The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

War and Peace, by Barack Obama

Bernd Debusmann-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

It is a timeline rich in irony. On Dec. 10, Barack Obama will star at a glittering ceremony in Oslo to receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. That's just nine days after he ordered 30,000 additional American troops into a war many of his fellow citizens think the U.S. can neither win nor afford.

Whether the sharp escalation of the war in Afghanistan he ordered on December 1 will achieve its stated aim - disrupt, dismantle and eventually defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan - remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: more troops equals more fighting equals more deaths -- of soldiers, insurgents and the hapless civilians caught in the middle. Not exactly a scenario of peace.

In Oslo, Obama will become the fourth American president (after Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt) to be handed the coveted peace medal and invited to give the traditional Nobel Lecture. It is meant to spell out the award winner's vision of peace, a challenging task for a man who just picked a much bigger war from a range of options that included reducing the U.S. military presence.

A Bagram betrayal

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clivestaffordsmith– Clive Stafford Smith is the director of Reprieve, the UK legal action charity that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners. The opinions expressed are his own. -

As the British death toll climbed above 200 in Afghanistan this week, it became clearer that the politicians were betraying the soldiers who they were sending to fight and die.

from UK News:

Do UK troops in Afghanistan have the right back up?

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth came under criticism on Monday over a shortage of military equipment in Afghanistan, where 15 British soldiers have been killed in the past two weeks.

The deaths highlight the shortage of helicopters, especially Chinooks, which can carry large numbers of troops and equipment over long distances, say the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

from UK News:

Is Britain paying too high a price in Afghanistan?

The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast.  The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.

Is Iraq stable enough to cope without U.S. troops?

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Tim Cocks-Tim Cocks is a Reuters correspondent based in Baghdad.-

For the U.S. military, it’s the million dollar question — or rather the $687 billion question, according to a recent estimate of the Iraq war’s total cost. Is Iraq now stable enough for them to take a permanent back seat?

The short answer is no one knows. The only way they were ever going to find out was to leave Iraq’s own forces to it and hope the whole thing doesn’t come tumbling down. They started doing that on Tuesday when they pulled out of Iraqi cities.

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