Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Afghanistan quagmire

Can we believe that fighting in Afghanistan will make the streets of Britain safer?  I would have thought that the reverse is true. With no clear exit strategy and the frequent loss of life by British servicemen, how long will this conflict continue and how many more servicemen and women will have to die? For what?  Why are we fighting this war?

We seem to be asking a great deal of our servicemen.  They have been inadequately equipped.  The costs are enormous in terms of helicopters, daily weaponry, logistics, injuries, deaths of highly and expensively trained personnel, and medical support.  Is it worth sacrificing our people in a country where there is widespread corruption, political turmoil, administrative bedlam, systemic failures and factional fanaticism?  There is no end in sight. We are regarded as impostors, invaders and an occupying force.  For hundreds of years the tribal groups have been fighting foreign invaders;  we are seen in the same light.  Will we succeed where others have failed?  The infrastructure needs a radical overhaul which we are not able to provide.  The people of Afghanistan must eventually solve this mess, this quagmire. There should be far more support for internal democratic institutions. Education rather than military action should be given much more thought. Hearts and minds need to be won. Warfare will not change minds but will cause resentment and the desire for revenge, spirals of violence. The massive cost of military investment in Afghanistan would be put to better use in our home intelligence service, health service and our educational system.  That investment would make Britain a safer and a better place.

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