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LibDems should advocate withdrawal from Afghanistan

September 11th, 2009 Posted in UK Politics by

070416-A-0000L-002Over at politicalbetting.com, Mike Smithson ponders whether Nick Clegg might be close to calling for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. And suggests it could be an “Iraq” moment for the party.

Unlike Nick, who believes we aren’t “yet” at the point where we have to accept we can’t do the job in Afghanistan properly, I think we passed that point many moons ago.

We shouldn’t set our foreign policy according to naked electoral calculations, but it’s worth noting that Conservative voters are even more opposed to our continuing deployment in Afghanistan than Liberal Democrats. If we won over a good number of these key soft Tory voters, it would be just reward for having called it right.

18 Responses to “LibDems should advocate withdrawal from Afghanistan”

  1. Ben Says:

    I don’t think the war in Afghanistan was ever justified, the Talinban really wasn’t even that supportive of Al-Qaeda. It should have been negotiated for longer at the very least.

    I’m suprised this isn’t an issue that all liberal democrats can be united on, like they were on Iraq (as far as I know.)


  2. Kasch Says:

    Yes, but not a total withdrawal. He should tout a plan to substantially decrease our specific contribution, while calling for an increase in overall EU contribution to the situation. If done right, it can play to our strengths on EU policy, as well as make us look stronger against terrorism.


  3. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Oh no there’s something very wrong indeed I find myself agreeing with Mark Littlewood

    Here’s what I wrote a few weeks back
    http://www.the-bastard.com/index.php?section=45&page=1018

    Plus there’s the issue that you have state sponsored rape going on & yetthe Lib Dems have endorsed propping up the Afghan government.


  4. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘We shouldn’t set our foreign policy according to naked electoral calculations, but it’s worth noting that Conservative voters’

    Yeah Mark before you another stupid film for the BBC I’d remind you the Lid Dems aren’t the Tory Party nor are you going to turn them into PECP mk II.

    Fuck Tory voters, the spin doctors & the marketing men, its time to just stand up for what’s right!


  5. Ben Says:

    Ziggy, whats your beef with Mark Littlewood; why do you have to be so publically belligerent towards him?


  6. Geoffrey Payne Says:

    On foreign policy grounds at least I find I appear to have common ground with some libertarians, some of the time.
    I think the best commentator on Afghanistan is Rory Stewart, who oddly enough is a Tory.
    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/publications/insight/international/rory-stewart


  7. Mark Littlewood Says:

    I think Ziggy struggles to read and understand other people’s views before screaming about his own.

    It’s entirely evident that he hasn’t read the original blog post or can’t comprehend it.

    Sad and /or tragic but there you have it.

    I don’t know what film I made for the BBC he considers “stupid”. But the real tragedy is that neither does he.


  8. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘I don’t know what film I made for the BBC he considers “stupid”. But the real tragedy is that neither does he.’

    The one you made last year when you roamed around Cheam moaning about the smoking ban


  9. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘It’s entirely evident that he hasn’t read the original blog post or can’t comprehend it.’

    You keep attempting this bullshit that I ‘misinterpret’ what you say or I can’t ‘comprehend’ what you as a means of deflecting that I’m calling you out & I find it a tad patronising.

    One week you say you think we should be rolling the tanks into Zimbabwe & then the next you deny that you ever said it & blame me for ‘misinterpreting’ what you said. Nothing wrong with my fucking hearing its just I call you out & oh boy isn’t that uncomfortable.


  10. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘Ziggy, whats your beef with Mark Littlewood; why do you have to be so publically belligerent towards him?’

    This will answer your question

    http://www.the-bastard.com/index.php?section=45&page=453


  11. Ben Says:

    Hmmm, well I’m not interesting in throwing out insults or anything. But I have to say I care way more about the legalisation of marijuana than smoking, drinking and gambling laws – innocent people aren’t having their lives ruined by those three things currently (by being thrown in jail I mean.)

    But forget that as well, this group should campaign strongly to legalise ALL drugs, publically. (And is lib dem policy really to decriminalise weed, I thought it was to make it class C again? … What about ectacy?)


