Thursday, January 1, 2009

Our "War in Afghanistan"--Is It Winnable?

One Brit's View:

[excerpt from Peter Hitchens' "Like Haig on the Somme, we’ll bleed to death in Afghanistan" - one Brit's view]


We must pull our troops out of Afghanistan. It is no good waiting for the Americans to lift us off this hook.

They will leave, too, in the end, but they do not know it yet.

It takes quite a nerve for us to claim we are fighting terror and promoting civilisation in Afghanistan, when we have been beaten hollow by the IRA in Ulster, when we cannot prevent deaths like that of ‘Baby P’, and our own poorer zones are lawless wastelands of disorder and violence, guns and knives, long abandoned by authority.

In fact it is this arrogant fantasy that we have some sort of right, as a ‘civilised’ country, to visit our non-existent wisdom and our devalued ‘democracy’ on Afghanistan that infuriates me most of all about this futile adventure.


Brave young men, the best of their generation, die or are maimed for life because our politicians do not even have the small courage to admit that they were wrong.


The Government never knew why it was sending them there in the first place. Opium poppies? We grow them legally in Oxfordshire. Freeing women from the burka? It’s still worn. Fighting the Taliban? We could do that for 50 years and still lose, as anyone who knows anything about Afghanistan could have warned from the start.

It’s weeks since Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said that the idea of defeating the Taliban was ‘neither feasible nor supportable’, America’s spooks recently conceded that our operations there were in a downward spiral, and our Ambassador to Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has been revealed in a leaked document to believe that our mission is doomed.

Yet we just carry on, like Earl Haig on the Somme, spending other people’s lives like so much paper.

Afghanistan’s government is a corrupt, powerless joke, not least because it is founded on the barrels of foreign guns.

It does not even control its own capital. The Taliban are quietly re-establishing themselves in a cleverly modified form, avoiding some of their old unpopular policies.

There is no point in waiting for a new American President to save us from our own folly.


Barack Obama – like all Left-wing US Presidents – will need to prove how ‘tough’ he is quite early on, and also hopes to win over many of the neo-Cons who backed the ‘war on terror’.


And Mr Obama’s most likely way of showing off will be to step up the futile Afghan conflict, since it is still – absurdly – popular and widely believed to have a defined purpose. Probably he will make more and more raids into Pakistan, a country already stumbling around in wounded circles.


We must pull our troops out of Afghanistan. It is no good waiting for the Americans to lift us off this hook.


They will leave, too, in the end, but they do not know it yet.

It takes quite a nerve for us to claim we are fighting terror and promoting civilisation in Afghanistan, when we have been beaten hollow by the IRA in Ulster, when we cannot prevent deaths like that of ‘Baby P’, and our own poorer zones are lawless wastelands of disorder and violence, guns and knives, long abandoned by authority.

In fact it is this arrogant fantasy that we have some sort of right, as a ‘civilised’ country, to visit our non-existent wisdom and our devalued ‘democracy’ on Afghanistan that infuriates me most of all about this futile adventure.


Brave young men, the best of their generation, die or are maimed for life because our politicians do not even have the small courage to admit that they were wrong.

The Government never knew why it was sending them there in the first place. Opium poppies? We grow them legally in Oxfordshire. Freeing women from the burka? It’s still worn. Fighting the Taliban? We could do that for 50 years and still lose, as anyone who knows anything about Afghanistan could have warned from the start.

It’s weeks since Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said that the idea of defeating the Taliban was ‘neither feasible nor supportable’, America’s spooks recently conceded that our operations there were in a downward spiral, and our Ambassador to Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has been revealed in a leaked document to believe that our mission is doomed.


Yet we just carry on, like Earl Haig on the Somme, spending other people’s lives like so much paper.


Afghanistan’s government is a corrupt, powerless joke, not least because it is founded on the barrels of foreign guns.


It does not even control its own capital. The Taliban are quietly re-establishing themselves in a cleverly modified form, avoiding some of their old unpopular policies.

There is no point in waiting for a new American President to save us from our own folly.


Barack Obama – like all Left-wing US Presidents – will need to prove how ‘tough’ he is quite early on, and also hopes to win over many of the neo-Cons who backed the ‘war on terror’.


And Mr Obama’s most likely way of showing off will be to step up the futile Afghan conflict, since it is still – absurdly – popular and widely believed to have a defined purpose. Probably he will make more and more raids into Pakistan, a country already stumbling around in wounded circles.
http://howtostoptheislamicjihad.blogspot.com/2008/12/like-haig-on-somme-well-bleed-to-death.html

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