22 Tammuz - Year 5769
Have you heard the news, young critters? It's now your patriotic duty to go and fight in Afghanistan, so says Gordon Brown. The casualties have been mounting, but the U.S. and UK armed forces are 'committed' to fighting the Taliban and are in it for the 'long haul'.
According to G.B., the war in Afghanistan is blocking a chain of terror (nooooooooo! not the chain of terror...I mean, I could accept a rope of terror..) from causing havoc in the UK. I don't have all of the facts, but are a lot of hard-core Taliban-types really looking to invade Britain? You would think that it's not really their kinda scene, what with women allowed to step outside, not wearing full burkhas. There's also films and music readily available and even small Buddha statues being sold in some shops.
What was that Hermann Goering quote again? :
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
You'd think that the above has been passed around enough times that political speeches would at least try a different tack to keep support for a war alive. Nope - it seems that advances in politics take hundreds of years to happen.
Barack Obama is increasing U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan, with a plan to drive the Taliban back to the border of Pakistan. And all the chicken-hawks thought he was a leftie-softie. Nope, he ain't called "Bad Ass Barack" for nothin'. O.K., I made that last bit up--but it seems he's still under this "War On Terror" spell. And how long will the troops be there? No-one seems to know - there's vague rumblings about 'a long time'.
Let's see the track record for armies invading Afghanistan in the last 200 years. The British-Indian forces driven out after three wars. The Soviets invaded in 1979 and over 10 years fought a losing occupation war, eventually retreating with a battered army and thousands of casualties. Incidentally, the U.S. support for the mujahedeen fighters provided training for Osama bin Laden and other future al-Qeada leaders. The U.S.-led 2001 invasion may have suffered less military casualties, but the number of Afghan civilian losses definitely appears to be much more. Brown's speechwriters may want to proclaim that "we're winning and the sacrifices are worth it", but they seem to be struggling to hold on to Helmand province.
Don't worry, though - this 'liberation' of Afghanistan will go as well as the one in Iraq did. If you want to find out what's really going on in Iraq, check the blogs, like Last Of Iraqis. It don't seem to be too hunky-dory to me. But hey, c'mon kids, as Country Joe MacDonald said once: "Put down your books and pick up a gun, we're gonna have a whole lot of fun." Your country needs your healthy limbs to be ground up in their war machine to make hero hamburger. Don't you want your coffin draped with a flag?