Time to end the war on terror


               President Obama has declared that justice has now been done by the death of Bin Laden.

              If that is so, this should be the time for troops to leave Afghanistan. There is only so much training and preparation western troops can give to Afghan security forces. Advsiers and teachers could stay on to help them if that is the wish of their government.

              It would also be a good time for the UN to reconsider its position in Libya and decide if it has done all it can to protect civilians from the warring forces on the streets of their cities. Short of sending troops in to create and enforce a peace, it is difficult to see how much can be done from the air.

               The West should use the death of Bin Laden to rethink its commitment to military and political intervention in the Middle East, and bring an end to its so called war on terror. Many Middle Eastern countries need more consttitutional reform and more efforts to get dissenters to operate within a political framework. Those have to be local choices.  It does not  need external  military powers seeking to alter the balance of force and fear within each country.


  1. norman
    May 4, 2011

    On the one hand cutting and running from Afghanistan with the country still a shambles isn’t great. On the other hand there’s no evidence that this is going to change any time soon and it has been this way for as long as anyone can remember (re-reading Patton’s autobiography, of sorts, the other day he compared it to a 7th century country so at least they have, according to Liam Fox, progressed 600 years in the last 60!).

    Libya we should never have got involved in. Behind the scenes, we should forget about removing Gadaffi, ask him to allow UN observers in, and warn him that if there are reprisals then we will use all our means at our disposal to ‘do a Bin Laden’ on him.

    It was an ill-judged adventure from the get go and the longer we take to resolve it the more embedded we’ll become.

  2. Stuart Fairney
    May 4, 2011

    It is clear that the Afghan national army will go the same way when the West leaves, as went the South Lebanon army when it’s supporting state, Israel, withdrew. This aspect of policy has failed utterly.

    The remnants of the Taleban will then claim, purely by virtue of the fact that they remain in the field, that they “won”

  3. lifelogic
    May 4, 2011

    Indeed, what were we ever doing in these countries and what if anything positive has been achieved? Are any of these countries likely to be better governed in the future, after these costly, in both lives and money, military interventions, I rather doubt it.

    1. lifelogic
      May 4, 2011

      Post referendum might we finally get some sensible government or will Cameron’s tax, regulate, expensive green energy, no growth and endless government waste continue until he finally looses the next election?

      What will be the Liberals new price for the coalition be and will it drown them both, as looks most likely, if they continue as they have started walking directly towards the cliff?

      1. lifelogic
        May 4, 2011

        In PM questions today Cameron admits that, due to EU directives, he is unable to remove VAT on fuel for air ambulances as is the case with RNLI lifeboats.

        What on earth is the point of voting for this man & his government when they do not even have the powers to do something as trivial is this?

        1. Stuart Fairney
          May 4, 2011

          I fear your question answers itself.

        2. alan jutson
          May 4, 2011


          Yes I saw it as well.

          And he says we are better off in it !!!!!

          Prime example of not being abe to be in control of your own Countries taxation system !

          Think the other one (will stand corrected if I am wrong) a few months ago was % of Vat on Fuel, again EU directive.

        3. APL
          May 5, 2011

          lifelogic: “What on earth is the point of voting for this man & his government ..”

          There is no point.

          But you see another aspect to the lying political class. In public, he will say ‘this issue [vat on air ambulance fuel – whatever] is of grave concern, I will look into the matter”. That is – kick it into the long grass, he knows when he made the statement there is nothing to be done, so long as the UK government agrees to be bound by European directives, but in public he never says that until forced to do so.

          In short he is consciously running interference FOR the European Union.

          1. lifelogic
            May 5, 2011

            Indeed he is, his position is intrinsically totally dishonest. Do we actually have any democracy left? AV or no AV it makes little difference if the PM cannot do even trivial things without EU consent.

            The democratic element of the EU clearly just being an expensive and fake veneer to the project.

