Posts Tagged 'Afghanistan'

Fraser Nelson on Ukraine: So right, then so very wrong

Like a dog returning to its vomit, I cannot help but return occasionally to the comment section of the Barclay Brother Beano.  The reason being I have challenged myself to uncover at least one vaguely sensible or remotely valuable contribution amidst the sea of drivel that passes for articles and comments.

It is there we find today a piece by media’s favourite nominal conservative and Cameroon cheerleader, Fraser Nelson, who, presumably having read Bravo Two Zero, now seems to fancy himself as a defence expert.  His article is one of those that boasts a welcome, if surprising, nod to reality, but then falls into ruin due to morale sapping ignorance that completely devalues his contribution.

Where Nelson gets it right is in calling William Hague for his ludicrous reassurance that he would stop any “strategic shrinkage” – as Nelson explains, to make sure that Britain’s standing on the world stage would not be diminished because there were cuts going on at home.

Hague’s failure there is only eclipsed by the other failures Nelson reminds readers about.  Firstly, that UK forces in Iraq occupied Basra after the invasion only to be forced out by Iranian-backed militias, after which an inquiry was commissioned to ask why we fought, rather than why we lost.  Not many media types recognise this reality, instead preferring to retail the laughable MoD line that our forces completed their mission successfully and withdrew.

Secondly, the current debacle that sees UK forces – after the disgraceful loss of over 400 lives, and wasted expenditure of billions of pounds – about to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban, effectively ensuring that all that blood and treasure has been sacrificed for nothing.  Again, that’s not the MoD line but it accurately reflects reality.  Due praise to Nelson for that.

However, it is when Nelson turns his attention to the Ukraine crisis – in order to underline his argument that our defence capability has been eroded too far – that he falls in with the official line and misrepresents what brought this crisis about.

Nelson explains that because of the defeats outlined above, and our tepid and badly judged misadventure into Libyan affairs, to the outside world Britain looks like it is shrinking fairly quickly – along with other indebted, war-weary Western powers. Our commitment looks shaky, our judgment even worse.  That’s fair enough. But what follows is where he goes native…

And this, of course, is what has fuelled the Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin saw how things were changing, and decided to give the Caucasus a prod; then to see what would happen if he annexed Crimea. The answer, as he suspected, was not very much. Now, his unbadged militants are at work in the east of Ukraine with dozens dead. Still no reaction. This sent out a clear message to Moscow and beyond: the West has grown tired of policing the world. And now, as a century ago, things are up for grabs.

That is utter rubbish.

What fuelled the Ukraine crisis was the European Union’s expansionist ambitions. A complete disregard for the promises made by NATO to the Russians that the west would not encroach one more inch eastwards, saw the Association Agreement tabled to Kiev, with the plan being the eventual assimilation into the EU.  Despite this there is not a single mention of the European Union/EU anywhere in his piece.

For reasons historical, strategic and those relating to a nation’s pride, Ukraine was a line in the sand.  Home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, the EU’s efforts were provocative and smacked of arrogance.

The United States also has skin in the game.  It encouraged the EU’s move as it would greatly appreciate the Russians being contained in that part of the world so Washington can retask its resources to its efforts to front up to China from the Pacific.

Putin’s actions were a response to the EU’s efforts to begin the process of taking over Ukraine, not the cause of what is happening in Ukraine today.  In no way was what we are seeing today driven by a Kremlin assessment of our degraded military capability.

It would probably be fair to say that a calculation of NATO’s effectiveness and willingness to adopt a military posture has dictated the nature of the Russian response.  The assessment of how far NATO would go, to support that part of Ukraine’s population that rejected a brokered deal for elections, where the EU Association Agreement could form part of the proposition put before the electorate, has been purely reactive.

The British public is being fed yet another spoonful of lies from the government, as it was during Iraq and Afghanistan.  While Fraser Nelson was happy to tell it the way it was over those two campaigns, he is clearly loathe to admit the truth about the EU origins of the Ukraine crisis. One wonders if this is because the EU is a construct he approves of and has repeatedly argued the UK should remain a part of?

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Hiding away the consequences to spare their own shame

It is easy to feel contempt for the political class and the establishment. It is also quite understandable to feel dislike for such people who do things to suit themselves and disregard the wishes and interests of the general population.

But when reading the comments of the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Andrew Robathan, a former British Army Officer in the Coldstream Guards and the SAS, one can be excused for feeling a simmering hatred.  Formerly the Queen’s man, Robathan has sold out to the political pygmies in return for a career in Parliament.

