God, this is great - the Labour Campaign for Human Rights* considers the War On Terror and concludes that it could've been a roaring success, with only a few minor strategic tweaks.
I'll save you time by listing the key errors that LCHR say would have to be rejected for tWoT to foster peace and plenty:
- Not invading Iraq;
- Committing resources to Afghanistan to "build the Afghan state";
- Not killing lots of Afghan & Pakistani civilians for no good reason;
- Respecting Afghan customs and rights;
- Working with local partners on the ground;
- No Guantanamo Bay, no extraordinary rendition and zero-tolerance on torture;
- Developing effective counter-insurgency with local authorities;
- Developing a diplomatic initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict;
...All of which would have allowed the Terror Warriors to
- Prevent the Taliban from becoming a threat and build the capacity of security forces, so they can
- Bring moderate former Taliban into the new government and root out corruption, which will
- Ensure good govrnance and development, all of which would
- Swing British Muslims behind the War on Terror...
...Which would all have allowed the UK and US to now
- Launch a new counter-terrorism initiative that "puts public perception at its heart".
Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions upon such a meagre list of simple, straightforward requests, but I suggest that any strategy that relies upon, for example, "resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict" is perhaps a tad unrealistic.
Additionally, the idea that, say, not invading Iraq would've made it much easier to "build the Afghan state" seems to be based upon an assumption that this is so. Well, a few thousand more soldiers, bigger bribes and some more expensively-painted schools, a peaceful and coherent liberal democracy does not make, ya dig?
So let's quickly flag up a couple of minor problems with LCHR's analysis, including that
- e.g. "human rights... and zero-tolerance on torture" and "effective counter-insurgency" are pretty much mutually-exclusive concepts;
- That "working with local partners on the ground" in a warlord-riven country almost inevitably means "working with warlords";
- That killing lots of people for no good reason was basically one of the core functions of the War on Terror, indivisible from the whole;
- That "respecting Afghans' customs and rights" is a euphemism for e.g. junking most of our woman-protecting justifications;
- That even "moderate Taliban" would probably rather open fire than open negotiations, and
- That "rooting out corruption" in Afghanistan is like trying to root the rocks out of Afghanistan, to pick just some of the more egregious examples.
What we're left with looks like a Labour thinktank miraculously rescinding the vast bodycount and wrongly assuming that Afghanistan isn't the way it is because it's full of Afghans, but rather because of some daft but easily-corrected tactical errors.
With a bit less violence and some more focus upon "public perception", by which they basically mean "public relations", we may yet win this thing! We don't need to fight harder, we need to fight smarter!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Labour Party - wishing away the bad wars so that we can have better ones in future.
*God knows who these people are or how much of the party they represent but still, Jesus.