05 November 2009

Afghanistan: Brown needs to make the case

Lord Ashdown makes these telling remarks before setting out what failure would mean if we pull out of Afghanistan:

The clamour is growing for us to withdraw from Afghanistan. And the tragic loss of five British soldiers at the hands of one of those we are supposed to be fighting alongside will make that clamour louder.

There is a real chance we will lose this struggle in the bars and front rooms of Britain before we lose it in the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan — particularly as we have a Government that has completely failed both to make a cogent case for this war or to convince us that it has a strategy worthy of the sacrifices being made.

He concludes:

Our own Government needs to make this case and make it powerfully. The British people are not squeamish and if they understand why we are fighting, they will back the cause. But being half-hearted is not an option in war. Afghanistan must become the nation’s No 1 priority or the people will withdraw their support.

Three issues come to mind.  One, Gordon Brown’s failure to demonstrate leadership on any matter outside his comfort zone and his inability to communicate.  Two, we have in Bob Ainsworth an incompetent Defence Secretary who is not in control of his department.  Three, the government is being increasingly undermined by influential colleagues.

Brown has to make the case not just to his own party but to the country.  It is not made any easier because of the weakness of his own position, but he is Prime Minister and has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of any war and for our troops.

We have not reached the ‘tipping point’ yet, but soon will unless a clear and well defined strategy is convincingly set out as to why we should remain in Afghanistan.

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  1. I couldn't care less what Gordon Brown tells me about the reasons we're in Afghanistan because I know what I consider to be the truth.

    We're there to prop up the US, nothing more, nothing less. Same as we were in Iraq.

    Is our army British or just another leg of the US army? Believe me many are asking that question - both within and without the military.

    Paddy Ashdown can give all the reasons he likes but he's out of date.

    The excuse that 'we are protecting our streets' is nonsense. If say you're bullied at school by a bunch of say, Chinese children, do you go off to China to solve the problem? No you solve it here at home. That's what our troops ought to be doing, working here to strengthen our shores.

    It's unbelievable that there's a problem with policing our shores when we're an island isn't it?

  2. The point I am making is that we need leadership and Brown can't provide it.

    Morevover, politically we have to wait until Obama decides what to do. We have no opition.

    Ashdown makes many good points that can't be easily dismissed.