Thursday, July 09, 2009

Remembering Heroes

A hundred and seventy six British service personnel have now been killed in operations in Afghanistan.

They are heroes and we should remember their sacrifice with pride.

For reference, to the best of my knowledge I am not related to Trooper Christopher Whiteside of the Light Dragoons, who was identified today as the last of those casualties and who was the seventh British soldier killed in the country in a week.

Afghanistan should not be allowed to become a forgotten war: there are large numbers of British servicemen and women out there, including soldiers, sailors, and airforce people: they are trying to rebuild that country, prevent the re-establishment of the regime responsible for the despicable attack on the West on 9th September 2001, and prevent the area becoming a base for terrorist training camps.

It is important to stress the differences between what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both were run by barbarous regimes which had oppressed and murdered huge numbers of their own people and shown themselves to be a menace to other nations. The main difference is that when our governments told us that the Taleban regime in Afghanistan posed a direct threat to the West, they were telling the truth. The second is that they had a rather more effective plan for what they would do after overthrowing the Taleban than they did in Iraq. But nation-building is still proving painfully slow, and expensive in terms of both money and lives - Western and Afghan.

We need to make sure our troops in Afghanistan have better support and equipment. We also need to do more in a positive way to help build up the local non-drugs economy and society.

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