  12. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘I care way more about the legalisation of marijuana than smoking, drinking and gambling laws – innocent people aren’t having their lives ruined by those three things currently (by being thrown in jail I mean.)’

    Exactly Its still legal to smoke a ciggie in their own house but illegal to smoke a spliff


  13. Mark Littlewood Says:

    “One week you say you think we should be rolling the tanks into Zimbabwe & then the next you deny that you ever said it & blame me for ‘misinterpreting’ what you said. Nothing wrong with my fucking hearing its just I call you out & oh boy isn’t that uncomfortable.”

    Not your hearing, your reading. My post makes it plain that we should adopt a policy becaus eit’s right – not because of electoral calculations. You didn’t read this.

    If your language and tone don’t improve from heronin, we will remove your comments from the site. This is a first and final warning. This isn’t a blog for you to through around foul abuse – especially without any basis.

    I have no idea what you are talking about re; Zimbabwe.


  14. Gandhi Says:

    Mark: You could always just ignore Ziggy

    Yes of course the Lib Dems should advocate pulling out of Afghanistan. UK policy there is rapidly turning (nuclear armed) Pakistan into a failed state. The Lib Dems need to show some balls on this and other issues – especially if they seriously think they have a chance of forming the opposition – they don’t, it’s too late, but it could’ve happened if they’d made better decisions. They’ve not had even a half-credible leader since Pantsdown.


  15. Vince on devolution… « Moments of Clarity Says:

    […] This is not something our leadership agrees with given it’s policy on Afghanistan (hat-tip Liberal Vision for rightly supporting withdrawal) however, to me it is part of […]


  16. Darrell Says:

    As Geoffrey says; I have alot of common ground with yourselves on this. I think it is entirely right to say that we should start calling for withdrawal from what is a failed intervention to defend a corrupt government.

    Let’s not beat about bush; the brutal truth is that British troops are dying for nothing and it is totally beyond me why it is taking our leadership this long to realise this. This is why we should change our position as opposed to electoral calculations…


  17. Angela Harbutt Says:

    The reasons for being in Afghanistan have, as all too often happens, become blurred and indefensible. As I understand it the original rallying cry was the need to remove terrorist camps in the region. It is now widely reported that the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan have gone -moved to the likes of Pakistan and Somalia.

    So now we are staying around in order to facilitate the hand over of power to a new “democratically elected government”? The reality is troops are dying in support of a flawed and corruption-prone political process – where it will almost be impossible to ever determine who really won the recent elections.

    For me the tipping point was when Hamid Karzai came out in March announcing measures that would legalise rape within marriage. These may not have been implemented – but only last month the Afghan government did quietly pass a law permitting Shia men to starve their wives if they refuse to obey their husbands’ sexual demands, grants guardianship of children exclusively to fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. We should get out and fast – and if Nick has any sense – and he does – he will take the lead on this, fast.


  18. Bunny Smedley Says:

    Mark, are you calling for a complete and immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan? Have you been opposed to the Afghan deployment from the start, or has something made you change your mind about it? (Seriously, I’m just interested in the answer – not trying to make any particular point – this is a complicated issue and it’s fascinating to get different points of view.)

    Personally, I think Clegg might do better to (a) oppose an increase in troop numbers, (b) call for a swift scaling-down of numbers while (c) leaving open the option of retaining a limited troop presence at Camp Bastion, for use in intelligence-gathering and direct counter-terrorism measures. This package would have the benefit of making it harder for critics to argue that ‘lives have been lost in vain’ in first securing bits of the south and then abandoning it (a logically flawed and indeed morally repugnant rhetoric, but one still has to tackle it head-on), would make it harder for Al Qaeda to re-establish itself in Afghanistan and would allow Britain to continue to offer limited support and mentoring to the Afghan army – while at the same time proving less of an irritant to Afghan public opinion, as well as less of an expense in terms of lives and expenditure and other commitments.

    This may be one of those rare moments where public opinion, pragmatic considerations and ‘doing what’s right’ all end up in the same place. And, yes, I’m a Tory – but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing for as much well-informed debate on this subject as possible, from whatever political direction.