BMEWS
 
When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Monday - June 09, 2008

100 British dead in Afghanistan: A moment for sombre reflection

Because I think it’s important enough.  The numbers may be small by comparison, but the consequences and the angst of the families are the same as ours.
And maybe more so because so many really don’t understand why they are there. 

By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 1:27AM BST 09/06/2008

The confirmation that the British death toll in Afghanistan has officially reached the 100 mark should be a moment for sombre reflection on a mission that has far exceeded expectations in terms of the demands it has made on our Armed Forces.

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It is just two years since the government first committed British troops to southern Afghanistan as part of Nato’s mission to assist the Afghan government with the reconstruction of the country after thirty years of almost incessant civil war.

At the time Downing Street’s spin-doctors went into over-drive in their attempts to persuade a sceptical British public that, if all went according to plan, not a shot would be fired in anger as the mission was all about reconstruction and the eradication of the country’s poppy crop – which accounts for 90 per cent of the heroin sold on Britain’s streets – rather than joining battle with the Taliban.

Thankfully senior British officers on the ground such as Brigadier Ed Butler, who commanded 3 Para battlegroup during Britain’s initial deployment in the summer of 2006, realised that nothing would be achieved in the country’s lawless and inhospitable Helmand province unless British forces physically evicted the Taliban from the towns and villages it had been allowed to re-occupy in the south of the country.

Brig Butler, 48, whose untimely resignation from the British Army was announced at the weekend, went on to cause the government further embarrassment by unhelpfully pointing out that the invasion of Iraq had prevented British forces from securing Afghanistan much sooner because vital resources were diverted to overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime before the Taliban had been properly dealt with.

Consequently, far from failing to fire a shot in anger, for the past two years British front line troops have been involved in the fiercest combat operations experienced since the Falklands war, and suffered significant casualties in the process.

While British forces have succeeded in destroying the Taliban’s fighting capability, they have also paid a heavy price in terms of dead and injured.

The lengthening death toll will no doubt lead to calls for Britain to end its contribution to a war many argue can never be won. But to do so would not only have catastrophic consequences for Afghanistan, it would seriously compromise our national security.

The reason our troops are fighting in Afghanistan is to prevent Islamic extremists rebuilding the terrorist infrastructure that enabled them to carry out the September 11 terror attacks against the United States.

Many of the subsequent terror plots against the West – including attacks against Britain, such as the London bombings of July 2005 – originated from the lawless tribal areas on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is no time for the government to lose heart. Instead it must ensure that it provides our dedicated and courageous service men and women with the support and equipment they need to ensure the sacrifices of the past two years are not in vain.

http://tinyurl.com/46jy6w


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 06/09/2008 at 03:10 PM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryUKWar On Terror •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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