tv Book Discussion on Churchills First War CSPAN February 16, 2014 8:45am-9:39am EST
grant contributed to that at a number of generals and soldiers contributed to that theory. they solicited manuscripts from folks and women wrote in to describe what it was like on the homefront. i went to the new york public library looked in the archives of century magazine and this woman would attach letters to the manuscripts and say i'm offering this to contribute to this series. if you don't like it, please send it back as i think i can place it elsewhere. so they were very clear that the postwar writings, you know, were designed for publication in the publishing firm turned them down in one magazine if they intended to extend it to another magazine. they felt strongly they have something important to say and they were going to make sure
there was an outlet that would let them say it. margaret mitchell and mary johnson who is writing and i think her books came out in 1911, 1912 will have this remarkably sick, unsentimental account of the civil war. is very different from margaret mitchell's narrative of the war. i would perhaps to read -- i was call her the poor woman. she was in poor among the partners than she had the shortly after margaret mitchell's novel came out. she had a different kind of idea about the war and she was angry. she wrote to a friend something to the effect of the heretic or tenures to read this book, like it had taken her 12?
her book comes out six months, eight months after margaret mitchell's the, but other trade has been out. they were by and civil war novel after gone with a win. some critics wondered whether women wrote this battle scenes. is that possible? sellable question the road to publishers. did mary johnson really write these things? sometimes have expressed for readers with the iowa surprise to woman could write title this way. said not necessarily doubt that you actually read it, the surprised that you have it made. margaret mitchell armed herself with a long list of books that she reportedly used to research writing gone with the wind because they think she knew she might come under attack, even though battle is perhaps a 10th of that, there's very
little more in margaret mitchell's story. she had at long last of some of these diaries and talking about. other novels that i talk about in this book that she read in preparation so that she had a kind of authenticity to her book for the women who participated. they took were quite seriously inflamed the kind of authority to write about the war in the second point is just how expansive and accommodating the market was for these women, that they found, and i'm not saying everyone who wrote everything ever got it published, but i think i was surprised to see how many novels got published at any given time by southern women or how many diaries or how many versions of the confederate girlhood can get published in
any given year. apparently allowed. i think those are important takeaways from this study that there was an eager audience that met its desire through the work that these women -- >> transfixed recounts winston churchill is recounted in 1899. this is a little under an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much. good seeing everybody. welcome to the heritage foundation. it is my pleasure to introduce a good friend, con coughlin "daily
telegraph" an expert on the middle east. the critically acclaimed author of several books, including "the new york times" bestseller. he appears regularly and has been a frequent political commentator on fox news, cnn and see as well as bbc and sky news. com is a veteran foreign correspondent and his latest book is a gripping account of the winston churchill's first campaign as they uncover a tenant fighting against tribesmen on the northwest frontier. the great, great grandfather of the taliban and the tribal insurgents in modern-day afghanistan. this is a story of adventure and imperial endeavor in which contains important lessons in morning. it is fitting that our event was hosted by the margaret thatcher
freedom. throughout her political career, lady thatcher grew strength and inspiration, especially at moments when she face huge challenges, key moments in history that called for ironclad resolve. she also drew comfort from the fact that churchill had on numerous occasions count himself alone on the political stage, scorned by many in his own party but never let you turn to stand by his principles and beliefs. determination to confront this radical regime and reject temptations of appeasement was influenced by her admiration for churchill's courage. to quote the our lady, everything about churchill was heroic. he was a leader, a man among men and as he recalled in a speech at churchill's birthplace, for me in so many others, our ideas of liberty, honor, sacrifice, fellowship and value have been
formed at churchill's words. please join me in welcoming con coughlin, journalists and historians. [applause] >> thank you very much for that warm introduction. a pleasure to be back at the heritage. the book, "churchill's first war" is a story about what i think is the making of winston churchill. then talk about courage, his ability to prevail in adversity. this fascinating, but neglected. in churchill's early life almost lays the foundations for the man churchill became in his life. when i approach the subject, like most people when i thought of young winston, i thought of
