Gordon Brown's short hand written notes to bereaved families struck me as a generous and humane gesture.Yet even such simple gestures become the stuff of political intrigue and frenzied speculation-dominating the news for days!
From such small beginnings whole empires can crumble.
parking an old car and leaving it with an out of date tax disc reminds us all where lack of attention to detail can lead!
So Gordon Brown has lousy handwriting, and his staff don't appear to check his out going mail.
The young soldier's mother is extremely upset and agitated at the apparent slight-and the Sun gets a whiff of a not very significant story!
Within hours Brown is a cruel and uncaring man, not fit to be PM, in fact probably not fit for anything other the politician's knackers yard.
A whole career shot down because he uses a felt tip pen and hasn't mastered joined up writing.
If that was a measure of failure then half of Fleet Street would be collecting P45's and the other half would be composing articles with a John Bull Printing Set with the 'w' missing.
The real question of course is why are their troops in Afghanistan in the first place?
Right at the outset I believe it is sometimes right to intervene in situations where fascism in any of its hydra headed forms is kikely to appear.The events in the former Yugoslavia proved that intervention was right,the only problem being that it was too late to prevent genocide.
There are other places where the threat of genocide or the development of extremely oppressive regiemes call for action.
Sadly however we in the West rarely intervene, we allowed apartheid to murder thousands without even the hint of sanctions.Yet for decades this country supported the US in imposing sanctions on Cuba.
A small nation whose crime against humanity has been exporting 40,000 of its doctors and health care workers to assist in the poorest countries of the world(more than all of the G20 countries put together!)
The Bush led coalition went into Iraq, a miserable little dictatorship, no better or worse than any other,to topple the evil 'Saddam'.
There was an easier way- to support the indigenous people and the Iraqi trade union movement who were trying internally to defeat the Ba'athist regieme.
But that was too simple, there might have been a popular left leaning government-oh and the big oil companies might not have got back in!
Then there is Afghanistan.The obvious reason we were told was to close down the terrorist cells that the Taliban were ptotecting.Given that there are fewer than a couplr of hundred Al Queda left then that was not really a valid objective,and given that most of them hang out with our friendly nuclear armed Pakistan Government anyway...
Then we were there to bring equal rights to the Afghan people and free them from the oppressive yoke of the Taliban.
Was that the same Taliban that we armed in order to fight the Russians and the pro-soviet government of Najibullah?
The Government that opened schools, health centres,education and equal rights for women, the breaking of medieval practices of the Taliban?
Shurely shome mishtake?
Do you see a pattern emerging.Cuba supporting healthcare-Communist led Aghanistan supporting healthcare-penny beginning to drop?
For the last few decades we have always been on the wrong side,defending the indefensible and opposing any progressive movement.
If we really wanted to hit at the heartland of international terrorism-apart from a small nuclear attack on Texas it would seem that Saudi Arabia, home of all those democracy loving princes ,would be the first target.
After all most of the world's terror 'gangs' have connections with that particular dictatorship.
Silly me! I forgot they were our allies!
The west is in Afghanistan simply once again to play the great game, to ensure that progressive forces throughout the middle and far east find it impossible to make common cause.
The presence of the West in Afghanistan is providing the same geopolitical purpose as continued support for the state of Israel does-the old imperialist function-divide and rule.And of course ensure the continued wealth and power of the oil companies-the modern day East India Company!
The only people who will defeat the Taliban will be the Afghan people, when freed from international intervention, the Taliban bandits, and the corrupt Afghan government.
If the UN gave every fatmer a tractor, grain and an opportunity for real education then the drug crop and the power of the warlords would be gone forever-and Gordon wouldn't need to scrawl tragic little letters.