It’s an unbearably sad picture.
An unwitting British soldier who posed for a photograph with a rogue Afghan policeman was shot dead by him seconds later. Corporal Brent McCarthy, 25, is pictured with a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police just moments before the shooting. After the snap was taken the gunman and another accomplice turned their weapons on the RAF policeman.
A memento of the occasion when awarded the Nation’s highest honour, from a Commander-in-Chief to the recipient?
Or was it, as the photo shows, a memory of something very, very different?
In a review of newspaper headlines this morning, I note the following:-
- Comments on the alleged shut-down of America; or not, as the case may be
- The Home Secretary in a row over who said what about some other lying politician who refused to dismount his bike whilst leaving Downing St.
- Caroline Lucas gets her name up through her ‘fracking’ arrest.
- Lots of chatter about some weird football game and trophy.
- More talk about Jimmy Savile, and how he got away with everything.
- A New Zealand novelist winning a literary prize.
- Crisis, once more, in the NHS Mental Health services.
- No strike in Grangemouth, Union backs down!
- Mark Duggan executed whilst holding gun which strangely enough, subsequently appeared over thirty yards from car.
- Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue, as do the ‘talks’.
- Labour Party female MP defends decision to pose topless when 15 years old…”I needed money for some clothes!”
But strangely enough the number 445 does not feature prominently in most news organisations web screens. Is it an important number? Yes, I believe it is, because it tells the story of how a bunch of weaselling, lying politicians failed our Armed Services in the worst possible way, and how they continue to lie, which is why yet one more British soldier’s blood garnishes the sands and soil of an ungrateful Afghanistan.
My father served in the British Army throughout WW2, as did many thousands more. My uncle died in Northern France days after D-Day, and thousands more Allied troops died after him in the weeks and months that followed. But they, the living and the sadly-dead, fought in a just cause, to defeat the Nazi war machine of Adolf Hitler. As the late King George VI said in his famous speech on the day war was declared, ‘Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right ‘, and the politicians, who guided our Nation and our Armed Forces through the storm to fight against the very nature of the Nazi machine, were worthy of that task.
Compare them with the bunch of weasels in charge now, and then determine if we are still well served!
You can picture the scene, it’s been done many times: Cameron or Hague over here, Obama or H. Clinton over there step up to the mic to tell us why Afghanistan is necessary, that we are there to build up the country, to ensure long-term security by training and equipping Afghans to take responsibility for their own country.
It’s a fairy tale.
Journalist Ben Anderson has been embedded with a US Marine unit attempting to do exactly that in Helmand and has made a film about it: “This Is What Winning Looks Like”. (Many thanks to ATW regular Daphne for bringing it to my attention.) I urge anyone with an interest in Afghanistan to watch it. It became obvious a long time ago that it was a lost cause, and that it would descend into chaos the moment we left. Well the chaos never left.
He filmed in and around Afghan police bases in Helmand. Except they’re little more than local criminal enteprises, where young boys are raped by the police every night, corruption is so rampant that Kabul will not supply materials and most of the police are out of their minds on drugs. All this in full view of the Marines. When senior American and British diplomats visit from Kabul we see that they’re told a pack of lies, lies which get fed up the chain and come out into microphones when politicians tell us what wonderful work our forces are doing there.
The truth is our forces are completely irrelevent to Afghanistan. You have to see it to believe it. If you cannot view now, bookmark it for later. Below the fold (because of the language) is a screengrab with subtitles of a police commander’s reply to the Marines senior officer when told that his men must stop raping young boys. It’s that bad.
It’s not just the CIA dropping off the cash. Now we find that MI6 is doing it too.
British intelligence is handing “bundles” of cash over to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai for special peace projects despite warnings that handouts are promoting corruption at the heart of his regime.
Gosh, do you reckon that the Karzai crew might not be accounting for every penny of our cash? How shocking it would be to find out that our cash is being trousered by a bunch of Pashtun gangsters, which is all the ruling class is over there.
Kabul will fall five minutes after we leave. I fully expect Karzai to pop up in Switzerland just in time.
I posted on the sacrifice of British forces nearly three years ago in the dust and corruption which is Afghanistan, listing the hundreds of names of the best of British who have died in those far-off fields. I was reminded of that post when watching the BBC Panorama programme which detailed the scum masquerading as the Afghan National Army & Police force personnel, who now, if the propaganda is to be believed, are the spearhead of the Afghani Government’s defence strategy against a resurgent Taliban. If you didn’t watch it when broadcast, call it back on iPlayer, and see the inheritors of the British and American sacrifice in the blood which has been spilled so profusely so that ‘we can remain safe on the streets of British cities’.
Watch it all, and then ask yourselves if the sacrifice of all that treasure, both in terms of human lives wiped out or damaged, has been worth it?
Then ask yourselves who is to blame for this loss, and what should happen to them?
The level of public estimation for politicians is on a par with most of the BBC, in a kind of ‘ah well, we’re stuck with them’ disinterested but negative neutrality. We constantly hope that those who bleat, beg and call for our votes actually live up to their promises; but we also constantly see them fail us in almost every respect.
They fail to push for things which are promised, and instead shout for things which hold no need or desire within the public at large, at least amongst the ones who actually think about such matters.
