Thursday, September 04, 2008

Can't fly, can't sail, can't fight

A new report on NZ's arthritic 'defence' force concludes the air force can't fly, the navy can't go to sea, and the army couldn't knock the skin off a rice pudding.  In other words, NZ's defence policy amounts to 'God Defend New Zealand,' since nobody else is able to.

It gets worse.  Defence minister, Phil Goff, told punters not to worry, this is "not out of the ordinary," it's "nothing new."  Fact is, he says, he's been seeing reports like this for years.

Comforting, don't you think, in the world's present less-than-benign strategic environment?

Fact is, there have been reports like this for years, and Phil Goff isn't the only one to blame. Despite the latest Government throwing a miserly $8.6 billion at the moribund military, one of the very few legitimate branches of government, the previous National Government had run them down to such a level that the $8.6 billion was like a small piss on a very big desert -- and given that they're happy with the "enduring consensus" on defence (or lack thereof) they have no plans now to change that come November.

Which makes National's Wayne Mapp's bleating about the latest report just more of the crocodile tears he so easily sheds.

Be nice if there was at least one political party who recognised the crucial importance of actually defending the country, don't you think?

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37 Comments:

Blogger Luke H said...

PC, obviously there are various threats in the world at large, but what are the threats currently facing New Zealand itself?

You'll have to argue that first before arguing that we need to spend more money on the military.

9/04/2008 11:03:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Red the preamble to the Libz policy Luke, that's what I wrote it for.

Specifically the line about the fact that in the modern era, it takes longer to train a competent force to defend the country than it takes for a 'previously impossible' threat to arise.

Remember, the Japs took 6 months to arrive at the doorstep of Australia in 1942. And that was with technology from 60ish years ago...

9/04/2008 11:15:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

The ~full~ policy, complete with the justifications you are looking for is at:

http://www.libertarianz.org.nz/?article=373

9/04/2008 11:17:00 am  
Anonymous Mr Dennis said...

Yes, libz is certainly one of the few parties that actually recognises the need for a decent defence force. The Family Party is another. We need to ensure that we have a National coalition government after the election, with parties that would actually be committed to defence (such as Family, Libz, maybe Act) rather than being able to govern alone.

All that "benign strategic environment" means is that it is so long since the last war that threatened NZ that we are probably well due for another, but at the same time are forgetting the last one and the need for defence.

9/04/2008 11:58:00 am  
Blogger Luke H said...

Couldn't we hire mercenaries in six months?

You still haven't shown that there is any threat to New Zealand.

9/04/2008 12:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Luke has a point. It's not as if there's ever going to be another expansionist empire like Japan, is there? Countries don't fight over resources anymore, the world is more enlightened now. Anyway, we have our own glorious history to inspire us should the worst happen, such as Parihaka or the Battle of the Chatham Islands.

I'm surprised Labour even bother with the armed forces, when it's obvious that their defence policy is to make New Zealand not worth invading.

9/04/2008 02:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Dennis said...

Luke H: "Couldn't we hire mercenaries in six months?"

Aren't private militias illegal in NZ now? So this would require a major change to government policy. Furthermore we have plenty of people already, no need to hire foreigners for exorbitant rates (mercenaries will be least available in a war due to demand and charge accordingly) when we can just arm ourselves.

And if we are invaded we may be lucky to have six days, let alone six months.

9/04/2008 02:42:00 pm  
Anonymous hanso said...

It's not as if there's ever going to be another expansionist empire like Japan, is there?

Indonesia springs to mind.

9/04/2008 03:44:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

May I suggest you to read some history, Luke, where you might find that in many cases those attacked were not always aware that there was a threat to their security.

You might also find that in many cases, the primary means by which to ensure that no threat existed was to ensure that any possible threat would be met with overwhelming force.

May I also invite you to reflect on the chief differences between the world as it appeared when western strategists talked of a "cold war dividend" and Helen Clark talked of "an incredibly benign strategic environment," and the world as it is now.

If the lesson still escapes you after that, then I'm afraid there's not much more to be said.

9/04/2008 04:54:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Typical armchair generals, still fighting the last war, worrying about the old threats. You're already vanquished and ruled as it is. A new mob would hardly make that much difference.

Face it. Kiwi "culture" is all but over and done.

LGM

9/04/2008 05:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

Go easy on Luke, he's obviously a worldly man with a great deal of common sense.

His suggestion of hiring mercenaries suggests another solution. What do shopkeepers and small business owners do when they're threatened? Why, they pay gangs to protect them of course! We could do the same, on an international scale.

9/04/2008 09:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do shopkeepers and small business owners do when they're threatened? Why, they pay gangs to protect them of course! We could do the same, on an international scale.

which is what we do - at home (the Police)

and internationally (ANZUS / Aussies / the PLA)


The real choice is for everyone to choose freedom. Like Switzerland or Israel. Everyone who loves freedom must be prepared to fight and kill for it - and must be trained to die for it.

