Gordon Brown, on last night's Prime Ministerial Debate, said that Britain was in Afghanistan with the Americans because of the "domino principle" -- ie: that the other countries in the region will fall into the wrong hands if the enemy (is the enemy the Taliban now, or Al Qaeda?) isn't stopped at its source.
His comment alarmed me considerably. The domino principle? That was the rationale behind American involvement in Vietnam forty years ago, and after the States had sacrificed some 50-odd thousand of its own youth in support of that unprovable supposition and left South Vietnam to the Communists, the only notable thing that happened in the neighbourhood was Cambodia falling to the Khmer Rouge, who made the Communists look like flower sellers. And that, history considers, was largely due to Richard Nixon's illegal and despicable bombing of Cambodian territory in the hunt for Viet Cong training camps.
The domino principle, in my opinion, and the view of switched on people who live in the area, does work, but only because of the presence of the occupying armies. Pakistan, at its most stable, could have dealt with the threat from the fanatics perfectly well without our help. But if the Taliban flee over the borders, and sadly, Gordon, all the evidence suggests that they have already, it will be to retrench in a territory not yet held by America and Britain. So now we're in Afghanistan and the really dangerous radical Islamists will be plotting terrorist attacks against us from a destabilised Pakistan.
Brown's citing of the domino principle is the fourth or fifth reason we have been given for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. I wonder why we're going to be there in June. Perhaps I'm naive; perhaps I'm an old peacenik who deserves a good crack on the head; or perhaps, God forbid, I'm right and if more people held my views the world would be an infintely safer and more pleasant place to live. But I still say discussion, from the position of strength that we have as a nuclear power and an economic leader in the world, is better than bombs and missiles. And military theory discredited forty years ago is certainly going to help no one.
I'm beginning to think I can't vote for a party that makes war so irresponsibly and at such a terrible cost to our sons.