The 14 Words

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A crusade to change the very nature of the country

On 18 December 2013, Max Hastings said this in The Daily Mail:
“Cameron is deluded. The tragic truth is that Britain accomplished NOTHING in Afghanistan…
Cameron was asked by reporters accompanying his Christmas visit to British troops in Helmand province whether they could declare their mission accomplished. He answered 'yes'… 
Cameron could scarcely have told the press corps in Afghanistan: 
‘We have lost this war. All our effort and sacrifice over the past 12 years has achieved pathetically little.’ But to assent to the proposition that Britain and the other combatant Nato nations can congratulate themselves on a job completed is like Charles Saatchi announcing that his last marriage was a success.
The U.S., Britain and other nations sent small contingents into Afghanistan in 2001 to achieve a limited purpose. They sought to secure the eviction of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, by assisting local warlords to topple the Taliban host government. In this, they were swiftly successful. 
Unfortunately, however, the very ease of the achievement led Bush and Tony Blair to suppose that they could go much further.”
If you ever wanted to know the real reason 446 British soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan, ladies and gentlemen, the following paragraph sums it up quite nicely:
“In 2006, they committed reinforcements in a crusade to change the very nature of the country, install a viable democracy, modernise the country and destroy the opium industry. In all this, of course, the West has failed. The expenditure of hundreds of billions of pounds, the loss of hundreds of American and British lives and tens of thousands of Afghan ones have merely transformed the country into one of the most corrupt on earth. Whole avenues of skyscrapers in Dubai are owned by associates of President Hamid Karzai, built with cash ultimately stolen from Western taxpayers.”
Bush, Blair, New Labour, almost all the Tories and, yes, most Lib Dems too, were for intervention in Afghanistan. Since 2010, Nick Clegg and co. have, likewise, toed the Tory line. Ultimately, all of these far-seeing. all knowing politicians sent our boys off to kill and die ‘to transform the country into one of the most corrupt on earth.’ Max continues:
"A couple of years ago, I heard an Afghan say: ‘You people pretend that you are here for our sakes, but of course you only serve your own purposes. When will your leaders understand that our people do not wish to be like Westerners? We are what we are. It is arrogant and stupid to think you could change us.’
The opium industry has much expanded. Huge sums of our money have been spent on training the Afghan army and police to take over security responsibilities, which they remain quite unfit to do. When Western forces relinquish their combat role a year hence, the Afghans will lack the technology and, above all, air power that have kept the Taliban at least partially at bay.
There is no rule of law: evidence produced in Afghan courts is routinely extracted by torture. The Kabul parliament is a bad joke: MPs routinely impeach ministers in order to secure the standard $10,000-a-head bribe for subsequently letting them off… A substantial proportion of the Afghan army is routinely absent without leave, especially when men are required to fight. Most of their officers are unfit for command.
When the U.S. and British forces go home, it is generally assumed that the country will lapse back into warlordism. It is unlikely, given the attitude of the country’s leading politicians, that women will retain any of the rights or even access to education which have been hard-won for them since 2001. No sane person could possibly dignify this situation as ‘mission accomplished’…
Whenever I have visited Afghanistan and seen the laundry on villagers’ clothes lines whirled into brownness by dust clouds thrown up by passing helicopters, while goats and sheep stampeded before the Western armoured juggernauts, I have often reflected that, were I an Afghan, I would do anything to rid my country of these tiresome aliens…
A U.S. general once described to me his regiment’s battlefield successes in Iraq, then concluded sadly: ‘The trouble was, there was nothing to join up to’…

It is because this same problem has been glaringly apparent in Syria that so many of us thought David Cameron had taken leave of his senses when he projected yet another intervention there, which Parliament mercifully frustrated.

For the Prime Minister to secure the trust and respect of the British Army, it is simply not good enough for him to turn up in Afghanistan and tell the lads how well they have done. Every man-jack is thoroughly aware that they will be returning from the war to serve in armed forces drastically shrunken in size and depressed in spirit by savage cuts imposed by Mr Cameron’s own Government.

He had the brass neck to invite a standing ovation for our brave boys in Afghanistan at the Tory Party conference, even as Philip Hammond, the bleak accountant masquerading as Defence Secretary, is busy reducing the Army to its smallest size since the 17th century. Ministers fail to see the glaring contradiction between their continuing enthusiasm for military adventures, and mistreatment of the Armed Forces that are repeatedly invited to prosecute ill-judged campaigns in the Muslim world.

To be fair to Cameron, Afghanistan has been one of Tony Blair’s disasters rather than his own. But many people warned the Prime Minister before he took office in 2010 that the war was getting nowhere. He has nonetheless persisted in the struggle, and continued to nurse vain hopes...

We shall not see any recognisable democracy in Afghanistan, any more than one exists in Iraq. 

Oh yes, our young men and women didn’t die for nothing, ladies and gentlemen. They died for much less than that.


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