There is one thing that seems clear to me about the war in Afghanistan. If the aim is to get rid of suicidal Muslim terrorists it has failed already. Supposedly the United States and its allies - including Australia - went to Afghanistan to stop Al Qaeda and capture or kill its leader Osama Bin Laden. Now we find Al Qaeda is ensconced in Yemen and that the horn of Africa has its own horde of fanatics, some of whom are migrating to join their brethren in Yemen every day. This outpost of militant Muslims was apparently involved in the planning of the latest attempt to blow up an aircraft over the United States which suggests that the presence of Bin Laden is not necessary for the war against the west to continue.
So what does the west do now? Do we keep fighting an irrelevant war in Afghanistan and invade Yemen as well? And when the provision and/or training of terrorists moves on to Sudan, or some other Muslim nation, what do we do then?
In Australia these questions are not even being asked, let alone answered, by the politicians in our major political parties. Labor and Liberal are both terrified of being labelled as “soft on terror” in the belief that such a label will cost them votes at the forthcoming federal election. Only the Greens have had the courage to condemn the futility of sending Australian troops to a war that has become irrelevant for such base political motives.
Every bit as appalling is the comparative silence of the country’s religious leaders. Their silence is in stark contrast to the head of Germany’s Protestant Church, Bishop Margot Kässmann, who told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper before Christmas: “Even by the broadest standards of the Protestant Church in Germany, this war cannot be justified and that the armed conflict must be ended as soon as possible.” She also said that German troops should be withdrawn as soon as possible.