I am a member of the Tell the Telegraph community, and I thought I would copy my response to a panel query on when a poppy symbol should appear on the website:-
The topic under debate is one of when the Royal British Legion Poppy symbol should be shown on the Telegraph masthead. Surely the more appropriate debate should be centred around the tragic loss of lives in that dusty hell-hole commonly known as Afghanistan; and perhaps more importantly a discussion of the possible fate of all the politicians who sent, and continue to send, British Services personnel into harms way in order to establish a ‘Democratic State’ in Afghanistan.
The other ‘purpose’ of this multi-billion pound endeavour is alleged to be ‘keeping us safer here at home’ because of the sacrifices of those bright shining spirits in the drug- and blood-soaked sands of Afghanistan. The sheer lunacy of even believing in the very idea of a ‘democratic Government’ in Afghanistan should give all sensible people a pause for thought.
We tried it, to govern Afghanistan that is, over a century ago, and we eventually scurried out over the bodies of the sixteen-odd thousand British members of the column from Jalalabad. We went in again, time after time, to prevent influence from France, from Russia, and it got us absolutely nowhere.
We should have taken to heart the warning of the latest Russian occupation which was to support their Afghan proxy, an occupation which was total, brutal and unswerving, but which eventually came to nothing after the Mujahideen gained superiority through the advent of the Stinger missile supplied by America. Was the NATO-led invasion justified after 9/11? Most certainly yes, but instead of ‘nation-building’ by force, which has ever been a fruitless exercise wherever it been tried, we should have handed over to the Afghanis, told then that the next time the West would be coming, we would be coming to make their ‘country’ a smoking radio-active car-park, and to mind their manners; and then left.
Western politicians have yet to learn that you cannot make a Nation out of ten thousand villages, soaked in the beliefs of muslim autocracy. But we saw Bush, and Blair, and all the other guilty parties, including the fool John Reid, with his forever-remembered ‘British Forces could leave Afghanistan without a shot being fired’, prate, and parade, and posture.
We saw them line up beside the Cenotaph, with their wreaths of poppies, while not understanding that what they had signed the British Army up to achieve was just unachievable. And let us not forget that none of these posturing, primping princes of political thought have ever served one single day in uniform, of any colour or rank, at all.
We do not retain, in Britain, the ability to legally kill someone who has committed treason, but I for one would sign any petition to restore such a power, and then the first ones to be tried would be every politician, of any Party, who has expressed the slightest desire to extend, for one second, our presence in the corrupt stagnant pool of drugs, grand-scale larceny and murder which is the alleged country named Afghanistan.