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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.

Sunny on Iran

22 Jun

Agreed.

But…

The election was a fraud. ~ Sunny Hundal

I can’t help but wince when people claim that the result was fraudulent. We don’t know that. We suspect it, but we don’t know it.

The western press, as we know, polled the urban young. Many warned, prior to the election, that non-urban areas are far more conservative and that there Ahmedinijad is very well liked.

It’s apparent that some intimidation occurred, and the election result is questionable, but we should be careful about being so certain that any foreign election we don’t like is rigged.

And – this folks is the huge elephant in the room – it’s highly unlikely that the installation of Moussavi would lead to the rapid liberalisation of Iranian society.

That said… Sunny is dead-right. Conservatives demanding action are dead-wrong.

Know-nothing Republican senators and vacuous Tory blowhards should keep their traps shut. What would a “strong statement” actually achieve, apart from justifying the Iranian establishment’s claims of foreign chicanery?

If we can help the Iranian progressives logistically, we should. But help should come from western citizens, not moronic conservative politicians trying to score political points.

Iran is at a crossroads. We should allow the people of Iran to determine their own destiny.

*Yeah, I know I’m on hiatus, but I needed a rant*

Craig Murray: I will accuse Jack Straw on Torture

20 Mar

From Craig’s blog ::

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to hear my evidence on torture on Tuesday 28 April at 1.45pm. Many thanks to everyone who helped lobby for this.

I am delighted, as I have been trying for over four years to lay the truth about British torture policy before Parliament. I will testify that as British Ambassador I was told there is a very definite policy to accept intelligence from torture abroad, and that the policy was instituted and approved by Jack Straw when Foreign Secretary. I will tell them that as Ambassador I protested formally three times in writing to Jack Straw, and that the Foreign Office told me in reply to my protests that this was perfectly legal.

I will prove my evidence with documentation….

Read more…

Hat-tip Jennie (email), who wonders whether the MSM will run with this significant story? We’ll see. If the blogosphere makes a big deal, then I would imagine The Guardian will pick it up.

Craig Murray must be allowed to address the JCHR

4 Mar

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, is need of your assistance ::

On Tuesday 10 March the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear my evidence on the UK government’s policy of using intelligence from torture. They discussed whether to hear my evidence on 3 March but failed to reach a conclusion.

The government is lobbying hard for my exclusion. I need everybody to send an email to jchr@parliament.uk to urge that I should be allowed to give evidence. Just a one-liner would be fine. If you are able to add some comment on the import of my evidence, or indicate that you have heard me speak or read my work, that may help. Please copy your email to craigjmurray@tiscali.co.uk.

Please also pass on this plea to anyone you can and urge them to act. Help from other bloggers in posting this appeal would be much appreciated.

The evidence I am trying to give the parliamentary committee is this:

I wish to offer myself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as “Compelling and valuable”.

Murray goes on to outline the key points he wishes to make to the JCHR.

Craig Murray has a history of fighting for universal human rights. As a result of his outspoken criticisms of Islam Karimov’s brutal regime in Uzbekistan, Murray was withdrawn as an ambassador. Since leaving this post, Murray has continued to campaign for the rights of those suffering at the hands of “friendly” governments, and to question the UK government’s complicity in torture.

Now is the time for you to do your part.

Please send an email and let’s get Craig’s voice heard.

Those wonderful Saudis

23 Dec

Those Saudis are a lovely friendly bunch, aren’t they?

They’re the ones with all that oil and money who are so lovely that they’re apparently above the law. And so friendly that we often have them around for tea and nibbles, just so we can tell them how great they are. Yeah, we know that they finance those Wahabbist madrassahs that indoctrinate so many angry little jihads, but what’s a few civilian casualties between friends?

The Saudis are so great. I love the Saudis.

From The Guardian ::

An eight-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was married off by her father to a 58-year-old man has been told she cannot divorce her husband until she reaches puberty.

Lawyer Abdu Jtili said the divorce petition was filed by the unnamed girl’s divorced mother in August after the marriage contract was signed by her father and the groom. “The judge has dismissed the plea because she [the mother] does not have the right to file, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty,” lawyer Abdullah Jtili told the AFP news agency.

You gotta love’em too, huh?

The irregular quote of the day

8 Oct

Patrick J. Buchanan writes in Human Events ::

Before either a President Obama or McCain sends 10,000 more troops into Afghanistan, he should conduct a review as to whether this war is winnable, and at what cost in blood, money and years.

Rightwing sense

15 Aug

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

Pat Buchanan’s piece over at the US conservative site, Human Events, is worthy of your time. The comments, from the rabid “nuke now” readership, are much more scary…