Pointless Death

by craig on March 7, 2012 5:55 pm in Uncategorized

There is something extraordinarily pointless about the death of six British soldiers today at the fag end of a war which we have lost, the purpose of which is long since vanished. Of course Afghans die daily in this war, which is not meaningless for most of them as it involves ridding their country of an extremely unwelcome and alien occupying force. Each death is a tragedy, but we can be forgiven for being most immediately struck by the deaths of our own.

I will set off for India in a week on the next stage of my research for my biography of Alexander Burnes, including his own terribly wasteful death in the First Afghan War. In 1840 and 41 the British Army fought two pretty reasonable battles in just the area of Helmand where the six new deaths have occurred. Both were similar affairs, with British forces numbering over 2,000, including artillery, cavalry and infantry, defeating much larger forces of Pashtun tribesmen. The artillery was criticial. Both tactical successes had no effect at all on the eventual disastrous result of the British occupation, which achieved nothing but death.

We are in alliance with an Afghan government and army dominated by Northen Alliance warlords, plus the renegade Karzai clan of Pashtuns, fighting on the losing side of a civil war to support a massively corrupt government, which is incompetent only in that we have a total misunderstanding of what it is trying to achieve. The purpose of the Afghan government is to use NATO forces to enforce a temporary monopoly of power by the warlords who control the government. This will enable them as long as it lasts to loot billions in aid money and control the booming heroin trade. Then when NATO leave, so will they with their billions.

Seen in this light, its own light, the Afghan government is extraordinarily efficient. It is only incompetent if you imagine its purpose is to establish western governmental institutions, the rule of law, schools, roads etc. It has no intention of doing any of that, except where a little bit of actual development is required to keep lootable aid funds flowing.

There will be no long – or even medium – term effects of our occupation, except for even greater ingrained hatred of the West in the Afghan population.

I wonder who will be the next soldier to die for that?

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138 Comments

  1. Greenmachine

    7 Mar, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    Well put Craig. As a Yorkshireman I am desparately sad for this tragic waste of young lives. What exasperates me is the inane nonsense trotted out by Cameron, the media and, worst of all, my fellow citizens who appear to completely accept the need for these young men and women to give their lives ‘to protect our national security’ as Cameron whined today! As you have explained before Afghanis have no intention nor means to threaten our nation. All threats to our national security, as i see it, emanate from the imperialist militarism foisted upon middle east nations by a coalition of the misguided NATO alliance

  2. I had exactly the same thought. There is nothing incompetent about the Karsai government — their goal was to accumulate as much money as the West was willing to give them. They will retire comfortably in exile when this is all over.

  3. It appears our soldiers who are dying there are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do – die. Then we can say to the Yanks that we’re doing our bit, and the US administration can pacify their fearful masses who are starting to have doubts. They’re not just over there on their own, “No – look! – there are British soldiers dying there too. So carry on praying and saluting the flag, and stop with all these unpatriotic, anti-American, military hating communist questions already.”

  4. I find it puzzling that you condemn the alien occupation of Afghanistan and its corrupt puppet government that serves the clear purpose of incorporating Afghanistan into the New World Order for the benefit of the corporate oligarchy that controls the US and its tributaries, yet you support the much greater alien invasion and occupation of Britain through mass immigration, a racial, religious and cultural transformation the like of which the nation has never before experienced, and one that is overwhelmingly opposed by the great majority of the British people: an invasion and occupation facilitated by successive corrupt puppet governments acting in the corporate interest to drive down wages, drive up the profits of property developers and the contractors providing the additional taxpayer-funded infrastructure that this invasion necessitates.
    .
    Are we to understand that you are a soft globalist, which is to say an advocate of globalization by stealth and manipulation, even if that means the destruction of the nations of Europe through mass migration, but oppose violent integration as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.? Or is there some other explanation of the apparent contradictions in your political position?

  5. Canspeccy,

    No, I just think they’ve brought in lots of very hot women.

  6. No? No, what?

    No one’s questioning the sexual potential of immigrants, or personal attractiveness other merits.

    So why not answer the question?

  7. O/T Little Ms Chloe Smith does not know her **** from her elbow. She thinks Sunderland is near Bolton.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-17292533

    :)

  8. Thanks for this poignant rememberance of Afghan history, and todays wasted lives of six young soldiers, comparable to the past.
    This unfortunate twinning todays, not in my name, I hasten to add, just underlines the poignancy of their death.

    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/historic_day_as_norfolk_armed_forces_covenant_is_signed_1_1230479

    You made me smile, again Mary, Chloe is still learning, and geography is not everyone’s strong point, she’s hobblin’ round Norwich on crutches, getting boed about her bosses plans for the NHS privatisation.

  9. Here’s something to compare with Craig’s comments. This is the official justification for continuing the war in Afghanistan.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9128804/The-right-way-to-leaveAfghanistan.html

    Presumably the DT had the piece vetted, or even drafted, by someone in the No10/FCO labyrinth. It brings to mind Orwell’s propaganda slogan in 1984: “the war with (insert current enemy) will soon be within measurable distance of its end”.

    As a prol myself, I would just like to know what the UK’s war aims really are, for only the credulous could accept the DT’s explanation. Perhaps it’s some kind of contest with China, or Russia? Or is it to show toughness to Iran by proxy, or to assuage fears amongst other key middle east allies? Sure as hell, “fighting in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan” can have little in practice to do with “making the streets of Britain safe”. I think we should be told.

  10. “I would just like to know what the UK’s war aims really are”
    .
    Isn’t the answer rather obvious? Pipelines, resources, and the opium trade, plus the establishment of military bases for the projection of power against neighboring coutries: Russia, China, and Iran, and for the exercise of control over central Asian energy, so that a squeeze can, if necessary, be put on China.
    .
    It’s called globalization, the ultimate aim being to subject all countries to regimes owned by corporate interests. And Craig Murray is for it. Or at least he’s not saying he’s against it.

  11. Portillo is taking on melanie Phillips on radio 4, just now, the resident siren is up for murderous talk, again.
    Remember her calling peace activists on the Mavi Marmara ‘terrorists’ who got what they deserved.

    She is one woman I would like to put in prison, just for her examples she set for Anders Breivig. I would feed her Pam Geller.

  12. Any chance of feedback on this point re the 1840′s AFGHANISTAN escapades particularly what records are there that exist which identify who the individuals who were in our forces were? Are there records of their actual I.D’s? Were they actually UK born individuals? I wrote to the Imperial War Museum some time ago and got nowhere. What Memorials if eny exist to them? Are there any? Were they volunteer forces or were they somehow conscripted? We have the First World War Annual Memorial events but for those who perished decades before just a silence nothing. I understood that very many thousands perished.

  13. This afternoon I have been listening to my CD of PJ Harvey’s anti-war songs.
    .
    These are the lyrics of the title song.
    .
    “Let England Shake”
    .

    The West’s asleep. Let England shake,
    weighted down with silent dead.
    I fear our blood won’t rise again.
    .
    England’s dancing days are done.
    Another day, Bobby, for you to come home
    & tell me indifference won.
    .
    Smile, smile Bobby, with your lovely mouth.
    Pack up your troubles, let’s head out
    to the fountain of death
    & splash about, swim back and forth
    & laugh out loud,
    .
    until the day is ending,
    & the birds are silent in the branches,
    & the insects are courting in the bushes,
    & by the shores of lovely lakes
    heavy stones are falling.
    .

    This is quite a strident piece but there are more gentle, poignant ones too.

  14. “No, I just think they’ve brought in lots of very hot women.”
    .
    True. Wonderfully a great deal of this crumpet are terrific SNP activists – with their dads, and uncles and aunties and sons and sons-in-law and brothers and sisters and cousins and friends and acquaintances of friends, and some people they know slightly, and this person they met the other night, and on and on. Scottish independence is going to be the great Muslim achievement. You see there is this
    distaste for the old Caliphate in London. Allah akhbar. Saor alba.

  15. But the short answer to Rob’s question about UK war aims in Afghanistan and why British soldiers are dying there was perhaps best put by Rudyard Kipling:
    .
    After his son was killed on the Western Front, at Loos, in September 1915, Kipling wrote:
    .
    If any question why we died
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.

  16. Nevermind If that’s Moral Maze you are referring to, I avoid it like the plague in case I catch a sound from Melanie Phillips.
    ,
    I see that Anders Breivik has been classified criminally insane so he will be put away and the whole thing will be swept under the carpet. That awful woman Pamela Geller in America is thus let off.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14259989
    .
    PS Nice photo of him there in his Masonic gear.

  17. FROM THE BBC:-

    ” The fatal bombing of six British soldiers in their Warrior armoured vehicle in Afghanistan was a “cowardly attack”, Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond has said. He also said it would not shake the UK’s resolve to complete its mission.”

    So – what is the use of drones killing civilians, non-combatant women, children and people attending wedding parties to be termed – if not very the same – “cowardly attack”. Is it not these types of attacks which have galvanised the Afghan spirit of resisitance? Is it likely that British soldiers will fight for the “mission” as these atacks increease in 2012 – or – more likely that the spirit of resistance will increase within the hearts and minds of the Afghan resistance fighters?

    Anyway – what – pray tell – is the UK’s mission in Afghanistan at this stage?

  18. See Craig’s buggered off refusing to say whether he’s for globalization by virtually all means other than killing Afghans, etc. or not. Well, then, the answer’s seems pretty clear, and I’ll quit wondering about it.

  19. did you know valerie amos, as dfid boss, lobbied african countries to gather support for the iraq war?

