The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Why The Afghanistan War Will Continue

Posted by The Futility Monster on November 6, 2009 @ 10:30


Perhaps we need more white poppies this year...

The question I’m beginning to wonder is simple. How much longer can the political class go on supporting the deaths of British troops in the face of public opposition?

The answer is nuanced and requires a combination of all the following factors:

While opposition is merely “opposition” and not being demonstrated extremely and forcefully, they could conceivably go on for a long time. After all, millions made their feelings known on the Iraq War, and that made no difference. Right now, people may say they oppose the war, but do they have a place to go to express it?

While the main Opposition party supports the war, that too will ensure little changes. When the two main parties are both agreed on a course of action, there is almost nothing stopping it. The Tories support the war as much, if not more, than Labour. Perhaps when Labour are in opposition they may elect a new leader who takes a populist stance on Afghanistan. For governments to be truly put under pressure, it is essential that the Opposition is the articulate voice of the nation’s feelings. That isn’t happening now.

While there is a relatively convincing and wonderfully rhetoric-laced riposte to all opponents of the Afghanistan war. It’s very easy for me to get into a debate with someone and tell them the war must end, but I have to admit I am always put on the back foot if they respond by saying we must remain there or the country will collapse, and then tens or hundreds of thousands will have died in vain. Then there are arguments about terrorism, which, while mostly bogus, give easy soundbites for the warmongers.

While there is a government at utter rock-bottom which knows it really doesn’t matter that it’s backing an unpopular war. Labour couldn’t sink any lower if they tried, and so the party leadership is free to ignore populist demands. Perhaps when the Tories are in government, and it soon becomes “their war” and the poll ratings start to slip… maybe that will encourage a change in direction.

While there is nowhere to go. None of the three major parties are outlining a case for withdrawal. That makes such a view extreme, espoused only by cranks from Stop The War or loony lefties. As such, the only people who appear in the media news cycles to say we need to pull out are figures that don’t look, sound or feel like they represent Britain. Paul Flynn MP made a superb case on Newsnight for pulling out immediately, but until such voices are heard consistently and forcefully across all media, opinions will not harden.

While not enough people refuse to make the issue the number one priority for how they will vote. In the end, it is down to the electorate to make their feelings fully heard.

While politicians don’t have the bottle to say “Enough is enough”. We’ve got into this bizarre situation now where no one wants to be the first to back down or they will be accused either of being unpatriotic or overseeing a defeat for “our boys”.

While tabloid media are not opposed. The government doesn’t necessarily listen to the tabloids, but if it’s being remorselessly attacked by this group as well as other media and the public at large, it all builds up a convincing case.

While Obama refuses to take the lead. It would be rather odd if the world’s policy on Afghanistan was set by the fact that Obama doesn’t want to lose face against the rhetoric of the Republican Party, but that is what’s happening. I get the sense that he’s not prepared to take them on on this issue. In any case, I don’t think he opposes the war anyway. Which is a mistake; this will be his very own Vietnam.


Afghanistan is a total mess, and the sooner we’re out, the better. There is nothing more we can achieve there. Our efforts have succeeded in putting in place a corrupt administration in Kabul, while the rest of the country is run by local warlords. Meanwhile, we allegedly defeated the Taleban in 2002, yet we’re still fighting them seven years later. That is not a good enough return for the deaths of thousands of soldiers and huge, untold numbers of civilians.

The bloodshed, and the madness, must stop.

If it doesn’t, the corrosive effect of politicians failing to appreciate or understand their electorate will continue.

And then maybe our own country will need to be invaded in order to restore “democracy”.


One Response to “Why The Afghanistan War Will Continue”

  1. i think we can do quite a bit of dammage to ennemy in about 6 monts and leave the training of afghans to others afghans who has passed their test to commander they would be better teacher to their owns and that would allow our Nato troops to leave the country winning the task they where there for i say fighting the taliban and their supporters by the afghans themself,thank you

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