          2. William Reynolds
            May 5, 2011

            I’d wager Cameron would rather be out of the EU and that he actually retains some conservative instincts. Sadly he’s hamstrung by a) the FCO, who will never tolerate withdrawal (exactly why?) and will always be able to put pressure on a PM, and b) his deference to BBC-moderated bien-pensant opinion, which no metropolitan sophisticate can insulate himself from for more than a few minutes.

  4. A.Sedgwick
    May 4, 2011

    I agree completely with your sentiments on Afghanistan. The nauseating, stomach churning condolences at PMQs is so tragically insincere and the loss or maiming of our finest for nothing must end as it should have done years ago. History told many of us we should not be there at all.

  5. Johnnydub
    May 4, 2011

    Amen John… It’s long overdue to bring the boys and girls home….

  6. acorn
    May 4, 2011

    There are too many vested interests in the war on terror for it to end. Particularly if you are an arms manufacturer or a retiring politician looking for work. The US spends as much on its military as the rest of the world put together. Some goes on lobbying politicians to keep the spending up.

    Libya and the Bin Laden “take out” has given us a glimpse of the high tech systems deployed. Spy satellites; Internet; telephone and computer surveillance; remotely controlled killer drones; and, even flying Howitzer bunker busters, that can count the number of floors they go through, before they explode.

    Even squaddies with “head cams” so you can watch the whole event live, on television, in the West Wing. Three decades back, all this would have been Hollywood science fiction! Switching off telephones; Internet service providers and Sat-Navs, now can be done at the press of a key.

    Who have you pencilled in to play Bin Laden in the movie? (Robert Powell has the voice and he made a good Jesus.)

  7. AndyC71
    May 4, 2011

    I quite agree… there is no realistic purpose to our being in Afghanistan. At most maintain an airbase to keep an eye on things.

  8. Winston Smith
    May 4, 2011

    If only it were as simple as political spin doctors would like us to believe. In my mind, Obama’s team have hatched a plan to achieve several goals:

    1) To justify continuing with Guantanamo Bay. He campaigned to close it and is under attack from the Left. Now, we learn OBL was found via info gained from those detained at GB. How convenient.
    2) Withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s a drain on resources and the imposition of a democratic State free from terrorism and warlords will never happen. Plus, the US public have lost interest. Announcing the death of OBL paves the way.
    3) Regain public support. American are far less cynical than us.

    Listening to phone in shows last night, its evident large numbers of people have doubts about many aspects of the story. They are not just conspiracy theory believers, they are level headed people. I am afraid its not good enough anymore to believe politicians would not lie about such events. We all remember the WMD episode.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      May 4, 2011

      You might also want to check out how successful Patriot missiles were according to independent teasts at MIT, or the second Tonkin Gulf incident which led to US ground forces in Vietnam but never actually happened. Governments have a bit of a track record…

  9. Damien
    May 4, 2011

    Bin Laden is gone but the fact that he was living in relative luxury for six years within the parameters of the Pakistan military elite leaves a question over the $20 billion given in US aid.

    Leaving Afghanistan asap would be universally welcomed by all concerned.

    The Chief prosecutor of the ICC has evidence of crimes against humanity which he is currently presenting to the ICC Judge and arrest warrants against Gaddafi are expected to follow. The demise of Bin Laden and more recently the attack on the Gaddafi regime compound will serve as a further reminder that he and his regime will face justice, either at home or at the Hague. The news that the Turkish PM has called for Gaddaffi to go immediately is a very welcome development from a major neighboring power. These and other measures should be supported by the UK without the need for actual troops on the ground.

    The most promising signs of this ‘Arab spring’ is the lack of outside military intervention and the empowerment of the Arab and Muslim citizens to successfully challenge the tyrants and dictators in Tunisia , Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and now Syria.

    Ironically it was greed that motivated these dictators and their families while millions of their citizens lived in harsh conditions.