  20. I did indeed I even mention it either in Murder in Samarkand or in The Catholic Orangemen

  21. Probably an accurate assessment, Craig, but not one you’ll ever see on the BBC. They’re silent too on the threat of civil war in Libya, where this week the oil-rich east (important epithet, that) announced its ambitions to become a sovereign state. At least the BBC had the decency to hint at the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure; they’ve ignored the same in Libya. The LibDems, I’m afraid, deserve nothing but opprobrium and electoral wipe-out for allowing that to happen without a murmur. There’s nothing like power to recalibrate conscience.
    And now we’re onto Syria – but Russia and China are having none of it. And thank fuck for that.
    Russia Today is saying that Western special forces have been in there from the start, supplying weapons, launching guerilla attacks, while the Syrian Free Army has not been averse to killing civilians for PR gain. Shades of Racak there, perhaps. Can we believe the claims of Russia Today? Can we believe the claims on the BBC?
    Given what’s happened over the last 10-12 years, I really don’t know anymore.
    Chin up Craig. Keep the light burning. It’s always better than cursing the darkness.

  22. Mike,
    The oil-rich east DID NOT announce its ambitions to become a sovereign state. It proposed that it should run its own affairs apart from foreign policy, the army and oil resources, which would be left to a federal government in Tripoli.

  23. Courtenay Barnett: Good point you bring up. I hate to say it, but planting bombs to blow up convoys of foreign troops occupying your country is hardly the act of a “coward”. You’ve got to dig up the road along a pre-planned route of the enemy. They’re not just risking blowing themselves up while planting the explosives, or being bombed from the air at the time. They’ve got to wait in sight of the enemy to carry out the attack, and risk what comes afterwards.
    .
    Besides immediate death in the battle, there’s also the very good chance of being spirited away to some black-site gulag, never to be heard from again. Maybe some grim torture prison of a compliant dictator, to extract a full confession of whatever we want to hear. Or turned over to their own Vichy-style government for same.
    .
    No, such things are cowardly. Far more manly, brave and patriotic, is to press buttons while sitting safely at 40,000 feet, killing “suspected militants” below. At the absolute least to know you have the full air support of same while on the ground. Or to sit in an office in Langley, Virginia, and sip coffee while operating a drone killing device. No less brave than any video game player.
    .
    If they kill us, they are terrorists and cowards. If we kill them, we’re defending Freedom an’ Democracy against murderous, evil militants. We’re always on the side of the angels, they’re simply bloodthirsty monsters. Not a single one of “our boys” is less than a hero. Not even one jackass, thug or arse in the entire army – and let’s be honest, those “A-rabs”, those not-like-us-types over there aren’t really human at all.

  24. boniface goncourt

    8 Mar, 2012 - 1:09 am

    CanSpeccy you will be glad to hear that the influx of migrants into UK in the last decade has paid off and saved Britain’s bacon. There has been a baby boom, with most mums non-native. Now the problem with the UK, as we all know, is that there are too many white people. White people are lazy, workshy and don’t breed. Hence Britain was in danger of becoming a geriatric slum, like future Japan and Germany, with not enough young taxpayers to buy the zimmer frames for the gerries. Now we learn that Britain in 2035 will have 23% of its population over 65, while Germany has a whopping 33%! As so often in the past, Britain has been saved by immigration.

    If nobody joined the army, there would be fewer army deaths. A lad from my neighbourhood joined up last month, DEMANDING to go to A’stan. He looked forward to ‘seeing action’.

  25. The amazing thing about Canspeccy’s laments over immigration to the UK, is that he lives in Canada, whose native people’s wealth he not only pillages but whose land he pollutes. And Canada is a country which really has been put through
    “.. a racial, religious and cultural transformation the like of which the nation has never before experienced…”

    We are not talking here of Fish and Chip shops being changed into curry houses but of the systematic looting of the resources which undoubtedly belonged to the millions of natives living here until elbowed aside by the sort of clowns who, nowadays, are engaged in the mining of the oil sands.

    So disgraceful has been the treatment of the First Nations of Canada that Canspeccy and his like seems to be blithely unaware that other people have cultures too and that their’s, the vulgar Hollywood/Westminster culture of imperialism is parked on top of Canada’s like a leaking septic tank by the side of a lake which has been dying since the white man arrived.

  26. @ Stephen,

    ” did you know valerie amos, as dfid boss, lobbied african countries to gather support for the iraq war?”

    What else was she supposed to do – that was her job.

  27. Canspeccy: I find it puzzling that you condemn the alien occupation of Afghanistan and its corrupt puppet government that serves the clear purpose of incorporating Afghanistan into the New World Order for the benefit of the corporate oligarchy that controls the US and its tributaries, yet you support the much greater alien invasion and occupation of Britain through mass immigration, a racial, religious and cultural transformation…
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wYoLQc-x5g
    .
    Chris2: The amazing thing about Canspeccy’s laments over immigration to the UK, is that he lives in Canada, whose native people’s wealth he not only pillages but whose land he pollutes.
    .
    He doesn’t just live there, he migrated to Canada! A land with “socialized medicine” and one which seems to be the antithesis of all his “libertarian” free-market prescriptions.

  28. boniface goncourt

    8 Mar, 2012 - 3:30 am

    Courtenay Barnett seems to applaud Afghan resistance to British aggression, but wasn’t he on a recent ‘Malvinas’ thread, deploring British resistance to Argentinian aggresssion? Cognitive dissonance? Either way, a lot of weeping mums.

    @Craig Murray

    Good point, the Afghan govt is in fact a terrific success! The ‘law of predictable consequence’ says that you get what you really wanted. The American shambles in Iraq suits Israel nicely. Ten years ago, heroin production from the Burma Golden Triangle fell drastically, due to regional politics. At the same time, the Taliban regime in A’stan disastrously
    reduced heroin production. Cue one war – and today – whew! – A’stan is producing 90% of our precious smack. With a nice little sideline in fucking up Russia, which has 2 million
    addicts, thanks to ‘Air America’.

    Here is a poem by Berthold Brecht, written during the German involvement in the Spanish Civil War, with my own prosaic translation.

    *Mein Bruder war ein Flieger
    Eines Tages bekam er eine Kart
    Er hat seine Kiste eingepackt
    Und südwärts ging die Fahrt.

    *Mein Bruder ist ein Eroberer
    Unserm Volke fehlt’s an Raum
    Und Grund und Boden zu kriegen, ist
    Bei uns alter Traum.

    *Der Raum, den mein Bruder eroberte
    Liegt im Guadarramamassiv
    Er ist lang einen Meter achtzig
    Und einen Meter fünfzig tief.

    * * * * * * *

    *My brother was an airman
    One day he got a map
    He packed his bags
    And headed south.

    *My brother is a conqueror
    Our nation needs more space
    And grabbing land and ground
    Is an old dream of ours.

    *The space that my brother conquered
    Lies in the Guadarrama Massif.
    It measures one meter eighty
    By one meter fifty deep.

  29. @boniface goncourt

    “Courtenay Barnett seems to applaud Afghan resistance to British aggression, but wasn’t he on a recent ‘Malvinas’ thread, deploring British resistance to Argentinian aggresssion? Cognitive dissonance? Either way, a lot of weeping mums.”

    Nice “escape post” – when you include the backdoor comment – ” Either way, a lot of weeping mums”

    But -let us consider ” Cognitive dissonance”.

    If I say ( as I did) that the Afghans have a right to defend their homeland – just as every British citizen has a right to defend his/her homeland (or any other national group around the world – has to defend their homeland) – why is this not a perfectly honest observation?

    I did say about the Las Malvinas/Falklands looming crisis that there is historical context. I explained what I meant. I made specific reference to 3rd January, 1833 – and I stated what happened.

    In all that I have said – where have I been illogical and/or less than reasoned in the honest questions that I have raised?

    NOW – boniface goncourt – give a good answer – maybe we will than all applaud you.

  30. “than all applaud you”

    No – “then” – all applaud – if he gives a really intelligent reply.

  31. boniface goncourt

    8 Mar, 2012 - 4:29 am

    What sane person gives a fuck about 3rd January 1833? Was that the day you crashed your flying saucer? Graduated from Hogwarts?

  32. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 6:57 am

    I remember well when John Reid announced in 2005 that the UK would be deploying troops to Helmand under NATO/ISAF command, i.e. under US command.
    .
    He said, with a straight face, that he expected them to return home in 2009 without a shot being fired. Their mission was to help with the rebuilding of Helmand.
    .
    So… which unit was chosen to lead this peaceful rebuilding mission under the direct control of the US? It was in fact 16 Air Assault Brigade – the British army’s very own storm-troopers, fresh from their blooding in Iraq.
    .
    The US was so impressed with 16AAB’s effectiveness at turning Iraqis into red smears on the ground during Gulf War 2 that US commanders specifically requested 16AAB be deployed to Helmand. Their potential as bricklayers, hod-carriers and plasters must have been obvious from the start.
    .
    Every time news comes out of more British deaths in Afghanistan I remember that violent thug of a politician and his mealy-mouthed lies and just remind myself that it is him and not the ‘Taleban’ who bear the responsibility.

  33. John Pilger finds our children learning lies

    .
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8112.htm
    .
    In our schools, children learn that the US fought the Vietnam war against a “communist threat” to “us”. Is it any wonder that so many don’t understand the truth about Iraq?

    .

    02/05/17 “New Statesman” – - How does thought control work in societies that call themselves free? Why are famous journalists so eager, almost as a reflex, to minimise the culpability of a prime minister who shares responsibility for the unprovoked attack on a defenceless people, for laying waste to their land and for killing at least 100,000 people, most of them civilians, having sought to justify this epic crime with demonstrable lies?

    .
    What made the BBC’s Mark Mardell describe the invasion of Iraq as “a vindication for him”? Why have broadcasters never associated the British or American state with terrorism? Why have such privileged communicators, with unlimited access to the facts, lined up to describe an unobserved, unverified, illegitimate, cynically manipulated election, held under a brutal occupation, as “democratic”, with the pristine aim of being “free and fair”? That quotation belongs to Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News.
    /
    /..

