Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Daily Sport - what a stunna!

You may be aware of a publication called the Daily Sport. It's soft core porn in a newspaper format, for those who wish to pretend not to know. Anyhow, it's not a paper with much of a distinguished journalistic or campaigning history and is the kind of publication that those of us on the left eschew with distaste and alarm.

It's also the most 'read' paper by British soldiers posted abroad who find it's lack of in depth studies of Shakespearean theater and absence of exposés of the insurance industry refreshing after a hard day out on patrol, which makes the fact that the Sunday Sport has launched a Bring Our Boys Home Now! campaign absolutely outstanding.

The Sport hopes to collect 10,000 signatures on its petition for withdrawal from Afghanistan and they couch their explanation for the campaign in terms that are tailor made to appeal to squaddies. In other words they are reaching into places that anti-war activists could never hope to reach and on a scale that it would be impossible to emulate.

Would it not be churlish to refuse to support this worthy campaign?

Of course, I'm not expecting to see them follow this campaign with one against the objectification of women but well done all the same. I wonder if we'll see the editor invited to the next Stop the War Coalition AGM?


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Is there a Green Party document exploring the implications for the Afghanis if the troops withdraw?

Jim Jay said...

Hi, I don't believe there's a single document. There's a short policy - which is for troop withdrawal - but there are quite a few statements, etc that Greens have made over the last eight years on the situation.

Of my stuff you might be interested in this this recent piece or these others.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, thanks for the reply. I think everybody agrees, from the top down, that there are substantial problems with the current military strategy. But this in itself does not strike me as an argument for withdrawal if you accept the need to improve the lot of the Afghan people. While current military strategy may serve to increase support for the Taleban the absence of foreign troops, and the complete lack of a capable internal army, would lead to the overrunning of large parts of the country with anyone sufficiently well armed.
While there are certainly arguments to suggest Afghanistan is a lost cause I do wonder if the alternatives might be worse for the Afghanis, although obviously better for those countries with troops there. I just wondered if this had been considered by the Greens?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to throw something extra into the mix, but here Caroline Lucas is calling for Afghan asylum seekers not to be sent back to Afghanistan.
A perfectly respectable position to take. But somewhat at odds with Green Party support for the withdrawal of troops. If the Taliban were to regain power then there would be many more Afghans in need of asylum.
Incidentally, France was particularly generous in its acceptance of Afghanis during the Talibans rule, unlike, to their shame, the then governments of the USA and Britain.

Five Fingered Left Punch said...


I would strongly recommend the short book by Afghan MP Malalai Joya 'Raising My Voice'. It may disabuse you of any notion that the occupation has any connection with 'improving the lot of the Afghan people'.

Anonymous said...

Five Fingered,

I'd hope that any tactical decision regarding Afghanistan would depend more than on the polemic of one person!

But it does look like there has been no consideration of negative consequences from the Greens. This is shortsighted.

Jim Jay said...

I don't agree Gimpy, I think that the anti-war movement (and the Greens as part of that) do consider what would happen if the troops withdraw and compare that to what happens if they do not.

Currently we have a civil war in Afghanistan with one side backed by US troops and allies. Our Afghan allies, previously known as the northern alliance plus some former Taliban, have created plenty of refugees of their own and are no particular lovers of democracy, women's rights, etc.

Currently the Afghan people are suffering under three burdens us, Karzai's government and the Taliban. I recommend taking away one of those burdens, which is also feeding Karzai and recruiting for the Taliban by bombing wedding parties, closing down markets (see previous link) and actively ensuring that Afghans cannot make decisions about the destiny of their own nation.

No one argues that life after we go would be wonderful and I certain believe that the international community has a duty of economic reconstruction - just not at the tip of a bayonet.

The armed resistance to the occupying forces and the government they prop up is often called the Taliban, although not always, but this masks a number of very different tendencies. For example many of them listen to recorded music something forbidden under the previous regime - our actions have not just focused their hatred against the west but also spread it beyond the borders of Af. so that they are having problems in Pakistan that they simply had not seen before.

I think the simple fact that the Taliban is a bad thing is not enough proof that our response does anything but make the problem worse.

ModernityBlog said...

Yeah Jim, the "armed resistance", you mean those that attacked the India Embassy and killed a lot of road sweepers?

So what is likely to happen if and when, the Taliban take over?

That's a question that needs addressing.

Jim Jay said...

I used the term armed resistance as the most politically neutral term I could think of for those who take up arms against the occupying forces without assuming they are all Taliban, which they aren't. If there's a better term please supply one.

Right now the policy is helping to recruit to the Taliban and spread them geographically. I think that's a bad thing which we would cease to do.

Do we want an Islamicist uprising / revolution in Pakistan? If not then we need to withdraw the troops.

At no point am I arguing that Afghanistan would be a utopia just by the withdrawal of troops although I do think unarmed intervention by a neutral third party would be ace.

Frankly I see the choice between a shit sandwich or two shit sandwiches - I'd rather just have the one. Advocates of the double helping have yet to convince me that they hold the course to less shit sandwiches.

ModernityBlog said...

Jim, again, you need to address this question honestly and directly:

What is likely to happen if and when, the Taliban take over?

Anonymous said...

Jim, isn't assuming that the consequences of your desired actions will be the consequences you desire precisely the mindset that got us into the current mess in Afghanistan?

Do the Greens have a contingency plan should pulling out make things demonstrably worse?

Hindleyite said...

Wow, people still read the Daily Sport? I'd better start stealing my stories from another publication.