Monday, 12 April 2010

The Forgotten War, Afghanistan

We have had 24/7 media on the General election, most of it on the big three parties. And they are talking about some very small differences in economic policy, on a wide range of issues they are similar. Some of the campaigning has also been quite nasty, inventing policies that the others have not announced. Poor old Vince Cable struggled to explain the LD poster announcing a possible future Tory VAT increase.

So what has been missing from this debate? Quite a lot actually. Where are the policies on climate change? How about some policy ideas on cutting emissions? And where is the war?

You would be forgiven for not realising that we were at war, it barely gets mentioned. A few months ago there was a lot of coverage for Brown getting his sums wrong for funding the war. When increased numbers of our troops started dying, the media focused on the lack of equipment. But where is the debate on why we are at war in the first place?

Labour claim that the war makes us safer here. Lets not forget they also said in 2001 that the troops will be home with no shots fired. I think our troops being there makes things worse. We should be using diplomatic and economic pressure, not military. We have had troops in Afghanistan for 9 years! That is almost twice as long as WW2! Clearly Iraq war distracted us from Afghanistan, many people in both countries have died with little cause.

And 57 per cent - of the public think there is no hope of winning the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Immigration minister Phil Woolas told MPs that, if troops were withdrawn and the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, more asylum seekers would come our way! "An argument that is not aired strongly enough in my view is the benefit of the presence of our armed forces and other countries' is to help us control immigration."

The British death toll in Afghanistan has passed that of the Falklands War. A total of 256 British servicemen and women have now died since the conflict in Afghanistan began in October 2001 - one more than the number who died in the 74-day campaign to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982.

George Orwell warned or perpetual war in his book 1984. The state of war is used by each of the states to justify the control of their populations using Stalinist methods. Perpetual war not only kept the population busy, it also encouraged a "siege mentality" in which hatred of the enemy and love for the government's protection were social norms. He meant it as a warning, not a manual.

The other thing about wars in Afghan, they have historically been a disaster.

The first Afghan War (1839–1842) resulted in the destruction of a British army; it is remembered as an example of the ferocity of Afghan resistance to foreign rule.

The second Anglo-Afghan war (1878–1880) brought Amir Abdur Rahman to the Afghan throne.
The Maiwand Lion is a sculpture and war memorial in the Forbury Gardens, a park in central Reading. The statue was named after the Battle of Maiwand and was erected in 1886 to commemorate the deaths of 329 men from the 66th Berkshire Regiment. It is also known locally as the Forbury Lion.

The Third Afghan War (1919) saw the Afghans winning independence.

The Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-1989) is often referred to as the Soviets' Vietnam. The USA backed the rebels, later the rebels backed Osama Bin Laden. Not the result they had hoped for.

After this Afghanistan had a series of civil wars, then after 9/11/01 the NATO invaded. The stated aim of the invasion was to find Osama bin Laden and put him on trial, no sign of that happening. Labour sometimes claim the war is to allow women to go to school, but most suspect it was more to do with backing Bush and now Obama. Obama escalated the conflict, presumably for his domestic audience, to convince them how tough he was.

How much longer can this disaster go on? We have been there too long.

The Green Party stands 180 degrees against this political consensus. Our policy is to demand an end to this adventure, an immediate withdrawal of NATO soldiers and peace negotiations with all the main players.


howard thomas said...

Adrian..........climate change is not put forward by the 3 big parties because most people don't believe it.
Sorry , but thats the case!

Adrian Windisch said...

Some people don't believe it, many do. The reasons the big parties have sidelined it this time is perhaps there own poor record.

Its also PR, they empahsise what their focus groups tell them what may give them an advantage.

Of more interest to you, they also ignored a referendum on the EU and immigration. Also Quangos.

Would you say most people didnt believe in those also?

howard thomas said...

Ignoring the issues that people are most concerned about may well turn out to be the reason that Cameron could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The man has no real idea of how to connect to the average voter.
To be quite honest the man is remote from the average person, and it shows.