Sunday, October 05, 2008

Brit Commander Officially Surrenders To The Taliban In Afghanistan

"If you think the day is lost, you had best keep quiet about it sir." - Confederate General Stonewall Jackson to one of his wavering commanders during the Confederate victory at Bull Run, 1861.

Today,Britain's commanding general in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying:

"We're not going to win this war. It's about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army. {...}

"If the Taliban were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that's precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this."

You know America has its share of quislings and defeatists too...but generally speaking, they're not commanding troops in harms way.

What General Carleton-Smith has done by opening his pie hole publicly in this fashion is to encourage our mutual enemies in the Taliban to redouble their efforts and to put not only the men under his command but every NATO soldier and every Afghan ally of ours in increased jeopardy.

And ironically, his nonsense makes it a lot less likely that the Taliban would ever negotiate..I mean why should they when they're facing an enemy so obviously eager to flee? Even more ironic is the fact that the Saudis, of all people, hosted preliminary talks between the Afghan government and representatives of the Taliban in Riyadh during the Eid ( the Muslim feast marking the end of Ramadan) with the idea of of working out a political rapprochement between the two.

General Carleton-Smith just did a splendid job of trashing those efforts, as problematical and far-fetched as they might end up being.

You see, the Taliban, like most Islamists aren't noted for their ability to play nicely with others. No matter what kind of arrangement the Taliban 'agreed' to, the likelihood is that as soon as the NATO troops leave for home, the Taliban will kill off their enemies and take over, just like last time.

For that matter, the idea of negotiating any settlement that leaves these brutal 7th century brigands with any voice or power at all in the Afghan government is something that ought to make anyone with a semblance of morality or humanity feel dirty and in need of a long shower for even thinking about it.

Carleton-Smith's little hand grenade comes at the same time as a leaked cable from none other than UK Ambassador to Afghanistan Sherard Cowper-Coles writing about how the military campaign against the Taliban is doomed to failure and that the best solution for those little brown folks in Afghanistan is `an acceptable dictator."

Obviously the good ambassador was referring to what's acceptable to Britain, rather than what might be acceptable to the Afghans, who might just have a few different ideas on the subject.

None of this is coincidental, of course. The Brits are setting up a situation to retreat and leave the fighting to others, just as they did in Iraq.

None of this, by the way, should probably reflect on the average British soldier,and no doubt some of them actually have the grace to be embarrassed. But looking at who's calling the shots and giving the orders, well, let's just say that their behavior as allies is a bit questionable.

With the possible exception of Prince Harry, I wonder if there's anyone in Britain's governing class that still remembers their martial traditions.

Perhaps the best thing is simply to let them scuttle off and buy their way out of their NATO responsibilities, as disgraceful and unfair as that is.

At least we, the Canadians, the Australians, the Dutch, the Danes and the other nations willing to stand with their allies and man up to their obligations wouldn't have to worry about them sabotaging us from our own side of the lines.

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