Why Afghan front line is now on our front pages

#1
Eric Waugh: Why Afghan front line is now on our front pages
Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The homecoming of the flag-draped coffins of the young soldiers killed in Afghanistan means heart-rending tragedy for their families.

But the Prime Minister, in his holiday retreat in the Lake District, must feel their wounds almost as if they were his own. Politically, each one sounds a dirge, marking out his diminishing days in office before he must face a general election, probably due next May.

His trouble is he knows this is a war he cannot win. His trouble is he knows his people know it also. David Cameron will discover that truth very soon, should he be so unfortunate as to succeed to the premiership next summer.

Of course, British forces are in Helmand on the strength of a UN mandate. The UK is weighing in and bearing more than its fair share of the burden, largely because only the Canadians and the Dutch among the rest are doing very much to back the Americans.

The French, Germans and Italians, in keeping with the usual fiddle-de-dee which masquerades as the EU's foreign policy, are doing very little.

All of which is bad news for Brown. He knows the patience of the electorate is running out. His only salvation can be that he may have left office when the decision to withdraw has to be taken. In the meantime, it is |important we digest just why this far-off war is so politically loaded at home.
More
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/o...-line-is-now-on-our-front-pages-14449533.html
 
#2
Skynet said:
Eric Waugh: Why Afghan front line is now on our front pages
Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The homecoming of the flag-draped coffins of the young soldiers killed in Afghanistan means heart-rending tragedy for their families.

But the Prime Minister, in his holiday retreat in the Lake District, must feel their wounds almost as if they were his own. Politically, each one sounds a dirge, marking out his diminishing days in office before he must face a general election, probably due next May.

His trouble is he knows this is a war he cannot win. His trouble is he knows his people know it also. David Cameron will discover that truth very soon, should he be so unfortunate as to succeed to the premiership next summer.

Of course, British forces are in Helmand on the strength of a UN mandate. The UK is weighing in and bearing more than its fair share of the burden, largely because only the Canadians and the Dutch among the rest are doing very much to back the Americans.

The French, Germans and Italians, in keeping with the usual fiddle-de-dee which masquerades as the EU's foreign policy, are doing very little.
All of which is bad news for Brown. He knows the patience of the electorate is running out. His only salvation can be that he may have left office when the decision to withdraw has to be taken. In the meantime, it is |important we digest just why this far-off war is so politically loaded at home.
More
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/o...-line-is-now-on-our-front-pages-14449533.html
According to some on these pages the French are very heavily committed in Afghanistan and pulling their weight. Not sure myself.

whf
 
#5
Eric Waugh:
The UK is weighing in and bearing more than its fair share of the burden, largely because only the Canadians and the Dutch among the rest are doing very much to back the Americans.

and Danes?
Yes hackle very involved with UK forces as they have been for many years.
 
#6
I'm not sure what this thread is asking or questioning. It's quoting without comment. Anyway, for the record there are 29 French wives and mothers grieving for their boys; ten of which were killed in the one ambush last year at Sirobi with another 21 wounded.

The Germans have lost 35 dead and 125 wounded.

Denmark has suffered most as a percentage of population with 26 dead.

As we might expect of them, the Canadians have been in the fore and suffered a grevious 126 dead with 673 wounded in action.

Lets not confuse the bravery of individuals here, nor the sacrifice of many families, with blanket condemnation of other countries actions. Many of our allies are doing their bit as they are directed so to do.
 
#7
Let's avoid knocking any other foreign forces out in Afghan. They are all doing their bit, and without them there, our job would be harder.

The fact that our EU neighbours are not out there in the numbers we are is more to do with the origins of the ops rather than their foreign policy.

This is a US op, pulling NATO in, with the UK playing the largest role by dint of our up-the-bum relationship with our US partners. Our EU partners see little to gain from it, so they honour their NATO commitment, but that is all. We honour not onyl our NATO commitment, but our 'special' commitment too. It is surely a shame that our government under the helm of the absent Broon does not share in the 'special' relationship that all British governments do with their forces.
 
#9
catramble said:
I have been meaning to ask - If Afghanistan is a US/NATO thing, why are the Australians there?
Sure you can't work that out? 8O

Commonwealth? British Queen as Head of State?
 
#11
Commonwealth? British Queen as Head of State?
nothing like that. commonwealth doesnt pull any weight really.

the aussie government loves/loved the US just as much as the UK's. that and its not just NATO, its the UN thats why its not a NATO but a ISAF operation. same reason Japanese investors are there as well as other none nato countries
 
#12
catramble said:
So its a Commonwealth thing as well?
Not necessarily 'just' a Commonwealth thing.

There's also various agreements in place between the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada et al, that provide for mutual assistance in various theatres should the need be there.

Look up ECHELON for an example.

Australia has never been shy of coming forward when the mother country has needed her.
 
#13
If you look at the countries that do make up ISAF you'll get some unexpected results!

What burns me up is how few Muslem nations are stepping up either as ISAF members (Turkey is) or in funding redevelopment.
 

OldSnowy

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#16
Last time I looked there were 41 Nations in ISAF, including Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, and a few others you've probably never heard of :) All are fronting up to one degree or another, and fair play to them.

What is obvious, regarding the 'heavy lifting' bit, is that it is being done primarily by those who owe the USA a favour - Poland, Baltic states, Georgia; or - and this is key to understanding things in many ways - by the Anglosphere (and the Dutch and Danes pretty nearly count in this regard!). It's Nations that speak English, and that have a robust sense of identity - and who want to preserve their democratic way of life - who are doing most of the fighting. Whether that's right, wrong, moral, repugnant, or whatever you care to think, it's a fact.
 
#17
harareboy99 said:
i hate the phrase 'war we cannot win'

we can win if we get enough boots on the ground.

Sounds like a stop the war coalition propaganda piece.
Agreed. Given the proper resources and some clear strategic thinking Afghanistan is definitely winnable. The question is, can we win it before the politicians' feet get too cold?
 
#19
Australia (like the UK) sucks up to Uncle Sam. I'd guess it was because the ADF is so small it cannot hope to defend a country the size of Australia.

With Chinas red hoardes not too far away it pays to keep uncle sam as a mate.

:)
 
#20
catramble said:
I have been meaning to ask - If Afghanistan is a US/NATO thing, why are the Australians there?
Australia is there because the previous Prime Minister John Howard a great mate of George W was in Washington DC on September 11 when the Pentagon was attacked. And vowed to follow wherever the US would lead us basically. If only those links with the commonwealth were still there but its simply no the case. And the only reason aussie gunners are attached to the brits in Helmand is because the Artillery needed experience not having been used since Vietnam and it was a way to get it on the cheap. Sad but...
 

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