  34. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 8:09 am

    Mary I see that Anders Breivik has been classified criminally insane so he will be put away and the whole thing will be swept under the carpet.
    .
    Have you seen the damage that the Oslo bomb did? The result of a HUGE detonation. It was reported that Breivik had bought a large quantity of fertilizer and this was presumed to have been the cause of the blast. When Breivik’s farm was searched the fertilizer was found but no follows ups have been made public.
    .
    There are big clues in the Oslo bomb that this was not a single man acting alone. The bomb received very little attention due to the overwhelming loss of life but when you start investigating you find there are other reasons why it has been largely ignored by the media.
    .
    This article from the Guardian appears to be nothing more than a propaganda effort to set-up a more convenient ‘truth’. Look how the article is knocking down the more obvious scenarios one by one and replacing them with unrealistic scenarios which have now proved to be entirely in accord with the ‘official narrative’.
    .
    The most tempting and immediate conclusion was that it would be a jihadist group.
    .
    Anyone aware of the news preceding the event will of course be aware that Norway had pissed of Israel royally in statements relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Hardly likely to incite a ‘jihadist group’ to murder the children of Norway’s governing class.
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/23/norway-attacks-oslo-bombing-youth-camp

  35. as if we didn’t know:

    March 7: McClatchy Newspapers: Sheera Frenkel: Israel push on Iran included a steady dose of media leaks
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/03/07/141119/israel-push-on-iran-included-a.html

  36. That Pilger piece is a reprint of a 2005 article, hence the low figure he gave of 100,000 killed.
    .
    http://www.johnpilger.com/archive-december/page0e77.html?partid=374

  37. I’m sceptical. With the probable death fighting of many of the external agents wreaking havoc in Syria and we must suppose even more covert if as yet not outed ones in Iran; with the capture of many by the Syrian authorities too – Americans; private security operatives; Israelies; the Al-Quaeda mobile belligerent jetset; Turks; French and the whole ragbag of agitators and special-ops knuckleheads and mercenaries – to suppose that many British nationals have perished or been caught in the territories of the nations they are worming their way around to sow artificial indigenous incendiary dissent, have been caught or perished. This announcement of these deaths comes just as zio-fatigue is sweeping the country and what assurance do we have that these deaths actually took place in Afghanistan at all? I expect there to be more attributed to actions in Afghanistan we’re told assuredly when accounting to their families, if a few or more than a few of our state backed irregulars, sheep-dipped in amongst regular units operating way outside the Afghan border -buy it. Division of marginal forces towards secondary or lower political rather than military objectives is the familiar pitfall that turns losing battles into strategic routs.

    Just can’t take the mainstream media, ZBC and Goydian especially at face value, nothing and everything can be make-believe doubly-spun disinformation.

  38. The great effort the BBC make to tell the one sided story.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10634173

  39. Telling lies about Afghanistan
    Posted on March 8, 2012 by Matt
    .

    ‘All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed,’ wrote the great radical journalist I.F. Stone many years ago. Stone could have added that some governments lie more than others, and that there are also times when governments
    are more prone to manipulation, dishonesty and deceit than usual.
    .
    War has always had a special ability to bring these tendencies to the surface, and yesterday the lies were pouring forth at an alarming rate in response to the deaths of six British soldiers in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

    .
    /…
    http://www.infernalmachine.co.uk/?p=1447

  40. The Colonel commanding the soldiers who died appeared on BBC 4, justifying the war (as I suppose his job requires him to). He trotted out the tired old chestnut that “we are fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan so they can’t blow people up in Britain”.

    It’s hard to know where to begin criticising this. If the Taliban are able to blow up a 25-ton Warrior armoured vehicle with armed soldiers inside, in the teeth of an armed occupation of their country, why on earth should they not be able to plan a few attacks in soft, unprotected, civilian Britain? Indeed, why are terrorists thought to require whole nations as “training camps” and “safe havens”? I don’t see why a huge bombing in London could not be entirely planned and carried out by a handful of people in any out of the way place in Britain. Just as I have seen no convincing evidence that anyone had a hand in planning or executing 9/11, other than those who carried out the attacks and died in them. Of course, that is a most disagreeable possibility for our glorious leaders, who desperately needed someone (alive) to take revenge on.

    The BBC also peddles the line that our armed forces are in Afghanistan to squeeze Al Qaeda out. That really does fly in the face of common sense, as Al Qaeda had no presence at all in Iraq before we and our glorious American allies destroyed the country and hanged Saddam Hussein. Now Iraq is full of Al Qaeda and similar people – as is Libya, and (if the “international community” gets its way) Syria will be too. The latest news, I see, is that eastern Libya (the area around Benghazi) plans to break away and revert to being Tripolitania. Pity they didn’t do that before overthrowing the relatively stable Qadafi regime.

  41. ‘How does thought control work in societies that call themselves free? Why are famous journalists so eager, almost as a reflex, to minimise the culpability of a prime minister who shares responsibility for the unprovoked attack on a defenceless people, for laying waste to their land and for killing at least 100,000 people, most of them civilians, having sought to justify this epic crime with demonstrable lies?

    ‘What made the BBC’s Mark Mardell describe the invasion of Iraq as “a vindication for him”? Why have broadcasters never associated the British or American state with terrorism? Why have such privileged communicators, with unlimited access to the facts, lined up to describe an unobserved, unverified, illegitimate, cynically manipulated election, held under a brutal occupation, as “democratic”, with the pristine aim of being “free and fair”?’

    I’m afraid the answers to those very reasonable and pertinent questions are simpler than we would like, Mary. We “human beings” are the most sophisticated species of ape, but we are still apes. As such, we instinctively cleave to our own tribe and support whatever approximation we can find to “a strong leader”. (“He may be a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch”). It is bred deep into our genes to trust and support “our own”, and to hate and distrust “the other”. Moreover, it is clear enough to any who are insterested (as all political leaders are) that the best way of quelling dissension and disagreement in the ranks is to unite against an external foe. (“1984″ is the textbook case study).

  42. Downwiththatsortofthing, well said, and Anders breivig did it all on his own, never had any help at all from any of his brethren.

    @ bonifacecourt, thanks for the poem from Bertholt, brings back memories of times long past. His borther though, afaik, was never a soldiers and died in Port Bou committing suicide, a very interesting family allround and his work will live forever.

    Going by the utterings of Vince Cable last night, Government ministers want British soldiers to stay in Afghanistan and take more casualties, they tend to go up at the end of campaigns.
    This morning the usual commentators are trying to equate the Taliban with Al Quaeda, despite the fact that warlords and the latter never got on with each other, still we hearing the same unclear aims and objectives, changing as we go along. I felt sorry for the mother who was dragged on to newsnight last night, having to talk to LFI Murphy, Cable and some military bod called Tootal, but she made it perfectly obvious that these young soldiers, on coming home, have to fight another war for housing, NHS treatment, jobs and more. The direct result of lack of social responsibility from the MOD is that ex soldiers end up homeless and on the streets, especially those who cannot cope, who have PTSD’s and other mental stresses.

    Finally, if I would want to research a book on the german campaign in Namibia, I would not even contemplate nor would I have to fly to Johannesburg to try and research it, what a ludicrous waste of CO2 that would be. What could there possibly be to research that I cannot find in the Berlin/Hamburg Libraries or online in University libraries? And why Johannesburg, when the campaing would have suggested Windhook as a more suitable place?

  43. @Mike “Probably an accurate assessment, Craig, but not one you’ll ever see on the BBC.”

    Except that BBC Radio 5 interviewed Kim Howells this morning (somewhere around 7:50) and he said pretty much the same thing as Craig. He also gave an example of why the occupation is failing to do much for women’s rights in Afghanistan because they are trying to impose it.

  44. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 9:39 am

    VonRath,
    .
    Interesting. I thought it was odd how it was reported for hours that the men were missing, presumed dead. I wonder what the flight time is from Syria to Afghanistan.
    .
    At the first sign of trouble, i.e. when communication was lost with the patrol, considerable forces would have been dispatched to investigate. They would have secured the immediate area and then gone to attend the vehicle, it’s a standard operational response. They would be cautious attending the vehicle out of fear of secondary devices or ambush but it would not take long to do a sweep of the area as they would want to get to their comrades as a matter of urgency.
    .
    Why the vagueness for so long about their fate? I know shaped charges are powerful but it should have been pretty obvious from body parts, personal arms and equipment that the chaps had all been killed on the spot. Perhaps they were taken alive and killed elsewhere and only discovered some time later.
    .
    Either way experience shows that when politicians and journalists go on an orchestrated media campaign it’s always worth doubting what you are being told to believe.

  45. Last year january 2 week page 7 of the guardian
    Taliban offer to educate girls.
    look it up.
    About the 12th.
    Am I an oddball or is that not significant?

    If only one of us had the facilities to print a daily.

    How about a computer programme that links like
    minded bloggers and can then be run off and distributed.

  46. Chienfou: Radio 5 at 7.50 am? Now THERE’s blanket coverage for you…
    And from a former minister who is no longer even an MP. It’s funny how he has rediscovered his critical faculties -  not to mention a conscience – now that it’s no longer his responsibility.

  47. @Mike – well the program has 3 Million listeners* – hardly an obscure backwater.

    My point was that sometimes the BBC DOES broadcast alternative (even dissenting) views. Craig highlighted another example on Newsnight earlier this week (which prompted similar criticsim of the personality while ignoring the message they broadcast)

  48. OT – Scott Horton/Uzbekistan/Nato

    http://harpers.org/subjects/NoComment

  49. Of course dissent creeps in, Chienfou. But the broad primetime narrative on the BBC is that all military intervention by the British state is necessary/good.

  50. “I would just like to know what the UK’s war aims really are”

    Be America’s buddy. More generally NATO wants to not to lose face: what are a few hundred more soldier’s lives set against that glorious goal.

    And the Americans are trapped by their own propoganda into thinking it’s about 9/11. Even though not one Afghan was involved.

    The UK are on a self-imposed railway line. One tracked, and you can’t (you’ve told yourself) step off — it’s be America’s buddy till the end.