    We can now expect considerable claims to be brought against the UK banking organisations who may have been complicit in the theft by certain key members of these regimes. Certainly lessons need to be learnt if our banks are proven to have been operating illegally . Just like the $20 billion funding to Pakistan while it harbored Bin Laden our banks may have been ‘facilitating’ these regimes that NATO are now seeking to remove.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      May 5, 2011

      I look forward to the ICC examining events in Bahrain and deciding if any prosecutions are called for.

  10. Edward.
    May 4, 2011

    After the successful operation in Afghanistan in October 2001 – to clear Al Qaeda out of the country, which largely achieved it’s objectives, we should have let them be.
    Mission creep, nation building and a messianic nutter in Westminster kept us in there.

    I have always supported our troops, the Army is one of the few remaining great British institutions but their continued presence in Afghanistan [post the original op’ as part of ISAF] was a big mistake, one made and perpetuated by politicians.

    Dumb politicians, who had no feel, basic knowledge or any idea of the great conundrum that is Afghanistan, or indeed of the British historical involvement and of the great game.

    These leaders of ours did little understand; the strategy [if there ever was one] or, the warring factions in this lawless mish-mash of a country, a land with no real defined geographical borders – it’s [Afghans] peoples meld and are related to and semi-integrated [especially the Pushtun and Balochi in the south] with it’s surrounding mischief making neighbours.

    What a God awful mess, the Army has suffered for lack of troops, lack of kit, lack of ideas – was it drugs, nation building, keeping the peace, war on terror?…. And lack of an exit strategy.

    We’ve forgotten why we’re actually there.
    Lets be honest here, the real problem is with the Pakistani talib’, not the Afghans – so, invade Pakistan?

    It should be now, a priority to pull our troops out now, additionally – we must stop the military adventure in Libya.

    Why have Blair, Brown and now Cameron constantly attempted to solve crises in foreign lands?

    Everybody knows: the threat to British security and people and property lies in homegrown terror, a problem which is now greatly magnified by corrosive and ill- considered political policy.

    The blame for that can be laid firmly at the door of the Nu Liebour party who wilfully and mendaciously changed the ethnic demography of Britain forever.
    This act of duplicity, was not for reasons of altruistic philanthropy, not b****y likely!
    No, it was done for the piteous and deplorable reasons, so typical of the myopic morons who fill the Labour ranks. They, [the Socialists] changed Britain for thoroughly shortsighted near term political gain. What they didn’t realise is how much they’ve changed this nation and how the mass influx was to be so inimical to our values, culture and traditions.

    Cameron should look to re-righting the wrongs of the Nu labour years, not creating more problems – potentially, a new wave of indigent migrants heading north.

    What good is it doing for Britain now to be involved in another protracted and ultimately [as history will mark] futile scrap in north Africa? Furthermore and incredibly, when we don’t even know who or what we are supporting.

    Cameron’s Libyan gamble could create chaos in North Africa, it could further jeopardize Britain’s security, it is utter stupidity [no surprise there], pointless and detrimental to British interests.

    1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      May 5, 2011

      We could invade Pakistan actually, as we know they have Weapons of Mass Destruction. We could ask the Americans to provide the receipts at the United Nations. Hopefullly the cheques would have cleared by now.

      Reply: I am strongly against invading any other country and am pleased to report that western governments have no intention of invading Pakistan.

  11. fake
    May 4, 2011

    Not sure I agree with pulling out.

    But we should at least make sure that we protect the infrastructure we have already paid for (in blood and money) to build.

    Otherwise the whole thing was a complete waste in every sense.

  12. Kieran Flynn
    May 4, 2011

    I could not agree more. We have overthrown the Taliban and victims’ families have some justice. I do not see what else can be achieved by continuing to fight.

