David Cameron has never mentioned the name of a single Afghan killed, the majority of whom have been ordinary civilians caught in the middle of the West's war on one of the world's poorest countries.
Stop the War Coalition
2 October 2012
ON SUNDAY 7 OCTOBER -- the eleventh anniversay of the Afghanistan invasion -- Stop the War is organising a Naming the Dead ceremony in Traflagar Square, which will read out the names of Afghan civilians and British soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Finding the names of British soldiers will be no problem.
The BBC and other media publish accurate statistics, updated immediately, for every British soldier killed in Afghanistan, usually with a potted biography giving details of age, home town, marital status, number of children and so on.
This is why we know that the 429th British soldier to be killed -- out of the current total of 433 -- was 18-year-old Thomas Wroe from Holmirth, West Yorkshire. The BBC reported his parents as saying their son was, a "fun-going guy who would do anything for anyone".
The name of Private Thomas Wroe was read out to parliament by prime minister David Cameron -- as is the name of every British soldier killed in Afghanistan -- along with the nonsensical justification that "they gave their lives protecting Britain's national security", and the declaration that "our thoughts and prayers are with their families."
Similarly in the United States, every one of the more than 2000 American deaths has been marked by humanising the individual killed -- like, for example, US Marine Cpl Taylor J Baune, the 21-year-old killed in June 2012, who we are told was from Andover, Minnesota, and who had married his childhood sweetheart, Colleen, just three months before his deployment to Afghanistan.
David Cameron has never mentioned the name of a single Afghan who has been killed -- the majority of whom have been ordinary civilians caught in the middle of the West's war on one of the world's poorest countries.
Neither has Barack Obama -- not even one of the 16 civilians killed on 11 March 2012 -- nine of them children -- who were slaughtered by an American soldier, who then burnt their bodies. We soon learned the name of US Staff Sgt Robert Bales -- who did the killing -- as the media was full of every conceivable detail about the man and his life. But not even the names of those he killed, were thought newsworthy -- which is why Stop the War published them a week after the massacre.
Nor did Obama have anything to tell us about the eight women and girls killed by a US airstrike on 15 September 2012 while they were collecting firewood.
Who is killed by the US and its allies in Afghanistan, is of no concern, nor is the number of Afghans who have died as a result of the eleven year war. Effectively the policy is the same as that which was notoriously stated by US General Tommy Franks in the Iraq war: "We don't do body counts."
Except, that is, for those Afghan deaths for which Nato is very quick to calculate and publish figures -- when it is proclaiming the "success" of an attack which is measured by the number of supposed "insurgents" or "militants" who were killed.
Why, if Nato can calculate instantly and with such confidence the number of "insurgents" killed, can it not also give an estimate of how many civilians have died? The reason is obvious when we see how often a claim for "insurgents" killed has to be corrected, following irrefutable evidence from the local community suffering the attack which shows that it was mostly Afghan civilians who were the victims.
So, can we have any idea of how many Afghan civilians have been killed in the last eleven years? The United Nations only began publishing its estimates in 2007, six years after the US/Nato invasion. Since then the UN says 13,431 Afghan civilians had been killed.
This is almost certainly an under-estimate of the real total, but it represents the only accounting we have at present. What is fair to assume is that the number of civilians killed runs into the tens of thousands, in a war which was never justified and which is obviously futile and unwinnable by the western invaders.
Afghan civilians and the occupying soldiers alike are being killed for no other reason than the refusal of western politicians and generals to admit that the war is lost. They would rather lie to us about "progress" in Afghanistan, and continue to see thousands killed, if that is the price for preserving the reputations of those waging such a pointless war, as MP Paul Flynn pointed out in parliament -- and got expelled for doing so.
The supposed exit date for foreign troops has been declared as the end of 2014 -- although Barack Obama has signed an agreement with the puppet Afghan government of president Karzi for some US troops to remain in the country until at least 2024.
The US and its allies insist that the remaining years are required to complete the task of training the Afghan army and police to take over security for the whole country. The claim that this strategy is on target for an orderly exit of foreign troops -- with no doubt some declaration of "victory" -- is now in tatters.
There have been so many "insider attacks" by Afghan soldiers and police -- like the one that killed Pte Thomas Wroe -- that Nato has had to suspend most of its training and joint operations with the Afghan forces, the cornerstone of the "exit strategy" for the western military.
The morale of soldiers in the Nato armies has disintegrated. Their "mission" is exposed as meaningless. The increasing rate of "green on blue" attacks by Afghan soldiers and police reveals the level of hatred felt by the people of Afghanistan at the destruction and mass slaughter that has been inflicted on their country by foreign powers for over 30 years.
Even Nato's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen -- usually the most upbeat of those waging the war -- admits "green on blue" killings have been successful in sapping morale, and he is hinting at an early retreat from Afghanistan.
But meanwhile the killing and dying continues. The campaign to stop this senseless war has to be intensified. In the US and in Britain -- the two countries who have deployed most of the foreign troops in Afghanistan -- there are huge majorities in public opinion for the view that this war is serving no purpose and all the troops should be brought home now. The recent poll in the Mirror newspaper showed that four out of five people say the war has been a pointless waste of lives and not worth the billions of pounds it has cost since 2011.
This is why, on Sunday 7 October, Stop the War will launch a campaign to bring all 9,500 British troops home by Christmas, and we will be holding a Naming the Dead ceremony -- when the names of Afghan and British dead will be read by -- among others -- Paul Flynn MP, musician Brian Eno, Joan Humphries from Military Families Against the War, and Mitra Quayoom from Afghans for Peace. Please join us, if you can.
Afghanistan Protest: Naming the Dead: Bring the troops home by Christmas
Sunday 7 October 1pm Trafalgar Square London More details...