  51. Uzbek in the UK

    8 Mar, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    Mr Murray
    .
    Not to argue with what you said and have been saying about war in Afghanistan and I think even you accepted that there is no immediate solution to Afghan problem. And I think that leaving Afghanistan as it is at present is certainly not a solution at all. When Soviets pulled out civil war flourished and despite being overall successful I do not think that anyone could argue that Taliban represented whole Afghan population. I do not argue that present Afghan government in Kabul is corrupt but there are many millions in the North who did not and will not accept Taliban as legitimate and fight against them will continue. In future I predict that Afghanistan will be used by yet another superpower – China in their quest for controlling important energy routes.
    .
    Afghanistan is yet another reminder of what could happen when a country of many millions is sacrificed to the geopolitical gains of superpowers. I am afraid that in years to come there will be more similarities around the world.

  52. Uzbek,

    I think the great mistake is to think that foreigners can – or even should – solve the problems of Afghanistan. Both the Soviets and we have made the long term problems worse.

  53. Mostly very young men but older than many of their victims.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17295858 The names of the soldiers.
    .
    Some maimed minds and bodies here.
    .
    NATO strike wounds nine schoolgirls in Afghanistan
    Wednesday, February 22, 2012
    .
    Nine schoolgirls were injured in a NATO helicopter attack in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, an Afghan official said on Wednesday.
    .
    “This morning a school was attacked by a NATO helicopter. Nine children, all girls, and the school’s janitor have been injured,” Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the Nangarhar provincial government spokesman told AFP.
    .
    “Some of the girls were discharged after receiving treatment but about five of them are still in the hospital,” Abdulzai said, accusing the US-led ISAF force of carrying out the attack.
    .
    An ISAF spokesman said the force was aware of the claim but “we don’t have operational reporting of it.”
    .
    “ISAF officials are looking into these claims,” the spokesman said.
    .
    ++++Last week, ISAF conceded that several children died during a bombing raid on February 8 in northeast Kapisa province.++++
    .
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai had condemned the airstrikes and ordered an investigation after saying that eight children were killed.
    .
    The latest report comes amid intense anti-US riots in Kabul that were unleashed after the burning of copies of the Quran by foreign forces at the US-run Bagram military base north of the capital.
    .
    (AFP)
    {http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/nato-strike-wounds-nine-schoolgirls-afghanistan}

  54. Courtenay Barnett et al,
    Must see; the relevant part starts @ 9:25
    ,
    The capacity of psychopaths in rationalization of all events to fit their own psychotic world view, knows no bounds.
    ,
    on a more somber note;
    Another six families and their extended loved ones join in the grief that has befallen the Afghan war victims on both sides of the divide. Whilst those who perpetrated the crimes of ordering the mass murder, and the fatuous war in Afghanistan are freely going about their business of getting richer without any let or hindrance. The injustice of this all shall never be forgotten by those who shall remember the actual history.
    ,

  55. O/T Anyone experiencing the effects of the solar storm yet?
    .
    Billions of tonnes of superhot gas containing particles released
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17295337

  56. this is really nice…http://www.jogosdahotwheels.com

  57. Uzbek
    there is no immediate solution to Afghan problem.
    ,
    The only “Afghan problem” as you put it, is the presence of the marauding invaders in Afghanistan. Hence the solution is, for the invaders to get the hell out of Afghanistan, and leave the Afghans to sort it out among themselves.
    end-of

  58. Uzbek in the UK

    8 Mar, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    Mr Murray
    .
    I certainly agree with you.
    .
    But as it happens Afghanistan is torn by over 30 years of civil war. Many would probably agree that first step towards peace building is bringing some kind of order to Afghanistan, not the one based on medival norms or ethnic cleansing and not the one based on clan or tribal relations but also not the one based on corrupt illegitimacy. After NATO pulls out all these problems in cope with power vacuum will surface again and it is certain that Afghanistan will be back to civil war and who knows whether more or less Afghans will die in further civil war than during decade of occupation.
    .
    On my view the biggest mistake NATO did in Afghanistan is mixed up legitimacy issue initially. For NATO legitimacy is government elected by popular vote that is capable of providing law and order. For Afghans legitimacy is based on clan-tribes relationship with elders (more often war lords) enjoying more authority than distant Kabul based government. NATO should have involved all these questionable elders (war lords) as well as more moderate pro-Taliban supporters in governing of Afghanistan and only then by natural selection illuminate weakers and consolidate power in hands of stronger and only then demand mandate from them based on popular vote.
    .
    Those (including me ) who initially thought that democracy was possible in Afghanistan were mistaken. I am on other hand now seriously concerned with whether or not democracy is possible in Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan any time soon.

  59. Uzbek in the UK

    8 Mar, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    @ Passerby
    “The only “Afghan problem” as you put it, is the presence of the marauding invaders in Afghanistan. Hence the solution is, for the invaders to get the hell out of Afghanistan, and leave the Afghans to sort it out among themselves.
    end-of”
    .
    No doubt, easy solution from someone who lives thousand miles from Afghanistan. I am not questioning negative aspects of invaders’ behaviour and possibly motives, but it is certain that back to pre 2011 Afghanistan is not very much convenient for (at least) some Afghans (particularly in the North) and for some of their neighbours (also in the North).

  60. technicolour

    8 Mar, 2012 - 1:53 pm

    Afghanistan has been the ‘super powers’ war zone of choice for a long long time. The reason why many Afghans no longer know how old they are is because they have been used for target practice for so long they have lost track of linear reality. Every time it looks as though there will be a chance for the country to return to a fairly peaceful norm (eg the rise of Massud after the Russians pulled out) one of the super powers smashes everything again.

    ‘Solving Afghanistan’s problems’ – the super powers are the problem. We could pay them billions of dollars in compensation and allow them to eat and survive beyond the current average of 44. And promise never to use the place as a battleground again. That would be a start.

  61. Trouble is, tribal areas are tribal areas. No-one’s going to create a metropolitan democracy in Afghanistan, and history shows again and again when the “civilisers” decide they can’t afford to continue and pull out, the tribal system and tribal economy return. It may be the system best suited to a country consisting in great part of physical barriers to travel and very limited resources. None of which, obviously, matters a toss to people who want to sell them crap and build pipelines across their land to stop the Russians (or, horror, the Chinese) monopolising Central Asian oil supplies…

  62. Uzbek in the UK

    8 Mar, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    Komodo,
    .
    It seems that you are right and perfectly underlined major problems and it seems clear that tribalism on its own is not a major issue. But inter-tribal conflicts clearly are. You highlighted physical barriers that divide Afghanistan, but it is also true that whereas tribes are generally contained by these barriers, at the same time there conflicts between tribes not as much for land but for routes that are mostly used to export opium.
    .
    It seems for many on this board that death from hands of its own is more acceptable than death from hands of invaders. Who know, but this might well be true for Afghans.

  63. “Each death is a tragedy, but we can be forgiven for being most immediately struck by the deaths of our own.”

    Perhaps that is the problem – being too forgiving of ourselves: until we accept that we share a common humanity and that the grief of Afghan parents and friends is no less or significant than that of “our own”, then there is little hope of changing this re-enactment of bloody history.

  64. @ Passeerby,

    ” Another six families and their extended loved ones join in the grief that has befallen the Afghan war victims on both sides of the divide. Whilst those who perpetrated the crimes of ordering the mass murder, and the fatuous war in Afghanistan are freely going about their business of getting richer without any let or hindrance. The injustice of this all shall never be forgotten by those who shall remember the actual history.”

    All so sad.
    ,

  65. Mike

    OK I took your words too literally. Fair enough.
    .
    I agree that the mainstream media usually just pass on the official propaganda without challenging it. That’s why when someone steps out of line and puts forward an alternative picture it ought to be recognised as a good thing.
    .
    Craig works hard to get such views into the mainstream media but we know that most of the time no one is interested. If other people do manage to get such messages across to a wider audience that must be good too. It shouldn’t matter too much who does it – only what they say.

  66. Let us recap on what the West/Empire/US and toadies have done for Afghanistan.
    ,
    1- Killed innumerable numbers of the Afghans.
    ,
    2- Bounced rubble, and rained so much ordnance on their lands that the place will be poisonous for generations to come.
    ,
    3- Destroyed the modicum of semblance the Afghans had achieved in running the own affairs, that is despite the machinations of the US and toadies and the USSR.
    ,
    4- Selected the UNOCAL employees and set these up as the Afghans’ dear leaders.
    ,
    5- Have bombarded the only hydroelectric power station working in the Kajaki dam, and then bought at huge expense a turbine and then parked it next to the dam for one day when time comes to install it, which in all probability by then the turbine has rusted and been sold for scrap in the Pakistan markets.
    ,
    6- Evangelized the Afghans and converted these to Christians, whom soon as the evangelists are out of sight will revert back to being Muslims (food for hymns program does wonders).
    ,
    7- Made shit loads of money through recycling the tax dollars through the Afghan war theater, and into the accounts of the those who initiated the Afghan war for the very purpose of riping-off the US and UK and NATO citizens taxes.
    ,
    However, there have been those soldiers whom would never have amounted to much of anything during the peacetime, yet these characters have been promoted, and bask in the lime light for their contribution in directing the mass murder in the name of “National Security”.
    ,
    Game, set and match to the charlatans and warmongers. Afghans dead point.
    ,
    However to keep the pot boiling just a little while longer, there is the concern for the Afghans getting down and dirty and killing each other, seeing as there is lots of them left standing at the end of the current shoot out.

  67. the shared info is pretty helpful for professionals. thanks for sharing.http://www.emprestimopessoalibi.com

  68. You missed out the heroin trade Passerby.
    .
    The sanctimonious syrup coming out of ZBC today is appalling. Robert Hall who used to do the voiceovers for the hearse processions through Wootton Bassett is standing outside the Yorkshire Regimental HQ in Warminster, talking of the flowers, the children from the local schools, the prayers and the mourning.

    .
    He was followed by the royal forelock tugger Nicholas Witchell who was in Leicester with the queen, the old lizard and and the new duchess. Ghastly drivel. We have many more months of this Jubilympics royal progress to come. The young killer prince is having fun in the W Indies.

