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November 5, 2009
Looking at the British side of the war in Afghanistan

This week, a Taliban sympathizer gunned down five British troops in Afghanistan.  In the wake of this latest violence, the British press today was dominated by questions over that country’s presence in Afghanistan.

Daljit Dhaliwal speaks with Gideon Lichfield, deputy editor of The Economist online in New York, about British public sentiment and the reaction of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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10 comments

#10

Make drugs legal and the drug trade will dry up, therefore there will be no cash for fighting wars. When Russia was over there we and the US were paying the Afghans and supplying them with everything from tanks,guns,missiles etc, if I recall correctly the USA were give the Afghans around $600.000,000 a year to fight the Russians. Now think who makes a whole load of cash from conflicts?. The financial sectors who have a vested interest in it all and actually finance the drugs trade from a safe distance. So come on get your heads out of you a*****s and wake up to the real world! “Democracy” they say! We don’t have a democracy or else we would have had a vote on Europe. Not to mention all these pointless invasions we get involved with in order to help feed the world reliance on oil. Just how long could the USA survive on their on little bit of oil they have left?. If we had any they would not think twice about getting their hands on ours.

#9

patty get out of here ur such a lame, people join the military because usa wants to kick ass, so let them

#8

usa and britain are total beasts and they can take down any country together.

#7

Why does almost everybody in the West think that all people want their type of democracy? That type of government is alien to the tribal Afghans. It would, however be beneficial if they adopted it.

#6

I think we should start notifying our elected officials that we want our troups out of these waring countries. All of their email and mailing addresses are on their websites. We can write to European leaders as well. Europe is right now in the same situation we are, losing troups daily and wondering whether sending more will help. It won’t, they will just be killed. And now with the Ft. Hood shootings on Thursday, I just think the US and Europe really needs to re-thing this whole situation. It’s going from bad to worse. All our good people in the armed services and the UN civilians are in great danger of dieing for no good reason. I think it’s time to end these really bad decisions. Write to your officials soon before Pres. Obama makes his decision.

#5

We learned NOTHING from our years of conflict in Viet-Nam. And NOTHING from the Russian experience in Afganistan. We cannot afford to lose any more lives in the region.

#4

Let’s pull out of Afagnistan and Iran!!!

#3

Hi Rueben! I forget what the Monroe doctrine was about, but one thing is clear, we just can’t police each country. The majority of the Afgan people do not want us there. I have seen many interviewed on international news and they have said we should not be there, they want us to go home. I think our political leaders “forgot” that Russia tried to intervene in Afganistan and pulled out because of too many casualties. Have we not learned anything from Russia? Or do we “politically” think we can do a better job? Well, we haven’t and all of our countries’ good men die every day for a cause that is clearly not worth fighting for and not even in our best interest.

We got ourselves “hooked” into “their” fight and Washington probably thinks we can’t pull out and “save face” at the same time. Are the deaths of all these people worth “saving face?” Do any of them remember Vietnam? Were they even born yet?

I think no one thought this through. When you engage with someone and play to their strongest point, you lose. We played to Afganistan’s strongest point: taliban’s guerrilla warfare. We will never win someone’s guerrilla war. We didn’t in Vietnam and we won’t in Afganistan.

The way to deal with these types of people is to “not” engage them. Isolate them, cutting them off from the rest of the world and not allowing them to be in any country where they can inflict pain. Then they can only inflict pain on themselves. It’s like dealing with a big bully. If you engage with a big bully, he will beat you up. If you don’t engage with him at all, he can’t do anything to you.

And Rueben, you are SO right, this is a civil war. Finally, on international news, someone recently said this is clearly a civil war among these tribes. We are only fueling the dissention against ourselves by our presence there. We are taking “away” from the focus of the tribes against “each other” and have created an environment where “all the tribes” are against the us-the international forces. All countries need to pull all troops out and go home.

If Afganistan wants to become a democracy, they will have to on their own. Here’s the thing, they clearly “don’t” want a democracy. A corrupt government and corrupt elections are clear signs that a country is not ready for a democracy, but is instead milking us for as much money as they can get by “playing” us. There is an economic incentive for Afganistan NOT to get it’s act together.

The EU is fed up with all of this as well and many countries are re-evaluating the worth of the deaths of their people. I have recently heard some commentators say that if everyone pulls out, will those deaths be in vane. The answer is yes anyway, already. When the first guy died it was already a death in vane. So why cause more death to fight a cause that will not be won and more deaths in vane?

Everyone needs to cut their losses and go home. There’s plenty of infrastructure work to be done in all of our countries to get out of this recession. Eight years of losses is enough.

#2

Patty you are so right.
I grew up watching Vietnam on TV. Did`nt the US and others learn not to get in between a civil war?
The US trying to play world police,ya right.Like we dont have enough problems here at home.
Let them have at one another, and worry about it if they try the western hemisphere. Remember the Monroe doctrine?

#1

I have resisted placing my thoughts on any public domain, but I think enough is enough. I think everyone–all troops–should pull out of Afganistan. It is clear we should not be there. Even the Afgan police are shooting UN troops. I think Gideon Lichfield has the right good idea, fight the taliban from home countries. Don’t allow people with questionable backgrounds coming from terriorist countries into ANY free country. Close the borders to them and deport any who are in free countries back to their homeland. If they cry “religious freedom,” well, their own countries are ripe with all the types of Islam they could possibly want. They surely will fit right in. This religion is all about killing people who don’t believe their way. They will not stop. Ever. They have been fighting these wars since the beginning of time. Why are we there? Why are any of us there? We will NEVER creat a democracy in a country who treasures bloodshed and martyrdom above individual rights and freedom. There is no point for any of us to be there. When they are ready to quit the violence, since they’ll be completely isolated from the rest of the world, maybe then they will decide this religious bent they have is incorrect. Or they’ll all kill each other off and it’ll be done with. I for one am sick to death of month after month after month, and week after week after weeek of placting Afganistan when they not only conduct and condone corruption in their government, run corrupt voting and then turn around and shoot us, as what happened a couple days ago. Move our troops out and we all go home. We should let them to themselves to sort it out. No more Western deaths for a people who clearly want the Western people dead. Again, why are we even there?

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