The Independent newspaper has reported that Muslim clerics in the British Army may be deployed to Afghanistan in a 'hearts & minds' mission to highlight the part played by Islam in UK society.Just remember that bit - "the part played by Islam here in UK"
The Indy article goes on "The ulama's (someone in the Press office showing off their foreign tour?) views would strengthen the hand of General Richards and others in the military who want to project the role played by Muslims in the Army, expand the number of imams and deploy them on missions abroad"
Just what is this need to project the role of serving Muslims? Seems there are currently around 350 Muslims serving in the Armed Forces. How many of them are fit and trained to deploy we do not know but, be generous, and say 300 across all three services; not much of a role playing force is it?
We know the strength of family ties and the knowledge of law advantageous to their own ends their community possesses. Has any Whitehall Warrior contemplated how to deal with the Daily Hate headline "Sent to die abroad because of my religion"? I'm not totally up to date with discrimination but I bet there are some in the Islamistan areas of UK who could see things their way.
There is more. 'The Director of Helmand hajj said,"The Taliban are spreading lies that NATO is trying to destroy our religion in Afghanistan. We can take back the message that in Britain the Muslim people are free to practice their religion"' Free to practice their religion? Well - of course they are but the Talib are not daft. There is ample evidence that the true course of Islam in UK is not totally free of justified criticism - even leaving aside the rants of the BNP which should read well back home in downtown Kabul. If we extend the ground to the NATO countries we have the wearing of the burqa and the fun and games in Holland. 'That' cartoon will be dredged up again. The March of Muslims through Wootton Basset. The welcome home where the local other-religionists spoke of murder by our forces.
Amongst the delegation was one Shah Wali described as a former 'senior prosecutor and authority on Sharia law' Ah - there is always one isn't there? That brings me to the quid pro that these estimable holy men will want. In Afghanistan nothing comes for free. Except for some where death comes in a glaze of light. By introducing new members of the Chaplain's department (turban branch) and deploying them to a theatre of war we will give them a fair degree of status - what CO would want to have his attached beardie making notes for the commander's annual assessment? In addition, someone here amongst the proponents of Sharia but feeling depresed can quickly get onto one of Wali's friends and say their religion is being threatened and Sharia dishonoured. It will be like having a branch of the union Unite right in the front line.
There is a place for propaganda - which I regard as just another branch of hearts and minds anyway. Hitler's acolytes showed just how opinion may be distorted by the skilful use of words and doubtless, a fair number of our Media and PR branch had Oxbridge educations. My complaint is that this type of proselytizing guff is regurgitated into the public domain and might even be swallowed by some as a good thing. We have an election coming and voters will be examining the conduct of the trough-searching candidates. To use this sort of initiative as a basis for being optimistic is degrading their information and is dishonest. The fact that a senior officer of General Richards' is being used as a front man only increases the deception.
It is, surely, very simple. We have tried using force of arms and skill. It achieved little at the time and nothing likely to be permanent. We suggested bribery of the other side's forces. That idea seems to have died the death; rest assured we would have had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner news had one single jundi come across (and stayed after getting his bribe). We speak of democracy and empowering the people. In that direction, check out Karzey's idea of free and fair elections. That idea has done down the waste pipe. We are left with the Blair Solution as demonstrated Northern Ireland. Find out what the other side want and give it to them in return for us being allowed to rush for the Exit door in peace. It got the Yanks out of Iraq and it has to be what we do in Afghanistan - unless we can find the courage of our convictions like the Canadians have done.
We can act unilaterally - America moves us about like a load of chess-pieces. Sort out things in our own area by whatever means and then set off for the docks. If Obama complains - that is if he even notices what an erstwhile ally is up to - tell him the area he drafted us into is OK and he can deal with the rest. If he fails to get the point then, tell him we must re-deploy to get ready for Falklands v.2.0.1 where the actions of his bitch have encouraged a load of gaucho to ride again.
I am not really a BNP sort of person but the way the current Government, and the totally useless Opposition, have allowed the status of UK to be destroyed internally and externally is a disgrace. I am for my Queen and Country in prime spot and the BNP's stated policies are very attractive to this ancient old man who has seen better times and locations.