I fear I have entered a time warp. Gordon Brown is in Basra announcing that we are going to reduce our troops pointlessly occupying its airport to 2,500. He hasn’t been there and made that announcement for almost three months, since he tried to steal the thunder of the Conservative party conference. Indeed that is at least seven different times this announcement has been made over eight months.
We have also taken Musa Qala from the Taliban. That is the fourth time “coalition forces” have done that since 2001. I wonder if we’ll do it again next year?
All just became clear. Sky News gave out the headline “As Gordon Brown touched down in Afghanistan, NATO announced they had just taken a strategic Taliban headquarters.” We bombed the town – that’s the way to win hearts and minds. If we kill enough Afghan civilians they’ll love us eventually, no doubt. I expect we’ll manage to hold the town at least until Gordon has left, so that was worth several deaths, including of at least one British soldier.