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July 11, 2009


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ED Carlisle

This is my first e-mail to any sitting MP, but I felt I must congratulate you on your speech in Westminster Hall last July 8th.

Having read the transcript of the debate, I feel that your speech asked all of the questions that people of this country are asking now. We have now lost 184 troops in a battle we cannot win, nor is it our battle to take.

I always think back to the so-called "Powell Doctrine", in which the General outlined eight questions that must be asked before taking military action. If you apply the eight questions to the Afghanistan conflict, with the answer no in many cases, this country would not be entangled in a devastating war.

As you asked in your penultimate question, the linking of the conflict in Afghanistan and terrorism in this country is as wrong as the "dodgy dossier" proved to be. Where did the 7/7 bombers come from? Not from Afghanistan, not from Iraq, but sadly from this country. I think the fundamental problem in this age is the perception that terrorism only began on September 11th, 2001, perpetuated by Bush and Blair. Do people in this country not forget the 1970's or 1980's, when Irish groups carried out some horrific acts of violence and murder? Several of these terrorists have now been released by both Conservative and Labour governments.

I also notice that the Under-Secretary of State also failed to answer your question about the link, but in the spin-controlled world we live in that does not surprise me.

I will finish with an interesting anecdote. When Mark Waugh of Australia was continually been overlooked in selection for the Australian cricket team in favour of his brother Steve, he was given the nickname "Afghan". Many cricket pundits were mystified, but were told that he was nicknamed "Afghan" because he was the "Forgotten Waugh".
Somehow, in the next few weeks, the British people will not have forgotten.


Many thanks for highlighting Matthew Parris's description of the complexities of the situation, and our lack of understanding.

I notice Reuters do likewise in a recent report of the corruption and worse of the Helmand police:


"Afghans turn to Taliban in fear of own police"


I was reading 'Warfighting' - the US Marines guide to effective warfare and it emphasies that you must have clear objectives and change your plan if the situation demands it

Have we an objective ? and are we going to persist in what we are doing today ?

If you want to defeat the Taliban then qhy do we fight them and then give the land back?

Our forces do not have the equipment needed for this environment - we have more troops than the Americans but they have 10 times the helicopters - so we should either put up or shut up before any more needless deaths


Thanks for your speedy response to my email.In truth it was so refreshing to hear you express such a developed and sustained argument in this matter when as you say no sensible debate ever seems to take place in the Chamber.The miserable attendance at Wesminster Hall is itself yet another sad comment on the parlous state of our Democracy. it's a pity my comments are not slightly better expressed but anger gets in the way of eloquence sometimes -and being consistently lied to by Government about this war just as we were about iraq is hard to stomach.

I am not a constitient of yours but I do watch BBC Parliament (how sad am I!) and have noted your presence and your contributions on several ocassions -but never in such developed form. I say 'presence\ because one of the most obvious and glaring aspects of our failing system is that most MPs cannot be bothered to attend debates -whatever the importance of the subject -they know that in our lamentable rigged and Guillotined Chamber all debates are quite useless and the Government always has its way regardless of the argument. I am sad to say that I parted company with Nulabour following the Iraq invasion -which I feel has just about a moral equivalence to Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939 with perhaps even less immediate justification!- It was the Daily Mirror photograph of the little Iraqi girl in her teddy bear pyjamas bombed out of her bed and killed by the 'Liberating' bombs of Shock and Awe which really did it for me-and nothing since has made me any happier about the tragic direction of the party and the country under this regime.

It is particularly galling that it is the Labour party that should be endorsing a cynical unwinable politically motivated war on the cheap and at the expense of our soldiers' lives. the Afghan Government has nothing to do with 'democracy' which is probably an absurd concept in the context of these ancient tribesmen. US folly led them to Vietnam, but not us - the totally underestimated Harold Wilson remained close to LBJ while ensuring that not one British soldier set foot in that tragic country. Blair and Brown are no match for JHW -in any sense and their vainglorious meddling in foreign adventures should have brought them both down. Sadly the control of Parliament,the weakness of the labour party, a vacuous opposition on this matter, the whip system and the spin machine have kept them safe -out of the harm's way into which with hands wringing and tears streaming they are so happy to send our young soldiers. As you see -I am just a little disillusioned with our system and very dissilusiuoned with the Labour party of which I was once a member.

Keep up the brave work of Opposition -it must be a lonely task.

Paul Flynn

Many thanks JW. It's a rare chance to make a 40 minute speech and the case in full against the Helmand folly. Today we are having a full Ministry of Truth media offensive to shore up public opinion in order to cover all parties past mistakes.

We went to Iraq to reduce terrorist attacks here. We went into Helmand to aid reconstruction in 2006, then to spread Karzai rule in 2007, now we are there to reduce terrorism.


I have just seen your performance in Westminster Hall on July 8th in which you delivered a candid and devastating critique of our pointless engagement in this conflict.

My estimation of you has gone up -you spoke honestly and directly and the evidence supporting your position is incontrovertible. Pleas continue to speak out against this Blair Bush nonsense war before folly becomes outright catastrophe. Since your speech of course there have been more tragic losses of life.
No reasonable person listening to the situation you described could possibly be in favour of continuing support for the regime in Kabul -we are clearly courting disaster of the first magnitude and people must speak out and force a change of policy on the blinkered government and its slavish support of the US. No other European country has been stupid enough to offer more than token support to this folly. This war is another of Blair's legacies we will come to regret.

Thank you for you honesty in this murky matter.

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