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Afghanistan: West sends troops to protect fifth most corrupt government in the world

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by Mary Riddell [Excerpted]
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Hamid Karzai
Hamid Karzai presides over the fifth most corrupt government in the world Photo: (AP)  Please Make a Member Pledge after reading this article.  We are volunteer-driven.  Click [HERE]

 

All wars have anthems for doomed youth. Afghanistan is no exception. At a memorial service on 12 July 2009, senior officers had paid tribute to the eight British soldiers who died in the worst day of attrition since the Falklands.

Of the three youngest, William Aldridge had a gift for friendship, Joseph Murphy was a fine artist and James Backhouse, who wanted to be a fitness instructor, could run faster than the wind. Like his two comrades, he was 18 years old. Like them, he was, according to his superiors’ eulogies, prepared to kill and to be killed.

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VIDEO:  Karzai is an apparent neo-fascist who presides over a self-serving and corrupt bureaucracy.
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Almost a century later, there is no shortage of funeral hymns. Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, says Gordon Brown has “catastrophically” under-equipped the Armed Forces. For the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg challenges the PM to show the sacrifices of lives “have not been in vain”. The Army demands extra troops and more equipment.

 

With the Taliban getting smarter and 15 British troops dead so far this month, Afghanistan is a dimestore war. In four decades, the defence budget has fallen from 6.5 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent, while Tony Blair’s imperial ambitions committed troops to four major conflicts, of which Iraq was inexcusable and Afghanistan, on the current showing, unwinnable.

Mr Brown’s critics imply that he is trying to fight a Prada war at Lidl prices. Although he disputes this, defence spending is undeniably out of kilter with reality. The PM’s likely concession on Trident – cutting back on warheads and perhaps reducing the new fleet – is a feeble compromise that will not free up significant sums for the frontline. Nor is it likely that taxes will rise to boost defence.

But even if a war chest were to be found, there is little clarity about what we’re fighting for: the end of brutal and repressive Taliban mandates or, as Mr Brown says, to stop terror being exported to the UK. With al-Qaeda moving sinously across the globe, the second goal looks hopeless.

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VIDEO:  The Afghanistan war is part of a broader War for Oil with a neo-fascistic objective and not about the affirmation of democracy.

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The real question is whether the Afghan war can ever be won by military means alone, and the answer, as David Miliband has always recognised, is No. In stirring up trouble for the Government, the generals and the Tories risk peddling a delusion. Yes, extra helicopters may save some lives (though by no means all), but the truth about Afghanistan risks being obscured by political opportunism. Even vast injections of money, hardware and manpower would not, by themselves, subdue the Taliban or procure victory.

A political solution is the only guarantee of success, yet that objective is barely spoken of. In the US and the UK, next month’s presidential election attracts almost no mention. Since the temporary increase in British troops is specifically to provide cover for the ballot, this silence is suspicious, if not downright sinister.

The appalling regime of Hamid Karzai is western leaders’ grubby little secret. Mr Karzai, who boasts of being Washington’s (and thus Britain’s) man, presides over the fifth most corrupt government in the world. As well as turning a blind eye to last year’s alleged loss, through abuse, of two thirds of his country’s annual revenue amounting to $1.6 billion, Mr Karzai has failed the vulnerable and the trusting.

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Written by thecanadianheadlines

December 19, 2009 at 9:05 am

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