Much as the government tries to hide from the British public how disastrous the war in Afghanistan has become, most people can see the reality and want the troops home now.
By Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
2 July 2012
WE know that three more British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
Tomorrow we will be told their names. And next week there will be reports of the funerals.
What we are not told is that these men are dying in a war which has already been lost and which is being prolonged by politicians and generals who expect other people to make sacrifices for their failures.
The rate of killing is increasing. If it continues at the same level of the past two years, another 100 British soldiers will die by the time of the official withdrawal date of 2014. Joan Humphreys, whose grandson Kevin was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, said today: "My grandson was the 210th British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan. Since then, another 213 have been killed. So the death rate is rising, not falling."
Last Saturday was Armed Forces Day, established in 2008 under a Labour government to counter the unpopularity of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by promoting support for the soldiers themselves. It is marked in schools and at local events that give no hint of the actual situations in which the troops find themselves.
This rehabilitation of the military and the downplaying of unpopular wars is part of a government strategy that has also seen high profiles for the armed forces in the Jubilee and Olympics events.
It is quite remarkable that such unpopular wars should face so little public scrutiny, and that those politicians and military who started them should be allowed to continue justifying them.
Lies about Afghanistan are repeated ad nauseam in parliament and the media.
Lie number one is that it is bringing improvements in the lives of Afghans. The number of civilians killed is going up. They are subject to terrifying night raids by troops. Both political and military resistance to the troops is growing, especially in the face of outrages by Nato troops such as the murder of 18 civilians by a US soldier who broke into their houses.
Lie number two is that the war is winding down towards a peaceful transition in 2014. The latest three soldiers to be killed were shot by an Afghan policeman. The Afghan police and army are supposed to be the allies of the western troops, but are turning on them and killing them regularly in what are known as blue-on-green attacks.
Lie number three is that the war in Afghanistan is making Britain safer. Even the former head of MI5, Eliza Manningham Buller, told the Chilcot inquiry that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had made the threat of terrorism in Britain more likely.
Lie number four is that soldiers are dying in Afghanistan in pursuit of peace. Drone attacks are now being directed from Britain, at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The war has spread to Pakistan. Eleven years of war and occupation have underlined the impossibility of peace in the region as long as foreign troops remain.
That is why so many are now dying in Afghanistan. It is why most governments, apart from the US and Britain, have decided to withdraw their troops.
And it is why we have to oppose this nauseating and dishonest support for a war which should never have started and which can never be won.