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Hosking on the ‘Hager Saga’: is this Mike’s worst minute yet?

Mike Hosking says it’s been three days and, hey, the weekend’s just around the corner why the hell are you still worried about some war thing from ages ago?

It’s well-known that Mike Hosking has stolen almost all of New Zealand’s worst opinions, and will be shitting them out once a day until the world ends, which will be mercifully soon if he has his way. Mostly they’re sort of reliably bad – “What housing bubble?”; “There’s nothing wrong with dairy”. The kind of terrible take a relative might say around the dinner table at your Grandma’s birthday party, and was likely planted there by Hosking’s ZB show anyway, in some kind of bleak analogue-era feedback loop.

This one is different. Not because it’s a two-and-a-half minute long minute (Mike’s maths has never been strong), but because these opinions might represent peak obnoxious for the sighing, perma-weary 52-year-old.

Nothing at all to see here

Within these 153 seconds he manages to airily dismiss the concerns of the Minister of Defence who presided over the events described in Hit and Run and the reporting of Hager and “his mate” (known to those who have bothered to read the book’s cover as Jon Stephenson). Each of whom seems far better placed than Hosking to know what actually went on in Afghanistan.

Worse, he doesn’t pause for a moment to consider the suffering of the dead and injured and their families. They barely rate a mention. His circular argument can essentially be summed up as “war is bad, and as we already know this we should never ever have an inquiry about anything that happens there, as we already know it’s bad”.

Which seems both morally and intellectually bankrupt. There were allegedly six human lives extinguished in the incident, led by New Zealand troops under their own orders. We as a nation, in continuing to deny civilian deaths, seem to be implying that all were enemy combatants – by implication including Fatima, a three year old girl. According to Hosking, this is “not worth a book, let alone an inquiry”; the prime minister himself, by contrast has been careful not to rule out the need for an investigation, instead saying, more than once, that he will not “be rushed into an inquiry”. Hosking seems to miss Key so much he’s taken on his role of dismissing a concern out of hand, rather than even making a show of engaging with it.

If you haven’t listened to the whole thing (please don’t), here are five standout sections / “thoughts”:

  • “So, as we end the week, where are we at with the Hager Saga? Hopefully finishing it up and putting it in it’s rightful place which comes under the broad category of ‘done and dusted’.”
  • “Hager and his mate got their day in the sun this week, those of us who see this for what it is got to work through the detail and we broadly conclude that the event in question a) has been covered before, b) isn’t a war crime, c) doesn’t need an inquiry and d) was clearly a set of events that went badly wrong in a war zone, but if we investigated every event that didn’t go to plan in a war zone, we’d have more inquiries than we have wars, and we have far too many of those.”
  • “Sadly post the release the media – who can’t help themselves on such matters – want to dissect every detail inside out, upside down, and in doing so forget the bigger picture.” [editor’s note: MIKE! That’s literally the media’s job! And you ARE the media!]
  • “What Wayne Mapp for example saw on a TV show is not a revelation, it doesn’t change anything.”
  • “This looks like a very bad day for the SAS, but this is war, it is not worth a book or an enquiry, and as we head to the weekend enough people with level heads seem to have come to that conclusion, and that is no bad thing.”

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