Islamist mercenaries

Vietnam mark 2

Afghan warAfghan war

No hope for peace. John McCain says the US could be in Iraq for the next hundred years, has resisted any timetable for withdrawal and says that victory in Iraq is a necessary precursor to success in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama wants to withdraw US troops from Iraq within the next 16 months and send them all to Afghanistan for as long as it takes. Senator Obama says:

“When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11,”... “And I made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.”

Senator Obama also blamed Mr McCain for not being clear on how to pursue those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, ( remember that 15 of the 19 bombers were Saudi Arabian).

“John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives,

Senator Obama, reaffirmed his earlier statements that he would not hesitate to launch direct military strikes at suspected terrorist targets inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. The latter tactic has just started under Bush.

And where the US goes it would appear the the UK follows and that's whichever party is in power; David Cameron says we cannot afford to fail in Afghanistan and Nick Clegg says that failure would be devastating.

So, whoever becomes the new President of the USA and whoever becomes Prime Minister in the UK it would appear that we shall be losing soldiers and sending millions to corrupt warlords and politicians.

The only politician who seems to be against the war is Ron Paul. Having Al Jazeera publicise him probably does Congressman Ron Paul no favours but there you are.

He is a libertarian, advocates small government and is anti-war. In this article from 2006 he relates the sorry tale of American interventions from Korea and Vietnam to the present - so much death and destruction (even when barely mentioning Central and South America). He would appear to be about one of the very few politicians against the war. He says:

Obviously, we are not putting forth the full effort required to capture Osama bin Laden. Instead, our occupation of Afghanistan further inflames the Muslim radicals that came of age with their fierce resistance to the Soviet occupation of a Muslim country. Our occupation merely serves as a recruiting device for al-Qaeda, which has promised retaliation for our presence in their country. We learned nothing after first allying ourselves with Osama bin Laden when he applied this same logic toward the Soviets. The net result of our invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been to miss capturing bin Laden, assist al-Qaeda's recruitment, stimulate more drug production, lose hundreds of American lives, and allow spending billions of American taxpayer dollars with no end in sight.

We are helping in this and I haven't met one man in the street who thinks we're fighting in Afghanistan to save the world from terrorism. Rather the opposite. Why do none of our politicians ( I don't count George Galloway) or our media reflect this view? Paul continues:

The overriding goal should then be to rescue our constitutional liberties, which have been steadily eroded by those who claim that sacrificing civil liberties is required and legitimate in times of war – even the undeclared and vague war we're currently fighting.

If you ever get a chance see the film Taking Liberties by Chris Atkins, which summarises many of the British freedoms that have been removed over the last decade.
Agent orangeAgent orange

Vietnam was supposed to be the key to saving the world from communist dictatorship. Paul says:

We went into Vietnam and involved ourselves unnecessarily in a civil war to bring peace and harmony to that country. We lost 60,000 troops and spent hundreds of billions of dollars, yet failed to achieve victory. Ironically, since losing in Vietnam we now have a better relationship with them than ever.

Even though the Vietnam War ended 30 years ago, the US’s saturation chemical bombing is still wreaking havoc on millions, including the newly born — making them third-generation victims. Nobody knows when the congenital deformities, one of many horrific health consequences of the toxic chemicals, will end. See here.

In the 1973 Peace Accords that paved the way to end the Vietnam War, the US promised Vietnam reparations of US$3.5 billion. So far, not a cent has been paid. It's all being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wherever shall we go next? Somalia?