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December 27, 2007

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Paul Flynn

Thanks for the article, Rwendland. It's an interesting point of view from the USA. Des Browne and the Tories are content to blame France, Germany and Italy for not pulling their weight and operating only in safe areas. This gives Parliament the chance to ventilate and avoid facing the futility of the Helmand mission.(see the recent debates) I am a member of the Defence Committee of the Western European Union and debate this frequently.

Our European partners think the Americans are over-ambitious and unrealistic about the changes that are possible in Afghanistan. they are not willing to follow the gung-ho line of bombing them into democracy. Unfortunately we are still tied to the Bush-Blair line.
It has cost the UK the lives of 86 soldiers. It has no hope of success.

Paul Flynn

Thanks for the article, Rwendland. It's an interesting point of view from the USA. Des Browne and the Tories are content to blame France, Germany and Italy for not pulling their weight and operating only in safe areas. This gives Parliament the chance to ventilate and avoid facing the futility of the Helmand mission.(see the recent debates) I am a member of the Defence Committee of the Western European Union and debate this frequently.

Our European partners think the Americans are over-ambitious and unrealistic about the changes that are possible in Afghanistan. they are not willing to follow the gung-ho line of bombing them into democracy. Unfortunately we are still tied to the Bush-Blair line.
It has cost the UK the lives of 86 soldiers. It has no hope of success.

Rwendland

Seems quite a bit of the press are slowly catching on to idea military action is going nowhere. Interesting article in the Washington Post now (from Council on Foreign Relations), with lots of good links:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/24/AR2007102401625.html

Not sure what the answer is myself, but swaying village elders seems smart politics to me.

Paul Flynn

What is common to both situations is that's it's good sense for Governments to lie in certain circumstances. We cannot allow the howling moronic voice of the tabloid press to stop practical attempts at peace building. It's easy for them to say we should never negotiate with the enemy.

Of course the situations are different in N.I. and Afghanistan. But the principle is the same. It would wrong to suggest that the Karsai Government is not a large part of the problem. The three main drug traffickers are two provincial governors and a relative of Karsai. The task the two expelled diplomats were doing was bribing Afghans who were borderline Taliban. They had $40,000 in cash on them.

While we reject the endemic corruption of the Afghan Government, we are playing their game. A helicopter crashed in March this year. It was carrying a $1,000,000 in cash to bribe tribal elders. It's a dirty game but the only one with a shred of hope of success.

Military action will never achieve that.

Daisy

Paul when Major said talking to the IRA made him sick to his stomach, peraps it did. Talking to them as a government is one thing, but with the IRA they (the British) had long established links to the IRA.
Also when the British talked to the IRA they did it on their own behalf, but these two men weren't there on behalf of the Afghan government,(which is the recognised government no matter what) they were UN officials. The Taliban are a local problem with links to AQ, this was not the case with the IRA.
As Trimble said on newsnight, there really is a danger in using the Ulster model in the ME (and imo other places too.)
The IRA were a threat politically to the union, the Taliban with its links to Islamic extremism are completely different they are a threat to western civilization as a whole, and all who want them defeated should be 'speaking' as one voice.

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