his exploits about war, has escaped from captivity and all of that. in fact, when i was in research i did not do is look and the only reference relates to the church in afghanistan is the opening sequence where you have a picture of young winston on the great horrors and the general is saying to one of his young officers, who is that what the fool on the grade. hook it nowadays. look at his buddy had blown off. indeed, the reason young winston went out to the northwest frontier of the british empire, an area that is today confirms part of pakistan as it did want to get himself noticed. he was 22 years old. his family background was in
some disarray. his father, lord randolph had died of when churchill was studying at santos. his mother, jenny churchill, a great society beauty had a reputation as something of a ground for his various dalliances with society gentlemen. among her admirers was then prince of wales in the family had a rather difficult reputation of british society. not only that, they are deeply impoverished. at the time the court randolph died in 1895, young winston was just coming out of sandhurst. having had a very different cooling, one of britain's leading public schools in those days if you were very bright, if
you were being singled out for a career in law were to go to university or do something useful, you went into the army and that is very young winston languished for most of his days and he was so behind academically but it took them three attempts to get in. he failed the first two attempts and had what we called to go through the exam. so young churchill's portion were at the low end in deed when he embarked on life. but he made it clear from a very early age that having decided on a military career and i'm nicoletta politicians today, he thought the military career was the perfect foundation for life in politics and from a very early age he had this vision of himself going through corners of
the british empire, winning medals, winning acclaim and then using that acclaimed to launch his political career. even at this stage, on his days off he would go to the house of commons can disagree parliamentarians speak. he read avidly in his late father's speeches. in one of his wonderful phrases, he said this at the age of 22, he said he wanted to beat his metals into an iron dispatch box. so the young winston was a very prepurchase character and very, very keen to get out to places like the afghan border and make it name for himself. one of his more memorable quote from this. and to soar in afghanistan and
recaptures churchill: not to battle as a young soldier. he writes nuttiness life is so exhilarating to be shot at without result. this relates very much with this gung ho attitude that you winston set off to the northwest trend here. the other thing that was driving him was he needed on how to make money. one was enterprising arrangements in the late 19th century was british newspapers on this idea that rather than send foreign correspondent off to remote parts of the road at great expense, why not get a bright young military officer to write dispatches from the frontlines. they probably had a good idea of
what they're writing about. second that, if anything happened to them, the military would have to take care of all the cost rather than newspapers. in that spirit, church of god himself arrangement with newspaper the daily telegraph and in fact it's in churchill wrote during that period that this rather cozy arrangement ended because lord pensioner at the british army took such a dim view of the way. from openly criticizing the high policy of the british military clipboard kitchen personally order and it's never been undertaken since except by retired officers. the parallels today, a lot of
what mr. when i see the church was the great, great grandfathers of the taliban would raise an eyebrow, not least because churchill was fighting on the other side of the border. he was fighting in northern pakistan. i've traveled extensively around this region, researching the book. if i tell you if you got a map of the cia about the drone strikes that they've launched in the tribal areas of pakistan, there's tribes and valleys were churchill fought in 1897. the story of the young pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the taliban three years ago for campaigning was shot in a village just a few miles away
were church was based. so in terms of history repeating itself, it's hard to have a more graphic illustration of how history is repeating itself. back in the 90s, the main problem in the can as they go through this churchill story, you'll see the overlap with today but the main problem in the 1890s for the british being caused by the implementation, our richard implementation and does is the border between pakistan afghan. back in the 1890s the british who had two disastrous military campaigns in afghanistan and the team 30s in the 1880s basically said we've had enough of the saskia. we're going to dry up order and
the afghans can say on their side of the border without the british and higher on the other and never the two shall meet. a bit like the securities that the israelis established in the west bank of the durand line went right away through tribal lands and inflame the tribes. i'm now wandered around the mountains and incited the afghan tribesmen, the passion tribesmen to revolt against the british using similar arguments at the same were coming to reserve their religion, interfere with their customs and take over their lives. ..
