More words from activist filmaker Sumner Burstyn

The following is a Twitter conversation between a member of the NZDF and Sumner Burstyn who hates on New Zealand women for their “choices” Mr Te Tai is trying to engage Ms Burstyn in a rational conversation about why her previous remarks on Baker’s death were offensive:

¬†He is an absolute gem – he is not trying to serve her arse to her on a platter but is debating points around New Zealand’s part in Afghanistan. Te Tai avoids personal attacks and Burstyn very quickly becomes feral. The only changes I have made is to highlight the names. The exchange speaks for itself.

Kane Te Tai
Sumner. I am offended by what you have posted about my friend Jacinda Baker. Now here’s a couple of pointers you may want to consider. We may operate under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom but we have our own mission, one that does not include US policies and the like. We are in provincial reconstruction and that’s what we do. Period. My time spent in Afghanistan with the Provincial Reconstruction team did not involve me carrying out direct action missions against the Taliban or the Afghan people. And I am an infantryman, trained only in combat. Strange isn’t it? an infantry soldier not fighting? but that’s what we were there to do. This is how it works.

We fly over and take up one of five positions in the province. Each position is manned by a team that specialises ONLY in providing assistance to the local populace. Handing out blankets, water, radios and disarming mines. Each position does this. We do not hunt down people nor do we fire many rounds (unless we are training) I can count on one hand how many engagements our country has had with the Taliban. How many civilians have we killed in our military history. A big fat zero. We do not fight this war unless they fight us first. Only in defence. Not one NZ soldier has engaged first in any conflict in Afghanistan so don’t paint us with the same brush as the US. We aren’t them. Also the people of Bamiyan are some of our greatest friends, it is the only province where we can walk around without weapons and we did that. We helped them. We treated them as equals and we have a strong bond with them. It is one of the only places in the country that doesn’t want us to leave. And they are vocal with that to the media, it was the first place to have your fellow women being taught at schools. We built that school. The first place in the country where women can walk down the road without a burkha. The only part of the country where stoning women to death is outlawed. So don’t preach the things you heard on the news. It doesn’t apply to us. We are doing our job, we are trained better and we have a heart.

And don’t you dare paint my friends with slander. Especially Jacinda, she was a kind soul and she joined the army to heal people – friend or foe. One day when you find some bravery come back and apologise to us. I know you may not agree with the war but someone has to keep the wolves at bay. With us we will do our part by ensuring no innocent blood is shed. And if you can show me one time it has been by us in that country then I will avidly support your view. Just get your facts straight Sumner. Do your research, especially on your topic. And don’t open your mouth (or stretch your fingers) until you know what’s going on.

That is it. Digest that and if you have anything intelligent and more importantly factual then reply. If you can’t, add me and apologise – that takes more guts then pot shotting like you did.


2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
killing is still killing.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
But who’s doing the killing?
Sumner, the thing is we are only in a defensive role there. We don’t go searching the countryside for Taliban, that’s not our role so we don’t do it.
I don’t know where you got your information from, but you need to stop pulling the columns from Time magazine and actually see what’s going on. From the looks of it you don’t know why we are there. And you should at least know that.
I was expecting something more intelligent from you but I guess that’s it huh? You are talking to someone who has lived and breathed Afghanistan right now. So here’s your opportunity to ask what you want, get the answers you need and the truth. I promise you that. No political bullshit, no drone-like answers stapled from the army. You will get the truth as I’ve done it, seen it. You have the stones to throw out the challenge, are you brave enough to continue?

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
what a load of rubbish. One man’s Taliban is anothers freedom fighter. Do you know who set up and funded the Taliban? Do you know any recent history? you are there to support NZ’s free trade with America. You’re not fighting for anything that is good or noble and you are not fighting for peace my friend, you are cannon fodder for oi.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
They have given us intimate knowledge about previous countries engagements, including the US CIA involvement with the Muji in the 80’s. One man’s Taliban? well you have that right. Ever seen a woman been stoned to death by Taliban supporters? That’s what we go for. Not for gold, oil, minerals.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
I know why I went and why my friends do. Supporting Free Trade, maybe that is a side bet for the government but the why is because the US needed to chase down Bin Laden and we knew that once the US opened a few holes then they would need people to start restabilising certain regions.

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
oh my god, you bought it all, all the PR, all of it. that is very sad. I’m sorry for all the work your mum put into raising you – all that to die in the sands for capitalism. I suggest you block me now.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
You still have failed to say anything of worth. Just things you recycled off CNN after 2008. Come on Sumner! is this it? I thought you had more. You started this and this is it? Disappointing so far. If you are wondering why it’s so hard to get a foothold on this conversation (that I am keeping an open mind to) is because my view is from the ground floor. I’ve been there. I’ve walked it. I’ve shaken the hands of the people. I broken bread with the heads of villages, I’ve hauled heavy generators up steep hills to power their heaters during a minus 30 winter, I’ve watched over their kids while they’ve slept, I’ve fed them, clothed them, administered first aid to them and that’s me doing stuff all. What my friends did before and after me was far more extraordinary. I am very upset with the lack of evidence or originality you have come forward with. Nevermind.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
Why would I block you? there is nothing you can say that has much worth? you are going to soon play the Brainwashed card, really? we bought the PR? trust me, if there’s anyone that hates PR more – it’s soldiers. We aren’t US Marines or US Army Rangers who bought the George Bush Bullshit. We didn’t. We joined the army to travel and do things that a whole lot of kids from where we are from don’t get to do. The reality is different unfortunately, that’s life. But we never bought into anything that got forced down our throats. Because the truth is we didn’t get any. We didn’t get forced by our command to go, we fought in NZ to get there. We crawled over each other for the chance to set this injustice right. You need to see the people there, they don’t lie like you and I. You can see the truth run straight through them. You have the right to say what you want but make it real. Make it correct and accurate. Otherwise you’re just another stereotypical idiot trying to get a bite. And bite I think you are about to get. Not from me personally but from the people you think you’re speaking for.

