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British Army Chief speaks truth on A-Stan

The new head of the British Army was terrifically blunt in assessing the consequences of defeat in Afghanistan. Maybe we can get him to come speak to Congress.

Sir David has issued his unprecedented warning because he believed the public and even members of the government had not "woken up" to the "enormous risks" which would result if the war was lost.

He said: "Failure would have a catalytic effect on militant Islam around the world and in the region because the message would be that al-Qaeda and the Taliban have defeated the US and the British and Nato, the most powerful alliance in the world. So why wouldn't that have an intoxicating effect on militants everywhere? The geo-strategic implications would be immense."

That's been the elephant in the room all along. If they win, they will grow...everywhere. Success against the Crusaders and Infidels will catalyze large numbers of Islamists and they will start hitting weak countries and the west. People flock to the strong horse as the ghost of bin Laden has noted and if they drive us from Afghanistan in defeat they will be the strong horse. We cannot defeat Islamism in Afghanistan alone, but we can sure make it stronger by losing. That should not be an option. Neither should Joe Biden's Magic Ninja plan. Population-Centric COIN is the only legitimate strategy and we need to suck it up and do it.

The Army chief declared that Britain was ready to send more troops to Afghanistan if called on to do so in the wake of the revised strategy which has been drawn up by Gen Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of Nato troops in southern Afghanistan.

He said that more troops would result in fewer casualties and would allow British and Nato troops to deliver greater security more quickly.

Sir David also warned that the "drumbeat" of casualties in Helmand would continue for another three to five years, while the war raged on, but added that the Army was ready to bear the sacrifice.

Sir David said that sending extra troops would allow Nato to begin winning the psychological battle against the Taliban who, he said, were masters of propaganda and were "outstanding at psychological warfare".

He continued: "If you put in more troops we can achieve the objectives laid upon us more quickly and with less casualties. We can start winning the psychological battle which is broadly wrapped around the Taliban saying "the west and the Afghan government is doing very little for you" – we (the Taliban) will offer you an austere future but at least it will be secure". What we need to demonstrate is that we, Nato and the Afghan government, offer a much brighter future which is more secure, with jobs, and education and better health."