>> they lived allies, they lived free at the expense of the people county road. more than this, they enjoyed a sort of no man's wife or daughter is safe from them. some of the manners and morals, it is impossible to write. you can imagine the impact that had on the breakfast table when "the daily telegraph" dropped through the letterbox in the 1890s. as a result of the line being established the tribes were very quickly in a stage of revolt and came charging down from the afghan mountains and attacked the british bases. first of all in 1895 where there was a very bitter contest and later on all along the border, all the places we know so well today, all these areas in the valley where churchill fought. they all took up arms against
the british at different stages. and after the uprising, the british government under now a conservative prime minister, decided that they needed to put up some defenses around the border to protect their garrisons from future attacks. one of these bases was a place called abbottabad, which i think we all know from what happened to mr. bin laden a couple of years ago. abbottabad was the main supply basis for the forts, the network a force that goes along the frontier. one of these forged was built, and in 1897, two years after the trial while the fort was being built, again the mullahs were very successful in an inciting the tribes and his forte was the first step towards a british takeover of the region and a
great uprising started in the summer of 1897. this time, churchill was kicking his heels in london. he joined a very smart regiment, the queens fourth, which had taken part in the charge of the light brigade and had fought with wellington during the peninsular wars. it was a very smart regiment and, of course, the reason he joined the smart regiment was a went to the best part and admit to get noticed. but most of his frustration, this smart regiment when he was being deployed to india was not going up to the north where the trouble was, but down to the self. south. again you get this wonderful sense of the impatience of the young winston churchill as he got his mother who i said it very high social connections, and everybody else he could think of to try to get him placed somewhere more interesting and exciting where he was more likely to win
medals. when i was researching the book i looked at some of the british records from this period, and quite a few young british officers perished during their tours of duty in southern india. but none of them died in combat. they all died in pursuit such as pig sticking and tiger hunting and things like that. young churchill was in no mood to waste his life chasing wild beasts. he wanted action. although he did have to join is a garrison in southern india, before he left he ran into a pattern, a splendidly named british general called general, and general blood had fought in several campaigns on the front it was some distinction. young churchill had met him at a party in london and basically expected this promise from blood that if there's any more trouble
he would send for churchill and get churchill to see some action. and sure enough, churchill was on holiday inn britain attending the races at the goodwood when you read in the paper the tribes revolting again. surprise, surprise, general blood had been appointed to lead the expedition to subdue the tribesmen. churchill literally left the races, drove a train to victoria, got a train from the tory down to southern italy to get back to india, pausing merely to send blood a cable money him of his promise. of course, in those days the journey took about three weeks, and you get this wonderful sense of urgency which -- with churchill in his letters and diaries as he stops off at all
the different ports along the route and goes to the telegram office, expecting to hear a reply from general blood. and there's nothing. he gets all the way back to southern india and still he hears nothing. by this time he is the agitated. he writes to his mother, his fellow, blood, is a bit of a cat. how dare he not reply to me? churchill, at that. eventually blood of courses off campaigning and quite hard campaign it was, too. when he did get back from the first phase of the campaign, against the tribes, he did send a cable to churchill saying, well, we don't have any room on the military step a why didn't you come up as a newspaper correspondent? so churchill went charging off to northern india, took in five days by train. and again, reading through the diaries, is since of the fight
was against him, that by the time he had gone up there on the horrible train journey through the indian plains, all the action would be over and would be nothing for them to do, no medals to win. in fact, when he got there, in early september 1897, the british had already suffered some quite heavy casualties. they were looking for young officers to replace those who have been killed. and in those days rather than send the ethics of injured soldier so they simply had an option so that their comrades in arms could benefit from their loss. so churchill went straight to one of these auctions to get himself is fighting kid basically, his calvary kept. and among the effects being sold was a great horse, a white horse and churchill thought i'll have that because i would get myself
noticed. not realizing the reason the horse was up for sale in the first place was that the sharpshooters in the hindu kush had taken when very good shot at the occupant. churchill gets there with all of his kids and his white horse desperate for action to take in his frustrated because everybody is off on yet another mission. he goes to the mess bar and he asks -- is told as a whiskey and soda there. he said, turtles don't drink whiskey and soda. we like brittney. he said that's all we've got, lump it or leave it. he said i will try. from that day churchill's long association with whiskey and soda. blood comes back, finds churchill loitering around and says we've got to make use of
you. you can write some dispatches but we need you to do some of sharp and stuff. so churchill descends to develop it again if you google the moment valley come you'll see it's been the subject of several drone strikes in recent years at the taliban have moved from the afghan border into pakistan and launched against the pakistani government. all the stripes are so interlinked. and churchill was sent to the valley. the valley -- most of the tribes in the valley participated in the revolt against them. and so the british tactics in which goes to the different villages and either party with them, get the tribes to sign orders of good behavior, otherwise they would punish, the crops were, the houses were burned in and taken into
captivity or even worse. it was a pretty hard edge operation. and churchill, one of churchill's first engagements on the 16th of september, 1897 took place at a village, again the subject of several drone strikes in recent years. this actually was one of the many occasions during the six-week period where churchill came with a whisker of losing his life. he later told his mother he came under fire 10 complete times, on three of those occasions he came very close to being killed. and the moment was private one of the most dangerous moments of his early career as a soldier. basically the party went up to a hillside to punish the village.
