Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh! What An Unlovely War

Government ministers and MoD spinners are fighting a losing battle for hearts and minds in the hopeless, unwinnable Afghan war. Today the Sun gives Brown his marching orders: Don't you know there's a bloody war on? The public deserves answers.

What a shameful, sorry state of affairs when a war has been reduced to death by numbers.

The death toll is solemnly read out on broadcast news. Coffins draped in the Union Flag cut to stock MoD footage of troops firing at an invisible enemy. Well-briefed army chiefs spout the latest propaganda line for the cameras. Has it really come down to this?

Opinion polls reveal a growing number wanting to pull out of Afghanistan and questioning what we are doing there at all. But the country is united on one crucial issue: if troops are being sent to the Afghan killing fields, they should be given all the support and back up that can be mustered for the dangerous mission.

The Sun has captured the mood. The Orange Party can feel it too when questions on the Afghan war are raised in polite conversation with some very unpolite replies. Timed for the day when Sir David Richards becomes chief of the general staff and Brown holds talks with the Pakistan president, the Sun calls for the PM's head:
"Don't you know there's a bloody war on? Yet, to its shame, our Government doesn't seem to want to face up to the fact we are in the middle of a savage conflict.
"Our leaders are pretending the war isn't happening. Today, The Sun asks the Government and Gordon Brown: Where is your leadership?
"As the hearses carrying our heroes are saluted in silent Wiltshire streets, Mr Brown and his ministers are missing in action.
"There is an air of unreality in the country. While Our Boys are dying, a fool who is out of his depth and with little experience is in charge of defence."
The latest lame excuse was to make it safe for the recent sham of the Afghan elections. But excuses for Panther's Claw were as low and underhand as the turnout. The public was duped with manipulated and media-managed messages that the operation would free the Afghan people to go to the polls.

Anyone who thinks there can be "fair and free" elections where tribal loyalties rule the roost with a corrupt government is living in fools paradise.

Ten UK soldiers died to give just 150 people a fraudulent vote. Was that a price worth paying to prop up a corrupt government?

To its credit, the BBC was among the first to report the shocking truth, highlighting three towns in Helmand with populations of tens of thousands - and a mere handful of votes. But that stark statistic was dutifully buried in the bulletin.

That's to be expected. In times of war, powerful forces are at work at the BBC which has an unwritten duty as the State broadcaster to fuel the propaganda war.

This is Brown's War and Brown's legacy. It's no good him hiding his head in the sand, hoping it will all go away over or sitting back letting some other fool take the flak. Any war requires strong leadership from a commander-in-chief.

The Orange Party has long campaigned against this bloody, hopeless, unwinnable war. We should pull out now before it's too late.

But that doesn't mean sitting idly by while our troops are sent to their deaths. Behind the MoD minders and media managers our troops haven't a clue why they are there. But they'll do their job and do it bloody well, whether they are set to come home to a heroes welcome at a parade or in a box.

War transcends political party divides. In the US, Drudge, no friend of the pseudo-liberals, features the Sun's painful lament on his front page. Tory MP John Redwood blogs: "what is the purpose of our mission, how long will our troops need to be there, and when will the Afghan security forces be in a position to police their own streets successfully? We need some answers."

Last week the Orange Party asked: What are we fighting for? And is still waiting for coherent answers. Oh! What An Unlovely War.

Top picture: Private Eye front cover

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