Brown can salvage the diplomatic disgrace of Afghanistan if he acts as he is known to believe, and sets a withdrawal date
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 July 2009
"....The idea of establishing a western-style democracy is dead. The dreams of Kabul's NGO groupies, to install technocrats or elevate women or eradicate poppies, have vanished in a morass of corruption and aid extravagance. The best hope is a series of regional deals and compromises, transferring power to warlords or Taliban coalitions, behind which military withdrawal can take place. The west failed to "build a nation" in Kabul, despite tipping billions of dollars into its underworld. Only colonialists build nations, and the will for empire was never present.
For progress to be made down this messy road, the gung-ho militarism of Petraeus and the British army must be countered. The hyping of British casualties is wrong, as it suggests any withdrawal will be defeat. The Canadians, who have suffered terrible losses, have shown their sovereignty by signalling their intention to leave in 2011. Why not Britain?
The denouement will come only from negotiation. For British generals and politicians to talk of fighting in Helmand "for decades" is absurd, not least as neither the British public nor the Taliban believe it. Like the Canadians, they should give a date for withdrawal, to stop wasting British lives and to isolate Obama in his wrong-headed policy......"