I haven't forgotten to pay tribute to Ranger Aaron McCormick, 22, from Macosquin, Co Londonderry and of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, who was killed on Sunday in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand province, Afghanistan. The lives of his parents, two sisters and his brother will never be the same again.
In June this year David Cameron said:
'We can't be there for another five years, having been there for nine years already.'
Of course Mr Cameron doesn't want our military in Afghanistan in five years' time. War affects votes. The public are becoming very aware that the reasons given for our presence there are flimsy at best, while the new head of our armed forces, Gen Sir David Richards, warned that the West can't defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam. He argues that it could be 'contained' to allow Britons to lead secure lives while, in the same interview, he says the threat posed by 'al-Qaeda and its affiliates' meant Britain's national security would be at risk for at least 30 years. Furthermore he said:
the British military and the Government had been "guilty of not fully understanding what was at stake" in Afghanistan and admitted that the Afghan people were beginning to "tire" of Nato's inability to deliver on its promises.Then continued:
I suspect we're being told that the Afghan war is unwinnable and there will be no victors. Are the politicians and military top brass at last beginning to recognise what many of us have known for some years or have they known this is a futile war but refused to acknowledge it because of our politicians' obsession with America? Or did the General know this MoD document was about to be leaked and spoke out because he believes the armed forces are demoralised?
"In conventional war, defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation's capital. First of all you have to ask: do we need to defeat it [Islamist militancy] in the sense of a clear cut victory? I would argue that it is unnecessary and would never be achieved."But can we contain it to the point that our lives and our children's lives are led securely? I think we can."
No amount of political talk will bring comfort to the friends and family of Aaron McCormick, whose death brings the total number of those killed in this war to 344. We must not forget the hundreds of injured who are so seldom mentioned.