Key’s Camp Taji trip whitewashes reality

The Prime Minister’s comments about Camp Taji’s safety are an attempt to whitewash the reality there, particularly in light of the damning US report on the camp’s safety, the Green Party says.

The Prime Minister’s comments about Camp Taji’s safety are an attempt to whitewash the reality there, particularly in light of the damning US report on the camp’s safety, the Green Party says.

During a two day trip to Iraq, John Key hailed the safety of Camp Taji and the role of New Zealand troops in Iraq.  However, he failed to mention the serious failings highlighted by a Pentagon report about the internal workings of the camp.

“John Key’s trip to Camp Taji has been nothing but a public relations exercise,” said Green Party defence spokesperson, Kennedy Graham.

“The Prime Minister’s job is not be a cheerleader for war, or the training for war.

“Our troops need to come home now. They should return because we can make a far greater, and longer lasting, contribution by capacity building in the Iraqi Government and propping up democracy than we will ever do with 16 military trainers.

“The Prime Minister is spinning our troops’ involvement in Iraq when what we should be talking about is actually whether our troops should be there at all – whether their presence is lawful or politically wise.

“New Zealand troops will always face real risks in Iraq.  Whitewashing it for the consumption of the New Zealand public is a poor form of populist politics.

“I am disappointed with the Prime Minister.  Our men and women are risking their lives out in Iraq and the Prime Minister’s trip should have been about the real issues not photo opportunities,” said Dr Graham.

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