Pointless Death 138

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?

138 thoughts on “Pointless Death

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  • Anon

    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.

  • Anon

    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.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    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?

  • writerman

    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.

  • Komodo

    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.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    “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.

  • Mary

    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.

  • writerman

    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.

  • technicolour

    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.

  • boniface goncourt

    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.’

  • Mary

    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 ElFarra

    From Gaza With Love

  • nevermind

    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.


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    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.
    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.

  • Michael Culver

    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.

  • Ruth

    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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