EX-Special Boat Service operative Ashdown can recognise a major defeat when it stares him in the face, and refuses to go away.
He has called on the UK to quit Afghanistan at once, echoing the remarks of Bismark who, referring to the calls for intervention into the Balkans, said that they were not worth the bones of a single Grenadier. Ashdown says that not another British solder must die in Afghanistan.
His call comes very late in the day, at a time when the ruling Tory-LibDem regime is determined that there will not be an immediate withdrawal. In other words, they can live with the certain knowledge that many more UK troops will die in Afghanistan for nothing, sacrificed in an attempt to create an illusion that the British government has not suffered a catastrophic defeat. UK troops will die in an attempt to allow the UK government to save face.
Meanwhile, ministers are safe and sound in 10 and 11 Downing Street while their soldiery die for nothing in Afghanistan.
If only that were the end of the matter.
In fact, Cameron and Hague are planning new imperialist wars and to send the UK troops that survive the Afghan debacle into Syria, to support the Islamic mercenaries that they have already mustered there, but who have failed to overthrow the Baathist regime which is secular and anti-imperialist. They are currently due to recognise these mercenaries as the government and to step up their armament.
The just-announced intention to intervene in Syria has, however, now been overtaken by the Israeli decision to break the Egyptian-negotiated ceasefire, and to assassinate the Hamas military leader and launch hundreds of missiles at Gaza.
Both Cameron and Hague have made it very clear that they support Israel and, along with Obama, have taken Israel’s breach of the ceasefire negotiated by Egypt in their stride.
An Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, after yesterday’s intervention into Gaza by the Egyptian Prime Minister, may well touch off a new and generalised war in the Middle East, involving Egypt and the Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
It may well require the sending of a large number of UK troops to secure the area and to rescue Israel from the crisis of its own making.
This is the stage that the crisis of imperialism has now reached.
In this situation of a worldwide capitalist crisis, driving forward imperialist wars and revolutions, it is vital that the working class of the UK understands that its enemy is at home, and not in the Gulf or the Middle East.
At the same time as Cameron and Hague are seeking to grab part of the oil wealth of the Gulf and the Middle East, as the very junior partner of the US, they are working to destroy the Welfare State and all of the gains of the working class and the middle class at home.
Workers in the UK must stand for the victory of the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian peoples against imperialism and Zionism.
They must demand that the TUC organises a boycott of all Israeli goods and services on a worldwide scale and that it also calls for all British troops to be withdrawn at once from Afghanistan, the Gulf and the Middle East and returned to the UK.
Above all, the working class in the UK must take advantage of the huge crisis and the multi-problems of the UK government, to bring it down with a general strike and bring in a workers government that will put an end to capitalism and imperialism and bring in socialism.
This will benefit and provide a lead to the workers of the world. It is also the only way forward to avoid a capitalist-created catastrophe.