63% Want UK Forces Out of Afghanistan

Perhaps showing people have a better understanding of war and remembrance than our bloodthirsty leaders.

Public support for the war in Afghanistan is falling, while more than 40 percent do not understand why British troops are fighting there, a poll released on Remembrance Sunday showed. Some 64 percent agreed that “the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable”, up six percent from July, while 27 percent disagreed, down four percent. Ten percent said they did not know.

Similar numbers said British forces should be withdrawn as quickly as possible, with 63 percent agreeing and 31 percent disagreeing. Some 54 percent felt they had “a good understanding of the purpose of Britain’s mission in Afghanistan”, with 42 percent disagreeing.

“Overall there is the sense that Afghanistan is becoming for (British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown what Iraq became for (his predecessor) Tony Blair,” said Andrew Hawkins, chief executive of pollsters ComRes. “More than four in 10 don’t understand Britain’s mission; support for the British presence there is ebbing away, and a majority have responded to the presidential election very negatively indeed. The results suggest that the impact of the war must be having an impact on Labour support, since it is that party’s core supporters who are most strongly opposed to it.”

Meanwhile 52 percent agreed that “the levels of corruption involved in the recent presidential election show the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting for.” Thirty-six percent disagreed. “This is potentially devastating for the government’s case for war,” said Hawkins. ComRes surveyed 1,009 adults of different ages and social classes across Britain for BBC television’s “The Politics Show”.

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Predictable

Apparently people are still confused that war involves murder and insanity. Luckily morons, racist and imperialists can hang their denial on ideas of tribal loyalty because -their- god forbid they realise that if this is what a professional dealing with combat trauma does, then the ongoing wars in service of the ruling class’s ambitions might be seen for the civilisation destroying cancer they are. Of course it might be unkind to note that the death rate for civilians in this action were considerably less then the military ever manage while on official operations. And the horror of misapplied geography, if he had expressed his homicidal feelings while in theatres of combat on men, women & children unfortunate enough to be living in a country our governments caused to be invaded he would be doing his duty. That he saw his colleagues as targets and not Afghans & Iraqis is a failure of propaganda, military healthcare and a symptom of institutional racism in imperial forces. Hasan clearly was a stupid and venal man, he chose to volunteer his labour for an enterprise he knew to be wrong and allowed it to destroy him and in turn others. Did he target, in a deranged vengeance, those he knew or suspected of murdering civilians overseas? He was in a position to have knowledge of such things. Certainly few would dare sugest such a thing as this is our side and the von Stauffenbergs and Inglourious Basterds are heroes real and imagined when they kill ‘them’ and our tribe could never be evil like ‘them’. So the soldiers are victims and the killer is a totem for everything the warfare state wants to project onto him. Rather they are all victims, just as any nation is that is stuck with a voracious, privileged and entitled imperial ruling class on the make, that has taught its numbed disenfranchised citizens to eulogise the strengths of its military and corporations. And a workplace shooting that screams a direct connection to the violence at the heart of a culture of imperialism will be seen as anything but, in fact will be used to justify even more killing. And the wars grind on, anointed with a peace prize.

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‘…a series of suspicious deaths of Iraqi citizens.’

“I believe that I was serving in something that was party to covering up quite serious allegations of torture and murder,” said the former Royal Military Policeman of his time in the corps.

“I’ve seen documentary evidence that there were incidents, running into the 100s, involving death and serious injury to Iraqis,” he claims. “It is the actions of a few who have been shown to be bad apples. But the system is so flawed and some of the decision making has been so perverse that it is fair to say that the barrel is probably rotten.”

See the interview, podcast and read more.

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8 Years Ago Today

“A US military attack would be another catastrophe for Afghanistan”
Behjat, RAWA spokeswoman
25th September 2001

Sunday October 7th 2001

US President George W Bush has addressed the nation to announce the start of attacks on Afghanistan…
“On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al-Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.”

Monday October 8th 2001

The first sign that Enduring Freedom, the US-led retaliation for last month’s terrorist attacks, had begun would have been visible from the cornfields of the American Midwest, where black, bat-winged stealth bombers took to the air with a full load of bombs. The B2 bombers, first used extensively in the Kosovo conflict, took off from the Whiteman air force base in Missouri and flew 17 hours to Afghanistan, arriving at about 9pm local time, just as cruise missiles launched from the Arabian sea were hitting their targets.