Frankly an air wing is just stupid: we'll never have enough planes to keep out even Australia. But we can give everyone in the country Stingers; we can put S-400s in every town and city; we can give everyone cheap AK-47s and training in making IEDs.

so if anyone is stupid enough to bomb us, we can take the planes out;

and if anyone is stupid enough to land troops we cut them to ribbons - like in Iraq.

The fact of the matter is if the US or the Aussies or China or whoever decides to come to NZ there is nothing we can do to stop them - but we can bleed them once they're here.

Now, China doesn't have the navy to get to us; that leaves Aussie & the US.

and, frankly, the fact that Helen's army couldn't stop either - when it proves necessary - is a good thing!

9/04/2008 10:24:00 pm  
Blogger Moataz said...

why not nuclear weapons e.g nuclear submarines like the ones Germany possess.

what about F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and the AH-64 Apache.

there is plenty of options we can use.

9/05/2008 01:48:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Moataz,

The idea is to get the best & most modern equipment that we can at a price we can afford. Within those parameters - anything goes.

To those who wonder why we need an established indigenous military force, you need to consider how wars are won:

They are won by the side best able to keep their combat troops supplied with men, bullets and food. Logistics are the key to battle (An army marches on its stomach - Napoleon).

Firstly, there are NO mercenary forces are able to meet that burden - none that can fight a protracted war on our behalf. The mercenary forces that do exist are land-based and capable of counter insurgency operations only.

If you lot want to set up such a force on your own dime (and it proves to be up to the job) Libz promises to reconsider. Until then, you're dreaming.

~BUT~ I feel I need to point out the obvious: NZ is an Island.

To refuse (by deleting the combat wing of the RNZAF or deleting the RNZN) to fight an enemy intent on invasion or harassing this nation while they are still on the ocean leaves you to fight him only after he lands on your soil.

The stupidity of such an option in an era when single-seat fighter aircraft are capable of carrying 4 ship killing missiles each (see F/A-18E and similar) should not need to be pointed out to anyone with half a brain.

And may I also point out, that no mercenary force in the world with such capability exists. Again, should anyone care to set that business up and get it running successfully, we'll reconsider.

9/05/2008 05:40:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

And another thing: any force we field (mercenary or indigenous) must be present in the country and able to respond quickly to a threat.

A company that supplies mercenaries is not going to have excess people just sitting around waiting for a 911 call. Such people would not be earning the company any money. Instead such companies wait for a contract and then hire on such staff as they require.

I'll leave the reader to figure out why having a delay in response time to a military emergency is unacceptable.

9/05/2008 05:50:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Hillarious! An armchair general wants to use stingers to shoot at strike fighters! Pop. Pop. Pop!

"Stupid indeed are the dreams of fools!"

BTW New Zealanders are not anything like hardened Afghani fighters. They'll not "bleed" anyone dry- not unless it's welfare handouts you're referring to.

In the end the "defense" available to NZ lies in the interests of larger countries. Do as the US wants or end up being being told to do as China or whichever regional power wants.


LGM

9/05/2008 07:03:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not nuclear weapons e.g nuclear submarines like the ones Germany possess.


Germany doesn't have any nuclear subs. Conventional hunter-killers, yep. Sells 'em to israel who puts nukes in 'em, yep.

what about F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons,

Old crap planes. Better get Su-30MKIs if you're after that generation.

but the real question is: how many are you going to buy? As many even as Aussie? No? then what's the point!


They are won by the side best able to keep their combat troops supplied with men, bullets and food.


The are won by the side most willing to die for freedom. 1) US 1776. 2) Iraq 2008.

(OK there is another option: most willing to kill in very large numbers: Japan 1945)


Hillarious! An armchair general wants to use stingers to shoot at strike fighters! Pop. Pop. Pop!


Nope. At those apaches you're all drooling over.
OK we could get something better. But they're pretty good in Iraq right now.

BTW New Zealanders are not anything like hardened Afghani fighters. They'll not "bleed" anyone dry- not unless it's welfare handouts you're referring to.

And THAT is the problem that we must fix if we ever want to defend NZ

In the end the "defense" available to NZ lies in the interests of larger countries. Do as the US wants or end up being being told to do as China or whichever regional power wants.

Or be responsible for ourselves - as if we - you know, loved freedom and "liberty".

Again, it's not just Iraq, it's also Swizerland & lefty countries like Scandinavia. If you must by fucking strike fighters (and won't by 30MKI's at least buy Viggens that we can put a couple in a hangar next too school halls and fly off every straight road in the south island).

Or else, yeah, we trust China. or the US.

or we just ask Aussie what they want and we say "yes sir".

which seems to be the Libz policy!

9/05/2008 07:19:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

New Zealand simply can't afford highly sophisticated weapons systems and the infrastructure costs necessary to support them.
The best insurance against invasion is alliances and the most effective weapon against invaders who manage to land here is a well armed, well trained and motivated population.
But NZ governments will never accept arms in the homes of citizens along the lines of Switzerland for fear of domestic unrest.
Not that Kiwis en masse will ever rise up against their government, but certain groups may use those arms and that training to terrorise others.
In any case, I seriously doubt Kiwis nowadays have the stomach for a serious battle with any foreign invader--that would mean turning of the television and forgoing their comfortable battery-hen existence.

