Passing the buck for Afghanistan

I don't think that there is the slightest chance that the Western forces in Afghanistan can be victorious over the Taliban. The Russians had over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, plus an Afghan army of about the same size, and they suffered a humiliating defeat. We have 20-25,000 troops there and they are busy just trying to stay alive. They have no possibility whatsoever of them searching out and defeating the Taliban.

That's pretty clear to anyone who bothers to study in the news coming out of Afghanistan. I'm sure that both Bush and Blair know that there is no chance of victory, and a high probability of a humiliating defeat, possibly combined with a last stand around the flag by some substantial number of British or American troops. The Afghans have seen off everybody who has tried to occupy their country. In the first Anglo Afghan war in 1842 a British force of 14 to 16,000 (including about 10,000 camp followers) was massacred by the Afghans. Only one man survived.

The NATO forces might have superior weaponry, but it won't make any difference in the end. Vietnam should have taught the Americans that lesson. In the Vietnamese war the Americans killed 17 Vietnamese for every American casualty. But it didn't make any difference to the final outcome. It is a matter of will, not weaponry.

The longer we stay in Afghanistan, the more people are going to get killed. The sensible thing would be to withdraw from the country, but that would mean a loss of face for Bush and Blair. That must be avoided at all costs. The problem is how to place the blame for the Afghan shambles on somebody else.

It's now clear how they plan to do that. They first persuaded NATO to take over responsibility for military operations in Afghanistan. That's had the effect of disassociating George Bush a little from the project. The next step was to ask the other NATO members to contribute more troops. Of course, they were not going to do that. Why should they? Britain and America have been stupid enough to put their troops in a killing zone. Why should France or Germany or Italy feel any obligation to put their soldiers in similar jeopardy?

Of course, Bush and Blair knew that there wouldn't be any more NATO troops. That wasn't the purpose of the exercise. The purpose was to obtain a refusal to contribute any more troops. Now, when we are forced into a humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan the apologists for Bush and Blair can say that is not their fault, but the fault of the French or Germans, who failed to provide enough troops to ensure a victory.

I'm sure that in the minds of the vermin who govern America and Britain passing the blame onto the French will be an even better result than defeating the Taliban. Pity about all the dead soldiers.

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