For all the talk of this being a new form of warfare, the first few hours followed a classic pattern of US military doctrine: destroy as much as possible of the enemy’s ability to fight back in a coordinated and overwhelming burst of violence.

The Taliban did not have much of an air force and its anti-aircraft defences were rudimentary, but the US air force does not take chances. One of the first reported tar gets to be destroyed was a radar command centre at the military air base outside Kabul.

The Pentagon had not issued “battle damage assessment” reports by late last night, but it is likely that the initial strikes also destroyed the few dozen Mig and Sukhoi Soviet-era fighters the Taliban has managed to maintain with Pakistani help over the years.

A total of 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles, costing $1m (£670,000) apiece, were used in the assault. According to the Pentagon, they were launched from four US surface ships and a submarine which make up the battle groups surrounding the USS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise carriers in the Arabian sea. Some were also fired from HMS Triumph and HMS Trafalgar, two submarines in the naval taskforce accompanying HMS Illustrious.

Once launched, the cruise missiles flew low over the water at just below the speed of sound. They crossed Pakistani air space, as agreed previously with the government in Islamabad, and then over the border into Afghanistan, hugging the terrain on the way to their targets to avoid radar detection.

By that time, there would have been many other warplanes in the air. Swing-wing B1 bombers and huge lumbering B52 Stratofortresses, the same giants which carried out the blanket bombing of Cambodia and Vietnam 30 years ago, took off from the British-run island of Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean. In the month since September 11, the island has witnessed a steady build-up of aerial firepower, and it represents an important el ement of the British contribution to Enduring Freedom.

At about the same time as the bombers were launched, bulky C17 military transport planes took off from the Ramstein US air force base in Germany, laden with 37,000 bags of subsistence rations to be dropped for Afghan refugees and impoverished civilians. In view of the size of the humanitarian problems facing the country, it was a token effort, but the symbolism of dropping food alongside bombs was thought to be central to the Bush administration’s war strategy.

To press home the point, leaflets were also dropped, explaining that the military strikes were directed only at the Arabs of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida organisation and the Taliban leaders who had led Afghanistan into the firing line by agreeing to offer shelter to foreign terrorists.

Number of casualties- unknown, and after the Iraq war began nobody bothered trying to count for all of 2004, see Marc Herold or the wiki page, or this at Unknown News. Starts at 7,589 civilians and goes to 28,028 or more.

The US has spent at least $223 Billion, the UK at least £12 Billion. Afghansitan GDP for 2008 $22.27 billion. Overall costs of the injured, dead, mentally damaged, homeless, the spousal abuse, the child abuse, drug abuse, medical services, prison service, police… is incalculable at this point, war does not end in a field somewhere over there. Children as yet unborn will be affected by it, that is a truth our militaries and governments will never admit, a bitter harvest for the homeland. When you look at how our governments treat their own citizens, be it welfare cuts or denial of basic healthcare ask yourself why they are spending our money in a country they could buy and sell several times over, where they care so little about the people they do not even count how many they have killed.

Malalai Joya

On behalf of the long-suffering people of my country, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all in the UK who have lost their loved ones on the soil of Afghanistan. We share the grief of the mothers, fathers, wives, sons and daughters of the fallen. It is my view that these British casualties, like the many thousands of Afghan civilian dead, are victims of the unjust policies that the Nato countries have pursued under the leadership of the US government.

Almost eight years after the Taliban regime was toppled, our hopes for a truly democratic and independent Afghanistan have been betrayed by the continued domination of fundamentalists and by a brutal occupation that ultimately serves only American strategic interests in the region.

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.

So far, Obama has pursued the same policy as Bush in Afghanistan. Sending more troops and expanding the war into Pakistan will only add fuel to the fire. Like many other Afghans, I risked my life during the dark years of Taliban rule to teach at underground schools for girls. Today the situation of women is as bad as ever. Victims of abuse and rape find no justice because the judiciary is dominated by fundamentalists. A growing number of women, seeing no way out of the suffering in their lives, have taken to suicide by self-immolation.

