Sir Christopher Meyers view of Afghanistan - Sunday Times

From the Sunday Times today:


THE war in Afghanistan is “madcap” and “futile” and serves “no conceivable national interest”, says Sir Christopher Meyer, who as Britain’s ambassador to Washington had a ringside seat on the dispatch of troops there.

The fighting is “a waste of blood and treasure” because there is no coherent purpose behind it, he argues scornfully in a new book.

Meyer, who was Tony Blair’s man in America from 1997 to 2003, writes that: “After nearly eight years in Afghanistan . . . there is still no clarity about why we are there. Is it to stop Al-Qaeda returning on the shirt-tails of the

Taliban? Or are we trying to create the conditions to transform Afghan governance and society? Depending on who you speak to — British or American — it is either, both, or something in the middle.

“A punitive expedition against Al-Qaeda is one thing; but to seek, against the grain of history, to rebuild Afghanistan from the ground up, in the name of a western concept of democracy and human rights, is futile.

“If this madcap venture is to take 40 years, as General Sir David Richards, chief of the general staff, averred this year, no conceivable national interest can be served by such an eccentric concentration of resources on a country of marginal importance.”

Meyer adds: “The poor, bloody infantry can win a thousand firefights in Helmand province, and earnest officials from the Department for International Development can make plans for a bridge here, a dam there; but until these efforts are linked to a political process, underpinned by diplomacy, they are so much waste of blood and treasure.”


Meyer sums this thing up pretty well, and whether you think we should be there or not, we won't make significant progress until HM Government actually decides amongst itself what exactly the desired end state is.


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