Sunday, 22 November 2009

Afghanistan IN or Out Debate

Nick Clegg has recently published his plan for Afghanistan in the time see the link here.

I was having an email discussion with my brother (not a Lib Dem supporter) on this point.

He I think came up with some points that I think deserve a public airing. E-mail trail below;

Brothers Post

Nice article, but we've already had 8 years in which Mr Clegg's suggestions could have been implemented. If NATO hasn't got their Afghan strategy together by this point, you have to assume that they never will.

As long as Karzai is in power this war is a sham. Billions in aid will go into the wrong pockets.

My Reply

Yes but you have to give a strategy time to work and after the recent vote, it became more clear that we need a change of tack.

But your right, we all know the effort was on Iraq, which at the end of the day has given the Taliban more time etc,

Brothers Post

How long do you give it? Wars are expensive. In the past people have gone to war for profit, resources or to protect their homeland from invaders; There would be an ultimate benefit from going to war.

All those wars with dubious winning criteria (i.e. ideological wars) always fail. Prime examples are the crusades, Korean War, Russian Afghan campaign and Vietnam. All hugely expensive in money and casualties and provided no benefit to anyone.

The only viable argument for maintaining the Afghan war is to safeguard the UK from terrorist attacks. Though this argument is highly dubious it could be achieved but will take decades and far more money than we have available to change the culture and infrastructure of the place. You cannot remove corruption from the country - it is a cultural norm and haggling, bribery and gifts is a standard way of doing business.

So the government (whoever it is) should be honest and say:

1. It will cost a fortune.
2. It will take ages.
3. Lots of troops will die.
4. It may not be successful.

Unless the govt make an extraordinarily strong argument to justify the above points, public support will continue to slip away.

I would imagine it would be much cheaper to prevent terrorism using methods in the UK. Linked to the immigration policy perhaps? Lets remember there was no Islamic terror attacks on UK soil before the Iraq war.

My Reply;

Oh dear if even you are thinking about the war like this then the government (which ever one it is) has already lost the publics support. (I have always considered my brother to be pro the war)

It's a hard choice but at the end of the day your almost right, problem is Pakistan. What if the West pulled out then the Taliban could use more effort on Pakistan, that's the real danger.

Both sides are fighting an ideological war, but I for one can’t reconcile the British losses myself with the mission.

Brothers Reply;

Pakistan is not a problem. The Americans want you to think it is a problem. It suits them very nicely that Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

Do you really think the Taliban could get control of a nuclear missile?

If so, would they launch a nuclear missile against the west? They are not that stupid. They would know to do so would mean every last one would be hunted down by every country, sparing no expense or mercy.

They just want to manage their own affairs. Unfortunately that means repression for the people they rule...but that is not our problem, according to the war mission.

My Reply;

Well not so much that more they would have more people to fight Pakistan in the boarders making a prolonged war there. I cant see them getting hold of nuclear missiles myself, but it could turn into a civil war if the Taliban can throw more men and arms at the war.

Brothers Reply

The only reason the Taliban are so strong is because they can use foreign invaders as justification for drawing new young recruits to their cause. If there is no religious imperative for joining the Taliban, their oppressive methods of rule will soon make them obsolete as people rebel against them.

My Reply;

Hmmm you could be right.

Brothers Reply;

I would really like to know what the true reason for this conflict is.
It can't be to stop Islamic terrorism, because there was not any before the US invaded Iraq following the Kuwait incursion. So it is clear the 'war on terror' is the usual propaganda aimed at voting populations back home. The Americans learnt their PR lesson in Vietnam and have been extremely careful not to allow any blood or bodies to be seen on US television sets. Which suggests the media is also on a government leash, because there are plenty of videos and pictures on the web.

That leaves Oil I suppose. If it's not oil it would be very interesting what the reason is.

One thing is for sure; the 'war' is proving to be a lot harder than expected. Which, looking at history, should not be a surprise.

What do you think about the Afghanistan war; should we pull out?

Also to add more fuel to the fire as it were have a look at his article called How the US [Still] Funds the Taliban here on the Nation website.


  1. Because our politicians are spineless popularity chasers who don't have any deeply held convictions here is what will happen in Afghanistan:

    The nature of this war (i.e. foreign troops fighting a section of the indigenous population) means that there will never be an outright victory and young soldiers will continue the come home in bodybags for as long as British troops are out there. Public opinion fanned by the gutter-press has turned against our involvement in the war against the Taliban therefore our politicians will bow to public opinion and withdraw the troops. The only question is how quickly. I imagine that Labour will want to hang on until the General Election so that the Tories have to make the decision to pull them out and Labour can then take the high moral ground about a necessary sacrifice against terrorism. The Tories will spin the withdrawal as a victory of some sort, but the reality that is that this has always been an unwinnable conflict and all those lives will have been lost for nothing.

  2. Anonymous, I think your mostly right accept Im not so sure the Tories would pull out, im sure for the first term atleast they eill stay there unless there is a US withdrawal