THE UK government should set up an inquiry into ‘lessons learned’ after troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of this year, the MPs House of Commons Defence Committee has recommended.
It said ministers should plan for a ‘thorough’ study covering the aims of the war and whether efforts had been ‘sufficient’.
However, government officials have rushed in to state that any inquiry would have to be in private with its results kept secret, with only a group of senior ministers and military leaders having access to it.
This is to avoid the embarrassment that has been caused by the fact that the Chilcott inquiry into the war in Iraq has not been released almost five years after the inquiry was held.
It is alleged that leading political figures are opposing any release unless documents are removed from the Chilcott report whose publication could result in them being transported to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague to face prosecution!
The reason that any inquiry into the Afghan war would be held in secret and its conclusions remain a secret is that the Afghan war and the war in Iraq are indissolubly connected.
In fact, the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda was greeted with a certain jubilation by the Bush presidency: despite the thousands killed, the attack gave the US the perfect reason for striking at Saddam Hussein and Iraq, on the lying grounds that Saddam was in league with al-Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction that would make the September 11 attack look like a trifle.
The Labour prime Minister Tony Blair was an immediate and enthusiastic volunteer, insisting that the UK must play a leading role in the campaign.
US President George W Bush accordingly demanded that the Taleban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. The Taleban requested that bin Laden leave the country, but declined to extradite him without evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The United States refused to negotiate and launched Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 October 2001 with the United Kingdom.
In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to oversee security in the country and train Afghan National Security Forces.
The war in Afghanistan was over by December 2001, and Osama bin Laden and his whereabouts were forgotten for over decade, as all attention was switched immediately to Iraq.
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it became an article of faith that Saddam had wmds, that he was about to slaughter millions, and a ‘dodgy dossier’ was drawn up by Blair and Co to convince parliament to go to war. The death of whistleblower David Kelly who had concerns about the war was not allowed to get in the way of the campaign of lies.
The 2003 March invasion was not backed by the UN, but it destroyed Iraq as an advanced country, smashed its economy, and placed the US and the UK into the position of occupiers of the oil-rich country. They then admitted that there were no wmds. But there were hundreds of thousands of corpses.
Despite the occupation of Baghdad, an extremely valiant resistance movement emerged which undermined the occupation. It was however the UK military that broke first.
Under severe attacks in Basra in 2007, they negotiated a secret deal with the Shia militias and ran out of the country like thieves in the night, a colossal defeat for UK imperialsm, which fled from the frying pan of Basra into the fire of Helmand province, where they faced a reorganised Taleban.
In order to reassure the retreating troops, Labour Minister John Reid and numerous army officers told the UK public that there would hardly be a shot fired in Afghanistan and there was no civil war taking place there! In fact, millions of shots were fired.
The only thing that flourished while British troops were in Helmand was opium production. They have now left the poppy fields behind, along with a lot of their military equipment. No wonder that an inquiry into the debacle will be in secret.
The lesson to be learnt by UK workers is that the job begun by the Iraqi and Afghan workers must be completed by the British working class by smashing capitalism and imperialism and go forward to a socialist revolution.