Friday, 24 July 2009

Fighting To Win

Last night, a news program wheeled out a rather dapper looking ex SAS commander who earned an Military Cross in the Falklands Campaign. Brigadier Aldwin White, MC OBE, is a quiet man who has never spoken out before and he has surprised colleagues, both currently serving and retired, that he has.

His view is that the Government has let our Armed Forces in Afghanistan down in just about all respects. His view is that rather than be honest with themselves, Ministers and Civil Servants have tried to fight their position using spin. And this is what is causing the high death rates we are encountering.

This is no Jock Stirrup or Richard Danatt talking, who have been widely criticised by the likes of Lord Foulkes for not showing loyalty. This is a battle-hardened veteran who served in the elite forces who has broken ranks and his silence to say it as it is. If you are going to fight a war, for whatever reason, and endanger the lives of servicemen then at least give them a chance of winning.

I am sure that many people like me find the Government's backside-covering stance truly disgusting as young kids get killed who have written home to say that they are not getting enough food and water let alone helicopters, body protection and reinforcements. It's even about the basics.

Long, long after we have withdrawn from Afghanistan with nothing to show for it, history will show this was an ill-advised war, poorly executed with no real strategy and no end game. I recently watched the excellent film, 'Charlie Wilson's War' again and reminded myself that nobody has ever successfully conquered Afghanistan since Alexander the Great and when the Russians pulled out in the last attempt, America and Britain had fought alongside the very people we fight today.

Our own duplicitous nature, as always, comes back to haunt us. As Wilson famously put it at the time, 'We won the war and then f****d up the end game.' We may not win the war this time.

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