because it was a long climb, churchill had to dismount his horse so he wasn't as conspicuous as he might have been, and a climb up to the village, they got there and as was the custom, the villagers had all disappeared. and as they do now, they watched the western forces approach, look for any weaknesses in their positions and then looked to see if there's some way to attack, ambush in some shape or form. again, american, british, french soldiers fighting in afghanistan. on this particular day, the british had made the mistake of going well beyond the cover provided by the batteries. when they got there, one of the senior officers looked around
and said, well, we are rather in the air here, aren't we? the fact the village was deserted did not lead them to believe that nobody was around. and sure enough as they started to withdraw, hundreds of tribesmen came down from the surrounding hills and started to attack churchill's party, which in total was about 90 strong. churchill was certain to take part, to provide cover and fire while the main party was through, which they did in stages. the first stage was affected without too much instance. but by the time they started to move to undertake the second part of the withdrawal, the tribesmen really closed in, and churchill has a really gripping account of just how intense the fighting was at this particular
stage. once the main body had moved down to a position, churchill's covering party then got up to follow them. the rest of our party got up and turned to retreat. there was a ragged volley from the rocks, shells, exclamations, and screams. i thought for a moment that five or six of my men lay down again, so they have to. to killed and three wounded. one man shot through the breast and pouring with blood. another light on his back kicking and twisting. the british officer was spinning around just behind me, his face a mess of blood. his right eye cut out. yes, it was such an adventure. so churchill come as part of the group of 10, then has to try and recover the bodies, get the wounded down and, in fact, he got a mention in dispatches for this particular, for his bravery
in this action. and, in fact, later on being churchill he complains to his friends, you know, if the senior officer had been around and if you been on his right, so would've noticed him and given him the victorious cross because they were given out in this campaign and one of churchill's great rivals in this period, thing council who dispatches for the times newspaper, but he managed when the victorian across as a really dedicated churchill because all he got was a mention in dispatches. but the really interesting thing about this lesson from churchill's first war is that the learned firsthand what conflict was really like. what it was like to fight, what it was like to be in an engagement where at one point when he ran out of bullets, he and the tribesmen were throwing
rocks at each other. that's how close the fighting was. and, of course, a lot of churchill's friends were killed during this campaign. and some of them are buried up there today, kind of a forgotten part of the world. and, of course, churchill himself could very easily have perished and probably would've been laid to rest up there and history of the 20th century may have been very different. but again, churchill was a very complex personal and again to his wartime leadership. and i think people forget the humanity of churchill as a wartime leader. one of the big arguments he kept putting up in his opposition was visited with her about the loss of life. and again coming back to malakand, churchill was in another engagement a couple weeks after that event, was involved in another really
bitter skirmish, when a very close friend of his, another young lieutenant by the name of browne wilkinson was shot and killed right by churchill side. and churchill had to help retrieve the body so wasn't cut out by the afghans. and he later wrote to his mother, i very rarely detect genuine emotion in myself, but i must write, it's a rare instance, the fact that i cried when it the royal west cans on the 30th of september and saw them, the men really unsteady under fire and tired of the game come at a poor young officer, literally cut to pieces on a stretcher here so you have churchill really understanding the nature of war and that young man who started out writing about generation of being shot at, sorting a very fast and