But once in a blue moon, a politician, or in this case a former politician, speaks out on a subject upon which he holds first-hand experience. Paddy Ashdown, a former Marine, S.B.S. Captain and, unfortunately, a former Lib-Dem M.P. has spoken of the need for British forces to be removed from Afghanistan’s failure because “‘It is not worth wasting one more life in Afghanistan. ‘What can be done to stop Afghanistan internally unravelling into chaos has already been done. The only outcome of staying longer is more deaths for no purpose; most of them now caused not by the enemy in front of our troops, but by the enemy among them.’”
As I and many others have already written, we have no purpose in Afghanistan other than to save ‘face and reputation’ for a long series of grubby politicians who have never fired a shot in anger, or have one fired at them. We should fold our tents up, put all the equipment on an air-bridge over Russia, and get the hell out of that nest of vipers!
I am a member of the Tell the Telegraph community, and I thought I would copy my response to a panel query on when a poppy symbol should appear on the website:-
The topic under debate is one of when the Royal British Legion Poppy symbol should be shown on the Telegraph masthead. Surely the more appropriate debate should be centred around the tragic loss of lives in that dusty hell-hole commonly known as Afghanistan; and perhaps more importantly a discussion of the possible fate of all the politicians who sent, and continue to send, British Services personnel into harms way in order to establish a ‘Democratic State’ in Afghanistan.
The other ‘purpose’ of this multi-billion pound endeavour is alleged to be ‘keeping us safer here at home’ because of the sacrifices of those bright shining spirits in the drug- and blood-soaked sands of Afghanistan. The sheer lunacy of even believing in the very idea of a ‘democratic Government’ in Afghanistan should give all sensible people a pause for thought.
We tried it, to govern Afghanistan that is, over a century ago, and we eventually scurried out over the bodies of the sixteen-odd thousand British members of the column from Jalalabad. We went in again, time after time, to prevent influence from France, from Russia, and it got us absolutely nowhere.
We should have taken to heart the warning of the latest Russian occupation which was to support their Afghan proxy, an occupation which was total, brutal and unswerving, but which eventually came to nothing after the Mujahideen gained superiority through the advent of the Stinger missile supplied by America. Was the NATO-led invasion justified after 9/11? Most certainly yes, but instead of ‘nation-building’ by force, which has ever been a fruitless exercise wherever it been tried, we should have handed over to the Afghanis, told then that the next time the West would be coming, we would be coming to make their ‘country’ a smoking radio-active car-park, and to mind their manners; and then left.
Western politicians have yet to learn that you cannot make a Nation out of ten thousand villages, soaked in the beliefs of muslim autocracy. But we saw Bush, and Blair, and all the other guilty parties, including the fool John Reid, with his forever-remembered ‘British Forces could leave Afghanistan without a shot being fired’, prate, and parade, and posture.
We saw them line up beside the Cenotaph, with their wreaths of poppies, while not understanding that what they had signed the British Army up to achieve was just unachievable. And let us not forget that none of these posturing, primping princes of political thought have ever served one single day in uniform, of any colour or rank, at all.
We do not retain, in Britain, the ability to legally kill someone who has committed treason, but I for one would sign any petition to restore such a power, and then the first ones to be tried would be every politician, of any Party, who has expressed the slightest desire to extend, for one second, our presence in the corrupt stagnant pool of drugs, grand-scale larceny and murder which is the alleged country named Afghanistan.
The country….Afghanistan. The Province…..Helmand. The time…..The present.
A Platoon of twenty-four Royal Marine Commandos, along with a Manoeuvre Support Section using heavy weaponry (mortars, sniper rifle & machine gun) are being briefed ready for an active patrol.
The Platoon Sergeant completes his briefing, confirms that all Marines have been issued and hold their ammunition, food packs and survival gear, and asks if there are any questions.
Only one hand shoots up, and the Platoon Sergeant sees his daily nemesis, the barrack-room lawyer himself, Commando Smith; eager to speak. “Smith; what is it this time?”
“Platoon Sergeant, might we be told who the extra guy is, the man at the back of the tent, wearing standard camouflage gear, but instead of carrying a weapon, he is carrying a portable computer, and a radio pack on his back?”
“Certainly, Commando Smith, the new man is a new addition to the modern battlefield; he is the latest version of the roving Queen’s Counsel. If you make contact, under any circumstances, with the Taliban; whether they have tried to kill you with a roadside bomb, or an ambush with AK 47s, or even a suicide bomber who is intent on killing as many of you as possible, he will be able to give, in real-time, authoritative legal answers as to whether you are justified in believing you can raise your rifles and other weaponry and firing upon the Opposing forces. He, and he alone, will determine whether the Rules of Engagement have been fulfilled, even if your mates are dying all around you, and will be able to state that you can return fire without fear of being court-martialled at any time in the future! He will further be able to state, in the event of being ambushed by a member of the Afghan Army or Police, whether the attack has taken place as a direct result of Taliban involvement, or if the attack is carried out by a disgruntled or drug-soaked stone-age clown disguised as an Afghan soldier! ”
“Thank you, Platoon Sergeant, just wanted to know!”