9/05/2008 08:32:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Anonymous, you said, "Or else, yeah, we trust China. or the US.
or we just ask Aussie what they want and we say "yes sir". Which seems to be the Libz policy!
"

You seem to be looking at a different policy, sir/madam -- perhaps that of National and Labour, who intend to just say "yes sir" to the UN.

In any case, perhaps you could point out that particular plank to which you refer in Libz defence policy?

And perhaps other readers could check Libz alternative budget, which demonstrates how Libz intend to pay for that policy.

I think you'll find that your objections are already met.

9/05/2008 08:57:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

Thanks for the link PC.
We could argue all day about how the 10 billion might be spent, so I won't go there, except to say that high-tech equipment (and the problems manning and maintaining it) are less important than the national will to resist.

9/05/2008 09:03:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

On which we agree 100%, KG.

9/05/2008 10:28:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

What is national will? {referent the NZ context}.

Answers please.

Cheers

LGM

9/05/2008 07:18:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

look it up.

9/05/2008 07:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Mo said...

national will is important but highly sophisticated weapons are just as important. no point having the will to defend yourself without having the necessary tools to do it.

9/06/2008 01:38:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

Surely you are capable of stating (briefly) what national will, in the NZ context, actually is. Well? What is it? Or are you merely stating some arbitrary assertions based on false premise?

LGM

9/06/2008 07:09:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

I don't think the question is at all complicated. What I was agreeing with "100%" was the fact that no matter how many tools the citizens of a country might have to defend themselves, they're of absolutely zero use if too few citizens give a rat's arse about defending the place.

I think two invasions of Iraq demonstrated that. And perhaps all the earlier invasions of Afghanistan demonstrated the contrary proposition.

9/06/2008 07:57:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

LGM, I'm perfectly capable of stating what I mean by national will and it seems both PC and Mo understand the term as well.
But I've no intention of engaging in some kind of crapfight where we end up arguing over definitions.

Mo, point taken. But it seems to me that if Kiwis had some training and a great deal of determination then ultra-sophisticated weapons would be unnecessary. Guaranteed supplies of small arms and ammunition, explosives and food, a widely distributed intelligence network and a willingness to absorb losses are perhaps more useful.
The problem with sophisticated weapons is the huge logistical tail needed to service them (manning, maintenance, repair and safe housing)and the sheer cost of replacements.
I fought in Rhodesia and learned very quickly that in the field what counts is flexibility and training and above all commitment.
And that was true for both sides.

9/06/2008 08:54:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

If you are perfectly capable of stating an answer to the question, then why can't you answer it? It was a simple enough question, one which you evaded- twice.

LGM

9/06/2008 03:54:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

lol! I'm not "evading" anything LGM. And gave you the reason.

9/06/2008 05:15:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

KG

You evaded the question and then presented an excuse.

Oh well.

LGM

9/07/2008 07:20:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

PC

I wonder what citizens are defending when they go to a war. Is it the political system and the politicians? Is it the territory (the geographic "country"). Is it their culture and way of life? Is it their loved ones? As often as not it would seem that the citizens actually fight and die for the politicians, although they may believe they are doing it for other reasons and values.

In the context of NZ, what values would be motivate people enough to stand and fight for. Is there anything here that people would consider that important? Perhaps...? Perhaps not...?

What do you think?

LGM

9/07/2008 07:32:00 am  
Blogger Luke H said...

"supplies of small arms and ammunition, explosives and food,"

Interestingly, that is a fair description of the large quantities of accurate long-range rifles, ammonium nitrate fertiliser (can be used as explosive), privately owned petrol and diesel tanks and livestock (a food supply) kept all over New Zealand by farmers.

9/07/2008 01:45:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Luke H

Assuming a determined invader occupies NZ just how long do you reckon those supplies of small arms etc. might last? Six weeks? Six days?

One of the many problems the defenders would face is that of securing on-going supplies. This place aint Vietnam or even Europe...

LGM

9/08/2008 09:49:00 am  
Blogger Luke H said...

Unlike Tomorrow When The War Began, in which the entirety of Australia is invaded with zero days notice, wars generally have months of tensions followed by weeks of troop positioning before a war begins. It wuld take at least six weeks to move a sizeable force into New Zealand waters; so at least that amount of time could be spent obtaining and stockpiling large quantities of ammunitition, timers, dynamite, etc.

9/08/2008 10:37:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Luke

Perhaps. But how long do you think those supplies would last?

LGM

9/08/2008 11:51:00 am  
Blogger Luke H said...

*(rolls eyes)*

How long is a piece of string?

9/08/2008 02:14:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Luke

In this case the string is very short.

The point is that the "supplies" to which you refer would not last very long. In the NZ context there would not be very much resistance after a month or so anyway. For a start there would not be that much material available to "stockpile" in the first place. Second issue to consider is where would resupply be coming from? How far away is that? How to successfully deliver it, exactly?

In short, you are dreaming. The scheme has too many holes and assumes fallacies.

Too bad!

LGM

9/08/2008 07:06:00 pm  

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