Afghanistan, conflict zones, latest, UK

After Afghanistan: Preaching What We Practise

David Lindsay

“A tribal problem.” Thus did the Chief of the Defence Staff describe the “Taliban” on the Today programme, exactly as some of us have been saying throughout the war in Afghanistan, and as I have no doubt that people like him have been trying to convince grandstanding politicians throughout the period. Remember that “not a shot would be fired” in Afghanistan. John Reid told us so. Whatever happened to John Reid? Did he go off to fight in Afghanistan? Did either of his sons?

Donald Trump’s base is sending its offspring to be harvested in Afghanistan and Syria, so he is doing the right thing politically as well as morally, whatever relics of the failed foreign policy and military machine might think. He will not have to bother to appoint any of those to his second Administration. Against that moral and political good sense, there is nothing new or surprising about close ties between the glitterati and the Securitate.

What is new, but refreshing, is the openness with which Hollywood has made Jim Mattis its hero, and with which Mattis has welcomed that valorisation. Los Angeles limousine liberalism does not send its sons and daughters to be harvested pointlessly in Syria, Afghanistan or anywhere else, any more than neoconservative pseudo-academia on the other Coast has ever done so. Those sons and daughters come from Trump’s base, and to an extent from the base of black and Hispanic radicalism.

Cinema and television made in Los Angeles, as in New York or in London, are enough to make the viewer snowblind. But at least it does snow in New York and in London. In any event, though, such material bears no resemblance to the population of any such metropolis. And the Californian one is by far the most influential. Never call this out, though, in any of the three. You know what you will be called if you do.

Not unconnectedly, one of the many underreported features of neoconservatism has always been its strong hostility to the African-American movements after they called out the hypocrisy of the New York Liberal Establishment over integration at home and over settler colonialism You Know Where. You also know what was shrieked at the uppity black activists who disturbed the Liberal Establishment, just as it has been ever since, including in and around today’s British Labour Party.

Ah, yes, the British Labour Party, or at least the Parliamentary Labour Party, which is now barely the same thing at all. With the closure of The Weekly Standard, neoconservatism is lasting far longer in Britain, and especially in the Parliamentary Labour Party, than it has managed to the last in the United States, mirroring and echoing the unquestioned spooks on the opposite benches. When it comes to foreign affairs and to the architecture of the economy, then Britain does not have Government policy, subject to political change. Britain has State ideology that it is not permitted to question.

That is fiercely upheld by most Labour MPs and Peers, and it is upheld by all Conservatives in either House at least to some extent, with most of them downright hysterical at the expression of the slightest doubt about it. Across the media, the same is also true. Jeremy Corbyn might usefully award peerages to people, by no means only in his own or any other party, who would challenge both the geopolitics and the economics.

“Preach what your practise.” With those words did the President of Afghanistan silence a BBC interviewer, having pointed out that, “You brought your Irish parties into government, did you not?” The “Taliban” are coming into government, thereby rendering the entire war in Afghanistan completely and utterly pointless, because this is how these things always end. Yes, always. After the First World War, the Kaiser himself may have gone into exile, but Field Marshall von Hindenburg was elected President twice, beginning as soon as the electorate was given the opportunity to vote for him. He had stood only with the written permission of his exiled monarch.

After the Second World War, full denazification would have caused German society to have collapsed. Quite the reverse occurred, with West Germany, NATO and the EU all founded in no small part by former, meaning recent, Nazi officers. Over the Wall, one of the East German Bloc Parties, complete with reserved seats in the Volkskammer, was the NDPD, specifically for former Nazi Party members and supporters, although it was often observed that there were in fact more former Nazi Party members in the Communist Party than the entire membership of the NDPD.

In 1968, long after East Germany professed to have eradicated all trace of Nazism, the new Constitution still felt the need to commit it to doing so. No one in West Germany even pretended, not really. The fairly recent obituaries of Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl have been as frank as they themselves always were. And then there was Austria. But speaking of East Germany, when the Soviet Bloc collapsed, then who do you think carried on running many things at national level, and almost everything at regional or local level? Who was qualified to do so? Attempts to do these things differently, such as the debaathification of Iraq, have been unmitigated disasters.

