General Stanley McChrystal has tendered his resignation (not necessarily accepted) as the rows about his crazy surge and plans to make Jalalabad a second Fallujah spill out into the public domain.
UK Special Envoy Sherard Cowper-Coles – who is less keen on killing people but believes we should occupy Afghanistan for at least a generation – has been sent away on extended leave to lie down for a few weeks in a darkened room.
Meanwhile the activists of the Democrats are finally getting their arses into gear in a serious way. This is just one of scores of examples:
The Danes, Poles and Canadians are planning to leave, and it was curiously the US reaction to the Israeli attack on Turkish vessels that lifted the taboo at NATO HQ on questioning the wisdom of following the US approach in Afghanistan.
Meantime a gentleman name Shahzad, unrepentant Times Square attempted bomber, demolished the entire rationale for the Afghan War. No matter how the tabloids portray it –
the import of Shahzad’s words is plain:
Replying to judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum’s questions over whether he feared killing children, Shahzad said: “I consider myself… a Muslim soldier. It’s a war. I am part of the answer to the US terrorising the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. On behalf of that, I’m revenging the attack.
“Living in the United States, Americans only care about their people but they don’t care about people elsewhere in the world when they die.” Shahzad told the court he armed his vehicle with three separate devices – a fertiliser-fuelled bomb packed in a gun cabinet, a set of propane tanks and gas canisters rigged with fireworks.
He added if America did not get out of Iraq and Afghanistan “we will be attacking the US”.
The notion that occupying Afghanistan prevents terrorism at home is plainly, in the words of Richard Barrett, formr head of counter-terrorism at MI6, “Absolute rubbish”.
Mr Barrett, who formerly headed counter-terrorism for the Secret Intelligence Service, dismissed the argument advanced by British ministers that the presence of 9,500 British troops in Afghanistan would reduce the threat to the UK.
“That’s complete rubbish. I’ve never heard such nonsense,” he said, warning that the presence of foreign troops risked inflaming anti-western sentiment among British Muslim communities.
“I’m quite sure if there were no foreign toops in Afghanistan, there’d be less agitation in Leeds, or wherever, about Pakistanis extremely upset and suspicious about what Western intentions are in Afghanistan and Pakistan”
Interestingly enough precisely the same points – that they had intended to attack as part of the war in Afghanistan – were made in court in the UK by Blackburn’s Ishaq Kanmi and Krenar Lusha when they were convicted recently of terrorist offences, but nowhere does this seem to be reported in the UK media.
I am now hopeful that we are approaching the end of the occupation of Afghanistan as the facts on the ground make the propaganda of the hawks irrelevant. If NATO does not wish to admit defeat, then it has only weeks to kick start serious work on a negotiated settlement with the Pashtun which it can claim as a reason to withdraw.