Sunday 24 January 2010


Time after time it breaks my heart to see kids, not much more than children; lads who have only just started their real life, lose that life in this stupid, awful, pathetic, unwinnable war.

On Friday young Peter Aldridge died in an explosion in Helmand. Rifleman Peter Aldridge, for all his youth, was already more of a man than most of us back home. He had faced things most will never have to face and seen things couldn’t begin to cope with. He was the 250th British soldier to die in Afghanistan.

His family said that he died a hero, and added: “He was determined to get his first tour of duty under his belt. He believed in the Army and was proud of his job and we are so proud of you Peter.” He said that if he had to die, he wanted to die a soldier.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Jones, said: “The last thing Rifleman Aldridge said to the medic treating him at the scene was to tell his mother that he loved her.”

If that doesn’t break your heart, then it must be made of stone.

To the Prime Minister I would say: Bring these lads back Mr Brown. Please, before any more of them, still in their teens, still more schoolboys than adults, are killed. To Peter, I say: Thank you. You did this for us even if we don't deserve it. You did it because it was your duty. We are, or should be, grateful and proud of you and all your colleagues.


  1. Controvercial opener Tris!

    But I disagree, Afganistan is a winnable war. But not under current tactics and investment levels.

    As for our mission, what we are actually there for- it is not to enable girls to go to school, it isnt to provide a westenised secular democracy, nor is it even about building roads and infrastructure. That is all the great enemy of mission creap, let happen by an inconmpetent war leadership.

    Our mission is simple, deny al-Quida the use of Afganistan to ever launch terrorist attacks against us. Fair, doable and possible, but only if we accept as Paddy Ashdowne explains [often, in this Times articles] that it requires military action AND diplomacy.

    I am proud of this young man, like you Tris. He has done the ultimate act of bravey, and died to defend his fellow countrymen.

    I shall pray for him next time I am in church.

  2. Well it was Rifleman Aldridge who made the statement Dean.... not me.

    I don't think the war is winnable Dean. The Afghans are far better at this kind of thing than we are. They beat the Soviet Union, and in the day when Britain ruled the world, they beat the British Empire.

    Whether girls go to school there is not our business, any more than it’s their business that here, girls lie in the snow half undressed and too drunk to get up. It’s kind of us to build roads for them, but, we could do with a few ourselves, ones that are not knee deep in potholes.

    I know that the latest crap from that buffoon of a War Minister is that we are there to deny them Afghanistan... so, I’d like to ask him when are we going to go to war to deny them Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. When we do that they will move to Mali, Niger, Mauritania.... vast areas of which lie empty, and the poverty of which means that some Al Qaeda money would be helpful to.

    You can never have a war against a terrorist organisation Dean. Only a fool would have thought that you could. Of course George W Bush was that fool.... It’s like a hydra; the more you cut it down the more it will grow. We need a Hercules, and we don’t have one.

    But none of that diminishes the bravery of young Peter Aldridge and all the other men who have died doing their duty.

  3. You make good points.

    But afganistan is no longer a safe haven for training militants. They now are forced out of the country, trained elsewhere. Indeed we have severly damaged their terrorist infrastructure.

    Now to keep them out.

  4. My sincere sympathies to this young lad's family. They will carry the burden of his death all their lives. There's nothing heroic to die in war, much better to be a veteran.

    Worse still, our soldiers are not dying in a country which threatened us. They're dying because of the egos of political leaders.

    I can see our troops continually being at war for generations to come, until we are finally invaded ourselves. Yes. That may be sooner than we think because many of our enemies are home grown.

  5. The most recent terrorist attack against the west was launched I believe from Yemen and not from Afghanistan, and before Afghanistan it was Iraq and before Iraq it was Afghanistan again and before that it was, well I’m not sure Saudi Arabia? Somalia? Libya? Oh and the British Empire was defeated in Afghanistan twice not once: 1839-1842 and 1878-1880. Currently the Taliban appear not to be being defeated. So I don’t think that History is on our side and that can’t be a good thing. My money will always go with the history after all if Hitler had heeded it he would not have attacked Russia (like Napoleon did before him) and might have won the second world war.

