Letter published in one form or another on the 17th of November in The Glasgow Herald and the Scotsman, and on the 19th of November in The Guardian.
As opinion polls continue to defeat him Gordon Brown's speech at the [London] Lord Mayor's banquet last night [16/11/09] calling for a phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan over an as yet unspecified number of
years is unlikely to persuade voters who want to see the occupation ended and British troops withdrawn.
The latest polls put support for bringing home the troops at 71% and as the remarkable young Afghan MP Malalai Joya made clear on her recent trip to London, Gordon Browns 'handover' strategy falls at the first hurdle as there is no such thing as a 'National' Afghan army or police force. Instead the Karzai government has channeled billions of dollars into the hands of paramilitary forces loyal, not to some nonexistent Afghan state, but to local warlords who, as Joya points out, many of whom were guilty of war crimes as vicious as anything the Taliban committed.
The murder of 4 British soldiers inside their barracks last month at the hands of a veteran police officer shows not only how the police have been infiltrated by the insurgents, but that they are thoroughly corrupt and
hated by the very Afghans whom they purport to protect. Incidentally, the regime in Kabul is certainly vile and dishonest, but it surely ill behoves MP's at Westminster to overplay 'political corruption' charges after the year they have had robbing taxpayers while sitting in the 'Mother of Parliaments'.
The reason opinion polls continue to defeat Gordon Brown is because the public recognises we are occupying Afghanistan against the express wishes of its people. Some 50,000 innocent Afghan civilians have been killed under our watch and voters ask 'how does that make the world a safer place? How does that make London's streets safer? And the answer is it doesn't. Instead it provides a breeding ground for those seeking to attack us and that is why voters rightly want to see our troops withdrawn.