Saturday, 11 July 2009

184 Flag Draped Coffins

It has been a deadly fortnight for British troops in Afghanistan with eight soldiers having died yesterday, taking the number killed in the region since 2001 to 184, surpassing the number of lives lost in the war in Iraq.
Rightly, albeit 8 years too late for my liking, people are starting to question just what are our boys and girls dying for?
We of course callously ignore the Afghan civilan casualties because their deaths are down the pecking order of who matters when the graves are being dug. Our 184 in 8 years is much more important it seems than the 2,118 innocent Afghans who died last year alone.
Gordon Brown has said that despite the losses and an "extraordinarily difficult" 10 days, we were succeeding in our objectives. Maybe we should start with what our objectives actually are.
Perhaps if we go back to the start we can get a clue.
Bin Laden's group, Al Qeauda, masterminded the Twin Tower attacks in 2001 and as he was being sheltered by the Afghan rulers, the Taliban, American sights turned in that direction. George W Bush gave them an ultimatum to hand him over or face the wrath of the US military. They refused, Bush invoked the NATO charter and in October 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched. As of July 2009, it is still going.
So it seems that the entire adventure was to be back up for Americas removal of the Taliban as punishment for not handing over Osama Bin Laden. If they had 'coughed him up' as George W Bush said at the time, then America would step back and leave the Taliban in Government. We can assume that also meant turning a blind eye to the terrorist training camps, lack of human rights and poppy fields which became a justificiation afterwards.
So our objective was to engage upon a war of choice with Afghanistan in order to remove the Taliban from power and catch Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice.
The Taliban are out of power but still causing havoc in the country but as Iraq showed, we have no problem with leaving the citizens of the country we invaded to it's fate in the face of murderous terrorists, almost 350 Iraqi civilians died at the hands of Al Queada last month but we seem happy to call that a success.
So, we still have no answer to why exactly we are there and why, despite the evidence that it is spreading and destabilising neighbouring countries and actually increasing hatred against the West, we continue with this unwinnable debacle.

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