Sunday, July 19, 2009

Afghanistan: Bring them all home

Just a quick snippet on the video released by the Taliban of US soldier Private Bowe Bergdahl.

I'm not sure I have any particular revulsion at the way the Taliban are parading this captured soldier, although I certainly do hope that they treat him properly and release him without injury as all prisoners of war should be treated with respect, fed, watered and definitely not tortured (like in Guantanamo or Abu Graib).

It's more the response from the US armed forces themselves that I find interesting. According to the BBC "Capt Jon Stock, condemned the use of the video."

"The use of the soldier for propaganda purposes we view as against international law"

Well hold on. Who established this practice of parading prisoners for propaganda purposes? If the US regards this sort of thing as against international law why has it consistently allowed footage and stills of captured troops to be released to the media? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander surely?

Admittedly when we pioneered the practice it was to persuade the home population of the rights of our various invasions rather than to try to demoralise an invading force but none the less the US (and its allies) have been more than happy with the 'parading' of captured enemy combatants whether in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I hope this soldier is returned fit and well to his family soon and, in fact, that all Western soldiers are returned to their loved ones through the mechanism of a full and complete military withdrawal from the region.

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