Wednesday, November 12, 2008

They Really Do Think We're Stupid

There is a certain method in Labour's madness. Only the dumbing down of the education system (for which see here) could possibly allow John Hutton MP to think he'd get away with this :

The need to stop Taleban control of Afghanistan is as significant as resisting Hitler's invasion of Poland, Defence Secretary John Hutton has said.

Speaking on Armistice Day he said if the Taleban won, Britain would have to face the consequences of terrorism.

"In one sense, it has the same significance as the invasion of Belgium in 1914 and the invasion of Poland in 1939," he said.

Let's take that a bit at a time :

a) no it isn't - and for his info we didn't resist Hitler's invasion of Poland (we were not physically capable of resisting it, to be fair) - we declared war on Germany, which was not at all the same thing. Poland remained an occupied country for the next 50 years.

b) no matter what happens in Afghanistan, we'll continue to be at risk of terrorism. Even in WW2, while few German agents managed to do much damage in the UK (thanks to internment and a non-porous border), the IRA were still able to detonate bombs on the mainland, because the enablers were there - a large Irish population in which to hide and traffic across the Irish Sea between the North and the mainland. Similar enablers exist for Islamist terror.

c) no it doesn't. Not unless the Taleban acquire nuclear technology from across the border. Even then they can only kill some of us, not conquer and occupy us as Germany threatened to do. Any threats of conquest and occupation which exist - and there are some - have their root causes in our own cultural weakness, not Taleban strength. As Toynbee puts it, great civilisations are not killed but commit suicide.

I've said my bit on the Taleban and on Afghanistan. We're wasting our time there doing anything but duffing up terror camps - and even there, as I said above, the solutions lie within our borders rather than in Helmand or the NWFP.

One passing point - the problems of reconstruction and the battle against feudalism are pretty much precisely those the Soviet-backed Afghan Government, then the Soviets themselves, faced in the 1980s. The mujahideen were killing doctors and teachers, burning schools just as they are today, while the Soviets were building generators and trying to keep the power lines up (pylons are terribly vulnerable things). And Reagan and Thatcher, for 'strategic reasons', armed them. I thought at the time (I was a lefty then) it was morally indefensible and I still do.

Take a quick look at the history of Afghanistan from the arrival of a left-wing (in Afghan terms) regime in 1978, through the Soviet intervention and the post-Soviet civil war to which a Taleban administration was, initially at least a blessed contrast. Not a lot of hopeful stuff there. Even the good guys are bad guys.

There's a Radio Four series about Afghanistan - the current one is called 'Into The Morass' which gives you an idea where they're coming from. Nonetheless it's worth a listen. It'll probably only be there a week.


Anonymous said...

Given that the Russian Army is set to be majority Muslim by 2015, Islamic nukes might be a lot closer, both temporally and geographically, than you imagine. Then the threat of occupation and conquering, as well as annihilation will be far more real.

Revolution Harry said...

'And Reagan and Thatcher, for 'strategic reasons', armed them'.

I think you'll find it was actually during Carter's Presidency. Much worse though it was down to the involvement of Carter's national security advisor (and Trilateral Commission founder; at the behest of David Rockefeller) Zbigniew Brzezinski. Do you recognise the name? He's Obama's foreign policy adviser. So much for change.

"Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war."

And how many people died in that war?

Revolution Harry said...

Following on from my previous comment you might find this video both interesting and alarming.

Anonymous said...


Your analysis of Afghanistan is simply flat-out wrong. On 11/9/2001 19 terrorists killed 3000 civilians. Their mission was planned, hosted and funded through the al-Qaeda base in Afghanistan; al-Qaeda in turn were the honoured guests of the Taliban regime.

We can either fix this failed state once and for all, or go back and clear it out after each atrocity.

H said...

Foreign troops can't fix Afghan society. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Afghanistan to pretend that they can. War's what Pashtuns have done for centuries - if they're not fighting against us they're fighting against the next village in the other valley.

As Churchill said "A Pashtun's life is full of interest." We shouldn't be wasting British lives on some scheme to convince the Pashtun's to live less interesting lives. What we should be doing instead is dealing with the Pashtuns to subcontract them to keep Al Qaeda out. Exactly the sort of diplomacy with recalcitrant tribes we used to excel at, but which now seems to have fallen out of vogue and replaced with PC platitudes and 'War on Terror' machismo.

Anonymous said...


Nice idea but you have in effect incentivised failed states across the world to invite al-Qaeda and similar to take up residence. You have set yourself up to be blackmailed.

Bush's "you are with us or with the terrorists" has the virtue of simplicity. It may pay in the long run to help failed states to rebuild, but it shouldn't affect the message that anyone harbouring terrorists can expect to be shocked and awed.

Laban said...

"On 11/9/2001 19 terrorists killed 3000 civilians. Their mission was planned, hosted and funded through the al-Qaeda base in Afghanistan; al-Qaeda in turn were the honoured guests of the Taliban regime."

Up to a point. I thought the thing was planned in Hamburg.

"We can either fix this failed state once and for all, or go back and clear it out after each atrocity."

I don't think you can fix the place, short of genocide which I'm presuming you'd agree is not an option. In America's shoes I'd close the borders. Much tighter control on aliens would have prevented 9/11. Tighter border security has so far prevented further attacks.