  13. Neil Craig
    May 4, 2011

    If it is desirable to keep a force in Afghanistan the way to do it would be with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). They have been res[ponsible for taking out most of the Taliban leaders in Pakistan (possibly with 1 exception) and are the dominant force in Libya. I must say they strike me as a particularly unheroic method of combat, because the “fighters” are safely in chairs in California, but, precisely for that reason they would mean zero casualties on our side & they would certainly make a Taliban victory impossible.

    I have also elsewhere said that this weapon is revolutionising warfare and if we want an effective military Britain should be buying them rather than Tornados, useful only if our aim is preventing the USSR overrunning the EU.

    1. Tom
      May 4, 2011

      BAE are developing a UAV called the Taranis which will be the size of the Hawk trainer and is due to fly this year. Fighter pilots will be/should be obsolete within five to ten years other than for Quick Reaction Alerts (hijacks and unfriendly intruders). Why is this not more widely reported?

      And our aircraft carriers….?

  14. Glenn Vaughan
    May 4, 2011

    I agree with you John that UK forces need not remain in Afghanistan after the demise of Bin Laden. My understanding is that the coalition government has pronounced the complete withdrawal of UK military forces before the end of 2014.

    I do not expect that policy to change. Why? Simply because UK military personnel coming home in 2014 will be deemed to be a vote-winner for the General Election in May 2015. Expect both of the governing parties to take the credit.

  15. Javelin
    May 4, 2011

    John, at a strategic level I agree. It would be nice to hear your ethical position on withdrawal from explained. For example is the UN to take over the role of peacekeeper? If so what do you believe the UKs relationship should be, compared to other permanent or temporary members?

  16. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    May 4, 2011

    As Gaddafi’s Son and three Grandchildren have been killed, it appears that UN forces are not only trying to save lives.

    How can the UN (and the UK) justify a blatant attempt at assassination on a civilian target where children – whos only crime was to be born with the Gaddafi name?

    Thanks to War being renamed “Humanitarian Intervention” our MPs have made the UK a more dangerous place. The World will now see that the UK – through it’s support for the United States, is actively involved in events that have killed children.

    Some “Humanitarian Intervention”. We need to get out of Libya – now.

  17. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    May 4, 2011

    “Time to end the war on terror”

    I think we should start to look at the definition of Terror and Terrorist.

    9/11 was definitely a Terror event. The perpertrators rightly deserve to be found and tried – then executed.

    The problem with summary execution is -it denies the due process – no matter how bad the crime, a trial is essential in a civilised society.

    It appears that we are returning to an era of Gladitorial killings for the entertainment of the masses.

    1. Alte Fritz
      May 4, 2011

      This is an ugly comment, but what is due process for a man such as bin Laden? Does a crime fit what he did, in what jurisdiction and is there sufficient evidence to convict.

      Nuremburg was victors’ justice, a thin veil across judicial killing. Some who were executed were scapegoats, others richly deserved it.

      Whatever clothing you choose for the deed, sometimes norms just have to go. The question is, for how long?

      1. forthurst
        May 5, 2011

        Nuremburg was a show trial: all the really bad stuff (both fiction and non-fiction) happened behind the victor’s lines. Stalin won; we lost.
        Nuremburg creates difficulties for historians trying to examine the truth of what actually happened.

        9/11 and Osama bin Laden is a saga in which all the ‘events’ are recorded in the MSM and by ad hoc enquiries designed to not uncover the truth and which have been exposed for such. Nothing has ever been tested in a properly constituted court of law; consequently, earnest discussions about the ‘War on Terror’ are rather begging the question since there is no independently verifiable evidence that anything we have been told is actually true.

      2. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        May 5, 2011

        It is ironic that even though Usama Bin Laden is dead – we now have a severe Terror Alert and there is no progress being made in Afghanistan – there is no end in sight. So – the World is now an even more Dangerous place due to this unlawful Mafia style hit.

        Perhaps there are many reasons why Bin Laden has not gone to trial:
        1. The fact that the people who captured him were acting without the knowledge of the Pakistani Government
        2. Usama Bin Laden’s strong links to the Mujahidin backed by the CIA in Afghanistan.

