Saturday, December 20, 2008

The death march goes on

How many more British troops are to be sacrificed upon the altar of American imperialism in Afghanistan? Did we Brits not learn the first time around, in the nineteenth century, that you cannot impose yourself upon the fiercely independent peoples of this remote land? You would have thought so.

Even the mighty British Empire couldn't subdue this land, even with the complete British domination of the Indian sub-continent. So what chance do we have now, after having become mere puppets to our Anglo-Saxon cousins in America?

However, the American Empire, the bastard offspring of the British one, thinks it needs to bring oil pipelines down from central Asia, to avoid being reliant upon the modern Russian Bear, so we jump to it like the good Roman auxiliaries we are, doing the dirty work for our imperial masters in the marbled halls of Washington DC.

Over 130 British troops have now been killed in Helmand province, with nearly a thousand others seriously injured. With the US satrap, Gordon Brown, promising to bring the troops home from Iraq, probably just in time for the next general election, expect all of these men to be shipped straight back out to Afghanistan the moment the election is over, with another hundred of them to be killed before Christmas 2009.

And for what? As Pat Buchanan has reported, the war is as good as lost. It would be far better for everyone involved if we just got out now. And stayed out.

And if the moving goalpost reason for us being there became to suppress the opium trade, then the best way of doing that would merely be to legalise the opium trade. And even if you disagree with that, all this war has done is to make the drugs warlords richer and more powerful than ever before, exporting even more opium, as the Afghans use this product to pay for their increasingly successful fight against the NATO invasion force (which seems to be operating a long way east of its North Atlantic mandate).

No doubt Gordon Brown will be paid off for his acquiescence in the usual way the Americans buy the British government's supplication, via a lucrative speaking engagement tour in the US once he is kicked out of office. I mean, come on, does anyone seriously believe that anyone in the US is interested in anything at all Tony Blair has to say on any subject, years after he has stopped being Prime Minister? Yet he still earns millions in payments for dull speeches in Nowheresville, Massachusetts, despite most people in Nowheresville, Massachusetts not even knowing where the UK is. Has it dawned on so few in Britain that this was just a way of laundering the payments to this traitor, for his signing up this country to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one based on lies, the other based upon the need of the US government to export oil from central Asia without the pipeline first going through the potentially throttling fingers of Putin's Russia?

Yes, you'll throw the words Al Qaeda at me, but the members of this shadowy terrorist group are now all living in Pakistan, London, and Paris, and are laughing at us for having painted ourselves into the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan while they plan their next outrage.

AngloAustrian prediction: When the final ignominious retreat is made, with our tails between our legs as we are kicked back down the Khyber Pass, we will have lost the best part of a thousand men and suffered perhaps ten thousand casualties for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The Taliban will be stronger than ever in Afghanistan, the opium trade will be flourishing, and the oil pipelines of central Asia will be flowing north into Mother Russia. Oh, and the small cost of hundreds of millions of pounds of wasted taxpayers cash will also need to be taken into account, though this is small beer against all of our dead soldiers, plus all of the other innocent people killed.

What on Earth are we doing there? How did we get into this mess? And how are we going to get out of this useless bloody war, whilst retaining even the merest scintilla of dignity? These are the questions Gordon Brown should be answering. Not whether his idiotic policies have saved the world. No doubt he will never answer these questions. Not while there are lucrative speaking engagements to fulfil in America, funded by who knows who, from who knows what source.

And if all that was a bit downbeat, a good way to cheer yourself up is to read Harry Flashman's splendid account of the first British retreat from Kabul, a hundred and sixty years ago.


not an economist said...

Irrespective of the difficulties the British Empire had in Afghanistan back in the 19th Century, the fact that the USSR gots its arse whipped when it invaded just 30 years ago should have been good cause for sober reflection. Alas no.

Jack Maturin said...

Yes, the Russians possessed a land border, willing Quisling puppet politicians, a virtually inexhaustible supply of conscripts, all the products of the only relatively successful part of the Soviet economy (the war machine), all the experience of wiping out the Wehrmacht in eastern Europe, and a brutally ruthless determination to succeed at all costs; but STILL they lost, which also helped bring down their horrible socialist empire.

Yes, the CIA fed their allies, such as Osama Bin Laden, with stinger missiles and other assorted military goodies, but it was still the forerunners of the Taliban who did the hard bloody work of pushing the Russians back over the border.

As I think as Michael Corleone said in one of the Godfather films, if the people you are fighting are prepared to die for their cause, and you are not prepared to die for yours, then you will lose.

Or as Uncle Murray Rothbard would have put it, it does not matter how much military hardware you have at your disposal, unless you are prepared to brutally slay whole sections of the population, you can never hold any ground or any territory in which the people are ideologically opposed to you. Hence the reason the state so heavily subsidizes the intellectual class, to get them to persuade the rest of us that the state is necessary.

Which is why it is the same Kabul quisling intellectuals who supported the Soviets who are now supporting the Americans. Everyone else wants NATO to go back to the North Atlantic, and stay there.

And as Pat Buchanan relates, they may as well do this sooner rather than later, because they are going to lose. Though I have a horrible feeling, that just as FDR used WWII as a cover for his appalling mistakes in prolonging the 1930s depression, Obama will use the ongoing Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran war to cover his upcoming mistakes in prolonging the 2008 recession to well into the next decade.

The difference is, of course, that Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons, and there are enough fanatics around willing to use tem if they get the chance. It could all get very messy indeed, unless we get out of there quickly and just stop interfering in other people's countries.

Still, at least Obama will follow through on his promise of 'Change'. He will change the numbers of American troops in Afghanistan, and put even more boots on the ground, and murder even more innocent Afghan women and children via indiscriminate US air force bombing sorties. Because that's the kinda caring, sharing guy he is.