By Daphne Liddle

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron launched into a jingoist rant in his speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet last Saturday. He boasted to the well-fed heads of British capitalism that: “Britain remains a great economic power” and a mighty military power.

He told them: “The hard power of our military continues to be backed by the fourth largest military budget in the world” and that Britain’s armed forces “are respected around the world as among the most effective and professional in the world.”

He continued: “In terms of our role in the world, the truth is that many other countries would envy the cards we hold.” He praised “the buccaneering spirit of our expatriate community abroad” and “our centuries-long engagement with all parts of the world”. “Show me a city in the world with stronger credentials than the City of London,” he said.

This is in stark contrast to his message to the working class that the budget deficit is so dire we must accept having our living standards cut to Third World levels and our state welfare all bit abolished if Britain is not to sink into the ocean without trace.

Perhaps he was trying to flatter the chiefs of the armed forces as he cuts into their budgets — but only lightly compared to other Government departments.

Or perhaps he has retreated into a public-schoolboy fantasy to avoid facing the inevitable humiliation and withdrawal from the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan.

The head of the British Armed Forces, General Sir David Richards, recently conceded that it is not possible to defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan militarily.

The general also admitted that the people of Afghanistan are increasingly feeling frustrated over Britain and Nato’s incapability to implement their commitments after occupying the country nine years after the US-led invasion in 2001.

the excuse

The excuse for the invasion was to prevent acts of terrorism like 11th September 2001, to eradicate Al-Qaeda and to defeat the Taliban. But the reality has more to do with oil pipelines across Afghan territory. Not one Afghan has ever committed a terrorist act in Britain.

But as the death toll of British and American service personnel mounts the imperialists are now realising they are making the same mistakes as British troops made in Afghanistan during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Soaring above those figures are the deaths and serious injuries of the Afghan civilian population from the effects of the war, as revealed in the Wikileaks disclosures of last July.

Cameron, like Blair and Bush before him, cannot understand that it is this unending tragedy and outrage that drives the people of Afghanistan to support the Taliban. Far from destroying the Taliban, the imperialist onslaught makes them stronger.

The blatant lying and corruption of the Karzai puppet regime also drives people to prefer the Taliban.

The Taliban is without doubt an extremist right-wing neo-fascist movement. The majority of Afghans probably would not support it if their country was not being invaded by cruel and bloody-minded foreigners. It’s only a couple of decades since the majority voted for a progressive socialist government.

George W Bush disclosed that he sanctioned torture of suspects in his “war on terror”. In his memoir, Decision Points, Bush brags about authorising the CIA to waterboard its victims, even though the CIA’s own experts have said many times that torture is ineffective as a way of discovering the truth. People in agony will say any old rubbish to get the pain to stop.

In the memoir Bush says the CIA asked him to authorise the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the alleged initiator of the 11th September attacks. It is a technique that creates the sensation of imminent drowning and after the Second World War the US executed Japanese soldiers who used waterboarding to interrogate US prisoners as war criminals. Bush’s response was “Damn right.” Bush is a war criminal.

Cameron must stop dreaming of the long-lost days of the British Empire and withdraw British troops from Afghanistan, for the sake of the troops, the Afghans and the British economy.