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
good for you. I understand you need to hold on to whatever makes sense. But it’s hardly heroic, especially if you bothered to read more widely. you could start with War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Don’t start quoting Chris Hedges dude. We could be up all night talking about the Obama impact and the NDAA lawsuits as such, don’t worry I’ve done my homework. As I said, I know this inside and out. Yeah he has an opinion of worth, Capitalism exa versa and low socio-economic recruitment… that detracts from us, New Zealanders. Do you see them doing that here in NZ? No, so move on. I’ll keep you up past your bedtime about that. If you were gonna start quoting anti war script I would’ve gone with Alekzsander Solhitnetzen (pardon my spelling it’s been awhile)

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
I understand you are a smart guy who has fucked with his mind to make it morally acceptable to kill others who are no threat to you or me at all. Come home and turn your skills against our government. Change sides.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Is that it? I just verbally bombed you and that’s it. Think it’s your bedtime. See before I embarked on me going away I read everything. Ask anyone who knows me, I ain’t no fool. I went because I am a doer – not a talker. So are my friends. We studied the material before we went. And never once did I say it was right nor did I say I had killed anyone. Why would you even start that? panic shots are what we call what you’re doing. Punching in any direction. Someone has just probed your position and instead of holding your discipline you have shown you had none and fired with your main weapon, your sections machine gun. Now i know where it is, I’m gonna pummel it. Like I did and now I’ve found you are lacking. I don’t win. We win, by win. My friends Luke, Rich, Jacinda and me.

Change sides? Hell no. And abandon the people I swore to protect. To not serve the word I swore upon when i was 17? To spit upon my dead friends? You got me wrong. Even if the whole world took your side, which they don’t, and it was just me. I’d still be here telling you to take it on out the door with you. I’m a grunt. We don’t runaway.

You have nothing to offer to me or this world. I’m done with you. I just filled you out like an application.


about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
ok, good for you. You go onward being an obedient killer. I did not answer your verbal ‘bomb’ (interesting choice of words) as it is clear you’ve drunk the CoolAid. And all those people you are ‘helping’ would not need your help except for the games the US plays with their countries and lives. Guess you’ll be off to Iran next. I will be sad when I see your name and photo in the paper.

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
clearly war is a force that gives your life meaning.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Clearly you can’t read. You are brainwashed into thinking people in NZ uniforms are there to kill people. And even if you did see my name in the paper, which you won’t. Don’t be sad. I wouldn’t be. Because I’d get to be the person that didn’t die drink driving, or getting hit by a bus in Wellington. I’d get to be like my mates, someone who saw something shit and instead of doing what a human was programmed to do (cutting and running) they fought that feeling and took upon themselves the hard way. The way that would lead them to certain death and ultimately the right way. You have no comeback. I think you just got served. You might want to block me now

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
interesting that your aspirations for your self are so low. You are clearly smart

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Sumner, I chose this life. If there are a billion alternate universes in each one I chose to be a soldier. It is right to be one. People like me are the ones that gave you that pen in your hand to slander us with. To me that’s right. When I see you complain I am sad but happy that you can do so. So with that you have a good night. Hope you learnt something and next time read a few more books then me, it’ll be hard… but you can get there. After people like me fight in the night to make sure you can and I’d like you to exercise that right. Enjoy life. My friends can’t anymore.

Goodbye Sumner, I enjoyed our conversation. Good night

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
good night. I think your last comments are the most telling. If not this war, then you’d go and find another. Imagine if they had a war and no one came. Your fight and kill for your ego, don’t confuse it with service and duty.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
niiiiiight Sumner. You trooper you.

18 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
given Hedges is too strong for you I would assume you’ve read this
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14 minutes ago Kane Te Tai
Yip. Read it when it first came out. And I’ve told you, I’ve read Hedges dude. I’ve read every American author from the anti vietnam war era to the present. So stop trying to one up me, I’ve learn your side of the arguement but you haven’t even tried to study my side. That is the biggest mistake of a person in your profession, you should know this. Never go into any arguement half cocked.

6 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
so maybe it’s the heavy metals in the vaccines you have to take.

4 minutes ago Kane Te Tai
with our protocol A’s? I don’t think so. You are really scraping the barrel Summy bear.

3 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
You are rude. you are out

Then she blocked me yay!!!

Nicky Hager’s Other People’s Wars : New Zealand in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror (Craig Potton Publishing: Wellington, 2011) Reviewed by Mark P. Williams for Scoop Independent News
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