Senior Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell questioned Gordon Brown today during the Prime Minister’s statement on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the House of Commons.
Sir Menzies asked:
“After eight years, what confidence can we have that the strategy announced today by the Prime Minister has any better chance of success than the strategies previously announced by this Government?”
In his response the Prime Minister said that unless you have a strategy for Afghan people taking responsibility for their own affairs “you cannot see a way through this that doesn’t involve British or other troops there for many, many years”.
He added, “The importance of what we are saying today is supported by NATO itself. It is very much in-tune to what General McChrystal is saying. He has reconsidered the American strategy, he says he is moving from counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency and focusing on people and winning their support rather than alienating them. I believe it is the right strategy as it gives us a way forward.”
Commenting after his exchange with the Prime Minister, Sir Menzies said:
“The Prime Minister did not answer my question. I have lost count of the number of occasions I have heard the “Launch” in the House of Commons of new strategy. The fact that eight years on yet another strategy is required tells you all you need to know.
“Barack Obama is engaged in a wholesale review of US strategy and such is the subordinate position of the United Kingdom that we will have to conform to his ultimate strategic decisions. It’s not what General McChrystal says that counts but what Barack Obama decides.”