  69. Chienfou: agreed.

  70. Mary,
    How very true, I am glad you added the trade in Heroin that has become a virtual monopoly of the Afghanistan, post the invasion of that country by the US and toadies.
    ,
    Resulting in much more misery and many more deaths across the globe that ought to be added to the overall tally of death toll of war on Afghanistan.

  71. “They” seem to be more interested in statistics which is why it hurts so much when more than a couple of servicemen or women get killed.
    They don’t count the civilian (collateral damage)victims of the conflicts.
    We don’t do body counts said Rumsfeld.Which in Afghanistan is just as well.I lost count on how many wedding parties were massacred through airstrikes in the early phases of the war.Then came the drones, and the number of deaths for every missile seemed to be stuck on 13.Very unlucky ! There were of course always 1 or 2 important Taliban in there to justify the kids and the women.
    10 years of war and only a few thousand troops dead ? I suppose its a raging success.The unemployed kids back home will think that stats are with them when they sign up.What they never find out is how many lives have been ruined by loss of limbs , eyes , sanity, humanity.
    John Reid was very convincing when he said not a shot would be fired.I think he was just sticking to the script he’d been handed.We jumped in head first following Blairs strategy of Bush licking.
    We shouldn’t be there and the boys shouldn’t be dying in Afghan dust.Cameron thinks Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes.
    Shame he didn’t take time to read his books.
    All the while all these wars have been going on, Israel has been joining the dots in the west bank after building the wall. Nothing like a good diversion eh ?
    Never mind , we have sports on the TV every night of the week and a 6 pack cost next to nothing.And if you really want to party,there’s plenty heroin on the streets thanks to NATO.
    That will take the pain of listening to bad news away.

  72. Bob Dylan’s insight as cutting and relevant as ever:

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/mastersofwar.html

    Ditto Tom Lehrer’s genius satire:

    http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/t/tomlehrer3903/sendthemarines185498.html

  73. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 5:15 pm

    Afghanistan’s stated problems, which are really nothing more than excuses to attack them, are:-
    .
    * failed state status
    * terrorist haven
    * drug production
    * tribal society
    * oppression of women
    * religious fundamentalism
    .
    Most of these are false, exaggeration or misrepresentation. For example Opium production was almost non-existent before 2001 and the Afghans were willing to hand over CIA asset Osama Bin Laden, provided the Americans offered at least some evidence that he was responsible for 9/11. Most of the other stated ‘problems’ are the direct result of foreign interference, intervention or simply lies.
    .
    The actual reason for the West being in Afghanistan is to appropriate and transport, through client states, the multi-trillion dollar prize of the Caspian Basin energy reserves to the West. The motivation for which is Europe’s dependence on Russian energy which is severely limiting the West’s ability to contain/control Russia politically and economically.

  74. Can you not research your book here, Craig, via university websites and european libraries?
    Apart from saving the dosh flying there, do you really have to add pointless pollution, on everyone elses back, to the pointless death of six young men?

    No sweat I shall walk to London for a few times instead of taking the train, that should restore the stupidity balance.

  75. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 6:09 pm

    One British and one Italian hostage held in Nigeria have been killed during a rescue attempt by Nigerian and U.K. forces… Cameron says it looks as if both hostages “were murdered by their captors before they could be rescued.”
    .
    http://www.wral.com/news/national_world/world/story/10830346/
    .
    Deja vu again?
    .
    British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed today 36-year-old Linda Norgrove was killed by her captors during a raid
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319083/UK-aid-worker-killed-Afghanistan-U-S-special-forces-rescue-attempt.html
    .
    British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by US grenade, admits William Hague
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/linda-norgrove-killed-us-grenade

  76. David Flashman Cameron is completely out of his depth. I think he read too many Boy’s Own annuals.
    .
    8 March 2012 Last updated at 18:04
    .
    Nigeria rescue bid: Kidnapped Briton and Italian killed
    A video of the two men was released to AFP news agency last year
    .
    A Briton and an Italian abducted by gunmen in Nigeria last year have died in a failed rescue attempt, David Cameron has announced.
    .
    He said it appeared Chris McManus – from north-west England – and Franco Lamolinara had been “murdered by their captors before they could be rescued”.
    .
    British forces supported the Nigerian-led operation, Mr Cameron said.
    .
    /..http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17305707

  77. Not to mention Wham Bam Cam’s version of Bliar’s 45-minute rubbish. Except this time it’s Iran targeting London. Does he really think we’re going to stand for being hoodwinked into slaughter a second time in 10 years?
    Forget the colours of the parties: it’s self-serving liars versus the human race.

  78. technicolour

    8 Mar, 2012 - 7:29 pm

    (technical point) I agree with angrysoba: calling Cameron ‘Flashman’ is a compliment. Flashman was a roister-doisterer and an almost irresistible womaniser who had actually fought in wars (though as a sensible coward he tried to avoid it). He would have debagged Cameron and roasted him over a fire, and lifted his wallet for an encore.

  79. Mike – I don’t think it matters whether people are likely to be hoodwinked or not. Most people didn’t believe it the last time around. All that matters is to get your version out there, stick to it, get all your media contacts to keep pumping it, and then brazen it out regardless of evidence to the contrary.
    .
    The media is far more of a “he said/ she said” reporting mechanism than a fact-finding instrument now. It’s not interested in a truth, just presenting “both sides” of any given issue, whether it be global climate change, the GWOT, official vs unofficially sanctioned terrorism, religious cranks’ demands on our laws, how to run the economy, and more recently who’s actually to blame for the various financial meltdowns. As long as a lie is out there, it’s a case of “that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.” It gradually become established wisdom.

  80. technicolour

    8 Mar, 2012 - 7:31 pm

    re Cameron: “C3PO made out of ham” was my favourite.

  81. I was looking around for any updates in the case of the murdered girl on the Sandringham Estate – nothing – and came across this.
    .
    5 March 2012 | By David Boderke
    .
    A round-up of agricultural news from across the UK.

    .
    Queen’s Sandringham estate receives £7m farming subsidies from EU
    .
    The Queen has received £7million in farming subsidies funded by taxpayers over the past ten years, it emerged yesterday.
    .
    And the Duke of Westminster – one of Britain’s richest men – has been given around £6million.
    .
    They are among a roll call of millionaire land owners who have accepted bonanza payouts from Brussels.
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2110261/Queens-Sandringham-estate-receives-7m-farming-subsidies-EU.html#ixzz1oEZKE35A
    .
    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. How I loathe the system we are living under.

  82. I well remember Dear Leader Blair selling the Commons the invasion of Afghanistan on the grounds that this would end the heroin trade. I was less cynical then, and I bought the argument. If this had been achieved, it might almost have justified the exercise (had it been planned and conducted efficiently), but this, like most of Blair’s output, was a convenient fiction. Probably as many lives have been destroyed by Afghan heroin since 2001 as in the 11 years before it.The trade continues as a matter of political expediency as much as anything else. Add 400 dead, and 3000 severely injured, including 300 amputees, from UK forces alone. Add the rest, greatly outnumbering our casualties, many of them inoffensive civilians. What a waste.

  83. @ Downwihthissortofthing,

    BY JOVE – I THINK HE’S GOT IT:-

    “The actual reason for the West being in Afghanistan is to appropriate and transport, through client states, the multi-trillion dollar prize of the Caspian Basin energy reserves to the West. The motivation for which is Europe’s dependence on Russian energy which is severely limiting the West’s ability to contain/control Russia politically and economically.”

  84. Uzbek, you mention intertribal conflict. This is certainly relevant to the problem, but IMO it is much enhanced by the imposition from outside of “democratic” values. There is a much greater divide between traditionalist opponents and progressive lapdogs of the puppet regime than there was during the Russian or British Imperial occupations (when tribal differences seem widely to have been forgotten in the face of a common, purely military threat): to violence has been added competition for unprecedentedly unlimited cash and influence. I would predict that if NATO leaves, there will be an extremely unpleasant period when old scores are settled and blood feuds started during the occupation are worked out. Then neighbours will eventually realise that it is probably not in their interest to have more than a few token murders a year, the immensely empowered Taliban will exert a (brutal) policing presence, and a measure of order will be restored. It may even be possible for aware Westerners to travel unhindered, and be offered hospitality, as Newby and Carless were in the 50′s. That is still some years off, however.

  85. Courtenay – it only took you eleven years to get there! Keywords: Unocal, Cheney, Halliburton…

  86. technicolour

    8 Mar, 2012 - 8:04 pm

    Hameron?

  87. When Taliban were in charge in Afghanistan, they had forbidden the production of opium, the price of the opium (dependent on the water content and potency of the crop) was around $4800 a(before the current dollar devaluation, in today’s terms it would be $7800). However, the price of the best opium is now around $1800 which in those days terms would be $600 clearly US have done a service to the drug cartels by reducing their initial costs, as well as rationalising the competition so that the drug lords and barons can live side by side, sort of rat and weasels lying side by one another (the lamb and lion stuff).
    ,
    So over all Afghan war, has been great for drug peddlers and their ever expanding markets, that is really good news for the economy! All the ill-gotten gains then have to be laundered through the banking sector, that can charge enormous charges to handle the hot money and cool it, making a killing in the process. Dunchyou luv the free market principles?

  88. Interesting posts, but have any of you ever actually been to Afghanistan ? I have, and I think that some posters are assuming a lot about the Afghan psyche gleaned from print or other scources…no offence to anyone here, but methinks some posters should spend some time over there before pontificating on behalf of the Afghan population.

  89. Frazer,
    How long were you Afghanistan?
    Why did you go to Afghanistan?
    What did you do in Afghanistan?
    Can you speak Dari, or Pashtu?
    What kind of contacts did you have with Afghans?
    What kind of Afghans did you have any kind of contact with?
    ,
    Best set out your credentials, before strutting into the thread and starting to piss on people, mate.

  90. @Fedup..well here you go then..

