Saturday, September 30, 2006

The War Nerd on what is going on in Afghanistan

This is easily the most enjoyable article I've read about what is going wrong in Afghanistan. It's desperately offensive so don't read it if you haven't got a hard head and a sense of humour but otherwise enjoy the show. One quick, relatively mild, example:

"Worse yet, right behind those tanks came American do-gooders whose idea of pacifying the Pushtun was doing incredibly naive stuff like starting a TV news show with female anchorpersons or whatever you call them. I'm not making this up. First thing the US occupation officials did in Kabul was start a news station with some 19-year-old Pushtun girl as anchor. That was our idea of winning hearts and minds. That's what was going to calm down those bearded angry dudes: seeing a perfectly saleable daughter telling them the news, as if she was the one laying down the law."

I'm currently trying to work out how much of it I buy and what it means for the War on Terror and, particularly, British policy.


Geoff Gilson said...

Of course, the British forces have some experience of Afghanistan, from the Eighties, when they were used by the CIA as surrogates, to carry out the dirty work against the Soviet occupation, which the CIA couldn't undertake, due to Congressional oversight.

This was all part and parcel of Thatcher 'pimping out' Britain's military and intelligence services, partly because public finances had been left in such disarray by Labour, and partly to highlight an arms industry, that she was hell bent on expanding into the world's No. 2 arms exporter.

So, who cares? Well, Tony does. It's why he had to cut a deal to stay in power: he could do what he liked at home, provided he did not interfere with arms sales, foreign policy and the intelligence services.

That's why you found a supposedly left-wing Prime Minister in bed with a cowboy, right-wing President.

And it's why the media were fed all those juicy Downing Street memo's: Tony tried to hit back at the Intelligence Services by blaming them over the Intelligence fiasco in Iraq, and with his appointment of John Scarlett to MI6. They didn't like it. They've been firing back ever since. And hey presto, Tony's on the way out.
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