“You brought your Irish parties into government, did you not?” Indeed, we did. “Preach what you practise.” Indeed, we should. The “Taliban” are coming into government, because that is how these things always end. Yes, always. Thereby rendering the entire war in Afghanistan completely and utterly pointless.

Precisely as many of us in the country at large, but only few valiant souls in Parliament such as Corbyn, have argued from the very start, and precisely as we predicted from the afternoon of 11th September 2001 onwards. But precisely as most Labour MPs, Peers and commentators, and almost all of their Conservatives counterparts, will never, ever accept. Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and our people need to hold the balance of power in it.

David Lindsay is a freelance journalist and an Independent political activist based in Lanchester, County Durham.


  1. Make it profitable says

    Based on governance and political analysis the author found

    the entire war in Afghanistan completely and utterly pointless

    Looking at the killing-for-profits motive, we clearly find weapons manufacturers are reaping billions in profits. They celebrate the increase in their market value and market share. Highly recommended by investment advisers!

    And since those maimed or killed are always poor Muslims, we find little credible and effectual objection to those barbaric invasions and slaughters.

    • mark says

      Everyone knows Bombing Brown People is good for them.

  2. Make it simple(r) says

    “Cinema and television made in Los Angeles, as in New York or in London, are enough to make the viewer snowblind“Snowblind indicates a temporary, very short blindness effect to very bright light.

    The fact is, Cinema and TV made in Western countries alter the viewer’s thinking patterns at subconscious level: The good blue-eyed VS. the unintelligent/criminal dark skinned. The effects are long term. They are permanent if not countered by a comparable dose(s) of reality.

    Perhaps the words ‘brainwashed’ or ‘oblivious’ are more suitable in this context.

  3. mark says

    It’s hard to believe now, but the US actually came up with some superb anti war legislation in the aftermath of WW1. If this had remained in force, there would have been no Vietnam, no Afghanistan, no Iraq, no Zionist Regime, and no Cold War.
    By 1916, WW1 had come to a futile, bloody stalemate. The most likely outcome was some messy negotiated peace, with the war ending in 1917, almost certainly with no Bolshevik Revolution and no Hitler.
    But by that time, US bankers had lent Britain and France $5,500 million to fight the war – compared to $27 million lent to Germany. And that was when $1 million was a lot of money. The bankers were simply worried they wouldn’t get their money back. So they agitated for the US to enter the war, with all the guff about making the world safe for democracy and German militarism. At the time, 18% of British adult males had the vote – compared to 22% in Germany.
    After the war, people realised how much they had been lied to, and the colossal profiteering by all the powerful vested interests who had agitated for war. They passed a lot of anti war legislation, and campaigned for a lot more. These were:-

    1. All arms manufacturing and trading were to be state monopolies, with no private profit involved.
    2. No loans would be made to combatant powers, to avoid a situation like 1916 arising again.
    3. No travel would be allowed to war zones, to prevent the exploitation of US deaths in Lusitania type incidents.
    4. In the event of war, all financial markets, stock, bond, commodity markets, would be closed for the duration. The economy would be strictly controlled.
    5. Prices and wages would be frozen. No one would be allowed to earn more than $10,000 p.a., a high wage but obviously chicken feed to the average war profiteer. Everything above that would be taxed at 100%.
    6.. Rationing would be introduced.
    7. Taxes would be raised steeply to pay for the war.
    8. Dividends and return on capital would be very strictly controlled, with anything above 3% taxed at 100%.
    9. A conscription board would ensure that the rich and privileged would be unable to avoid service, like Bush 2, Cheney and Bolton. First in line in the cannon fodder queue for a rifle would be the unemployed stockbrokers, or their children if they were too old.

