Thursday, September 07, 2006

Support Me Our Troops

"I think most of us would say we probably underestimated the basic security threat that we faced. And we're trying to tackle that now."
- Tony Blair
Today, Nato's top commander, General James Jones, has asked for reinforcements to be sent to Afghanistan. He said:
"We should recognise we are a little bit surprised at the level of intensity, and that the opposition in some areas are not relying on traditional hit-and-run tactics.
That "little bit of surprise" has cost the lives of a growing number of British soldiers. Three more British soldiers died yesterday.

With that in mind, John Reid's hope that British troops would "leave Afghanistan without firing a single shot" can only be seen as one of two things; it was either a deliberate attempt to mislead or a grossly incompetent judgement of the situation the troops would face on the ground. Likewise, the surprise of General Jones, of the US military, is itself surprising.

And that leads me back to the quotation a the top of this post. Blair wasn't, as you may already know, talking about Afghanistan. He actually said that in April 2004 in relation to the situation in Iraq.

To endanger the lives of British troops once due to an incompetent underestimation of the violence you're sending them into is bad enough. To repeat that mistake in another country at a time when the British military is still mired in the bloody consequences of the first is something else entirely.

And yet, Mr Blair is the one who asks us to support our troops. It is highly doubtful that there is anyone in the UK less qualified to make such a request,

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