The Sun on Afghanistan and Gordon Brown

August 28th, 2009 § 0 comments

As an Editor of the Sun Lies blog I get to bask in the reflected glory of this post from Scepticisle

it [The Sun] seems a little hazy on history as well, as this passage from the editorial makes plain:

Mr Brown has taken the country to war but is ducking responsibility for the conduct of it. The tradition of our country is that in wartime, the Prime Minister takes charge.

Lloyd George led us in World War One and Winston Churchill in World War Two.

Margaret Thatcher led from the front in the triumphant Falklands War in 1982.

John Major took charge in the first Gulf War of 1991. Tony Blair assumed full responsibility when we invaded Iraq to topple Saddam. And he did the same over the liberation of Kosovo.

Except Gordon Brown hasn’t taken the country in Afghanistan; Tony Blair did, in 2001. We’ve been there ever since. Brown as chancellor provided the funds for the war, it’s quite true, but was not personally responsible for taking us there. He also wasn’t prime minister when we entered Helmand in 2006: the defence secretary then was John Reid, who famously said he hoped that we would leave without firing a single shot. Then there’s the fact that we’re there in the country, not just on our own, but as part of the ISAF NATO coalition. Additionally, if we’re going to split hairs, Winston Churchill didn’t lead us into WW2; Neville Chamberlain did. The war in Afghanistan is also not, in any meaningful sense, a war with specific aims like all of those the Sun lists. It’s far more comparable to what we were doing in Iraq from the fall of Saddam up until our exit this year: peacekeeping, reconstruction and providing security. Missions, like Operation Panther’s Claw, which had the specific aim of clearing out Taliban so that people could vote in the presidential election, have been few and far between. As also argued above, we are quite clearly not in “wartime”.

I would like to post the lot, but that would be a little too much, I think. So, go and read the rest

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