Osborne is said to have asked how the British deployment can be justified to the public for the next two years, amid continuing casualties and doubts about the corrupt Afghan government.
Stop the War Coalition
14 October 2012
Caroline Munday mother of James Munday, 21, killed in Afghanistan 5 October 2008
John Rees, Stop the War Coalitio: Bring the troops home by Christmas
FIVE BRITISH SOLDIERS have been charged with murder, after video footage was found on a serviceman's laptop by civilian police in the UK, which allegedly shows them contravening the army's "rules of engagement".
Of course, no one is describing as murder the deaths of tens of thousands of Afghans who have been killed over the past eleven years by the invading western armies. What would in any other context be called mass murder, is permissible when carried out under the "rules of war" -- as defined by those doing the killing.
This may make the politicians and generals feel comfortable in waging an unjustified and pointless war, but it is unlikely to provide any solace to the relatives who have seen their families devastated in over a decade of slaughter by the United States and its allies -- the most prominent being the United Kingdom.
This year has already seen a catalogue of events and atrocities which make it glaringly obvious that the plan for the invading armies to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 -- "with heads held high" and declaring some kind of "victory" -- is a pipedream, as the anti-war movement has always said it was.
From US soldiers urinating on Afghans they have just killed, to the burning of the Qur'an, which provoked huge anti-American demonstrations across the country, to the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, most of them women and children, by US Sergeant Robert Bales, to the "accidental" killing of women and girls gathering firewood -- hardly a week has passed without some event exposing the true nature of a war that the media would have us believe is being waged for the best of reasons.
What more than anything may now make even the warmongers question the viability of another two years of senseless killing and destruction, is the farce of an "exit strategy" which is dependent on training the Afghan army and police to take responsibility for the country's security at the end of 2014 -- in the hope that western imperial interests can be defended without having to deploy foreign troops in the line of fire.
The sharp increase in the number of "blue-on-green" killings this year -- in which the same Afghans being groomed by the West to take over in 2014 are turning their guns on their western trainers -- has forced the US and Britain to confine their troops for much of the time to barracks.
But even there, it is not safe for the occupying troops, as the Taliban demonstrated four weeks ago with an attack on Camp Bastion, the US Marines' main base and supposedly impenetrable, which left two marines dead and six harrier jets destroyed -- the most damage to US planes since the Vietnam war.
Weighing on the mind of UK prime minister David Cameron must be how in the context of a war which is clearly lost he is going to justify any more deaths of British soldiers -- unlike the killing of Afghans, about which he has never shown a shred of concern.
And it appears that the second most powerful figure in Cameron's government has come to the obvious conclusion. Finance minister George Osborne, is reported as asking senior ministers, military commanders and intelligence chiefs, at a meeting of the National Security Council last month, why the troops cannot come home now.
Osborne is said to have demanded to know how the British deployment can be justified to the public for the next two years, amid continuing casualties and doubts about the Afghan government, which is among the most corrupt in the world. And Apparently, another government minister, Oliver Letwin, shares his view.
Of course, neither Osborne or Letwin is concerned about the killing involved in at least two more years of war. It is the £18 billion spent on a war for which the single remaining justification -- that we are there to protect Britain's "national security interests" -- is exposed as plainly absurd
Staying till the end of 2014 will cost at least another £10 billion, plus the huge cost of bringing home all the army's installations and military hardware.
It's rumoured that Osborne is hinting at next Easter as an exit date. David Cameron and his generals will resist this, not least because they will have to explain why so many lives were "sacrificed" over so many years, after having told the British public that the war was being won and was successfully defending Britain's vital interests.
The utter disarray of the government's war policies would be laughable but for the tragic consequences and wasted lives -- both Afghan and British -- over the past eleven years.
It is not as if no one was predicting that this would be the outcome of prosecuting a war against one of the world's poorest countries, whose people have shown time and again that they will not tolerate occupation by foreigners.
The anti-war movement has said this consistently from the first day of the invasion in 2001. Its voice has for years been representative of the vast majority of people in this country who have for many years opposed an unwinnable and pointless war.
What should George Osborne do, if he is serious in wanting the British troops to be withdrawn as soon as possible -- whatever his reasons? He can join the campaign launched last week by 19 members of military families. They all have relatives who are serving or have served in Afghanistan, some of whom have died there. They were joined by MPs and prominent writers, artists, actors and musicians in the call for all British troops to come home by Christmas.
The military families delivered a letter with this demand to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. You can add your name to their campaign by signing the letter now.
In the words of Caroline Munday, mother of British soldier James Munday, who was killed -- aged just 21 -- in Helmand province in 2008: "I know the devastation that this war has caused. Whether it's mums in Britain or Afghanistan, I know how it feels. Bring the troops home as soon as possible to stop even one more family suffering like we have."