måndag 17 mars 2008

Harry's Hero

Also in the Sun was an article about one of our boys, who was on the same flight back to Britain as Prince Harry. The is a picture of a fit young man called Ben who was talented at sport but has lost an arm and a leg in a "horrific" landmine explosion in Afghanistan, just before his 21st birthday. One wonders when landmine explosions are not horrific, but the picture shows Ben in his "before" condition. He has has four major operations lasting up to ten hours each.

A few years ago I advised a young man in the Swimming Club against a career in the army, which he was contemplating. It was nothing to do with pacifism - I am not a pacifist - but that the army is abused for the aggrandaisement of politicians in pursuit of their dotty ideas. I think, and hope, he took the advice, as the last time I saw him he was working as a lifeguard.

Blair deserves to go down in history as having caused much trouble due to his delusions of grandeur, imagining himself as some kind of saviour. There was a feature on the Blair wars on last night's radio, "celebrating" the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. Apparently, this was part of a policy called "Benevolent Intervention".

The trouble is that putting in armed forces to intervene in someone else's quarrel quickly leads to the "saviours" becoming part of the problem. This is what happened in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and it is only because, in the last few years, the Unionists are coming to realise that membership of the Union is depriving them of economic opportunities, that the problem is going away almost of its own accord.

Western armies cannot solve problems of Moslem societies. People from the secular/Christian west are simply not trusted or respected, especially when there may be ulterior motives for the intervention. Ultimately, people will have to work things out for themselves, whatever is done. The Iraq invasion only made matters worse. The goings-on in Afghanistan will achieve nothing in the long run. It is a clan society with a terrain made for banditry. The British found this in the nineteenth century, the Russian had the same experience in the 1980s and one wonders why those who are making the decisions do not just look at the history. The one useful intervention that could be made in Afghanistan - buying up the opium crop for medical use to alleviate the present shortage - is seemingly off the agenda. And so brave and adventurous young men are having their limbs blown off - for what?

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