Now that New Labour leader Ed Miliband has apologised for Labour's decision to invade Iraq on a pack of lies will he now also concede that their declaration of war on Afghanistan was also grievously mistaken? After all he knows that Tony Blair repeatedly misled us. Blair said Afghanistan was responsible for the 9/11 bombings when he knew there were in fact no Afghans involved. And the new Labour leader will also be aware that the Taliban offered to hand over Osama Bin Laden to face charges but George Bush refused preferring a US military solution instead.
Labour certainly has a great deal to apologise for on Afghanistan. Over the last 9 years some 50,000 innocent Afghan civilians have perished. We continue to occupy their country against their wishes having imposed a hated and corrupt Government upon them. Some 340 British soldiers have also been killed in a conflict which not only shows no sign of ending but which we were assured would 'make the world a safer place.'!
Our Generals all repeatedly warn that this conflict will last for many years to come. There is surely no one who is taken in by David Cameron or Barack Obama's claims that we can begin bringing our troops back home in 6 months? US General David Petraeus told the BBC's Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson last month on 'Hard Talk' this claim was at best wishful thinking and at worst simple deceit by two western leaders desperate to appease the huge opposition that exists towards the occupation in both Britain and America.
I know from campaigning on this issue on a weekly basis that public opinion in Britain - already registered at 75% against the war - will not stand for any further deceit. Like David Petraeus I do not expect any meaningful 'draw down' of International Assistance and Security Forces [ISAF] in the immediate future not unless 'the back channel talks' with the Taliban, which Western diplomats have freely admitted they are engaged in, have been making a great deal more progress than recent reports would suggest. Either way if we truly are in the politics of a 'new generation' Ed Miliband should quickly add to his apology over Iraq, and use his new position to push for the withdrawal of British forces from another dishonourable war one which grievously damages Britain's international reputation.