Will Brown get credit for staying in a war-zone?
Over the past ten days there’ve been visits to Afghanistan by first David Cameron and now Gordon Brown. According to the Sun the latter became the first prime minister since Winston Churchill to spend the night in a war-zone and several papers are carrying the picture that’s on the Guardian’s front-page.
Clearly as well as being seen to be “supporting our boys” the visits provide the peg for further coverage of the challenge facing the British force in the country.
The Guardian leads with a disturbing report on how an “.. enormous hydroelectric turbine dragged at huge cost by British troops through Taliban heartlands last year may never be installed because Nato has been unable to secure a 30-mile stretch of road leading to an isolated dam in northern Helmand. “
The sheer pointlessness of it all is very depressing.
The Sun, meanwhile, focuses on the war-zone element and carries quotes from soldiers saying Brown was trying to “out-Rambo” Tory leader David Cameron” who spent three days there last week.
But what are the politics of this? Could withdrawal start to become an option? Is there anything possible that could be described as victory.
Given the scale of the commitment and the growing death-toll it’s going to be harder to maintain the consensus that Britain should be there at all. But neither Brown nor Cameron are going to talk about withdrawal before the election.
This will surely be an issue – at this stage it’s hard to quite work out how.