Peter Hitchens writes:
Was our mission accomplished in Afghanistan, as David Cameron seemed to say last week? The truth, as so often, is worse than you think. The 446 servicemen and women (so far) who died in Afghanistan, and the many more (whom we seldom see) who were terribly wounded, had no real mission to accomplish.
Everyone who understands what happened on September 11, 2001, knows that atrocity originated in the Arab world, not in Afghanistan. Look at who the hijackers were.
The first attack on the Taliban state was a wild, furious and illogical loss of temper by the US government, trying to calm mass public grief, and to look as if it was doing something.
The unlovely nature of the Taliban regime was an excuse invented afterwards. If the USA is so opposed to militant, fundamentalist Islamic governments that oppress women and persecute other religions, why doesn’t it invade Saudi Arabia?
Overthrowing governments by force is quite easy. It is the next stage that is hard. The Taliban, rather patiently, have waited for us to lose interest and will shortly be back.
Then, how could we seriously set out to destroy the opium poppy trade? That trade is rich and successful because of our own greed and guilt at home, where we deal softly with the morons who buy and use illegal drugs. What then gives us the right to persecute and ruin Afghan poppy farmers?
It is our lax drug laws that allow demand to flourish and so push up the price of poppies to the point where there is little sense in growing anything else, if you are an Afghan farmer.
Anyway, in the end we didn’t dare to destroy their crops.
As for the desperate Helmand episode, it was a crude blunder. Comrade Dr Lord Reid, the onetime Kremlin apologist who had mysteriously become Defence Secretary at that time, simply did not understand what was going on. That is why he made his crass remark about leaving without a shot being fired.
There was never at any stage any worked-out purpose for a British presence in Afghanistan. Anyone who knew any history knew that the Afghans resent foreigners and fight like tigers to drive them out. Ever since the Afghans defeated us in 1842, at the Gandamak massacre, all intelligent soldiers and statesmen have known better than to get mixed up in Afghan affairs.
But the intelligent people were ignored. The whole thing was driven from Downing Street, nowadays not much more than a glorified public relations company.
The Government wanted good news, so the Army obediently gave it to them. It was all rubbish. We achieved nothing. Within weeks of our departure, the wind will blow dust over the remains of our bases and we will be forgotten.
And which of those responsible will ever dare to tell the bereaved and the maimed that their loyalty, discipline and courage were thrown away to make politicians look good?
Back in May, I pointed out that at least one of the Woolwich killers had wrecked his brain with cannabis from an early age.
Now we know that both of them had done so.
My point was this – that the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby were among the large number of British criminals sent mad by this terrible drug.
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale both acted like drugged madmen on the day of the killing. For instance, Cheralee Armstrong said in a statement read in court on December 2 that Adebowale ‘looked mad, like he’d escaped from a mental hospital’.
We now know that, for a week before the murder, Adebolajo was living in a house where there was a cannabis farm. Both men were habitual users of cannabis, and had been since their teens. The correlation between the use of this drug and severe, irreversible mental illness is very strong, especially in the young.
Many violent criminals, most of them having nothing to do with politics or Islam, are long-term cannabis users.
The important element in this case is not the religion. It is the dope.
Many young men become militant Muslims but never kill. Many young men never embrace any religion, but take to skunk and become mad and violent. What, then should we be worrying about more? Skunk? Or Militant Islam?
But cannabis has so many friends and secret users in the political, legal, and media establishment that this crucial connection is repeatedly ignored.
Rather than indulge in secret police fantasies about somehow guarding against ‘extremism’, we should treat cannabis as the menace it is, and severely punish all those found in possession of it.
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