November 26, 2001
Have All the Powers Gone?
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
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.
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
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.
is not known whether Donald Rumsfeld reads Antiwar.com, 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.
NOTE TO MY
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.
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: