Opportunities Lost


‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ – Thomas A. Edison.

Conversely, some opportunities are seized because they appear easy and not really like work at all. I’ve just watched an item on the midday TV News covering the handover of the town of Sangin in Helmand Province from Royal Marines to US Marines. Approximately one-third all all British combat casualties in Afghanistan have been in and around Sangin…

The British “have decided, given limited resources, to focus on the central part of the province” and leave the hot spots of northern Helmand to the U.S., says Col. Paul Kennedy, commander of U.S. Marine forces in the area.

The true test will come over the next two months, when the last Royal Marines leave Sangin to the U.S. Marines. Right now, the Americans just have to fight; they don’t have to manage relations with the local Afghan government, navigate tribal politics or promote economic growth.

Once the Royal Marines are gone, those jobs will fall to the U.S. Marines.

Going into Afghanistan in 2001 probably looked like an easy win for the Blair Government in Great Britain and a far easier ‘sell’ than Iraq in 2003. I heard Tony Blair in a TV interview here a couple of weeks ago and all the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan were someone else’s fault…largely Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Iran in Afghanistan…without their meddling, one got the impression that Messrs Blair and Bush (Jnr) would have triumphed in both campaigns…

The simple fact is that with intervention comes responsibility and, whatever else people might think or say about the US, it is doing its level best to uphold its end of the stick – in stark contrast to its former ally that bailed in Iraq – from the relative back water of Basra and is now starting to slither away in Afghanistan…335 casualties (so far) and for what? The UK Government does a disservice to every soldier who served by failing to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for its actions

While the UK bleats about being undermanned in Helmand, it continues to slash back its military forces in all three services with all the enthusiasm and passion of Freddy Krueger or Jason from Friday the 13th…in the final analysis, I guess that Britain finally decided that it was only ‘in’ war and not ‘at’ war after all…

Soon they all be getting back on the helos...

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