Thursday´s Daily Bulletin Late News says the British government may be putting troops lives at risk in Afghanistan. There is no may about it Wars are like that. We are putting Taliban lives at risk and as a direct consequence British Soldiers.
The same item refers to a Times Populus poll showing two-thirds of voters think we should withdraw our forces swiftly. The USA seemed to lose some of its military bottle after its defeat by the rag tag army of Vietnam (1973). In Somalia TV images of 3 dead marines being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu followed a month later (October 1993) by the Black Hawk Down where 18 were killed was sufficient to have Clinton withdraw all US troops from the UN Mission. We in Britain risk this same lack of resolve.
The recent increase in British casualties in Afghanistan has produced much tugging of heart strings. By July 185 soldiers had died in the 8 years of the war. People have short memories swept clean by ever new headlines. The Al Qaeda franchise is not limited to Arabia or Africa but strikes places we know. Recall the carnage of New York (2974), Bali (202), Madrid (191), London (56) and just this week in Indonesia. If Westminster Question Time continues to have the PM then the leader of the opposition and finally the leader of the Lib-Dems eulogizing each individual death of our forces then the 30 minutes allowed will be inadequate if fatalities continue to grow. If 185 deaths had been a turning point in our past wars we would have capitulated to Hitler (WW II) on day 1 and the Kaiser (WW I) before breakfast.
Since Somalia the US has shown a preference for remote controlled skirmishes - long distance gunships, robotic drones etc to avoid the use of ground forces and the higher death toll they incur. Lower US losses perhaps but much higher civilian ones. On Sunday in a TV interview the much demonized ex-Pakistan President General Musharraf was asked how he felt about the ill equipped British Forces and its effect on their casualties. I got the distinct impression he would have loved to be equipped to the same inadequate level and to have suffered a similar number of losses unlike his own reputedly 4000+. With nearly 40 years hands on experience of the region as general, dictator and president he diplomatically replied that an army must expect heavy losses in heavy fighting but still do its best with whatever it has or has not at its disposal.
American troops have always had a material advantage over the British Tommy over paid; over sexed and over here ran the chant in the last war. No doubt the Taliban dream of reaching basic Pakistani levels perhaps even stretching to one helicopter. These redoubtable and ill equipped fighters appear to be able to run rings around our troops in Helmand when it suits them and to cultivate and export 45% of the world's opium under our very noses. More troops needed?
Playa de Palma
Ray Fleming in his Looking Around column (MDB July 25th) begins with the words Israel again I'm afraid.
I start this letter with Ray Fleming again, I'm afraid. Once again he is offering his readers a dodgy collection of Arab propaganda, non-fact, and blind prejudice. I will stick to true, provable fact - something unknown in the warped ideologies of the Ray Flemings of this world.
At their meetings on April 24th - 25th 1920, the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers, comprising Britain, France, Italy and Japan, met to break up the defeated Ottoman Empire. At these meetings the states of Syria and Iraq were created. Most importantly, as far as this letter is concerned, it was decided that Palestine, including Judea, Samaria and Gaza be created for the single exclusive purpose of it being a home for the Jewish people. Its frontiers were to be roughly the same as those of biblical Israel. Prior to this there had never been a Muslim Palestine and thus there could be no Palestinian Arabs.
From April 1929 until after the 1967 war, all reference made to the 'Palestinians' referred (obviously) to the Jewish population. 'Palestinian Arabs' are nothing more than a product of Arab propaganda ably backed by those western powers more interested in Arab oil wealth than legal fact.
As to Mr. Fleming and others calling for Israelis to vacate their homes in what is claimed to be 'Arab land' but is actually a part of the Jewish homeland: this is little more than racial apartheid. What if Israel then demanded that Arabs living in Israel leave their homes and return to the primitive conditions that exist in the Arab homelands?
The world would be quick to condemn Israel and Fleming would be one of the loudest voices of condemnation to be heard on this little Island.
As to the status of Jerusalem. This is not just the capital of present-day Israel: it is the eternal capital and spiritual centre of the Jewish race. It was created by the Jews not only when London was still a swamp, but many thousands of years before the religion of Islam was even a gleam in Allah's eye. It is mentioned over a hundred times in the Talmud and not at all in the Q'ran.
Dr Goebbels is quoted as having said If you tell a lie loudly enough and for long enough, you can create a fact In the Middle East, vastly wealthy Arab countries have created a vast tsunami of 'created fact' which is engulfing the world's media.
But it is all fiction and until it is recognised as such and replaced with decisions based upon legal precedent - and biblical truths - the problems will continue and may even be the cause of a new world war.
I have just returned from a two week holiday in Puerto Pollensa, our 6th visit in the past 13 years and I feel strongly enough about my disappointment to write to you on the Daily Bulletin.
This year we could not believe how expensive things were, granted the GB pound is weak against the Euro, but regardless of this, the ripping off of tourists in the resorts is unacceptable and I believe will lead to a severe demise of the tourist industry. Certainly we will not be returning to Majorca in the near future, and are already looking for other places to holiday in future.
The day to day costs of refreshments, soft drinks, ice-creams, and alcoholic drinks is quite frankly unacceptable, car hire was extortionate, day and evening trips were so expensive and at every turn they tried to get more money off you (lunch, cool drinks, photos, I remember when many of these things were part of the price paid).
Others we spoke to said they felt like the locals were laughing at them as they ripped the tourists off and likewise, have said they won't be coming back.
Part of the beauty for the British was coming to Spain for a reasonably priced break, where you felt you got value for money, could eat out as a family for a reasonable sum and generally the holiday did not break the bank'. Sadly this is not the case anymore and I think people will speak with their bookings for next year.
If officials in Majorca do not want to see a Calvia in every resort, they need to act now and cap prices otherwise they will be responsible for the death of the tourist industry.
Shame......it used to be a nice place. Yours very disappointedly,