Our Afghanistan Problem

18 Aug

The War in Afghanistan: what exactly is the plan?

I’ve always had issues with invading Afghanistan. Yeah, I hated the Taliban as much as the next person (and yeah, I knew about them before 2001), but I couldn’t see the sense in a ground-war in a country so completely conditioned for decentralised guerrilla combat.

The plan, if it was to be violent (let’s face it, military retaliation was exactly what 9/11 was intended to provoke), should have been intelligence-gathering, air-strikes and hardware support for anti-Taliban forces. Not that I’m a military expert of course.

The one thing democratic governments can’t suffer is an endless war of attrition in a faraway land. Any conflict in Afghanistan, that involved regular infantry on the ground, was always going to be one.

Now it seems, the British public are starting to turn against continued intervention in Afghanistan.

The thing is, I’m not sure how I should feel about it all. We’ve encouraged the Afghani people to get involved in democracy. We’ve empowered women to risk their lives to take a stake in the process. We promised these people a better future. Are we to now cash in our chips and leave them to it?

Whether you agreed with the war or not, it was conducted in our name. We voted in our leaders, we share the collective responsibility for their actions.

So what now? Do we continue to support the deeply flawed and fragile Afghani project, or do we pull our troops out? I’ve not got the answer, if that’s why you’re here.

What bothers me though, is that we’re not taking a shared responsibility. We’re not risking our lives by going to school, or having to take a different route to the office every day. We’re not all, like many hundreds of Military families, dreading the phone call that tells them that a loved one has been killed in a hostile land thousands of miles away. What contribution is the majority making?

I’m sorry, but a rich nation sending soldiers into battle without adequate hardware is unforgivable. Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, insists that the war is “winnable”. Is it? Is it really?

We have no strategy to win. There is no half-arsed strategy to win a war where the enemy dissolves into the landscape, able to pick and choose its fights. So how much blood do we spill before the inevitable humiliating withdrawal?

We have two choices. We can leave now, and send our troops back to their families alive. Or we put the many more thousands of boots on the ground it will take to lock-down the violence. And we give them the helicopters, body-armor, and weapons needed to do the job.

A war cannot be won on the cheap. We are selling-out our troops, and we should demand every politician in the land answers for that.

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4 Responses to “Our Afghanistan Problem”

  1. 67pepeperez@gmail.com August 18, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Latest Obama’s words to the effect is that Afghanistan must go on to avoid another 911. Good Lord!What’s that war really for? My info is that it is necessary to ensure supply of oil or gas or whatever. So, it’s a war to defend the interests of those that are charging fuel now again up to levels before the crisis. My latest is that oil is at $70.So our men are dying for it, and our taxes are being wasted on it. On top of it that democracy our leaders fill up their mouths so much with in Afghanistan has served for a new law (NOT enacted by the TALIBAN but by those backed by the coalition forces) whereby women who refuse to lie with their husbands may be left to starve to death.Some Democracy!

  2. 67pepeperez@gmail.com August 18, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Latest Obama’s words to the effect is that Afghanistan must go on to avoid another 911. Good Lord!What’s that war really for? My info is that it is necessary to ensure supply of oil or gas or whatever. So, it’s a war to defend the interests of those that are charging fuel now again up to levels before the crisis. My latest is that oil is at $70.So our men are dying for it, and our taxes are being wasted on it. On top of it that democracy our leaders fill up their mouths so much with in Afghanistan has served for a new law (NOT enacted by the TALIBAN but by those backed by the coalition forces) whereby women who refuse to lie with their husbands may be left to starve to death.Some Democracy!

  3. mrzhisou@gmail.com August 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    It’s a tough one, there is no easy answer, but the region – in particular Pakistan – is too strategically important to just quit, even if that’s the right thing to do on some levels.Ideally we’d get Afghanistan to increasingly police itself and build its own nation, then we – in broad coalition – can try to mop up bin Laden, AQ and the Taliban.

  4. mrzhisou@gmail.com August 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    It’s a tough one, there is no easy answer, but the region – in particular Pakistan – is too strategically important to just quit, even if that’s the right thing to do on some levels.Ideally we’d get Afghanistan to increasingly police itself and build its own nation, then we – in broad coalition – can try to mop up bin Laden, AQ and the Taliban.

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