bitter lesson on the realities of war. a churchill did survive and when he looked back on it, as i say, this is a very fascinating and neglected the churchill in history because it was the making of winston churchill, for several reasons. as i said he went out there with one purpose, to make a name for himself and to lay the platform for his later career as a politician. and he achieved that in space. first of all, of course he got his mention in dispatchers. he also wrote a series of rather find newspaper articles. i must say, i'm a former foreigner at the telegraph and i've seen some good dispatchers in my time, and i must say anything coming from winston churchill would have been warmly received. and as a result of his dispatchers, he was -- is one regret about the newspaper aspect of things was the telegraph didn't print his name
on them. they would just -- they would just buy a young officer. in fact, the intemperance of his language to his mother when he discovers these scoundrels of the deadly telegraph didn't give them a by line. anywhere, the only way around that is writable but and i will tell the great british public adequate world just how brave of him and a wonderful a been and how important i have been success to this campaign. he sat down to write the story of the malakand field force which is churchill's first literary offering. you can imagine his immense irritation when the also discovered his great rival castle had much the same, and the two young officers were in this bitter race to get the books out there for both published in the spring of 1898. i must say churchill is a far better read. it's quite fluid. of course, when you check with the regiment archives and other
papers from the period, it's all very proud virtual. but it's quite a good read for that. as a result of the book, churchill received a warm letter from the prince of wales could been given a copy. more important, the prime minister of the day have played his own role at ruining lord randall's career, invited churchill to downing street. so the first time in churchill's life, as a direct result of his exploits on the afghan border is invited into downing street. and walked into the room from where many decades later he really would find truth, fame and glory. and again churchill, 23 by this time, full of importance, having
had his six weeks on the northwest frontier, he is desperate to go off for the final push and lord kitchener as a set have taken a rather dim view of this young man, and had no desire to have bee him anywhe near his army. so you can imagine that kitchener's surprise when he looked around to find second lieutenant churchill riding alongside them. this is all a result of a promise he got from lord salisbury when he left to downing street after his audience, the prime minister said, well, if there's anything i can do for you in the future, young church, let me know. yes, sir. i would quite like to go to the sudan. can you arrange that for me? churchill's whole road for fame and glory, his participation
among the last great cavalry charges undertaken by the british army in the sudan, his movement bent on to cover the south african war as a foreign correspondent, is capture, his international acclaim, and, of course, as a result of his election to parliament soon after his return. he becomes so famous in britain that the music calls are used to seeing a little refrain, you've heard of winston churchill, this is all i have to say, he's the latest and the greatest correspondent of the day. that was the 1890s. today, i think, when we look at afghanistan, and this year of course is a rather crucial year for the american-led campaign that we've had there for 10 years, i think people will reflect on some of the lessons
churchill and the british learned in the 1890s. the original idea for writing this book came from a conversation i had with general david petraeus when he was a nato commander and he was drawing up his counterinsurgency strategy to defeating the taliban. and he had been reading churches -- churchill's malakand field force and that result in an an interview in the book, just like the british, you can put in all the military resources that you have at your disposal, but there's not a military solution to this problem and you have to have a political solution. and i think that's quite a challenge in the years coming forward, in the months ahead. but churchill's own conclusion having gone into this conflict in a very gung ho manner was rather terse. financially it is ruinous.
