I was out at daybreak this morning for I have an appointment in Dundee later, hearing test, the mornings are cold, but this early the winds are non-existent. I pull my scarf up over my mouth for on morning like this; drawing in large quantities of ice-cold air can leave you with a soar throat.

I cut onto the perimeter track around the links this takes you out onto the West Sands. There were a few dogs out, exercising their owners, I miss the discipline of having a dog.

I spent my day down by the sea,

In salt sea air, running free,

I tried to catch seabirds on the beach,

But they fly so high, and out of reach.

Running, running, running,

Chasing waves down the shore

For them to reform,

And chase after me once more.

Spending more and more time in my workshop, for it is a long day when it is already dark O’clock by five in the afternoon – never really light during the day at all when the skies are overcast, by seven o’clock in the evening; it already feels like bedtime, ho-hum, winter in Scotland.

Summing Up,

“The people that are against something, are therefore the most knowledgeable about that subject.”

The speed of the Taliban victory took the US and its allies by surprise, if they did, then the US and its allies were the only ones that were taken by surprise.

Once President Biden, announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan the Afghan government’s days were numbered. The Afghan government never was a government of the people; it was a collection of corrupt pro-US warlords, masquerading as politicians, that filled their pocket with US dollars and when the Taliban moved in they took their ill-gotten gains and boarded the first plane out and into exile. The collapse may not have been on the scale of the fall of Saigon in 1975 but pretty chaotic anyway, and certainly no surprise.

The last US soldier left Kabul on August 31, Biden acknowledged the defeat not just of the war and occupation there but of the whole policy of liberal interventionism stating:

“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries”

So the wars started by George Bush – ably abetted by Tony Blair, have come to an ignominious end. There were many who saw that the war and interventions they instigated would not succeed in their aims, they have much to answer for.

The war in Afghanistan, Iraq, then Libya and Syria have seen more than a million dead, many more have become refugees and whole countries have been devastated by their consequences. The human cost has been immense, in countries wracked by war, along with those that took part in such wars.

Biden acknowledged in his speech that 18 veterans in the US commit suicide every day.

The US has spent $300 million a day on the Afghan war alone, at the expense of health care, education and much else. It has left Afghanistan one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. For all the talk of making Afghanistan free from terrorism, ISIS-K has grown as a force under the occupation, just as it did in Iraq. 

There is little sign of the government or media here in the UK facing up to the reality of the past 20 years of failure, yesterdays news, move on.

The tragedy is that the US has spent $2 trillion on the Afghan war alone (and we do not know the true expenditure by the UK government) but there is so little to show in terms of development, civil society or education. If the money spent on the war had gone towards some of the goals, we would be in a better place now.

One of the great shames of Britain in the 21st century is its barbaric attitude to refugees, the majority of whom are fleeing war, and most of whom only make it to neighbouring, and often very poor, countries. Again a fraction of the money spent on war would house, feed and educate these refugees.

How to win friends and influence people, (1) bomb the hell out of their country and kill large numbers of the population, mainly women and children? – Or – (2) feed, cloth, and house them, and supply them with medical care? Your choose.

In the UK racism against Muslims has been fanned by the wars across the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa. Increasingly Islam is identified with extremism and terrorism. The government’s Prevent agenda here has led to accusations that, for example, Palestine solidarity is about supporting extremism or even terrorism. The growth of far-right organisations internationally has been fuelled by anti-Muslim racism. There has been an increase in attacks on Muslims and on mosques. There is noticeable Islamophobia in the governing Tory party.

Civil liberties, in the UK, are under attack with the Police Bill now going through Parliament threatening to place far more restrictive conditions on protest. (We see it already here in Scotland, government bodies asking Westminster to stop protesters outside OUR parliament building. And the AUOB marches, route changes at the last minute sending marchers out into the country and into housing estates rather than through the town centre, where they may be seen.)

Those who expose the truth about the wars also see themselves under attack, most obviously in the case of Julian Assange, who has endured long imprisonment and faces extradition to the US for his and Chelsea Manning’s exposures through Wikileaks.

The war has come full circle. Increase in racism aimed at a large minority of our citizens. Increase in repression from the state, including police and security services. In this sense, the war has come home.  This can only harm civil society and politics.

We saw it clearly enough in the opposition to Corbyn from inside the Labour party, from the residual of Blairites within the Parliamentary Labour Party. They hated his apology for Labour’s role in the Iraq war, his support for the Palestinians, and his opposition to nuclear weapons. These were the issues feared most by Labour’s right, much more so than his domestic policies. All of this makes it much harder for the opposition to express itself openly and democratically, a loss we must fight back against.  

There is no real democracy in the UK now. The country is led by a far-right Tory (duly elected) dictatorship, with a lukewarm and right of centre Labour Party more in tune with the Tories now than at any time in their history. Then we have the SNP keeping an extreme right-wing Tory party in power by taking up space on the opposition benches, they may as well be on the Tory benches. Here in Scotland, the situation is that Holyrood has become a branch office of Westminster, run through the Scottish Office, with no real power to do anything other than follow their leader Boris, for it is he that holds the purse strings so holds the power, and intends keeping the people of Scotland well fu**ed and poorly clad. C’est la vie.

Stay safe.   

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