    2 Years

    As a Humanitarian Aid Worker

    I repaired, with my Afghan collegues over 16 miles of underground karez water pipes bringing water to over 200 hectares of arable land benifitting over 19000 families in the Kabul region.

    Every day, living and eating with my Engineers and got to know them and thier families, though I was mostly based in District 16, just past the Pigeon Mosque.

    Pashtu is a bit rusty but was pretty fair at the time.

    I am not strutting into the thread mate, perhaps you can answer the same questions as me…I am sure we will all be rather interested.

  91. That should have been 1900 families..

  92. Wikipedia provides us a breakdown of Elphinstone’s army when it was massacred in 1842:

    At the start of the retreat, Elphinstone’s army consisted of one British infantry battalion (the 44th Regiment of Foot), three regiments of regular Bengal Native Infantry (the 5th, 37th and 54th BNI), one regiment of Shah Shujah’s Levy (a British-subsidised force of Indian troops recruited for Afghan service)[5], Anderson’s Irregular Horse, the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry and six guns of the Bengal Horse Artillery, with some sappers. In total, there were 700 British and 3,800 Indian troops.[6] The camp followers, including Indian and British families, numbered approximately 12,000.

    More from Wikipedia on the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot:

    The 44th Foot fought in the First Anglo-Afghan War and the regiment formed the rearguard on the retreat from Kabul. On 13 January 1842, the few survivors of the decimated regiment made a last stand against Afghan tribesmen on a rocky hill near to the village of Gandamak. The force reduced to fewer than forty men by the retreat from Kabul that had come to an end of a running battle through two feet of snow. The ground was frozen and icy. The men had no shelter and little food for weeks. Only a dozen of the men had working muskets, the officers their pistols and a few unbroken swords. When the Afghans surrounded them on the morning of the 13th the Afghans announced that a surrender could be arranged. “Not bloody likely!” was the bellowed answer of one British sergeant. It is believed that only two survived the massacre. Most notable was Captain Thomas Souter, who by wrapping the regimental colours around himself was taken prisoner, being mistaken by the Afghan as a high military official. The other was Surgeon William Brydon who made it as far as the British garrison at Jalalabad after riding his exhausted horse to the limit for days. A vivid, if romanticised, depiction entitled “Last Stand of the 44th Regiment at Gundamuk” was painted by the artist William Barnes Wollen in 1898 which now hangs in the Chelmsford and Essex museum in Oaklands Park, London Road, Chelmsford. This disaster to British arms served to encourage the Indian nationalists who were leaders in the great mutiny in India (1857).

  93. So what are your views, Frazer, if you care to share them with us? I myself have been no closer to Afghanistan than Southern Italy, so all my thoughts are based on what I have read in forums like this or in articles and books.

  94. Glenn, there are guys such as Seumas Milne, Simon Jenkins and Bob Fisk who have nailed, and continue to nail, the war on terror bollocks that has led us to the brink of a much more serious conflict with Syria/Iran. I say serious because I don’t believe China and Russia will standby and watch the Western long game reach a conclusion. Iran has always been the big prize; the final piece in the puzzle.
    I know the guys I’ve just named aren’t exactly household reading in the marginals, but they’re our best hope, in the absence of any meaningful historicised exposure from the BBC.

  95. @Tom..
    Well, I pretty much agree with Craig that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable…if you look at the history of occupations from Alexander the Great onwards, it seems that the Afghans have been repelling various types of invaders for hundreds of years.
    I suppose the main question, is why are we there in the first place ?
    My experience over there was actually very good and I have nothing but respect for the ordinary Afghan just wanting to go about thier daily business, just like anyone else.

  96. Frazer,
    Good of you to have corrected the figure, however from the data it is evident you never left Kabul district, and further, your help in laying down sixteen miles of pipe, most probably held you in good standing with the Afghans (ie they would bite their tongue in your presence). Although it is lamentable to find a Western trained engineer to be assigned to help the Afghans with a technology that is endogenous to the area. Evidently all the Qanat engineers in Afghanistan have died without training their younger replacements.
    ,
    However given your first hand experience, then you will appreciate that Afghans are not in any way happy with the US staying in their country. This is despite the ambivalence of cosmopolitan residents of Kabul. Further, given the daily toll of the dead and inured in Afghanistan, and the tribal honour traditions that compel the tribe to avenge the death of their members’ loved ones, only adds to the tally of the existing resistance, that “media” casually refer to as Taliban.
    ,
    Also you of all people ought to be aware that there is no such a thing as a model Afghan. In fact the “media” portrayal of a monolithic model Afghan is all but an easy way of providing titbits of info for punters this side of water who will be educated in bits for these punters in time to form the opinions they need to form, and come to think they have thought out the desired lines of spoon fed thinking all by themselves.
    ,
    I and others for sure will be interested to read your accounts of your Afghan experience, so long as it is not some opportunity to aid and abet the invading forces in a propaganda blitz.
    ,
    as for your first question;
    but have any of you ever actually been to Afghanistan ?
    ,
    You as an engineer ought to know better, that despite me not having been near the surface of the sun, I have a good idea of its surface temperature, and not having travelled through a length of wire, still I can with some certainty work out the behaviour of the electrons in conducting the charge induced in the wire, and calculate the various parameters thereof. Therefore one needs not have been in Afghanistan to adduce with high degrees of accuracy the events unfolding there, and thereafter extrapolate the feelings of Afghans and their aspirations.
    ,
    As for your last question about me; Frazer I would like to boast about my swashbuckling adventures, now that you have kindly provided the opportunity for such an outcome. Alas, my mundane and almost boring narrative would bore the tits of a nun, and lets face it, those poor sods don’t get to have any kind of excitement. Therefore I am doing you and others a favour by not engaging in Tonyop-ing (used to comment here, mind he was a hoot, albeit disruptive and counter-productive when he was drunk)by recanting totally boring bollocks.

  97. Frazer,
    Hope you will enjoy this image of a Qanat in Kashan Iran Truly water is a heavenly bounty. The cool, potable, sweet water. It ought to be a human right, as should food, and shelter ought to be human rights too, won’t you agree?

  98. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    8 Mar, 2012 - 11:39 pm

    I suppose the main question, is why are we there in the first place?
    .
    “The actual reason for the West being in Afghanistan is to appropriate and transport, through client states, the multi-trillion dollar prize of the Caspian Basin energy reserves to the west. The motivation for which is Europe’s dependence on Russian energy which is severely limiting the West’s ability to contain/control Russia politically and economically.”
    .
    I pretty much agree with Craig that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable
    .
    That may be because your idea of ‘winning’ and the war strategists’ are based on entirely different premises. Afghanistan is one small part of a bigger picture and merely holding Afghanistan for the next two years is a strategic victory of sorts. If they succeed in removing Assad then Iran will be next in the cross-hairs (and maybe the odd African nation between now and then) and Afghanistan makes a perfect place to attack from.

  99. @ Komodo,

    “Courtenay – it only took you eleven years to get there! Keywords: Unocal, Cheney, Halliburton”

    Come on now – a mere 10 1/2 years – at least give me those 6 months credit.

  100. We’re having so many problems logistically hanging on in Afghanistan, I don’t see much likelihood of its being used as a springboard for an attack on Iran.

  101. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    9 Mar, 2012 - 12:33 am

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=202186767305035287983.0004995f23a58e00370d5&msa=0
    .
    Afghanistan and the bigger picture, a.k.a. the Great Game.

  102. Looking from my point of view I’m told many things from many sources; however I have tried to imagine myself as an ordinary Afghan. I think I’d look to the Taliban as my best hope. I don’t believe the western forces will achieve anything; and we ourselves as a nation have lost all that we hoped to force upon the Afghans. I certainly believe Craig Murray has got it right concerning corruption and wrong doing in Afghanistan; but there is some of that among the western allies, more than most believe.

  103. Lysias
    ,
    Very true. Afghanistan, was invaded, just for reasons of making way for the Iraq war. Although, the gas, oil, and mineral deposits in Afghanistan were additional incentives. However given the global economic downturn and the glut of the US dollars, with a worsening oversupply of these to continue, compels the imperial hoards to vacate the joint (Afghanistan) for the time being, without tapping into the said deposits. The need for higher prices of commodities keeps recycling the petrodollars, and instead going after consolidation of the imperial grip on softer and easier targets in Africa.

  104. Glen_UK has it right. Our soldiers are there to die. They serve no other purpose. In their ‘sacrifice’ (a despicable word in context), they aid our faux-alliance with a thoroughly, and increasingly, dangerous USA. Parliamentarians of all stripes think this ‘sacrifice’ is just and noble, necessary to retain our favourite-corgi status with those strange, powerful neocons. Put bluntly, young working class men are being killed to save the careers of well-heeled MP’s. Let’s face it, standing up to the US is career suicide, they all know it.
    .
    As has been said of psychopaths: they know the words but not the music. Who can pay heed to the fine words spoken whenever one of our soldiers is killed? It’s just wind and soundbites, signifying nothing.

  105. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    9 Mar, 2012 - 1:10 am

    Afghanistan, was invaded, just for reasons of making way for the Iraq war.
    .
    In that case Iraq was invaded just for reasons of making way for the Iran war.

  106. craig -
    do you speak uzbek? found this article on Abdo Husameddin, the alleged Syrian Govt defector all over the MSM, but this guy does not look like the same man, tho he is identified as representing Syria on this page. Google Translate doesn’t do the Uzbek language. the MSM did go from saying the guy “purportedly” defected, to saying “purported defector”, and a lot of people online are wondering about the validity of the story:

    http://www.trtuzbek.com/trtworld/oz/newsDetail.aspx?HaberKodu=a6613d83-9650-4bfb-8a6d-f5bf2e3ae2aa

  107. DownWithThisSortOfThing, the map you linked to is good, but incomplete. It doesn’t show the Russian forces to the North, thus making it look like Iran is the primary target. Put the Russian forces in and then the Caspian Basin, where the hydrocarbons are, is seen to be surrounded. The Russian forces don’t have to be so dense due to the large Russian-occupied landmass to the North.
    .
    Lots of the Afghan opium/heroin ends up in Russia where it is destroying huge numbers of people, mostly young adults. This could be interpreted as economic warfare.

