Saturday, October 04, 2008

Is the Afghan campaign doomed to failure ?

Can anyone remember John Reid telling about how the British military would move into Helmand province as part of an assistance program, probably without a shot needing to be fired ? Maybe he even believed it, though that's no excuse for getting things so wrong when the cost of failure is paid in so many of our fellow citizens lives.

Now its being reported - and of course being new Labour rapidly rebutted - that the British Ambassador in Kabul think foreign troops, ie ours, are a part of the problem and that the current regime is too weak to stand. ( On a diplomatic front it knocks that Obama's a bit bookish leak into a hat. )

Things appear to be tough in Afghanistan, and there is a good argument about giving encouragement to the enemy by criticising. I have to admit to nothing but admiration for how the US military has handled Iraq recently, learning their lessons and getting on with what they have learnt to achieve something that they are smart enough not to call victory.

All that being said there are those who argue that any foreign presence in this part of the world will create a violent response, and that the support for the Taliban and radical Islam is in many ways tactical by the local Pashtun population towards ejecting that forign influence.

I think its time that serious questions were asked of our government about what is achievable in Afghanistan, and when it will be achieved including some short term milestones that we can verify. ( I for one have had enough of Gordon Brown con trick of choosing dates a decade away for targets he'll never be around to be measured against. )

Its a degree of scepticism that is also currently missing from the Conservative party.

I'm not saying we should pull out, though the UK's ambassador does seem to imply that, just that I can point to nothing from our government that gives me any confidence. This means that the war in Afghanistan is closing in on the definition of an unjust war as it may be unwinable or at least the mechanism for winning has not been outlined.

I hold back, just, from going further as the Americans have shown what can be done with a plan (the Surge), will and determination in Iraq.

Its time to hear about the UK governments plan and how they should be judged against it, which justifies the loses of civilian and military lives.

Update: In today's Sunday Times it is reported that the British Military commander in Afghanistan says we shouldn't expect victory by Christina Lamb. If that's the case then its an unjust war by definition. Our politicians have a lot of explaining to do. Unfortunately they will be able to fill the media with initiatives and Westminster village stories to bury this and the continual deaths that result. PS Do you think Brown will stop mentioning them at PMQs next session ?

Further: John Redwood is considering the question and asking for your comments over at his blog here.

Simon Jenkins in the Times here indiactes that the West is now looking for an exit.


Stonemason said...

Has any army ever won in Afghanistan?

James Higham said...

It always was doomed and no lessons have been learnt. It was not intended to succeed but to create presence there for other agendas.

Wyrdtimes said...

Always destined to fail.

The Russians couldn't do it and they didn't have pinko hand wringers watching every move.

If they want to fight radical Islam they should start in Birmingham, Blackburn and London etc.