Gordon of Kabul
BBC images of our valiant PM in action in Basra and Camp Bastion.Having oneself photographed in front of soldiers is a George Bush trick and the news channels fall for it every time. Those who are themselves cowards are often keen to be photographed with soldiers.
The surreal course of the Gordon Brown war ministry continues in Basra where the prime minister announces (and the media solemnly recites) that Britain is about to hand “control” of Basra to the “Iraqi government”. This is the government whose writ does not run outside the walls of the Emerald City. And is now going to “control” Basra! Put out more flags.
How absurd a statement is this? One need only start with the obvious point that Britain does not and never has controlled Basra, that it is in fact controlled by rival political-religious-criminal-&-surrogate militias and the British cower at the airport, and even the supply of photo opportunities has dried up. But if Gordon needs to pretend, to get the army out of there, then so be it.
Then to Kabul where Gordon the war premier inspected Karzai’s honour guard and one presumes was not introduced to some of the narco-terrorists who make up the nice Mr Karzai’s government.
Then to camp Bastion – Little Britain meets Carry on Up the Kyber – where British soldiers are supplying new photo opportunities for politicians. The focus breathlessly repeated by all correspondents is Musa Qala. The fatuity of this operation is exquisitely revealed by Jason Burke in today’s Guardian.
As for poor Musa Qala: a victory full of sound and fury signifying nothing except that we will declare ourselves to have won every one of these battles until we lose the war It was evident that the Taliban decided not to fight to hold the town, although many civilians left before the fighting, and are now exposed to what are said to be terrible weather conditions, not to speak of prowling air strikes.
Meanwhile, the ANA soldiers are having a good loot of the place and as soon as some corridors are opened, we will soon have photo opportunities with shirt-sleeved reconstruction people from Dfid. The BBC and Sky are ready to come in with crews for that.
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Last year the British stormed in to the same place, killed lots of young men, then “victoriously” departed because there were not enough Nato soldiers to sustain the occupation. The cover for this was a “deal” with the local elders who promised to keep out the Taliban (who?). This victory hailed by the BBC was obviously absurd. The “Taliban” promptly returned as soon as the British had left. Even more fundamental definitional problem: who are the Taliban? The best explanation is that the Taliban are more or less anyone killed in these operations. Even if the young men slaughtered in such quantity by the British army are possibly not Taliban at all, but merely defending themselves against northern mercenaries and British and American infidels.
Meanwhile, Gordon has announced that British troops will be in Afghanistan for 10 more years. This needs to be read against previous forecasts of 30 years and 20 years. But what is the end state? We are there to establish – what exactly? If Gordon has a vision for Afghanistan, it would be interesting to hear him express it.
But ground reality has nothing to do with it. This is entirely political. So with this new 10-year plan for Afghanistan, Gordon has advanced once again the victory horizon. At the current rate of progress, in six more months, we will have won this war, five years ago.