Question Time

December 11, 2009

Question Time this week was excellent. Often prone to political grandstanding and bickering in equal measure, QT is a great format for getting the difficult questions asked. This weeks panel featured former head of the British Army General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces Bill Rammall MP, the shadow foreign secretary William Hague MP, the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown, the former newspaper editor Piers Morgan and the Respect Party’s Salma Yaqoob. The debate focused on Afghanistan with views from across the political spectrum.

Of the panelists there both Paddy Ashdown and Salma Yaqoob came across very well despite representing diametrically oposing viewpoints.  The discussion about Afghanistan focused on why we are there and how this has changed over the last 8 years. Afghanistan is an incredibly complex issue and the public have been kept in the dark regarding strategy and what exactly is happening on the ground. Paddy Ashdown was arguing that the reason that any progress had stagnated was because of a lack of a coherent plan by the NATO forces based there. It is amazing that there has been no overall structure to the invasion in Afghanistan and subsequent occupation. Yes, the goal posts have moved but the lack of planning is both worrying and distressing. I am a great believer in stepping back and taking an overall view of a situation before taking action  but until now this has simply not happened. When Obama attempted to do this over the last few months he was called weak and unsure, whilst he was in actual fact assessing all of the options to come out with the best one for the US, NATO and Aghanistan itself. In the past everyone had a separate agenda and now we have been there 8 years with a countless number of deaths, both civilian and military, without achieving a stable country.

On QT, the government were described putting ‘amatuers’ in crucial positions, and whilst this may seem harsh, from where I am standing it is simply true. The foreign policy of this government and the previous US administration has been an unmitigated disaster and we need answers and people to hold accountable. The Iraq inquiry that is going on at the moment is a complete joke. Firstly it has no legal basis to take any action about its findings and secondly most of what they discovered I could have told you from the research that I did for my university dissertation. There needs to be more accountability, and until this occurs leaders will not have a second thought about committing troops to new wars and going off on ego trips with foreign leaders (here’s to you Mr.Blair).

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One Response to “Question Time”

  1. Dan Says:

    Personally, I’ve had enough of Iraq inquiries. We’ve had plenty now and this one seems to be designed to allow the mandarins to get their shots in at Blair.

    As for Afghanistan, we’ve got to stay the course. It’s the crucible of the struggle against the very extremists who threaten the West and if we pull back from there it would once again become a safe haven for the Taleban and Al Qaeda. Catching bin Laden would help too.


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