Hit and Run turning into a Choke and Flop

Political commentator Peter Wilson predicts the slow death of Hager’s latest swing and a miss.

On the face of it, the Defence Force has refuted claims the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad were attacked, and has discredited the book’s account of civilian deaths in those villages.

But it too has a problem.

The authors, and lawyers representing the villagers, say there is no village called Tirgiran. It is the name of the valley where the operation took place.

The Defence Force maps simply have the name Tirgiran on them in the Operation Burnham area.

That gives the authors some room to move.

They’re saying that surely the villagers who were attacked know the names of the places where they live – and those names are Naik and Khak Khuday Dad.

Meanwhile the clamour for an inquiry goes on, with Labour being the latest party to again demand one.

Prime Minister Bill English is in no hurry.

He’s ruled out an inquiry into possible war crimes – the authors’ initial demand – but not into other, unspecified, issues.

English is now waiting for a written report from the chief of the Defence Force before making up his mind.

That could take a while.

As time passes and confusion around the allegations continues, the launch day impact is fading.

Most members of the public don’t have the time or inclination to delve into the claims and counter claims, they will soon lose interest.

And when English does reach a conclusion, it will be old news.

Which would suit him very well.

We’re no longer talking about the “revenge kill”, we’re pulling at bits and pieces of the book.

The momentum has been lost.

And sadly for Hager, this time, all the help he got from the media backfired.

As a hit on John Key or the government in an election year, this one really has no legs.


– Peter Wilson, RNZ