Jump to content

West cannot defeat al-Qaeda, says UK forces chief


Recommended Posts

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NT2udTvwXg]YouTube - UK Army Chief Gen Sir David Richards - We Cannot Defeat Islam of Taliban 14 nov 2010[/ame]


The West can only contain, not defeat, militant groups such as al-Qaeda, the head of the UK's armed forces has said.


General Sir David Richards, a former Nato commander in Afghanistan, said Islamist militancy would pose a threat to the UK for at least 30 years.


But he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show a clear-cut victory over militants was not achievable. The BBC's Frank Gardner said the comments reflect a "new realism" in UK and US counter-terrorism circles.


Our security correspondent said such an admission five years ago might have been considered outrageous and defeatist. Gen Richards, 58, took over as chief of the defence staff last month, after a spell as head of the British army. Before he was due to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph as part of the UK's Remembrance Sunday commemorations, Gen Richards told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show it was important to get the balance of remembrance right.


"It's something we've got to be very careful about... there's a lot of dwelling on death as opposed to what those people who have died achieved in their sadly too often too brief lives, but those people have done immense things that are good and I think we need to focus a bit more on that," he said.


Britain has lost 343 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001.


But Gen Richards told the BBC it was not possible to defeat the Taliban or al-Qaeda militarily.


"You can't. We've all said this. David Petraeus has said it, I've said it. "The trick is the balance of things that you're doing and I say that the military are just about, you know, there. "The biggest problem's been ensuring that the governance and all the development side can keep up with it within a time frame and these things take generations sometimes within a time frame that is acceptable to domestic, public and political opinion," he said.


He said extremist Islamism could not be eradicated as an idea. "I don't think you can probably defeat an idea, it's something we need to battle back against as necessary, but in its milder forms why shouldn't they be allowed to have that sort of philosophy underpinning their lives.


"It's how it manifests itself that is the key and can we contain that manifestation - and quite clearly al-Qaeda is an unacceptable manifestation of it," he said.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can understand what he means. . . we can't just go in and bomb them because they're mixed in with civilians. So even when we think we've got them all locked up or killed, there could be hundreds more supporters or actual members hiding in caves or just hidden in with the rest of society. Which is why I could see it easily taking 30+ years until we're clear of danger from them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Afgahnistan is just pointless, did they learn nothing from the Soviets being there in the 70s, they won't get anywhere there, why we waste lives and money on an unwinnable pointless war is beyond me, we should pull out.


Huge amount of minerals and other resources are in Afghanistan, that's why. Also notice how it's a good surrounding point along with Iraq for an invasion of Iran.


Every bomb we drop we only create more terrorist and support for them. Every base we have in a foreign country, every corrupt government we support, we are just creating more terrorist and supporters for them.


A better strategy to "fight" terrorism would be to starve it to where it's not a big problem. It'll never go away, but if we'd relinquish our modern empire and military stranglehold on the middle east, they wouldn't have many supporters or money to carry out a real war.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...