British forces in Afghanistan ignored by American People

The recent post on BP by Stephen Bush pointed out the potential leverage of Britain’s contribution to the Afghan War which possibly could be exerted to mitigate the pressure put on BP by President Obama and the American government.

But this could only be effective if the American public knows of our effort and sacrifice.  There is reason to believe that they don’t know and one wonders what efforts the British Embassy in Washington has been making to inform them.

Thus in the article in Rolling Stone (circulation 1.4 million) which has caused the American commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, to be dismissed (June 23rd), is the paragraph:

“He [McChrystal] is in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies.  Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States,  Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany’s president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops.  McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him.”

Britain is not even recognised as an ally, let alone the major country which has suffered more losses proportionately to deployed forces and population than any other, including the United States.

This week has seen the 302nd death (not casualty – journalists please note) in action of a British soldier or 3.2% of a deployment which is now around 9,500 troops.  America has suffered 1,000 deaths from a deployment of around 62,000 (soon to be increased to 100,000) or 1.6 per%.  Britain’s loss is from a population of 62 million, America’s from a population five times as large.  No other NATO country except Canada comes near these poportionate sacrifices.

Do the American people know this?  Somehow one suspects they don’t.

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One Response to “British forces in Afghanistan ignored by American People”

  1. Ageing Albion says:

    I suspect you are right with regard to the American public. In the American military, however, it is actually worse, because their view is that the UK was defeated in Iraq, and has been questionable in Afghanistan.

    One might debate how much of a failure the UK military was in Iraq post-invasion. The recent book Losing Small Wars by Frank Ledwidge argues that it was a severe failure, but this view is not universally accepted.

    That, however, is not the point. The perception of the Americans is that the British failed. Given that the prime reason for Britain’s involvement was to side with America, whom Tony Blair believed were crucial to national security, this constitutes failure indeed.

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