This has been demonstrated by the words Robathan used to explain why the repatriation of British soldiers, slaughtered in Afghanistan for reasons passing understanding, will be hidden away from the general public when the inbound flights cease to land at RAF Lyneham and instead land at RAF Brize Norton. When our dead soldiers land at Brize the Sunday Fail explains that they will be driven through the back gate and then down side roads, neatly avoiding the nearby town of Carterton, as they make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Robathan said:

The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges.

I am not sure taking coffins in hearses past schools, past families, past married quarters is necessarily the thing that everybody would wish to see … the focus must be on the families of the dead service personnel. They are the people who care most. That is where our focus is.

No, instead Robathan and his ilk would prefer to keep the human impact of their completely mismanaged adventurism in Afghanistan a dirty little secret.

They know that news broadcasts informing the public of yet more young men who have been sacrificed needlessly to prop up a sick illusion do not have a fraction of the psychological impact of seeing coffins containing the remains of those poor lads being driven to Oxford.  Why should the reality of the consequences of the politicians sending these young men to their deaths be hidden away from the people they stepped up to serve?

This isn’t about looking out for emotional wellbeing of the families of servicemen.  This is about the MoD and the politicians not wanting to feel the pressure of public opinion weighing down on them as the bodies of young men whose lives have been snuffed out fighting to defend a corrupt, untrustworthy and backward regime that is incapable of securing the support of its own people.

When Robathan spins the line he did he erases the respect he earned through his previous service. All the good that went before is cancelled out. But most importantly he lets down those who have followed him into the armed forces and who should only been sent into harm’s way with very good reason.

Afghanistan is nothing like a good reason and Robathan is now nothing more than a self serving turncoat. He is a coward for toeing the party line in this way.

Jackpot!

Rejoice! Forget the American Dream. Another country is the place to be. Oh yes.

  • Where else in the world can you pitch up in a distant country and ask for asylum and be provided with protection, accomodation and money completely free?
  • Where else in the world can you indulge in criminality unmolested, taking hard drugs and not having to contribute to the society which has afforded you protection from supposed oppression?
  • Where else in the world can you so hate your hosts’ values you can take yourself off from that bountiful sanctuary and travel to a country that supplies the majority of the world’s heroin, where camps operate to train people to slaughter innocent civilians and where terrorists are killing your host’s soliders, to play a part in the insurgency?
  • Where else in the world can you try to return to your host country using a forged passport to conceal your true identity and have that questionable criminal behaviour and your motives completely ignored because you complain that after your capture you claim to have been tortured?
  • Where else in the world can you then continue to avoid any examination of your own actions and motives for being around terror training camps in a warzone and trying to return to your host country in suspicious circumstances using a forged passport even though you are allowed to return legally using your own?
  • Where else in the world can you claim to have only gone to an opiate and terrorist haven only in order to get off drugs and still be believed without question by your hosts’ public service broadcaster and compensation chasing legal whores?
  • Where else in the world can you be encouraged to take legal action against your host’s government and secure a settlement payment believed to be in excess of £1 million?

Britain!

Yes, move over America, it’s time to celebrate the British Dream!  Britain is the new land of opportunity. Britain is where anything can happen and pretty much does. Britain is the land where you can pull yourself up by your sand covered bootstraps and secure wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Britain is where you are not held to account for your criminal behaviour and desire to partake in atrocities against its people. Britain is where after all this the self loathing liberal elite will blame themselves for your actions and ensure you will continue to be coddled by the state for life at the expense of its people. Britain is where you can hit the jackpot for being nothing more than a parasitic ne’er do good. Congratulations! Welcome to our land of craven appeasment and moral inversion where, like Binyam Mohamed, all you need to get on is malice aforethought and a violent intent.

No excuse for lazy BBC reporting

It might seem a trivial thing given the terrifying debt related economic problems stalking European nations, but what I noticed on Google’s news headlines that had been published by the BBC really got my hackles up.  There is no such thing as a UK marine, or a British marine.  This country has Royal Marines. 

They are outstanding professionals who put themselves through physical and mental trials to earn the coveted green beret and cap badge comprising the Lion and Crown, Gibraltar, the Globe, Laurels, Fouled Anchor and Per Mare Per Terram motto.

Perhaps the cabal of lazy progressives ensconced within BBC News – who don’t give a toss about this country and who sneer at our heritage and undermine our traditions – would like to consider that when a Royal Marine loses his life serving alongside his friends and colleagues, carrying out a mission determined by his country’s government, he deserves rightful recognition of his hard won status – that of a Royal Marine. Our thoughts should be with the family and friends of the young Royal Marine who was killed near Sangin. Another tragic loss in a campaign that has been completely mismanaged and badly thought out.

Afghan bribes are the last straw. Bring our boys home!