  6. SR: what a gloomy picture you paint. I can only hope that global warming will have caught up with us all before that happens, that I am dead and that those left will all be fighting over the top of Ben Nevis.

  7. But Dean, from our point of view it doesn't really matter where they are. The point is that there are somewhere. Flushing them out of Afghanistan (to a certain extent) will not make life safer for us if they have gone elsewhere.

    A terrorist infrastucture will be rebuilt because they truely believe in what they are fighting for. As far as the Taliban is concerned, all they are fighting for is the West to be out of their territory.

  8. You're bang on the button SR. They will never give up, and therefore we will never win. So, unless we accept that and withdraw, we will have lads dying in Afghanistan for a very long time.

    Of course, they are bound to take the fight to the streets of the West, especially America and therefore its 51st puppet state.

    Why should all the disruption, the killing of innocent villagers, including children, be in their countries, they will think.

    I wonder if anyone has actually thought about why these people are terrorists. Why do they hate the West?

    It worked when John Major had the bottle to break with the "we don't talk to terrorists" mantra of his loony predecessor, and started talked with Sinn Fein. Tony Blair to his credit, along with many others, including Albert Reynolds managed to get some sort of settlement. And people stopped being killed.

    Of course it’s idiotic to imagine that Brown could manage anything like that, and in fairness, in this case, what Brown says doesn’t matter a stuff. I hope, however, that Mr Obama will have the courage to talk.

  9. I image, Munguin, with much higher mountains elsewhere, no one much is going to worry about Ben Nevis...

    Let's hope the current Westminster lot are on one of their junckets to the Grand Canyon at the time!

  10. Tris, and the rest read this and learn something.

    1. The war is morally justified, removing saddam is right to do. Blair got it right, end of.

    2. to question the legitimacy of the war is to say that this young boy died in vain. SHAME ON YOU! Unpatriotic and downright discusting.

    3. Dean, your a tory scumbag, why dont you get lost? Your opinions are only a pretense, we all remember maggie and her days, that guy from the previous threat....dubie -whatever...he got it right...we wont forget her.

    4. subrosa, what are you on about hen? better spend more time thinking about that dirty kitchen and leave politics to those of us who are loyal to the working man.

    Scoff and toff is what you lot offer,


    Fighting for socialism since before you lot were even born.

  11. Peter.

    I see that your name links directly the Labour's site and a picture of Iain Gray. I suspect that even Labour would find the kind of comment that you make acutely embarrassing.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion, however out of step it is with what your party wants to get across, and you must feel free to express it as you wish. You are welcome to do so on this blog.

    I would, however, respectfully request that you don't name call people like Dean and Subrosa. Both are people whose views I may not always share, but whose opinions a respect and enjoy hearing and whom I count friends.

    If you don't, or if you can't counter their arguments with reasonable grown up responses, don't do the alternative, at least not on this blog.

    I disagree profoundly with all that you have said in your post. Mr Blair was wrong in my opinion and I would never show disrespect to Rifleman Aldridge or any of his colleagues.

    I said as much in my blog. They are brave men doing their duty, which is to do what the Queen, through her ministers tells them to do. That what they are being told to do is stupid, incompetent and half arsed is NOT their fault.

    My deepest respects to people who are brave enough to do what I would NEVER have been brave enough to do.

  12. Peter,

    There is little of the socialist spirit in what you have put down.

    However, your comment suggests that regime change is justifiable. I profoundly disagree with this view.

    Regime change, illegal under international law is equally morally repugnant. Where does such logic end?

    Today Saddam, tommorrow who? Iran, or North Korea? Such regime change logic may satisfy the Joe McCarthy's and Kissengers of this world- but I shall make do with the United Nations. For all of it's failures.

    This said, I will clarify that I do not interpret the Iraq war as one of regime change, or even for oil. It is on this understranding, and the legal interpretation of it's legality that I supported the war then, and continue to do so now.

  13. Dean: You're right. For someone who was fighting for socialism beofre all of us were born, he has the weirdest idea of what it's all about.

    But then, I really think that Peter is taking the p***. No one could be quite that daft AND for real.....

  14. Some kind of something Dean.....