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Afghanistan, we leave when we win ?

6 Jul

U.S. General David Petraeus has taken command of the Afghan war. It has been 3195 days (8 years, 9 months) since the first British troops went to Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11.

Petraeus said “After years of war, we have arrived at a critical moment…We must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and (American-led coalition) forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people and that we are in this to win. That is our clear objective.”

“In this to win” What do we win, the privilege of propping up a corrupt government, increased World drug supply and production, the right to imprison women for ‘bad character’, military spending in the billions whilst cutting services back home.

Afghanistan cultural, social and moral structure outside of Kabul, is not something we can change at the barrel of a gun (or military occupation). Neither can we “safeguard the Afghan people”. For every ISAF casualty, 100’s of Afghans become casualties. We are causing more harm to Afghan people by our presence.

Whilst U.S. troop numbers continue to rise (soon some 100,000 U.S. troops), others are making plans to leave Afghanistan. Both Canada and Denmark pack their bags in 2011, no matter the situation.

Coming up to the 9th year it is about time for the U.K to also announce withdraw. Afghanistan, and global terrorism is a Political and Policing matter not something resolved by armies, invasion and military occupation.

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Saville Report and Inquiry….

16 Jun

My opinion of the Bloody Sunday and the Saville Report remains the same after the inquiry as before. The inquiry should not have taken place,  its finding considered partisan, and the inquiry will lead to further demands.

The inquiry should not have taken place

In 1992 Prime Minister John Major said in a letter to John Hume (leader of the SDLP)

“The Government made clear in 1974 that those who were killed on ‘Bloody Sunday’ should be regarded as innocent of any allegation that they were shot whilst handling firearms or explosives. I hope that the families of those who died will accept that assurance.”

The Saville inquiry came to the same conclusion only it took them 12 years and £195 million costs to spread it over 5000 pages.

The need was to move on with the political process, acknowledging the past, moving onwards towards a peaceful future (if the Good Friday agreement was truly supposed to draw a line under Northern Ireland’s violent sectarian history). Instead we have had 12 years of anguish for some, a re-opening of injustice for many others.

The inquiry and its findings considered partisan

The findings would never satisfy everyone, and has opened as many wounds as healed. A victim of IRA terrorism has said there is a ‘hierarchy of victims’. Those killed by terrorism never had a £200 million investigation into the unlawful killing of their loved ones.

Some claim the State and government are rightly accountable for actions carried out in its name (actions of terrorist are beyond their control). If the government has a duty to see justice done, it’s to give justice and closure to all victims.

The inquiry will only lead to further demands

The Prime Minister has said the report should help communities

‘come together to acknowledge our shared history, even where it divides us. That is not to say that we must ever forget or dismiss that past. But we must also move on.’

I am not sure David Cameron is correct. The findings are being used by nationalist to accuse the British Army on Bloody Sunday as being the catalyst of Northern Ireland sectarian terrorism.

We will likely see attempts at prosecutions now, and attempts at revisionism of the cause of Northern Ireland’s recent violent history.