Hit & Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the meaning of honour
by Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson (Potton & Burton, $35)
Reviewed by Vaughan Rapatahana
This slim, 159 page soft cover book – for anyone who never goes near online news sources – has swiftly metastasised into a much larger and harder online tome replete with finger-pointing, counter-story, accusation and allegation, even calls for a commission of Inquiry. As I pen this review, it has taken on a life larger than its own
Hager and Stephenson are colleagues in a very rare Aotearoa corps; namely that of investigative, penetrating – some would say mud-slinging – journalists, who are never afraid to cast guilt when they think it is merited, which is certainly a key impetus here.
For the authors repetitively claim that the New Zealand Defence Force, camouflaged in the more specialised garb of the supposedly-elite SAS, blitzkrieged two small rural villages in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan during a raid codenamed Operation Burnham, on the evening of August 22, 2010. Not only were the SAS responsible for advocating and then actioning the actual raid, they also pinpointed what homes to destroy and which people to obliterate for the ever-ready fingers in U.S. Air Force Apache helicopter gunships lurking there as an important weave in an overall allied eiderdown.