The PM is lashing out at National over their support for the Iraq war. DPF points out some of the details that people forget, leaving Helen to play fast a loose with the truth…
First of all Helen keeps forgetting to mention a rather important fact. Helen did send troops into Iraq. Sure she sent them in the post-invasion phase, but that is the phase where most have died, and which has lasted the longest.
The troops were kept there for a full 12 to 13 months – two entire rotations of six months.
Now Clark says that as there have been 4,000 US troops killed, if NZ had sent troops in (which we did) we would have had 60 pro-rata deaths.
Even the media are sceptical of this, noting that Australia has had no deaths (actually there have been two).
…But as I said, Clark herself sent troops in, during the post-invasion phase. Luckily none died. So there is no reason to think National would have had any casualties in the post-invasion phase. The difference between the two parties is whether they would have sent troops for the invasion phase.
So how many US casualties were there during the invasion phase? The invasion phase was from March 20 to May 1 2003. During that time there were only 139 US deaths.
Helen Clark sent troops to Iraq in September 2003. So even if we extend to the end of August, there were only an additional 150 US causalities for a total of 289.
Now if we use Helen’s pro-rata calculation against 139 and 289 we get 0.5 and 1.1. So in fact the likely death toll of taking part in the invasion was maybe one casualty.
By comparison we have had four soliders killed in East Timor!
People forget that, once the invasion was over the UN endorsed the occupation. They also forget that that part is the part where most of the casualties occured.