… US vice-president Joe Biden asserted that “more loss of life [is] inevitable” in Afghanistan, and that the ongoing occupation is in the “national interests” of both the US and the UK.

I have a different message to the people of Britain. I don’t believe it is in your interests to see more young people sent off to war, and to have more of your taxpayers’ money going to fund an occupation that keeps a gang of corrupt warlords and drug lords in power in Kabul.

What’s more, I don’t believe it is inevitable that this bloodshed continues forever. Some say that if foreign troops leave Afghanistan will descend into civil war. But what about the civil war and catastrophe of today? The longer this occupation continues, the worse the civil war will be.

The Afghan people want peace, and history teaches that we always reject occupation and foreign domination. We want a helping hand through international solidarity, but we know that values like human rights must be fought for and won by Afghans themselves.

I know there are millions of British people who want to see an end to this conflict as soon as possible. Together we can raise our voice for peace and justice.

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War Never Ends

The number of former servicemen in prison or on probation or parole is now more than double the total British deployment in Afghanistan, according to a new survey. An estimated 20,000 veterans are in the criminal justice system, with 8,500 behind bars, almost one in 10 of the prison population.

The proportion of those in prison who are veterans has risen by more than 30% in the last five years.

The study by the probation officers’ union Napo uncovers the hidden cost of recent conflicts. The snapshot survey of 90 probation case histories of convicted veterans shows a majority with chronic alcohol or drug problems, and nearly half suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression as a result of their wartime experiences on active service.

Those involved had served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. They are most likely to have been convicted of a violent offence, particularly domestic violence.

The study provides the strongest evidence yet of a direct link between the mental health of those returning from combat zones, chronic alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence.

In many cases the symptoms of depression or stress did not become apparent for many years and included persistent flashbacks and nightmares.

MORE (ht2 Earwicga)

Patriotism, War Criminal’s Fan Club

Immigrants who take part in protests against British troops could be denied citizenship of this country under controversial new Home Office rules. The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, will launch a consultation tomorrow on a new points-based system for would-be migrants according to their behaviour, as well as skills and qualifications. Mr Johnson, writing in the News of the World, said: “Bad behaviour will be penalised, and only those with enough points will earn the right to a British passport.”

While he did not explicitly point to those who take part in anti-war demonstrations, the newspaper reported that this would be included in examples of “bad behaviour”. But there was confusion over the policy last night, as the Home Office appeared to backtrack on whether protesters would be penalised. An aide to Mr Johnson said the Home Office was consulting on what constituted bad behaviour, but refused to comment on the issue of protesters.

Whitewash Manufacturers Say Recession Is Over

An independent inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war has opened in London, with its chairman promising to call Tony Blair, the UK prime minister at the time of the 2003 invasion, as a witness. Sir John Chilcot, a former civil servant, said he would “not shy away” from criticising decisions taken about the war and insisted the probe would not be a whitewash.

Chilcot stressed that the inquiry will be heard in public wherever possible, adding that it could be televised and streamed live on the internet. But some evidence will be taken in private for national security reasons and to ensure “complete candour”, he said, adding that although witnesses could not be compelled to give evidence, he did not expect anyone to decline.

Just as L/Cpl Joe Glenton delivers a letter to Gordo-

A serving soldier who is refusing to return to Afghanistan has delivered a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to “bring our soldiers home”. L/Cpl Joe Glenton, of the Royal Logistic Corps, delivered his letter to 10 Downing Street on Thursday. He said: “I know that the Afghan people are very resilient. I can’t see us getting much further.” The soldier, who lives in York, faces a preliminary court martial on Monday for refusing to go back to Afghanistan. In his letter he claims the war in Afghanistan is being fought in the interests of US foreign policy.

Fellow soldiers who have come to this blog from a link posted @ ARmy Rumour SErvice are less than enthused. May I suggest they read ‘Raising My Voice’ by Malalai Joya (review coming soon!) and reflect upon the misuse of soldier’s professionalism and comradeship by ruling classes with a taste for imperialism. To aid you in your revery-

John Singer Sargent at War

You forge of your self a dull weapon

Information for Members of the British Armed Forces