Friday, November 06, 2009

Afghanistan's Catch-22 Madness

A war weary public on both sides of the Atlantic is braced for the next outrage as the Afghan war takes its deadly toll. Here deluded Brown is sending mixed messages, as the tide turns on his insane war.

The new Vietnam is living down to its name and the fall-out is reaching ugly proportions.

America is bracing itself for a backlash after a US muslim army major's merciless massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. The murder of UK soldiers by an Afghan 'police infiltrator' adds weight to the 'troops out' call.

In the US, where the war wounds of Vietnam linger in the minds of many, the tide is turning. The massacre at a US army base brings home the mess of America's own making. A perverse Heller's Catch-22, with a psychiatrist at the centre of the killings and the insanity of war. What does a sane man do in an insane society?

Army psychiatrist, major Hasan, was heard shouting the Arabic phrase Allahu akbar (God is Great) before killing 13 and wounding 30 at the vast Fort Hood military base. The devout muslim had spoken out against the war and was dreading his posting to Iraq or Afghanistan. The FBI is pouring over internet postings about suicide bombing purporting to come from the shooter.

Did US authorities know if Hasan was in contact with Islamic extremists? No one, it seems had bothered to check or keep tabs on him for fear of accusations of religious persecution. Some are already questioning whether the victims were killed by political correctness.

It can only get worse. Public opinion has turned, with opposition to the war rising sharply. Yesterday's YouGov survey for Channel 4 News showed a massive seventy-three per cent of people wanting troops to be withdrawn.

Today the Telegraph reports the views of families of servicemen killed in the Afghan killing fields. Their message is clear. This is the new Vietnam. We should pull out now.

But as one relative pointed out all too clearly, it takes a politician with guts to order a withdrawal for fear of it being seen as a retreat.

The latest justification for invasion - to train up Afghan police - has been exposed as a myth with the execution of five soldiers by an Afghan 'policeman'.

In Afghanistan money talks, tribal loyalties run deep and corruption is rampant. The 'rogue' policeman fled to the mountains to join his comrades in arms.

The Orange Party has long banged the drum for a complete withdrawal. This was always going to be a bloody, hopeless, unwinnable war.

Yet Brown says "we will not walk away from the Afghan mission". Which of the many mixed "missions" is that? Just who is the "we"?

Not the public. Not relatives of those killed. Not the brave troops who are 'doing a job' because they are professional soldiers. And not politicians who join ex-foreign minister Kim Howells' call to pull out and use some of the cash saved to beef up homeland security. Pragmatic realism chimes with many in the true Labour party.

The "we" is the MoD, the vested interest of a department for international development (DfID) and the Obama administration still stuck in its neocon past.

The stalemate is set to continue while Brown is propped up by a canny Conservative opposition that's keeping its distance and LibDems who cannot decide whether to come off the fence.

Brown's latest throw of the dice came today with a warning to corrupt Karzai to clean up his act. Or else what? A leopard cannot change its spots. None of that cuts any ice with the public. They just want the boys home.

Both Brown and Obama are under pressure from generals to send in more troops. Brown is following Obama's lead. Obama is burying his head in the sand. Both are dithering with crucial elections coming up next year.

A war is being fought which few people have the stomach for or believe there is a cat in hell's chance of winning. The senseless killing of civilians by aerial bombings will continue. As usual it is the innocent who will suffer.

Troops will be picked off by an invisible enemy on over-stretched supply lines and lightly defended forward bases. Civilians will turn on their western masters with suicide attacks. Soldiers will be sent to their deaths to prop up a corrupt regime. Public opinion will harden with nightly images of the boys being brought home in a box.

That was Vietnam - that too is Afghanistan. To pretend otherwise is to betray the brave souls who've paid a high price and given their lives in the Afghan killing fields.

Only a true leader with balls can order a retreat from an insane war without it been seen as defeat.

1 comment:

Maturecheese said...

'Only a true leader with balls can order a retreat from an insane war without it been seen as defeat.'

It seems we will be there a long time then as 'True Leaders' in this PC world don't exist.