Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced that around 500 more British troops will become like lambs to the slaughter in Afghanistan, bring the total to around 9,500.
He also paid tribute to the 37 soldiers who were killed since July. The current total of troops killed since the war began in 2001 is around 221. While most of the public attention on the war focused on why the soldiers were given inadequate uniforms or forced to ride in unsuitable vehicles, very few commentators are asking difficult questions over whether our soldiers should have been deployed there in the first place.
Very few people actually know what is happening out there. The politicians don’t know…. the high-ranking officers don’t know…. not even the front-line soldiers know. The goalposts have constantly been shifted from one extreme (“We’re here to stop the Taliban”) to another (“We’re here to prevent terrorism”). The absence of political leadership on the war has lead to many civilians being killed needlessly, and many soldiers losing their lives, causing anger and resentment among their families and discomfort to those in the Westminster bubble. Nobody wants to take responsibility for this problem because every sector of the political establishment are spending too much time blaming each other.
This is a huge scandal which ranks alongside the on-going row over politicians’ expenses…. and it’s one which desperately needs a solution. But this one would have to wait until after the general election.