An Emotional Week

Baroness D'Souza

It is almost unbearable when the names of young men and women killed in Afghanistan are read out in the Chamber of the House of Lords. After we returned from the summer recess the roll call was no less than 38 and it was more than many of us could cope with. The question hangs in the air, heavily: for what are our young dying?

This week we honoured the dead and the wounded on almost every day and the ceremonies became more poignant as the week wore on.

 Last Friday there was a mammoth debate on Defence which inevitably focused almost entirely on the Afghanistan question and others have already blogged about it. The fight that the armed forces mount each and every day is brave beyond belief and they need (indeed must have) the support from a public which has some idea of what they are going through. But this cannot stop us from asking the fundamental question over and over again.

I have to say that if only a small part of the  billions of dollars spent on arms and maintaining the armed forces in the south of Afghanistan could be deployed to proper, thought through, sustained reconstruction and development – with a strong emphasis on investment in industy and natural mineral wealth – there would be hope for some communities in the safer areas.

I firmly believe that this model of investment and coherent planning would help Afghans to face the Taliban or rather turn their  backs on them. It is amazing what can  be achieved if money, people, plans and other resources come together and insist on resolving a problem – however intractable.

It could be achieved  but I guess that it probably won’t happen.

1 comment for “An Emotional Week

  1. Carl Holbrough
    12/11/2009 at 9:17 pm

    Quote “The question hangs in the air, heavily: for what are our young dying?”.

    This is difficult as very few are privvy to information as to exactly why we are at war in Afghanistan. The Taleban have however moved a lot of operations over the border to Pakistan.Just last night on the TV we saw the Pakistan Army asking for help from the Allies on the Afghanistan side of the border because they fear they will never win.

    I do not believe the war is win-able, nothing we did in the past would suggest it, nor did the superior arms of Russia win. The Taleban, sit and bide their time. The allies know they are there under their noses, as we did with the IRA but options are few.

    Our children are dying to prevent another 7/7, more buses and trains exploding. They are protecting you and me and to be honest they deserve better. Compensation for lifelong disabilities is miserly, especially when one compares it to a celebrity libel case. Their equipment,no matter what some lead you to believe, is not upto the task.Please read the link regarding vehicles:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/5319165/Troops-in-Afghanistan-face-delays-getting-vital-equipment-says-NAO.html

    Helicopters are just not available when our sons lay bleeding in hot desert sun until they are bled out. Yet £50m is being spent on a path around our coast for Ramblers, what price your sons life ?

    The Army, our PROFESSIONALS ask for 500 more men, the Government dithers and will ask in a month why we lost more men, why we lost ground. 9000 men to hold 54,000 square kilometres of Helmand Province and some of those men are logistics, cooks and support. Small enclaves of British forces in the burning sands, sending patrols out here and there, holding a square mile or so. They know they are surrounded by an enemy unseen blending into the civilian population.Living constantly on adrenalin, each minute of each hour of each day.

    And the Lords go for nosh, and the MP`s bemoan paying back expenses and I get on that bus knowing 9000 hero`s are dying so I don`t get hurt.

    If you throw money at Afghanistan it will be mispent, their main income from Opiates, the poppy, the poison of society. Somethings just cannot be fixed, I believe Afghanistan to be one.

    Stop the politicians from running the war, we have professionals for that purpose, give them everything they need and more now. Cut the red tape, I`m sure in WWII it couldn`t exist. Give the boys a fighting chance to come home safely to their Mums and children. Give them the respect they deserve.

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