    This would be enough to turn the most rabid Neocon into an ardent pacifist. Just take the money out of it and watch the cheerleading and enthusiasm for war evaporate.

  4. Gnasherrr says

    Off-Guardian? Off to prison, more like. 😂😂

    • bevin says

      This is a gratuitous smear. If there is a case against Lindsay it is up to the prosecution to make it, in court. .
      David is a thorn in the side of a notoriously corrupt Labour establishment in County Durham, such people stop at nothing to discredit critics.

      • I was not going to drink tonight. But then the New Year’s Honours List was published. The sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has not been made a Dame. Cheers!

        Meanwhile, if the United States Congress has shut down all government activity apart from its own pay, then it is like the Labour councils in Durham and Newcastle. The Labour Right still runs most of that party’s local government base, where it is slashing services like a thing possessed. Most Labour MPs are also of that tendency, and will remain so. Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and our people need to hold the balance of power in it.

        • mark says

          Whenever some worthy female member of the Great And The Good is “made into a dame”, someone like Margaret Hodge, I can’t help thinking of the slightly-thicker-than-two-short-planks matelots and able seamen in South Pacific, singing “……there is nothing like a dame, nothing in the world, there is nothing like a dame, that is anything like the same……”

          These people scheme and grovel for years to get these baubles. Just another way of keeping these hacks and whores in line.

          Afghans will always unite and fight against any uninvited armed foreigners in their country. In the absence of any British, or Russians, or Americans to fight, they have to make do with a civil war till the next invasion.

  5. rtj1211 says

    Preach what you practice:

    1) Call for Gavin Williamson to fight Russia-leaning rebels in the Donbass.
    2) Call for footballers who break legs in a premeditated manner to be treated more harshly than supporters who throw bottles. Call for footballers who call referees FCs to be banned for a season without pay, nothing compared to life bans of supporters.
    3) Call for immigration lovers to house immigrants at their own expense until the immigrants are self-sustaining taxpayers. That includes you, Ian Hislop….
    4) Call for Olly Robbins to be given an EU passport and a one-way travel ticket to a destination of his choice within the EU.
    5) Call for Jeremy Corbyn to finally stand up for sexually abused children in his constituency, since constituency work is a higher priority then representing the IRA and Palestinians.
    6) Recommend Brown nosing both Jews and Muslims in the UK as that is precisely how UK foreign policy plays out in the Middle East.
    7) Preach bullshitting whatever you can get away with when seeking finance as that is what whiter than white climate scientists do to trouser public funding.
    8) Call Russian emigres in London a danger to Uk security as they are far closer to our national assets than that pest Putin is.
    9) Call for the Imprisonment without trial of anyone who leaks 100 year rule documents on historical child abuse as that is how you treat Julian Assange for leaking other things.
    10) Recommend turning the landed gentry into £30m a year tax-free slush fund babies as that is what the Royal Family gets.

  6. It’s been a long, long, long long time since Britain had anything remotely resembling democracy. Labour has for so many years been the lesser of two evils…until Corbyn and McDonnell came along. What Britain has had to endure is nothing more than a two party neo colonialist state totalitarianism, neither of which were representative of democracy and certainly not society based. The British masses have rejected both parties for being non-representative when millions voted for the Liberal Democrats – out of pure frustration. That foray into alternative voting was an unmitigated disaster because that party also, was based on the neocon thinking. Such is the dominance of politics for profit that no other representative representation has been allowed irrespective of the wishes of a vast swathe of the public wanting to be the first consideration of governance rather than the last. Brexit was nothing more than an attempt to muddy the waters to divide the masses and prevent an emerging crisis of popular politics in order to avoid a socially democratic movement from evolving and it has succeeded. What it succeeded in doing was allowing the fascistic bigotry of the hateful nazi element to prevail over social based considerations.
    So the nazis have entered into British government, rendering the whole “Irish problem” and accompanying violence, completely and utterly pointless. Igniting decades of disorder in order to dictate policy and reignite old sectaran divisions once again. The Labour “right” have joined forces with the Tory conservatives to overtly undermine popular choice in any alternative, namely their own Party Members.In this way, ushering in the enemy to democracy. We are in effect, right back where we started a hundred years ago on so many levels. Our government should preach what we practice but that would mean the government, both sides of the aisle, admitting it is an undemocratic hostile and aggressive colinialist mind set with typical western double standard policies.
    It’s 4 am and my brain has gone dead. Sorry for the waffle.

