Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 7. 1965.
NZ and Vietnam
NZ and Vietnam
There is one reason why New Zealand should send troops to Vietnam—and one only.
It lies in the pathetic fact that our defence policy, if not our foreign policy, is based on the cliche "America, Right or Wrong."
This is the reason that we are sending troops to Vietnam—because the USA has spoken and we must obey.
It is not necessary to go to the rights or wrongs of the strife of the Vietnam war to find good reasons why we should firmly tell the USA to fight their fight without our troops.
We are (or rather we were) committed to the principles of the United Nations. Over the years past we have decried exactly what we are now doing.
It has been suggested that if the United Nations could meet it would do exactly what we are now doing. It is unlikely that it would do any such thing. This would not be because of the opposition of Communist countries.
It would be because what we are doing now is not supporting a peace-keeping mission, but helping to impose a military solution of our own making.
The United States has shown in a few short weeks that it can be horribly wrong—in the Dominican Republic. The parallels between this intervention and the Russian intervention in Hungary are too close for a dispassionate consideration.
In Viet Nam there is good reason to think they are wrong again. France thinks so—and France has fought in Viet Nam.
Mr. Holyoake has had to bolster his arguments with McCarthy tactics—calling his critics Communists or Communist stooges.
These tactics are despicable, just as the allegations could be libels. They show an aridity of government thought and a paucity of real fact.
Opposition to the sending of troops need not be based on Communist, anti-American, pacifist or appeasement attitudes. It has a firm basis in what we profess to believe in.— H.B.R.