Wow, a pretty humbling piece coming so soon after his son's death. It seems quite a lucid and unsentimental assessment of the situtation as well, impressive considering what must be going on in his head.
Unfortunately it wasn't worth it. We will not win in Afghanistan. The country is totally corrupt and many do not want change. Trying to push Afghanistan into the 21st century before it is ready is futile and dangerous. There are many countries in similar situations but we choose to ignore because they weren't seen to be the perpetrators of 9/11. The reason there are so many fighters there is because WE are there. Britain is not benefiting from being there but merley spending billions flogging a dead horse and wasting lives.
I can't see how it's worth it, the government will churn out propaganda about how we are improving their lives etc. What has the cost been in money and lives to date ? What would be the cost of improving our own border security ? What about the thousands of illegal immigrants who are here ? We have no idea of the true numbers, whereabouts or their intentions. We are constantly told that the war is essential to protect us here. How can that be so when we have no idea who is here ?
..............invade (instanst sunshine) Pakistan, support India and negotiate a DMZ in Kashmir, cede China area 'big brother' rights. Down side is we might have to fight to reclaim the Suez (America was shortsighted first time round, have to fight this time)
Here is the problem with this; what conflict since WW2 could one really argue has been "worth it" and by the measure of National Security, vital to it? Whilst the continued loss is heartbreaking at all levels it is also the sad fact that all join the armed services today in the full knowledge of the chances (and risks) of serving on active duty.
Support for this, the last or the next conflict remains a voluntary affair that the Government of the day is/will be only too willing to exploit.
Having read "The Bookseller of Kabul" I don't think that the Afghan people want the Taliban in their country, they just don't have the resources to deal with them. They are a collection of tribes from what I can understand, so often fighting each other and not joining forces against the Taliban. We have been successful against the narcotics trade so don't think it's all in vain
Good luck and good management meant that Britain never had an Algeria, Indo China/Vietnam, Angola or other pointless, bloody and protracted post WW2 conflict. The majority of post colonial wars that we did have, were reasonably well managed and didn't turn into festering sores. I don't include Northern Ireland in that equation - I think it's a case apart.
Good luck and good management ran out. We've had Iraq and have got Afghanistan; neither was worth a British life or ounce of gold.
Perhaps it's got something to do with the fact that up until the 1980s most senior politicians had either fought in a war, or lived through one. They knew when not to get involved, and didn't fanny around when it was time to fight.
Afghanistan is a benighted and Godforsaken place. Nothing good can, or will come from it; it's biggest exports are heroin and refugees, it's biggest import foreign aid.
The sooner we leave the Afghans to find their own equilibrium the better. We can't impose 21st century Western values on them, nor can we rule them as a colony - or even wipe them off the face of the earth. Better just to let them get on with it.