As some sort of counter to all the nationalist nonsense that pervaded New Zealand over the weekend, there were three excellent opinion pieces published by this country’s leading leftwingers, which I’m linking to. Matt McCarten’s Herald on Sunday column was entitled We’re still hanging on to the Empire’s coat tails and argued that New Zealand is still heavily committed to waging wars against innocent citizens and nations around the world, including against the people of Afghanistan. Our political leaders are thus hypocritical when they spout ‘the solemn message that we must not forget the fruitlessness of war’ while do exactly the opposite and continue to blindly follow the lead of Britain the US in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan. He points out that ‘We rightly got bloody noses from the Turkish conscripts who were defending their lands’ in Gallipoli in 1915. Chris Trotter blogged an excerpt from his No Left Turn book, that explains that New Zealand sent our troops to kill and die, not for freedom and democracy, ‘but to strengthen the sword-arm of one of the most brutal autocracies on the face of the planet’. Furthermore, ‘ANZACs slaughtered tens of thousands of young Turks so that the British and their French allies could carve up the territories of the Ottoman Empire between them – an act of diplomatic depravity which continues to generate death and despair across the Middle East to this very day’ – see, The Blood of Its Sons. And finally, John Minto writes, Why I won’t be wearing a red poppy, explaining that ‘it's deeply disrespectful’ to those that died to pretend that the World War I ‘deaths were for some greater good’. Instead it was ‘mindless, jingoistic madness which led a generation of young New Zealanders to be decimated on the far side of the world’.