Afghanistan

Posted on September 17, 2009

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I’ve always struggled to find a coherent position on the war in Afghanistan. I have swerved between support for it, given the positive goals of tackling terrorism and establishing democracy and human rights in the region, and opposition to it, given the scale of the commitment and the inevitablity of many deaths, both military and civilian.

I have now come to a conclusion, eight years in the making. I oppose the war in Afghanistan for the following reasons.

1. The argument that we are fighting in Afghanistan to make Britain a safer place has lost all its legitimacy. Recent events show that terrorists are just as likely to come from Luton or Walthamstow as they are from the mountainous areas of Afghanistan. Indeed, our presence as ‘infadels’ is perhaps serving to radicalise people to the point that they consider terrorist action. The fact that neighbouring Pakistan is as much, if not more, responsible for the harbouring of terrorists makes the continued focus solely on Afghanistan nonsensical.

2. Another argument for forcing the Taliban out of power was that it would herald a new era of democracy and human rights in Afghanistan. The puppet President Hamid Karzai has recently passed anti-women laws reminiscient of those of the Taliban, suggesting that the new regime is less focused on bringing Afghanistan into the twenty-first century than previously intimated. The current elections, it is agreed, are unreliable, and Karzai and his people have been accused of corruption. Our government, so vocal in its condemnation of similarly flawed elections in Iran, has until recently stayed quiet. If Karzai and his regime is what we are fighting for, then it seems lives are being needlessly wasted.

3. Public opinion is against the war, and animosity towards it is only increasing. A mere glance at the history of military intervention in Afghanistan, both British and Soviet, demonstrates that victory is neither inevitable or swift.

4. The danger of intervening in sovereign nations to establish democracy is difficult, in that there is then an issue over which country is most ‘deserving’ of such intervention. If we are in Afghanistan, why not Burma?

For these reasons, I have now decided to set my stall against the war in Afghanistan. I will, therefore, be attending the national demonstration against the war on 24 October, and I suggest you do too.

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Posted in: Politics