With defeat staring us in the face the time has come to bring an end to our mission in Afghanistan.  The body count is rising and although some infrastructure improvements are being made, the fact is we are not winning the hearts and minds of the population, let alone the war.  The people there are not converting to western ideas of democracy and civic society.  Our strategy, if one existed, was flawed from the start and the efforts of our troops have been disgracefully undermined by the craven politicians and Whitehall bureaucrats.

As an exercise in nation building, Afghanistan is an abject failure.  Today Gordon Brown signalled clearly that Britain is desperate for a face saving way out.  In an interview he said that the only condition where the coalition in Afghanistan will engage with terrorists is “if they give up terrorist activities” and agree to become “citizens”.  But Brown has already run up the white flag.  It’s the endgame now.  These bribes are the last straw.  We must bring our boys home.  Paying bribes in Afghanistan is nothing new, but this overt effort to buy off our enemies with huge sums of money is sickening.

We haven’t brought change to Afghanistan.  While our military and police trainers maintain a stoic silence, when they would be well justified in highlighting major misgivings about the inevitable failure of our mission, in Germany there is no such discretion.  There, the announcement by Chancellor Angela Merkel that Berlin will signal a new ‘strategic direction’ by sending 500 more troops and police trainers to Afghanistan has sparked bitter complaints from the military and policing unions.  The comments of some present the reality of Afghanistan and futility of our efforts in a way our politicians would never allow here:

Rainer Wendt, head of the competing police union, called the German Police Union (DPolG), agreed with his colleague’s assessment. “The incoming Afghan police officers receive just a brief crash course from us,” he told the daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten. “We would already consider it a success if the future security personnel wouldn’t bash people on the head, cut off the hands of thieves and stone women.”

He also voiced concern that many of those trained by German police might join the Taliban once their instruction is complete. “We are training fighters for the Taliban,” Wendt said. “We should be concerned that many of the Afghan police candidates don’t even join the force after their training course. Instead, they go directly to the Taliban. They pay twice as much.” Afghan police officers earn $100 per month, according to the German Foreign Ministry.

It is not the sort of stiff upper lip assessment we are used to here.  Given this kind of insight, it would seem reasonable to assume the announcement today that £87m had been set aside to pay ‘low level’ Taliban fighters to lay down their arms and ‘reintegrate’ into Afghan society, isn’t going to achieve a damn thing.  When are western ‘elitist liberals’ going to understand the ordinary Afghan has a very different mindset to theirs?  When will they stop assuming ordinary Afghans will act with honour?  How many times do they have to witness Afghans switching sides at the drop of a hat during this conflict?

After taking the money we so generously dole out, what do we do if they decide to go back to their Talib masters and continue fighting our troops?  Do we write a bigger cheque?  Well that’s a question that no one seems willing or able to answer.  The Taliban is winning this war of attrition.  We have a paucity of troops, a lack of equipment and the cost of maintaining the military campaign is biting hard into the public purse.  Isn’t it time to dispense with futile gestures and face saving follies and accept that Afghanistan is a lost cause and get out?  This is not worth the loss of one more British life.

The idea of buying off Taliban fighters is the last throw of the dice for the NATO led alliance to give the illusion that in some way they finally overcame the insurgents.  It’s a waste of time.  This adventure was lost before it started because of the way we went about it.  It’s time to face reality.  Let’s get our fighting men and women out of Afghanistan, learn the valuable lessons it has taught us and come up with a strategy for tackling terrorist training camps and plots in a smarter way, perhaps with the use of special forces and tactics that are cheaper and in all likelihood more cost effective.

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Sarkozy says no to more troops for Afghanistan

Visiting this subject somewhat later than one would have wished, but better late than never.  It would have been delightful being a fly on the wall in NATO headquarters on Monday after Nicolas Sarkozy told French television he would not send a single extra combat soldier to Afghanistan.  It is only nine months since France rejoined NATO as a full member, but under this modern day Napoleon, the French are already upsetting the apple cart.  What is it with power crazed, short arsed Frenchmen?

Just weeks ago it became clear that with a classic Gallic shrug, France had done a deal to sell a Mistral class amphibious warship along with advanced military technology to Russia, although the European media corps has pointedly ignored it.  Now with NATO imploring its members to support the military effort in Afghanistan, Sarkozy grandstands for the French media and delivers a resounding ‘Non’ to the alliance.

It seems that under Sarkozy, France’s idea of being part of an alliance is to provide enhanced war fighting capability to its major rival and refuse point blank to send much needed combat troops to help fight the Taliban.  NATO must be wondering what exactly it gets out of France being a member, apart from Parisian petulance and a lot of headaches.  Perhaps Sarkozy would have sent an entire regiment if only the US and Britain had followed Russia’s example and offered to buy some French hardware…  With friends like the French, who needs enemies?  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you France.  Our selfless partners in peace and cooperation.  Santé!

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