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Losing in Afghanistan and in Europe

General Sir David Richards speaks,
On 22 October the BBC showed a clip of the UK’s new chief of General Staff, General David Richards, who spoke of Afghanistan. General Richards said that in his “very humble opinion”, if the Afghanistan war should be lost, that country will once again become a training ground for Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda will become entrenched in populated areas that cannot be bombed without the effects of “wedding party syndrome”. Losing in Afghanistan will give the message to terrorists in every country of the world that they can do whatever they wish.

It’s altogether depressing. The officers’ mess might think it’s funny when the Americans can’t tell the difference between a wedding party and a Taliban training exercise but if they would apply their minds to what the Americans are doing in Europe they might not think it so amusing. Some of us don’t think that any part of this debacle is amusing.

General Richards said that he had spoken with British soldiers in Afghanistan, who were very happy with what they were doing. Well, it would be very odd if any serviceman, whatever his rank, should tell his chief of General Staff anything else.

The real terrorist threat comes from the USA
Never mind British soldiers. General Richards should consult the UK security services direct and get some raw reports on what the Americans are doing in Europe, not Afghanistan. As I said here,there’s no good reason whatsoever for any U.S. bases in Europe, much less making them permanent. At this moment, Europe is under armed occupation by the United States and the extra thousand intelligence staff that Anthony Blair said he was going to appoint following the London bombings should get their collective minds working on it. That is, if they exist.

The terrorist threat is from the United States. Anyone can see that from its stream of lies justifying present and future atrocities in the Middle East and U.S. behaviour there. Whatever the Americans are willing to do in the Middle East, they are willing to do in Europe to get their own way. To imagine otherwise is simply stupid.

But despite his class-based view of the world which is an essential requirement for the UK army’s top job, I am inclined to like General Richards. Even despite his 29 September lecture at Chatham House, an establishment think-tank, on which I will dwell in a moment. This contains all the usual guff about new-style warfare, maintaining our relationship with the U.S., proxy warfare is the future, the evils of Al-Qaeda, importance of winning in Afghanistan etc etc. Interestingly, he quotes part of Sun Tzu’s observation:

Generally, in war, the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this. To capture the enemy’s entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a regiment, a company or a squad is better than to destroy them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence... Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture the enemy’s cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations. (Chapter 3 – this translation by General Tao Hanzhang, formerly chief of staff of China’s Kwangzhou Military Zone.)

It is evident that U.S. and NATO operations in the Middle East violate this principle to our cost, as they do every one of Sun Tzu’s principles, but we should not draw the wrong conclusion. We should beware of the common stereotype that Americans are only capable of crude “carpet bomb everything” and “kick the door down” methods. That is by no means the case – and the evidence is before our eyes in the U.S. takeover of NATO and their permanent bases throughout Europe.

U.S. invasion of Afghanistan a means to take over NATO and Europe
It is a material fact that the United States has occupied Europe without firing a shot or losing a single soldier. The invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 attack was a means of taking over NATO and consolidating the U.S. beachhead in Europe. Everything else, serious though it is, is to U.S. strategists merely froth on their cappuccino.

General Richards must consider whether he has been outflanked. He must consider whether subverted politicians have turned the state over to a foreign power while diverting our forces and our attention from an offensive attack by stealth on his own country and on Europe. I suggest that he should order the U.S. intelligence services to prepare an evaluation of that scenario.

He might also speak to David Milliband, our foreign secretary and professional politician about the possibility of treason in high places. This is not a metaphor. I mean treason against the state in its full meaning as it was applied to William Joyce, incidentally born in America, but carrying a British passport and hanged for his actions. The other day, I heard Milliband comment, “We don’t want the world controlled by America and China.” Maybe the Iraq inquiry is getting our pro-Israel, pro-America foreign secretary worried.

Negotiation with economic development – the only way forward in Afghanistan
But truly, General Richards does not need to ask anyone else in order to satisfy himself of the facts. He knows that most of what he, himself, says publicly about Afghanistan is nonsense. He’s following a political line. But I am inclined to like him because he can think for himself. In this Youtube clip, at point 6.20, we see that in 2006/07 as commander of 35,000 international forces in southern Afghanistan he negotiated a cease-fire with the Taliban at Musa Kala, much to the anger of the Americans.

But it worked. Subsequently he was replaced by an American who resumed kicking down doors and shooting the town up, alleging that the cease-fire merely allowed the Taliban to regroup. It’s clear that peace and reconciliation isn’t what the U.S. intends for Afghanistan. General Richards knows that negotiation with economic development is the way to end the war. He must have wondered why the U.S. will not follow this obvious strategy. At point 17.58 of the clip, Nassima Aliazi, an Afghan politician, says that foreign forces claimed to have come to rebuild Afghanistan, not to occupy or destroy it. More soldiers will have no effect on security. She says that if they wanted to they could rebuild Afghanistan with two soldiers and General Richards knows that she is correct.

America does not want to rebuild Afghanistan. Afghanistan could have been rebuilt within a few years of the initial invasion eight years ago, so why is it not being done? This war is a diversion. The prize to America is the economy, military force and manpower of Europe, secured in Europe through its bases and control of NATO, and in the U.S. through the NATO First Act . Simultaneously, Russia is denied the benefits of closer integration with Europe, its natural cultural and economic partner.

Let us consider the American viewpoint. From this perspective, Europe might well appear to be a potentially unstable part of the world. Europe has a long history of warfare, including two great wars in which many Americans died. It produced the ideologies of communism and fascism with their attendant disasters. In concert with Russia, who knows what might occur in the future? There is something in this viewpoint but its context must be understood.

These European problems were part of the continuation of an effort that commenced many thousands of years ago with contributions from many cultures through Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome. It is the effort to define and implement good government.

At present, the European Union is attempting to eliminate warfare by means of negotiated economic integration. That strategy, unique in history, has been very successful to date even if most Europeans have no knowledge of its beginnings. Precisely because of that underlying rationale it is vital to build a partnership with Russia. The EU is under severe stress at present, however, due to American interference both in pressing for fast EU expansion and the expansion of NATO. This can only lead to disaster as do all American interventions. That is their intention.

I mention the roots of this European process, discontinuous and tenuously linked though they might be, in order to emphasize the active, on-going development of European culture and governance, mistakes included. By contrast, the United States considers that process to be at an end. It has embraced the static image of the shining city on the hill, the beacon of hope, the liberator of the downtrodden. The basis? Due to success in its war of independence from the UK it claims the right to be the world liberator, to free other nations, absorb them or reform them in its perfected political and economic image.

Europe does not need lessons from or the presence of the United States from the evidence of its actions in the Middle East for the last eight years and the performance of its key economic institutions.

I hope that General Richards will reflect on his knowledge of American behaviour in Afghanistan and will wonder what the U.S. objective of unnecessary, continuous war there might mean for the UK and Europe.

As I have said before, such a war is a war crime. General Richards would be justified in citing the Nuremberg Principles and withdrawing British troops immediately. I am aware what the profound political implications would be. Such re-alignments are highly desirable. It might also occur to General Richards that the United Kingdom itself might be lost through this war because his army is in the wrong country and unless radical measures are taken he will be humiliatingly defeated without a shot being fired. If so, and he is willing to take action, I for one, would be at his disposal as would all but a few of this country’s citizens.

-- Christopher King is a retired consultant and lecturer. He lives in London, UK. This article appeared in Redress Information & Analysis.

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Added: Oct-29-2009 Occurred On: Oct-27-2009
Iraq, Afghanistan, Other
Tags: Middle, East
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