equivalence' face of the Clark Government:
I read about this on an airline industry messageboard ages ago - if it hadn't been Air NZ it would've been Qantas or Emirates or someone else. The simple answer is to sell it of course, or Keith Locke could boycott Air NZ, which would reduce his carbon footprint as he could only fly to the 3 main centres.Faux outrage from morally blind politicians with an unerring attraction for thugs is just so unattractive, don't you think.
Don't forget this is the same government and Green Party cozying up to blood thirsty child murderers in Pyongyang.
UPDATE 4: Heartening news from an unscientific poll at the Stuff site, which shows an overwhelming 72% of respondents "aren’t bothered by the fact that Air NZ has been transporting Aussie troops." Politicians, pseudo-investigative jourmalists and journalists who report politics as sport seem to have all the bother to themselves.
UPDATE 5: NBR's Nevil Gibson has a commendably measured view on this whole Inwishtigate instigated teacup in search of a storm:
The over-reaction to Investigate’s story on Air New Zealand military charters to the Middle East and elsewhere shows how far the government is prepared to go in furthering its own ends, as opposed to those of the country...For sober treatment of irrational hysterics, I recommend reading and considering the whole piece: Whose Foreign Affairs - Nevil Gibson, NBR Editor's Insight.
New Zealand’s equivocation may in future be seen as appeasement or even cowardly when defeating terrorism. The German magazine Spiegel has done a lot of work in this long piece on presenting a balanced picture of Iraq, and it’s not all negative or hopeless.
But when the Air New Zealand story broke, the reaction from the ministers, Winston Peters and Phil Goff, showed the functioning of government was really about political objectives rather than something the public was quite happy to let pass.