        It very convenient to wait until he’s old and ill – then send in the Navy Seals – and have them kill him. What was their mandate – to arrest him – if it was – he would have been set free on the technicality that his arrest was unlawful as the Pakistani Government were not informed. In which case – why was the Pakistani Government provided with so many billions of dollars of Tax Payers money – which – no doubt – they spent on US Military Equipment.

        There are already attempts to “Arrest” Gaddafi – who’s Son and Grandchildren have recently been killed in a so called “Humanitarian Intervention”.

        Perhaps these recent Terror Alerts are more to do with Libyan Bombing than Usama Bin Laden, who apparently; has been inactive in recent years.

      3. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        May 5, 2011

        At least there was a Trial.

        The perpetrators were seen to be wrong and justice was done.

        Now people are held without evidence and executed without trial. We’re going backwards to a Dark Age.

      4. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        May 15, 2011

        @Alte Fritz

        After a second reading of this reply I feel compelled to make a comment back.

        “Does a crime fit what he did, in what jurisdiction and is there sufficient evidence to convict.”

        Do you mean “Does a punishment fit what he did” ?

        “is their sufficent evidence to convict?”

        What exactly are you saying here ?

        Are you saying – we should only convict people if their is sufficient evidence – otherwise – send in the Navy Seals?

        There must be enough evidence to convict, otherwise; why have we been told that Osama Bin Laden organised 9/11?

        With regards the jurisdiction – Pakistan has accepted billions of dollars of military aid from the United States, they therefore must be compelled to accept the United States’s right to jurisdiction over apprehending Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, as the Military aid was directly related to his capture and other Al Qaeda members.

        If you wanted to adopt a policy that would create more terrorists, then you would struggle to find a better one than a ‘shoot to kill’ policy.

  18. Richard Roney
    May 4, 2011

    Justice has most definitely not been done. Justice would have been done if bin Laden had been captured and brought to trial. Killing whilst in hot pursuit is one thing but after ten years killing can only be seen as revenge which is of course unlawful. We have a superior system of justice than sharia law but Obama has chosen to ignore the rule of law that both his country and ours are supposedly ruled by. Shame on him and all those that think like him.

  19. Mike Stallard
    May 4, 2011

    I just want to say that I totally agree with your excellent and truthful post. Well said indeed.

    You never get thanks for interfering in other people’s troubles (any divorced friends?) The Afghans are never going to turn overnight into Metrosexuals, are they.

  20. Andrew Johnson
    May 4, 2011

    You really do talk a great deal of sense John. What a pity, so manyof the political class appear to be so singularly lacking in commonsense, or a basic appreciation of history.

  21. electro-kevin
    May 4, 2011

    Time to end the war on terror ?

    Owing to the EU waging a war is one of the few autonomous acts a British government can still make.

    No wonder it’s a decision so often taken of late – regardless of how short funds are.

  22. BobE
    May 4, 2011

    Richard, Imagine if on trial that he was to tell the tales of being armed and trained by the US in order to fight the Russians. To many secrets, to much baggage. He had to be shut up.

  23. FaustiesBlog
    May 5, 2011

    That’s what should happen, John.

    But I suspect they’ll use this as an excuse to curtail our freedoms further. That’s what’s happening in the US.

    Predictably, they’re stationing military, dogs and extra TSA in US train stations …

    (They plan ed)’security’ checkpoints in malls, hotels, places of worship, etc. In short, everyone will be subject to search, and everyone, everywhere is a ‘potential terrorist’.

    If the Americans don’t rise up and say (get lost -ed) to Obama and Napolitano, it’s over for them. The time to do it is NOW, while the anger is fresh.

    No doubt, Chertoff will seek to expand his bottom line further, by attempting to roll out body scanners in malls and public places. They’re already planned for all airports.

