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December 15, 2008


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For a noble project to bring democracy, equal rights and freedom to Afghanistan, 133 troop deaths would not be too much although a long and serious pause for thought would have to be taken at the 3,000 - 3,400 [October 7, 2001 thru March 2002] civilian deaths, never mind the deaths since.
As a "gimme" to the US who wanted to hit someone, anyone, after the September 11th terrorist attacks the loss of 133 British Troops is stupid and the Afghani civilian deaths criminal.
For Heroin dealers, the British troop deaths are probably considered a price worth paying, given the record harvests of poppies Afghanistan has been able to produce since the invasion, although admittedly even they might complain that the occupation to ensure poppy production increase may have been too succesful as it has driven heroin prices right down.
Credit does need to be given to the poppy growers themselves though, this year brought drought to the northern part of the country leading to a 19% decrease in land under cultivation, but they did manage to minimise the loss in production to 6%.
If government or businesses could equal that kind of efficiency what a world we would have.

It seems, crime just leads to more crime.
What a waste of lives, money and resources.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Adam for the ICOS link. It's new to me.

I have tried to get the Government to fac up to the dreadful failure of our military exercise in Afghanistan - in spite of the heroism of British soldiers. What has been achieved at the cost of 133 deaths?

It's sometimes forgotten that the Taliban did not control all the country in 2001. The Warlords than ran the North with Western support.


Quite right John
apart from the "our thrift" bit
Chinese people's thrift.
As the European nation with the lowest level of savings and highest levels of personal indebtedness, the thrift was most decidedly not ours.


The excellant Ascent of Money programme on Channel 4 makes the point that we have been here before and should have known better.
Deregulation allowed finanacial institutions to use our savings as collateral. They gambled with the credit they were allowed to acquirebecause of our thrift then consequently lost the lot.
Any guesses who picks up the pieces? We do. I doubt a better scheme could be devised to take money off the working man put it into the pockets of the financial institutions who then paid themselves a fortune in bonuses and then get off scot free while we foot the bill.
Stealing from the poor to pay the rich.

Graham Marlowe

"Although the future is certain to be dreadful here, the great majority of the population rightly blame the problems on the global crisis with its origins firmly in the US."

Yes. Typical New Labour strategy Paul. Brown was always first to take the credit for anything good where the economy is concerned, but always seeks a fall guy when things go wrong. It also has something to do with the greed of bankers in this country, too, and the vgreed encouraged both by the previous Tory and current ToryLite government


The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) has released a report on the situation in Afghanistan. It offers analysis and strategic and tactical recommendations to the Pentagon and NATO military:


This quote shows the futility of sending more troops to 'deal with the Taliban':

'According to research undertaken by ICOS throughout 2008, the Taliban now has a permanent presence in 72% of the country. Moreover, it is now seen as the de facto governing power in a number of southern towns and villages. This figure is up from 54% in November 2007, as outlined in the ICOS report Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the Brink.'

This quote looks at the numerous policy failures that have led us to the edge of 'a precipice':

'Over the past three years, ICOS’ research and analysis portfolio has catalogued a series of mistakes made by the international community in the quest to pacify an insurgency. There have been some signs of progress, such as opening the international debate on sending more troops, but also a stubborn adherence to failing policies such as military actions leading to civilian casualties, lack of effective aid and development, and support for aggressive poppy crop eradication programmes.

The inability of domestic and international actors to counter the entrenchment of the insurgency in Afghanistan is deeply troubling, and the failure of NATO’s political masters to address the realities of the security situation in Afghanistan has taken the country and the Karzai government to a precipice.'

These 'failing policies' were identified by many a long time ago, including yourself Paul. Mr. Brown rightly identifies corruption as a key problem, as well as the lack of development.
It is too little too late though as the country is clearly overun, with Kabul itself almost surrounded according to the ICOS report.

Paul Flynn

Although the future is certain to be dreadful here, the great majority of the population rightly blame the problems on the global crisis with its origins firmly in the US.

Paul Flynn

A frequently repeated comment from Afghans is 'you have the watches, we have the time.'

Most of the money being spent ends up in the pockets of the new millionaires in Kabul. The financial cost is enormous.


LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of British military operations in Afghanistan will rise by 54 percent this year, a parliamentary committee said on Monday, as it called on the government to better justify the expense.

According to figures provided by the Treasury, costs will rise to 2.32 billion pounds in 2008/9, from 1.51 billion in 2007/08 as Britain focuses its attention on the worsening Afghan conflict.



With the country falling over the precipice of finanacial ruin we still think it valuable to send our troops to be killed on foreign fields and for what?
Very soon we will need them over here if the forecast of the head of the IMF is right that we will see severe civil unrest as more people lose their houses, jobs and dignity...what a mess.

Graham Marlowe

P.S: You might as well name him:

"A former Tory MP who is now a Labour Minister asked me tonight why I thought he Tories were about to change their policies. I told him that they lacked all conviction in today's exchanges.

'They have no convictions on anything,' he told me. It's all about opportunism.'

Was it Quentin Davies or Shaun "wheres my butler?" Woodward.

Oh yes GREAT "Labour" figures

Graham Marlowe

Very sadly Paul, I think you can take that as read.

If New Labour has been good at one thing - apart, of course, from closing down Post Offices and making sure their rich property developing friends escape legal action when they are caught making donations in other peoples names - it has been fawning to whomever happens to be in the White House: Clinton was Blairs best mate and then he managed to fall in love with the Bush idiot, so you can be more than certain Brown will snuggle up to Obama. I think we should readjust our feelings on Obama - the same old, same old (Robert Gates) seems to be the order of the day, and we have the added "attraction" of the screeching of Mrs Clinton to look forward to. Asking America to change is as futile as trying to get a leopard to change it's spots.

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