With nearly two thirds of Britain’s voting population now firmly in opposition to the war both in theory and practice, believing it is unwise and unwinnable, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is engaged in what passes for a charm offensive in his administration, trying to sell Afghanistan to a public which has long sense stopped buying.
Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London, Brown sounded of two minds about the conflict, declaring simultaneously that the 2001 invasion had effectively disabled al-Qaeda and that the group is the greatest threat in the world.
It isn’t hard to see why Prime Minister Brown needs to cover both of these incongruous bases. Opposition to the war has grown on two fronts in the nation, that the war has been a disaster for eight years and that there is no good reason for it. Though Brown makes a convincing case for neither, it is clear he needs to sell the public on both.
Or maybe not. Brown’s popularity has plummeted as the war drags on, but his almost certain successor, David Cameron, is keen on escalating the war even further than Brown ever dared, and opposition to the conflict, even though it is the opinion of the vast majority of the public, remains far from the political mainstream.