We are told that President Donald Trump changed his mind about sending more troops to Afghanistan after a campaign by his national security adviser H.R. McMaster which included showing the president a photograph of women casually strolling through downtown Kabul dressed in miniskirts.
The picture from 1972 was used by Mr McMaster in an effort to demonstrate to Mr Trump that Western culture could return to Afghanistan if he sent more troops. It appears to have been a winning argument. On the campaign trail last year, Mr Trump had vowed to end America’s longest war calling it a “total disaster”.
If the President was moved to change his mind by the prospect of Western culture returning to Afghanistan it is not clear why he would lie about his motivations to the American people but he did. In a widely publicised speech to troops at Fort Meyer in Virginia he insisted, “We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.“
It seems the British government are equally eager to see the return of Western culture to the streets of Kabul and “welcome” the President’s change of heart. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to approve a surge of special forces personnel to hunt down Taliban leaders and the Isis and al-Qaeda militants they are sheltering.
It’s curious because, only last year, speaking at the Republican Convention days after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President she declared, “there can be no return to the failed policies of the past – the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over“. Or perhaps not.
Western rhetoric, policy and strategy on Afghanistan are contradictory and confused. Words and deeds are not aligned.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand. A true story of love, service and incompetence.
Over-matched, over-ruled and over-weight, Spin Zhira is a tale of one man’s personal battle against the trials of middle age set on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back.¹
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
¹Check the small print first