  108. Anon

    The St Petersburg ocnnection. Most of the heroin through Russia – where it does indeed create a huge social problem – is controlled by Putin’s old people out of St Petersburg. So it is not as simple as a western plot to destabilise Russia.

  109. On various thread points above, Frazer was there as an aid worker before the US invasion, while Kabul was under Taliban control. They used to help him home after a few bevvies, respecting his right to his culture as a non-Muslim, which is interesting.

    The suggestion by Nevermind that a serious book about India can be reasearched entirely from Ramsgate is a bit silly. The idea that because of global warmng we should never fly anywhere is not really going to catch on, at least until high speed rail links up the world, which one day it may do.

  110. re Abdo Husameddin post above from Uzbek site:

    someone posted this on a blog, which they said they’d found on a website that has no english:

    “I read all about this guy in (arabic) arab media , he is the assistant to the minister of petroleum and mineral resources,. the minister and deputy minster positions are political appointments , the assistant position is a managerial and administrative, in other words he is a general manager at the ministry of petroleum in charge of this or that.
    According to the opposition syriatruth.org which represent the syrian secular opposition to both the syrian regime as well as the current Franglo islamist opposition the man was under investigation by the government and was facing imminent arrest for selling government geomineral data to oil prospecting foreign companies.”

    there’s also stuff online how CNN’s Anderson Cooper has had to respond to a youtube that went viral, showing MSM rebel darling, Syrian Danny, was a fake. this comment was on the same site where i found the above quote:

    Anderson Cooper was acting as if he was shocked to hear that Danny was reporting fake stories,after the story of fake Danny hit the internet.
    The question is how Danny in no time was able make it to CNN studios to meet Anderson Cooper, all the way from Syria so quickly.
    I wonder if CNN have a bed for Danny somewhere in CNN building…!!

    there is a CNN video somewhere, but haven’t got time to locate it just now. all is propaganda.

  111. A comment on medialens ref Simon Jenkins’ piece in the Guardian
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/08/afghanistan-lies-killing-our-soldiers

    .
    The ambition to bring Afghanistan democracy, security and gender awareness…

    .
    So Jenkins chooses to blame the Americans for the fiasco, letting our own statesmen off the hook in the process.
    .
    The 400 dead British soldiers died for nothing, at least nothing to do with our security. The something they died for was to prove our closeness and unquestioning loyalty to the United States. In this sense they were a ghastly form of bloody and ritualised… human sacrifice… worthy of the Aztecs.
    .
    At the very least there should be a public enquiry into how Britain became involved in the Afghan occupation, preferably followed by a mass trial for treason, or perhaps we could just skip all that and jump to the axe and the block, saving both time and money in this age of austerity?

  112. News of the World sources back up Guido Fawkes claims about photographs

    Politics blog said paper paid £20,000 for pictures of William Hague’s special adviser in gay bar, but never used them

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/09/news-of-the-world-guido-fawkes-hague

    Billy Hague, the model of a modern neo-conservative.

  113. To call my suggestion to stop flying around the world and polluting the skies, god beware there’s a problem, cause then we dump some 40tons of fuel into the melee, SILLY, is really the wrong choice of word.
    You would not like it if I call you silly for being largely ignorant on this issue, but you are.
    before you start shooting back, I’ve flown once in 30 years and whilst agreeing on the substantial issue, that nobody can save the Afghans from themselves, I find such global complacency ignorant, unsustainable and far far too cheap, airprices should triple, new aircraft should attract VAT and the ruse of duty frees, a fraudulent shooting game allround imho, should be abolished.

    The justice lacking regards human relations globally is easily comparable to the lack of justice humans dish out on other species. Today’s news that the seabird populations, thats all of them, are drastically declining, is an indication of the overfishing of our oceans, the increasing acidity, a problem that is far bigger long term than the erradication of some of our species via wars.

    It is exactly this ignorance that has brought us to the brink, living unsustainable has conseqwuences for us all.
    I’m a father and I have done wrong in life, thanks good for diversion, music, summer festivals, gadgetry and gulibility of our young, othwerwise they might be inclined to get rid of their so called fathers, what have they ever done for them apart from living it up on their resources.
    How silly is that?

  114. Amos in 2003. Medialens editors -
    .
    Baroness Amos in 2003: Government’s dossier on WMD in Iraq had been ‘thorough and accurate’
    .
    Posted by The Editors on March 9, 2012, 9:01 am, in reply to “Re: Syrian rebels reject Annan’s call for dialogue”
    .
    The Independent, May 31, 2003:

    ‘In London, Baroness Amos, the International Development Secretary, insisted that the Government’s dossier on WMD in Iraq had been “thorough and accurate”.
    .
    ‘Lady Amos told BBC Radio 4′s The World at One programme: “It is absurd to suggest that we invented, exaggerated or distorted evidence for our own ends. There have been successive United Nations Security Council resolutions about Iraq’s WMD. We have evidence that Iraq used its WMD against its own people. These are the facts.”‘ (Paul Waugh, ‘Rumsfeld changes tack by insisting that WMD will be found,’ Independent, May 31, 2003)
    .
    Eds

    .
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1331281363.html

  115. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 10:59 am

    Anon
    .
    I might be wrong in my perception that drugs are as dangerous for the west as they are for Russians in terms of creating social problems. It would be naive to think that US/EU support heroin export just to destroy young lives in Russia when at the same time most of the heroin ends up in western markets.
    .
    Heroin export goes way beyond Afghanistan. Mr Murray stated in his book how Uzbek government at a very top is closely involved in this lucrative business. According to Mr Murray, former UN representative Richard Conroy have been assassinated by Karimov’s regime when tried to investigate drug mafia. Considering how tied Uzbek/Afghan border is monitored it is clear that for drugs and as for anything else is not possible to cross borders without government patronage.
    .
    So all in all your argument about drugs being used as economic warfare against Russians is not held out to critical review particularly considering that elites in Russia and many other former Soviet republics are pretty much involved in drug trafficking business.
    .
    One other thing to add here, that it is very true that drugs destroy many lives in Russia and Central Asia. Many former industrial cities in Kazakhstan and Russia where unemployment is now high have around 30% of people under 30 who are drug addicts.

  116. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 11:17 am

    Komodo
    “Uzbek, you mention intertribal conflict. This is certainly relevant to the problem, but IMO it is much enhanced by the imposition from outside of “democratic” values.”
    .
    I think you are right here again. It seems obvious that since foreign invasion intertribal conflicts have intensified. This is partially to do with conservatism of Afghan society and partially to do with the fact that many tribes do not and did not and quite possibly will not recognize Kabul as their supreme authority.
    .
    As mentioned earlier NATO have done their major mistake by mixing up legitimacy. Instead of giving Afghan society a government that was legitimate in their own view NATO established the government that is legitimate by western standards but corrupt, illegitimate and most importantly weak for the most of Afghans. It is no secret that Kabul government will fall as soon as the last foreign military boot left Afghanistan. Intertribal and interethnic conflicts will intensify and the only hope for neighboring nations is that all these will be contained within the current borders of Afghanistan. Pakistan will most likely get involved with supporting Taliban and Central Asians with help of Russia, China and possibly US with support of Northern Alliance.
    .
    So all those who think that Afghan peace is on the way (even in any feasible future) after foreign military withdrawal will most likely found themselves being wrong.
    .
    And for all so called Liberals on this blog, it looks like very much hypocrisy that being concerned with deaths of Afghans caused by foreign invasion you at the same time concerned the least with deaths of Afghans followed by foreign withdrawal. How comes? Is life of Afghan killed by NATO have more moral value than life of Afghan killed by a warlord or Taliban?

  117. Yes, Uzbek, I was being overoptimistic, perhaps, in reckoning without other foreign interference immediately filling the NATO gap. Though I think our sucking up to Uzbekistan may have something to do with keeping the N. borders loosely under our influence (intensification of our arselicking will undoubtedly be accompanied by references to stopping the heroin trade). Wonder what we’re doing in Tajik/Turkmenistan? Or have the Russians returned already?

  118. Uzbek in the UK, two points.
    .
    (1) Comparative disadvantage. I don’t know of places in the West with, as you say, 30% heroin addiction for under 30s. If the heroin ends up more concentrated in Russia, and more dispersed in the rest of the world, that’s a comparative disadvantage for Russia. It’s a point for consideration, but actual data is needed.
    .
    (2) Elites vs. the ordinary people; this is also economic warfare.
    .
    “It hurts their workforce more than it hurts ours, and it hurts us in power even less, so it’s to our advantage”. The madness of power and conflict.

  119. Craig at 6:42 am: “Putin’s old people out of St Petersburg” may control the heroin, but could they stop it? If not, they may reason that monopolising control is to their advantage. But in any case, they make money on it.

  120. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    Anon
    .
    Well said. But it is hard to find any places in the West where unemployment is as high as in some places in Russia and many other former Soviet republics. This particularly applies to places that were in the past known as industrial centres that have now collapsed with former soviet markets opening up to foreign products. There are certainly many placed in Europe (in the UK in particular) that have been deserted by industries but as the same time public and semi-private investments and initiatives helped to re-qualify many former factory workers into professionals more suitable to present so called post-industrial economy (which is at present known more as making money out of bubbles economy). But when it comes to Russia or any other former Soviet republics none of this have been done. This resulted to quick and sharp hike in unemployment which is particularly high amongst younger generation. Not only this is a problem but also that Russian government is not doing anything serious to mediate this problems. In Rostov for instance Red Cross is involved in free distribution of syringes in order to reduce spread of AIDS amongst drug addicts and this is all while Russian government does not pay any serious attention to the problem.
    .
    One other thing to add is that also in some Russian cities drug addicts are at over 30%, generally alcoholism remains more serious problem in Russia negatively affecting Russian economy and social structure as well as Russian genepool. For instance Russian population is getting reduced by almost 1 million every year.
    .
    “Elites vs ordinary people” as you put it looks like economic warfare but is this true that these elites act on orders of foreign masters or just driven by their own greed and opportunity for personal enrichment? And what others need to do to stop it? Invade? Overturn the government?

