November 26, 2001

Where Have All the Powers Gone?
My Mate Rumsfeld

When I wrote the last column, British troops had just secured a Kabul airstrip and thousands of British troops were ready to go out. The Northern Alliance did not like it, but they just live there. It looked like a classic episode of New Imperialism: secure the airport for some ostensible humanitarian purpose, take effective control of the capital and some of the roads and then take over (or "train") the government army. I predicted that this would happen and that we should call our troops home

It seems that I have faulty predictive powers, but I am not too bothered about this because so did the British government. The troops really were on standby; it just seems that the British misunderstood what the Americans wanted. So instead of getting to patrol the unwelcome streets of Kabul, the squaddies were carrying out kit inspections and playing four-hours-long football matches in Kabul.

So who is the hero of the hour, who has saved the west from a senseless and damaging deployment? Well it seems that it is that uber-peacenik Donald Rumsfeld. It seems that Rumsfeld was opposed to nation-building, which was roughly what the troops were intended to do. When the British went out there (was it a misunderstanding or an attempt to force America's hand?) the Don or some senior underling said that the US would not follow. Close your eyes and thank God that Gore was not elected. As a little bonus, it made Blair look a bit of a pillock, although the domestic press did not notice.

It is not known whether Donald Rumsfeld reads, nor is it known who his favourite columnist is. (Is it Raimondo, Cockburn or Goldstein?) However, he seems to have taken our advice. It isn't often that we have had the chance to praise Mr. Rumsfeld over here, so I feel duty bound to praise the man. Sadly, I doubt that we will have much cause to praise him in the future, but we can but hope. For now, though, the US Department of Defense is taking our line: get Bin Laden and get out.


There has been a massive amount of responses; unfortunately, much of this was from people who either did not try to follow the line of argument, or simply were unable to do so. You can see most of it here.

Any further complaints about my line on the Afghan war should be sent to the address, as the recipient shares the same view as I do on this – and he is more likely to get things done:

Text-only printable version of this article

Airstrip One Article Archives

Emmanuel Goldstein

Go to the most current column by Emmanuel Goldstein

Sign up to receive Airstrip One by e-mail

Emmanuel Goldstein is the pseudonym of a political drifter on the fringes of English classical liberal and Euro-sceptic activity. He is a former member of the Labour Party, who knows Blair and some of his closest buddies better than they realise, yet. He has a challenging job in the real world, working for a profit-making private company and not sponging off the taxpayer in politics, journalism or the civil service. "Airstrip One," appears Mondays at

Please Support

A contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's out-of-print classic study of Old Right conservatives, Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism. Send contributions to
520 S. Murphy Ave., Suite #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form

Your contributions are now tax-deductible

Back to Home Page | Contact Us