    • BigB says

      Please, carry on. It seems very apposite and true to my nearly half century of observing British creeping totalitarian politics. Whoever downvoted you must either be young and full of false political hope, or older, having not been paying much attention. The whole binary political machine is moribund and failing us. It should have sunk in by now, but probably has not, but leaving aside Corbyn, the Labour Party of Israel (Westminster Branch) offer only pseudo-hope of a false dawn of a new British democracy. I’m waiting for the demos, or a portion of it, to coalesce around the fact that our centuries old ways of thinking, and the power structures they uphold, offer only certain ruin. At which point, there might emerge the potential of breaking the cycle of alienation and dehumanisation that is the capitalist creed. TINA no more shall be my motto!

      • BigB. Thanks, wasn’t sure I was making any sense, glad you could muddle your way through my brain fog. I was hopeful that the yellow vest momentum might carry through, very optimistic of me given the extent of the brainwashing that has occurred. This means of course, that we are quite likely headed for certain ruin, as will be our next victims in the world theatre of war.

        • BigB says


          I had quite an in depth debate with my brother this afternoon: about the seeming futility of it all. Repression, brainwashing, social media censorship, algorithmic control, the death of debate …you know the score. All the topics we cover here, in fact. I found myself conceding that the prognosis is pretty grim.

          I just got back from walking the dog. I found myself by a scruffy, nondescript patch of Little England …where I was struck by the thought: “Everything we ever experience is unique …in all the universe”. I just let that sink in.

          Why is this not enough? Why can’t we take this precious kernel of uniqueness and build something special from it? If you think about it overlong, as we do …just sitting here taking off my boots is borderline miraculous.

          There has to be a way. Whether anyone can identify it or not, there has to be a way. The almost unbearable uniqueness of it all demands it.

  7. Antonym says

    No different than the Guardian: writing about Afghanistan without going into Pakistan’s massive nefarious influence. That is worse that ignorant. Both Pakistan’s army and secret services (ISI) have been active there ever since US Brzezinski organized Afghanistan as a bear trap for the USSR to help his old home land Poland, and asked Pakistan to help. In return the US closed its eyes to the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, plus subsidized the place for decades with billions.
    Recent example: Pakistani senator Sarfraz Bugti praizes a suicide bomber attack inside Afghanistan

    • Bugti is a Baloch, and one of the reasons India is frantic at the idea of the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan is that it will bring to an end India’s ability to arm and train Baloch terrorists to carry out attacks in Balochistan.

    • We journalists do have word limits, you know? I mean, of course I know about all of this. But how long do you want any one article to be?

  8. summitflyer says

    “You brought your Irish parties into government, did you not?” Indeed, we did. “Preach what you practise.”
    Indeed what a statement that brings it home.Hypocrites one and all .
    17 years and how many trillions and for what , the MIC ? The PNAC plan ?
    Good article by the way .

    • Johny Conspiranoid says

      The Americans are in Afghanistan to secure the West’s heroin supply. They will leave when that can be delegeted to local warlords.

      • @Johny Conspiranoid.
        It’s probably a toss up as to whether Afghanistan or South America is the west’s (especially CIA in Columbia) main access to the controlling and dumbing down menace of their heroine cut. But I agree with your sentiments.

      • mark says

        It’s worth at least $6 billion a year to the Cocaine (and heroin) Import Agency.
        Helps pay for all those little extras even those none too fastidious folk in Congress might have problems with, the more smelly illegal wars and assassinations and terrorist groups that have to be funded. Even some of the 30 Shekel Whores in Congress have standards.

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