Yesterday, an American soldier, a so-called veteran of several recent wars declared by the USA on countries and cultures in the east, took his automatic weapon to some Afghan villages and shot sixteen people dead. Most of them were children. All of them were innocent. Hilary Clinton said she couldn't imagine what their families were going through. Well no, she can't, but she can do something about this outrageous situation by admitting defeat in this longest of all American wars, and by ensuring that the soldier is brought to justice. In the eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth politics that dominate so much of this uncivilised world, this murderer should really stand trial in Kabul, or maybe Peshawar or Jeddah, or in one of those US States where old Governor Bush could apply the ultimate penalty.
If anything positive can come out of this atrocity, it is that finally, finally, questions are being raised in our military-worshipping media about the redundancy and lunacy of the Afghan war. Over ten years of deployment, it has now become an exercise in vainglory perpetrated by vainglorious politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, by vainglorious generals holding on to win a conflict that cannot be resolved, and by vainglorious soldiers who voluntarily enlist in the services and go out to fight in a country they probably couldn't find on a map. These men aren't heroes. They are professional soldiers, doing the job they signed up to do. Who and what are they defending? They have done more damage to ethnic, cultural and religious relations in the UK than the National Front and Islamic terrorist factions put together. David Cameron should stop pontificating about his plans for 'Transitioning' - a slow hand-over to the rightful Afghan authorities, and pull our troops out now. When Obama pulls out, as planned, in 2014 - assuming he can sell this timescale to the American people, there will be civil war in Afghanistan and shame in the USA, just like there was after Vietnam when returning veterans were universally shunned by embarrassed and demoralised US citizens. And thus the ten year deployment of British and US troops in a faraway country will have resulted in nothing but waste and loss, the loss of innocent families like the ones who were murdered yesterday in their own homes. It is time we all stepped up to the Big Society to address the multitude of domestic tragedies overlooked so far in the sentimental outpouring of feeling for the deceased military men who rolled through (Royal) Woolton Basset - soldiers who died doing the job they chose to do, not in some killing spree perpetrated by a man with a weapon against small children.