Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Diane Abbott Blows Smoke on War in Afghanistan

Abbott raises question, offers no answer

As the Labour Party prepares vote for its next leader, longshot Diane Abbott has set about her last-ditch effort to stem the tide away from a choice between the Miliband brothers:

She's courting the soft-peacenik vote.

Abbott admitted that if there was a war for Britain to fight, she may commit British forces to it -- provided that it's a legal war. Abbott merely can't seem to find any currently ongoing that she deems to be legal.

"If it was a legal war I might do," she explained. "The problem with the Iraq War, it was widely judged to be illegal."

Moreover, Abbott questions the legality of thw war in Afghanistan.

"It might have been legal, a legal invasion, in the very first place, but 10 years on, where is the legality for it?" Abbott asked.

Simple: NATO's mission in Afghanistan was mandated by the United Nations. The United Nations has not withdrawn its mandate, nor did it ever attach an expiry date for that mandate.

None of the conditions affecting the legality of the war have changed.

In fact, the most elaborate explanation of Abbott's sentiments is that she regards the war to be counter-productive.

"I think what is perceived as a western occupation of Afghanistan is becoming counter-productive," Abbott mused.

Moreover, Abbott believes she has the answer: UN Peacekeeping.

"I think there should be a phased withdrawal," Abbott asserted. "We should give way to a UN peacekeeping force, ideally led by troops from an Islamic nation. But you will not win, you will not bring stability to the region with a war."

THe problem for Abbott is that a handover of Afghanistan from NATO combat forces to UN peacekeepers is that there is currently little peace to keep. But a handover to UN peacekeepers wouldn't merely require a pace: it would require a just peace.

The Taliban is extremely unlikely to agree to a just peace accord -- particularly not one hastily-negotiated.

Moreover, the Taliban is not interested in negotiating: they merely want to re-take power.

Some of the other insurgent groups fighting NATO forces -- just as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hisb-i-Islami could be negotiated with. But the historical experience negotiating with Hekmatyar -- in which Hekmatyar stabs his earstwhile-allies in the back in order to seize more power -- tells any informed individual that you simply do not bother.

At the end of the day, however, Abbott is clearly just blowing smoke. She asks the question about the legality of the war in Afghanistan, but attempts to offer no substantive answer.

Diane Abbott is merely fishing for votes among the soft-peacenik crowd. If this crowd falls for her empty platitudes and give her their vote, then they and Abbott deserve each other.

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