British Legislators Waver on Afghan War

“How many more wasted lives?” asked rhetorical headline in Britain’s Daily Mail on Tuesday, above photographs of latest 2 British soldiers to die while serving in Afghanistan. A rising military death toll, growing questioning of strategy of international forces in 11-year war, appear to be undermining a political consensus in Britain and led to calls in Parliament this week to bring home troops by Christmas. The coalition government of the Prime Minister David Cameron faced a second day of questioning on Tuesday after the decision by NATO to scale back joint patrols with Afghan government forces. Legislators want to know whether British government was aware of the NATO order in advance, and where it leaves a strategy that is supposed to be based on training these same Afghan forces. Despite public misgivings about Afghan conflict, successive governments have benefited from broad, all-party consensus among members of Parliament and support of much of the press. But conservative Daily Mail, commenting on Tuesday on the deaths of Private Tom Wroe and Sergeant Gareth Thursby, asked: “How many more of the bravest and best of their generation must be sacrificed for a cause that seems increasingly beyond hope.” The two men were latest British victims of so-called green on blue attacks, in which soldiers of International Security Assistance Force have been targeted by Afghan soldiers working alongside them. Philip Hammond, British defense secretary, told Parliament on Monday that the deaths would not divert international forces from their mission. “Our strategy is clear,” he said. “We are mentoring and training Afghan army and police to deliver security to their own people.” Some politicians are now demanding to know where that strategy stands in the light of the subsequent NATO decision to scale back joint patrols. William Hague, the British foreign minister, insisted after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday there was no change in strategy. He told a parliamentary committee NATO decision would have a minimal impact on operations of British troops. But parliamentarians want to know if the government knew about the decision in advance. Dennis MacShane of the Labour Party, told the BBC: “In essence the Americans are saying ‘It’s over. It’s drawdown time and pretty soon we’ll be out like we got out of Vietnam, like we got out of other colonial wars’”. He said the defense minister had made no mention of the NATO decision in a statement on Monday. “Either he knew about it and was hiding it, which I don’t think is the case,” Mr. MacShane said, “or frankly Americans aren’t even bothering to tell their biggest ally.” John Redwood, a legislator from the right wing of the Conservative party and a former supporter of the war, said: “Why don’t we end combat duties for our troops now, let the Afghans learn the remaining lessons by experience and bring our troops home for Christmas?”



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Consultor Internacional

One Response to British Legislators Waver on Afghan War

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Wikipedia – “In 1843, the British army chaplain Rev. G.R. Gleig wrote a memoir of the disastrous (First) Anglo-Afghan War, of which he was one of the very few survivors. He wrote that it was “a war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it. Not one benefit, political or military, was acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated”.

    Once again, Great Britain is defeated in Afghanistan. The lesson to the US: Warrior nations never learn from past mistakes.


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