Monday, July 13, 2009

Blogging on the Afghan War

I've kept out of blogging on the Afghan war for a while now.

I've been sceptical about it for quite some time ( see my post Labour cynically fail our troops in Afghanistan Sept 2007). But the surge in Iraq showed that some success could be possible to a determined and resourced military ( American of course ). Its not me our there, nor my children, and you don't want to give the enemy succour by being over critical. But the government has tried to prevent information getting back from independent sources, and we can't rely on just official information any more. We can count the body bags however.

The government has used the troops as a form of human shield against criticism. They have offered great home comings, promised support "whatever you need" - then ordered officers not to ask for it.

We have the cynical exercise of an Armed Forces day, "Support the troops" starts to sound like "Support the government", but no where near enough helicopters and equipment for UK troops. ( I saw today that the US has 3 times as many helicopters for the number of troops deployed as we do ).

Brown is quick to use troops as back droops for photo ops of him making speeches ( and think about what bad manners that is with his back turned to them - also co-opting public servants for political window dressing ). But he never pays the required bill.

Labour resort yet again to spin, lies, deceit and misdirection. ( How can anyone deny that Labour are now essentially evil ? By their fruits shall you know them ). The truth is that even the equipment the forces now have has been worn out by the years of fighting. We haven't run a war time budget for defence - therefore our equipment is run down terribly. We may have to pull out to regroup.

But the worse of it is now becoming apparent that our leaders don't know what they are trying to do - except get themselves re-elected. ( See my post Mr Brown wants some peoples children to die in Afghanistan, maybe yours... ).

John Maples asked the question in PMQ's ( before Nick Clegg jumped on the bandwagon - hoping no doubt for a Charlie Kennedy anti Iraq type spike in the polls no doubt ).

    Q5. [284666] Mr. John Maples (Stratford-on-Avon) (Con): The seven soldiers killed in Afghanistan, whose names the right hon. and learned Lady gave us at the start of Prime Minister’s Question Time, bring to exactly 170 the tragic total of those killed in Afghanistan since 2006. Many people in my constituency are starting to doubt the wisdom of this war and I wonder whether she could remind the House of precisely what our military objective in Afghanistan is.

    Ms Harman: The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. We do not want anyone to be in any doubt about the importance of this mission in Afghanistan. It is important to ensure that in the mountainous regions surrounding Afghanistan and Pakistan, we do not have a crucible for the development of terrorism, which threatens people not only in those countries but in the wider region and, indeed, the whole world. This mission is also important for the education of people in Afghanistan. There are now 6 million children in school in that country, compared with only 1 million in early 2001. Our troops have paved the way, working with other international forces, to make that possible. They are paving the way for economic development and a more secure democracy as well as security in the region and the world. We want to make it clear to our soldiers, their families and the people of this country that we have no doubt about the importance of the mission in Afghanistan.

If that was an examination question then she would have scored zero as she answered another question all together. Maples asks something very specific. A question that anyone taking on the role of answering Prime Minister's questions during a time of war would be expected to know of the top of their head.

The truth is Labour have no idea what they are really doing - just that they don't intend to pay for it. The military is seen as "Tory" and hostile. Perhaps they even see weakening it and letting slowly bleed to death and a long term socialist policy objective ( since they won't answer the question when its put straight to them then we have to speculate ).

I suspect the truth is that Labour are in Afghanistan to keep in favour with the US. That's the military objective.

I wonder if Labour will allow "our boys" to vote in their general election - or through various tricks and changes int he voting regulations cheat many of them of their votes as well as their equipment and the support they deserve. Remember in 2005 65% of the overseas forces couldn't vote.

Finally can I take you back to July 2006 and my post on the situation then as we got into the mess in Helmand province whilst being promised that not a shot would need to be fired.


Wyrdtimes said...

I've opposed Labour's wars from day one. War should be the last resort not the first.

Everything is wrong about Afghanistan strategically it can't be won. Tactically if the objective was to stop Al Qaeda from running training camps there are much better ways of doing that without a mass deployment of troops.

Personally the best thing that could happen in Iraq is to give the farmers a legitimate and legal market for their opium - after-all there is a world shortage of the stuff!

Four of the lads killed in the last week were 18! They've not even started to live! Labour are considering dropping the voting age to 16 personally I'd raise the age of voting and joining the army to 21.

James Higham said...

I suspect the truth is that Labour are in Afghanistan to keep in favour with the US. That's the military objective.

Oil related. I ran a one hour video the other day, by The Dossier, on the interconnection between the middle-east and Afghanistan. Quite illuminating.

ContraTory said...

According to an answer the then Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence Dr Reid gave during a parliamentary debate on 27th February 2006, we are currently at “stage 3” (the final stage) of the Government’s plan in Afghanistan, namely “to assist [the Afghans] in their economic development”….Hmmm.

wildgoose said...

I agreed with getting rid of the Taleban government but once we had assisted the Northern Alliance into taking over, that should have been an end.

We would have sent a very public message by openly eliminating a government that was overtly defending and aiding Al-Qaeda.

We should then have made available a large bounty on named Al-Qaeda leaders, dead or alive, as wanted criminals.

And then we should have left Afghanistan to its own devices.

The British Empire fought 3 wars in Afghanistan and even then, at the height of our powers, we recognised it as a fruitless task.

Kipling even wrote a poem about the obvious waste of our soldiers' lives out there.

There are only national interests and we shouldn't sacrifice our interests in favour of those of another nation. I didn't notice much support for us from the U.S.A. when it came to Suez. Just the opposite, they actively opposed us.

Time to repay that favour.

We need to get out.

Letters From A Tory said...

Brown might not have got us into this mess, but he sure as hell doesn't have a clue how to get us out of it.

Man in a Shed said...

I think people are in danger of confusing cause and effect in Afghanistan.

Over Christmas the economist ran a article talking about the tribesmen in the area and their habit of fighting any foreign influence - but living relatively quietly ( with the odd vendetta ) without it.

Foreign fighters flock to Afghanistan to fight the West. Due to the high birth rates they will never run out of people unless the source of the trouble is dealt with - and its not in Afghanistan !

@Wildgoose : Your point on Suez is a good one - and one that perhaps helped keep us out of Vietnam.

@ContraTory: John Reid - seems like so long ago !

@LFAT: Which is why John Maples question is so devastating. The Lib Dems seek a wider re-run of the anti Iraq popularity they achieved. But the Conservatives are pushing on the specifics of policy - which is the responsible and patriotic thing to do.