    Why are MPs not raising this issue? How many of them are ‘subsidised’ by special interests?

  24. Stephen Gash
    May 5, 2011

    Let us examine why Libya is being bombed while Syria is committing mass murder with impunity, in the light of William Hague’s speech at Mansion House yesterday.

    The Meditarranean Union was launched in January 2010 after a couple of false starts. The countries comprising the MU can be seen here http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/index_en.htm . This union s intended to include all countries surrounding the Mediterranean and eventually the Arabian Peninsular, Jordan and Iraq.

    In return for a modicum of control for oil resources, the EU will allow unfettered access of people from MU countries into Europe. Hague spoke effusively about free trade with the Middle East and N. Africa, a cornerstone of the MU.

    Until he was ousted this year, the MU president was Egypt’s Mubarak.

    The fly in the ointment is Libya because Gadaffi refused to sign up to the MU project. However, Syria is at the eart of it. Hence Gadaffi had to be removed for the project to move ahead. Hague threatened only sanctions against Syria, and nothing against Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

    1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      May 5, 2011

      This News Story might also add some background information:

      Gaddafi wanted to abondon both the US Dollar and the EURO, then create his own Gold backed money for North Africa.

      Saddam Hussein only wanted to abandon the US Dollar in favour of the EURO.

      If the House of Commons had voted on a “Monetary Intervention” as opposed to an “Humanitarian Intervention”, would 557 have voted to Bomb Libya?

      Reply: I think this is an unlikely explanation of recent western policy. The US did not oppose the creation of the Euro when many of its exponents said ti would rival the dollar.

      1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
        May 6, 2011

        Thank you for your reply.

        Do you dispute that Gaddafi would have been successful in creating the Gold Dinar or do you dispute that it would have threatened the status of the US Dollar?

        Just to clarify, I did not say that the US opposed the creation of the EURO, but they did oppose the creation of a currency that would have replaced the US Dollar for trade purposes in the Middle East and North Africa.

        Libya’s strong economy – compared to ours; is another reason why the creation of the Gold Dinar may have succeeded. Looking on the IMF website, Libya does not appear to have any outstanding debt with the IMF. Thanks to Labour, our economy – our debt; is far worse than Libya. We have therefore resorted to violence to prevent the whole of the Middle East – where oil is located; from abondoning the US Dollar which could weaken the Pound.

        The enormous debt we are in – as you frequently remind us (rightly so) I believe, has made us very vulnerable to Countries with stronger economies than ours and with resources that we do not possess.

        I hope you can show me that I am completely wrong about this. I hope that the Libyan bombing campaign is about saving lives, but when children are killed at a civilian target, it becomes hard to believe. We are told by news reports that the Military weapons now being used are extremely accurate.

  25. Javelin
    May 5, 2011

    I’ve been thinking a little more about the legal positon of Bin Laden and terrorism in general. My first point is that Bin Ladens death, as retribution for 9/11, was not just because then it requires a trial and proof. I take the view that in his death, and terrorists in general who declare war, that it is just to shoot any person who declares war, unless they commit a clear act of surrender. If an individual threatens the life of another with a knife, then the victim has a right to kill. If a person threatens the life of another then stalks the person, the victim has the right to seek and kill. If a terrorist declares war on a nation then a national has the right to kill under the rules of war – ie kill unless surrender.

    Reply: The US case for killing Bin Laden may well rest on being an act of war and would then be governed by the rules of war in international law.

    1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      May 6, 2011


      “A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act (or the signing of a document) by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.”

      Do we have to declare War first – and if so – as Al qaeda is not a Nation State – is it possible to declare War on a Group?

      If not, then the Rules of War in International law do not apply.
      If Pakistan was harbouring a known criminal and refused to extradite him, then why were the US giving Pakistan Billions of dollars to help find him? Are the Americans stupid? His compound was only a few hundred yards from a Pakastani Military Academy. Are the Pakistani’s equally incompetent?

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