Like the proverbial All Black test match, the nearly 400-page Arnold-Palmer report into the Special Air Services actions in Afghanistan, is very much a game of two halves.
In the first half, Sir Terence Arnold and Sir Geoffrey Palmer literally blow authors Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager out of the water for their claims in their book Hit & Run about the SAS conduct of the raids. In the second they rightly chastise the NZ Defence Force over what can best be described as muddied, incompetent maladministration and misleading briefings to ministers.
For the first half, take this example:
” … the principal allegations in Hit & Run about the conduct of TF81 personnel (the SAS troopers) on Operations Burnham and Nova are not accurate.
“First, the operations were not revenge operations; nor were they ‘ill-conceived’.
“There were legitimate reasons for them—there was reliable intelligence indicating there were insurgents in the villages who had been conducting attacks in Bamyan province (where the NZ provincial reconstruct team was based) and who were planning further attacks on the NZPRT and Afghan security forces. The operations aimed to disrupt the insurgent network and improve security in Bamyan province. Continue reading “Watchdog is proposed to keep a check on NZDF – but ‘Hit & Run’ authors take a drubbing, too”