  121. Flashman is off to see Obomber next week.

    .
    Oi! Stop that!

  122. In the aftermath of the bloody and pointless Afghan debacle, I think I’d like to see a great mob rise up in London, sack Downing Street, take Cameron into custody, and then continue down to Westminster; force their way in by sheer weight of numbers, occupy it and imprison all the MPs. Then an angry people’s court would put the whole corrupt bunch on trial for their crimes, which ammount to treason, pretty much like Charles the First.

    Roaming bands would at the same time converge on Tony Blair’s posh residence and drag him out of his comfortable residence, along with Jack Staw and the lizzard Hoone, and imprison them in the Tower of London, where they too would be put on trial for their terrible crimes against not just the Afghans and the Iraqis, but against the British people too.

    The only problem would be what to do with them all after they were found guilty of treason by the people’s court. Blair should be stripped of all his wealth, down to the last penny, and made to clean toilets in a hospital for the rest of his life, no mercy for him I’m afraid. I think, not wishing to be too cruel, the rest of the traitors and conspiracists should be sent into exile, with the clothes they stand in and one suitcase with personal possessions.

  123. There is a distressing tendency among the commentators here to refer to amphibians like Hoon as lizards, and to compound the insult by misspelling the word. Kindly desist. There is no need to be nasty to honest reptiles.

  124. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    Komodo
    “Wonder what we’re doing in Tajik/Turkmenistan? Or have the Russians returned already?”
    .

    Sorry I missed your post.
    .
    Yes, with regards to Tadjikistan. No with regards to Turkmenistan.
    .
    Tadjikistan is a home to 201 Russian military division that was mainly in charge of Tadjik/Afghan border since Tadjik Civil war. Uzbekistan at some point was also largely (although at non-military level) involved in taking parts in Tadjik civil war. Uzbekistan was mostly providing intelligence assistance as well as ammunition supply to Tadjik government. In Kremlin’s Divide and Rule doctrine Tadjikistan is playing major role and Russian military presence there is a key element of Russian strategy in Central Asia. Although, Russian military presence and involvement in Tadjikistan helped to put an end to Civil War, at present days it plays rather negative role in supporting Rakhmonov’s dictatorship at all costs.
    .
    Turkmenistan since collapse of USSR was known to be somewhat different from all others. Although, it is not participating in any post-soviet initiatives and security organisations, its government (especially previous) is known as one of the most despotic in the world. At some point Turkmenistan had even some sort of relationship with Taliban and unlike Uzbekistan was rather reluctant to support Northern Alliance. Turkmenistan is trying hard to keep all outsiders outside including close neighbours. The country for over 16 years was run by paranoid dictator who after his mysterious death was replaced by yet another (although less paranoid) but nonetheless dictator. At the same time Turkmen government is known offering lucrative contracts to foreign (in most cases European) companies. But so far foreign military presence is virtually inexistent.

  125. Flashman and SamCam will get the full treatment in Washington. Hope it doesn’t go to the smoothfaced warmonger’s head.
    .
    Young London schoolgirls are being traipsed over to the US to meet Michelle and other ‘leading females in the US’.
    .
    All part of the rich pattern of electioneering for Obama and some extra hubris for Flashman.

    ~~~~
    Cameron and Obama are due to hold talks on Wednesday at the White House and the British leader will be guest of honor and feted with all the glitz and trappings of an official dinner that evening.
    .
    First Lady Michelle Obama meanwhile announced that she would host Cameron’s wife Samantha at an event marking the upcoming London Olympics with schoolchildren from the Washington DC area on Wednesday.
    .
    A later event for young women at the White House will also include children from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in London, which Michelle Obama wowed with a surprise visit during her first official trip abroad with her husband in April 2009.
    .
    http://newsessentials.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/obama-cameron-to-take-in-us-college-hoops-game/

  126. Actually, I did feel it was wrong to compare Hoon to a lizard when I was writing it. This was wrong and I apologise to all lizards everywhere. Lizards are on a completely different level to the Hoons of this world.

  127. technicolour

    9 Mar, 2012 - 8:47 pm

    Mary: just so I don’t keep nitpicking in my head (which I am happy to do) could you please explain the ‘Flashman’ reference. Do you think it is funny? Do you think it will put people off Cameron? Do you see parallels between our current PM and that anti-hero? Where is it coming from and why?

    Many thanks.

  128. boniface goncourt

    10 Mar, 2012 - 2:33 am

    Flashman possesses a certain charisma and roguish vigour. Quite wrong for Cameron. His correct avatar is the lowlife Skinner of the Remove [in the Greyfriars stories, duh]. ‘Skinner seldom blushed, though he had plenty to blush for if he had troubled to call it to mind.’

  129. Last night from the concentration camp aka Gaza
    Gaza 9Th of march 5.5pm
    .
    30 minutes ago and as i was coming back from my garden ,on the diverted beach road , i hear ed loud explosion , there was a lot of smoke , shattered windows as well as broken cars windows screens , and a fire in the targeted car , i knew late that this, sea blue car ,was targeted by one Israeli missile by a drone , 2 people were killed, one severly injured , one of the killed is x political prisoner from the west bank , ahmad hanan , and zuheer moussa , both are relative s, we still do not know who is the 3rd man , it seems that Isreal is escalating its attacks against Gaza a, may be trying to withdraw Hamas into a confrontation , while the negotiation is going on for reconceliation between hamas and fateh, whtever is the outcome , it is happeneing while the population is under great pressure due to lack of power, net and fuel , as well as the insufficent medications in the hospitals and medical facilities of Gaza
    .
    iam writing in hurry , as the power will be off soon , iam Ok and a surviover
    .
    love you all

    Mona

    Mona ElFarra

    From Gaza With Love

  130. They are increasing the random terror, designed to keep everyone in fear, Mary.
    Looks like the Saudi students are not prepared to scrub their own latrines, and are taken to task by the mullah police.

    Saudi will soon not be bale to quell its interior porblems and should it ever go to war, these unhappy citizens will join and become another front, Saudi will self destruct one day.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/03/2012391628527147.html

  131. maybe those redback spiders that have turned wagga Wagga Australia into a sea of silk could do their magic in the Knesset.
    http://images.canberratimes.com.au/2012/03/07/3105537/JD-spiders-gallery_20120307181805795629-600×400.jpg

  132. Techicolour It started in the Commons a year ago. Labour call out the name. Cameron’s aides fostered the image. I think it goes quite well with his Bullingdon Club image,

    .
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cut-out-the-flashman-act-aides-tell-david-cameron-2282105.html

  133. Agent Cameron on advice from his national security master, Sir Kim Darroch, has warned that Iran is seeking to build an inter-continental missile that would threaten the west.
    .
    It is the first time Cameron has made such an explicit warning that Iran could endanger UK security, and has faint echoes of the warnings from Tony Blair’s government that Iraq could fire weapons of mass destruction with 45 minutes’ notice.
    .
    The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy have been denied access to the text of the National Security Risk Assessment(NSRA) which they claim is ‘unacceptable’ because without that information the Committee is unable to report to both houses on the ‘adequacy’ of the evaluation and judgement expressed within the document.
    .
    http://issuu.com/openbriefing/docs/uknssreview
    .
    In their report the Committee signified concern over the UK’s continued involvement in the United States military actions which they judge is becoming ‘increasingly divergent from our own’ in that Britain should ideally expand/develop alliances with emerging powers in order to sustain a leadership role in world affairs.
    .
    I myself have suggested Britain should open diplomatic channels with Iran which I believe in the long term would decrease the threat of another Middle East crisis and war as well as improving an ailing British economy now devoid of a strong manufacturing base and increasing unemployment. Economic instability undeniably affects our ability to maintain security. Smashing Iran will generate chaos in the energy markets and energy costs, already high, will rocket in the UK as a result, leading to massive unrest and an escalation of protests calling for transparency, fairness, human rights, peace and a viable future for our children.

  134. Totally concur with Writerman though Bliar et al should be dispatched to Fallujah to help rebuild it.Another dose of brainwashing on Dumbleby’s “Any Questions” with Eric Pickles whining on about keeping U.K. streets safe, conveniently forgetting ex head of MI5 Bullying Manner’s evidence to Chilcot that both invasions hightened the risk of terrorist attacks in this country.And now a short poem to celebrate :
    “Once more unto the Breach”

    Hurrah hurrah Prince Harry s off to wah
    To win back home a medal from his pa
    Our feudal relic s off to kill
    Those Afghan chappies,such a thrill
    And will he wear his Nazi gear?
    Oh will he ever never fear.
    What a hero in a chopper
    Happy as a sales day shopper
    Picking victims just like sweaters
    He will teach them we’re their betters.
    Tickerty boo and don’t cha know
    Burning babies give quite a glow
    When Hellfire missiles strike their home
    For they’ve not got an iron dome!
    Infanticide and Genocide
    What fun that Hell is on our side.
    Hurrah hurrah Prince Harry s going to wah
    To bring back home more booty for Papa.

  135. Writerman,
    This is so good
    ‘In the aftermath of the bloody and pointless Afghan debacle, I think I’d like to see a great mob rise up in London, sack Downing Street, take Cameron into custody, and then continue down to Westminster; force their way in by sheer weight of numbers, occupy it and imprison all the MPs. Then an angry people’s court would put the whole corrupt bunch on trial for their crimes, which ammount to treason, pretty much like Charles the First….’

    I think a lot of people want to see this. It’s just a matter of time; the more the cuts bite, the more the numbers will swell. And maybe then we can reach nearer to democracy than endure this scam the Establishment feeds us.

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