Over the weekend, we were told that another two kiwi soldiers had died in Afghanistan. The total New Zealand body-count is now seven, five of them in combat.
The politicians are all spouting the usual crap: bravery, honour their sacrifice, dangerous job, sympathy for the families, and this is being reflected in the media coverage. Meanwhile, this tide of political sympathy means our media are failing to ask the question they should be asking: were these deaths "worth it"? And sadly, the answer to that is a resounding "no".
These soldiers did not die to defend New Zealand. They died in the name of better relations with the United States. Its just a modern version of blood for butter, with a different hegemon to toady to.
They did not die for the freedom of Afghans. They died defending a corrupt, theocratic regime, little different from the one the Americans overthrew in 2001. They died so that rape victims can be forced to marry their rapists and people can be jailed for translating the Koran. They died defending torturers.
They did not die "making a difference". While the Provincial Reconstruction Team has been doing some limited aid work in Bamiyan province, that will all be washed away when we leave - to the extent that the people who work with us expect to be killed and have applied for asylum in New Zealand.
None of this is worth the death of a single New Zealand soldier. And the politicians who pretend that it is need to be held to account for their lies.