morally it is wicked. militarily it is an open question. and politically it is a blunder it and i think those words will occupy many of our thoughts in the months ahead. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, con, for tremendous talk. we now have some time for questions. would like to invite questions from the audience. please identify yourself first, and any institutional affiliation to the gentleman over there. >> eric rosen from the washington office for middle is reporting in america. when you said come as you just did, there was no political, no military solution to conflicts like this, doesn't it really mean that there is no political
solution without first an advantageous military accomplishment? >> well, that would be my view. i'm defense editor from a newspaper and i spent a lot of time in the military, covered most of the campaigns over the last couple of decades. and i think yes. i mean, one of the problems about the afghan campaign is that under general petraeus and mcchrystal, and overall strategy was devised whereby military pressure would be applied against the enemy. and by the time the trays and mcchrystal appeared on the scene we had basically an industrial-strength insurgency on our hands. but they made it very clear that the military effort was only a means to an end. and the end was some kind of political resolution.
but the moment president obama said he wanted to withdraw the forces and not see the job through, the ability that the west secure that kind of settlement i think has been in doubt. in office was opened in qatar to facilitate peace talks between the afghans and the taliban, and it has remained empty for as long as it has been the. i do think there is a big problem here. whatever you think of the iraq conflict, the military pressure eventually led to a political settlement. it might not be a perfect settlement but the iraqi government is going -- is democratically elected and they have a new constitution based on democracy rule of law, which they would not have had it not been for the original military effort. >> my name is daniel kelly.
no institutional affiliation. is an one problem though if you don't set a deadline such a president obama had that though the incentive among the local political officials not to change their behavior? for example, i think this extra defense under president nixon said one of the problems in vietnam was that by withdrawing we change the incentive for the vietnamese government to going to take on more of the fighting responsibilities? >> of course, the shadow of vietnam was one that was a much in the president mind when he wanted to set a deadline. but i mean, d-day, we said we will invade france and germany but we will stop fighting in the spring of 1945. i think we would have a far more difficult fight and far more
difficult challenge in trying to win that war. the deadline is fine so long as the parameters are close to it as what our to be achieved. but this deadline is just not combat operations. and the way things are going now, i can see after more than a decade of effort we will withdraw from afghanistan, the taliban will be back in control with all the invitations for security and we will have no influence over those outcomes. >> con, we know that david cameron has read your book and was pictured on the beach reading your book last summer. less likely that president obama is going to, although he should read it. what is your overall assessment of obama's handling of the war in afghanistan? >> well, i think he's been
rather confused. he came in as you remember the first nine months of his presidency. he had a very thorough review of the afghan program. and as a result of that, signed up to the counterinsurgency strategy devised by general petraeus and general mcchrystal, and the american army. but within months of having signed up to that he changed his mind. this is were i find it rather difficult. if his heart wasn't in the afghan mission in the start, then why sign up for the counterinsurgency strategy? and as i say, my concern now is what is going to happen when combat operations are wound down by the end of this year? and i can see a lot of trouble ahead.
>> david with the heritage foundation. you got a lot of chuckles and audience when you wrote and compared for the record pro-churchill -- i forget how you phrase it, but could you give us a better sense of how he wrote his history and how it was diverse and how it actually happened? >> well, for example, in some of his, very entertaining going through his early obstacles of "the daily telegraph" because he wrote a lot of them. before he even got to the front, which i think we call them -- anti-clinton read up a lot on what was going on. but he does this wonderful first person account of the battle at the malakand fort when he was on a boat somewhere hovering around the mediterranean. it's that kind of flourish that
he brings to his writing. and, of course, when you study the of the contemporary accounts, they are rather different. one of the more amusing aspects, the narrative, some of the accounts of his fellow soldiers in in countering the 22 year-old churchill and the word bumptious comes up time and time again. on one occasion his fellow officers get so fed up with them after a massive dinner, they basically put a sofa on top of him and sent on in and he wriggles free and says no and keeps a churchill down. and there's this other wonderful account from another fellow officer on the malakand campaign who shared a tent with churchill. and as i said in my talk, it was a very bloody campaign. and churchill was looking at the stars and said, you know, i'm
not worried about getting killed or injured, so long as they don't shoot me in the mouth and stop me from talking. so there's this sort of, even at this stage, 22, he was very clear he's on the road to glory and nothing will get in his way. and again when you look at this writing, the other amusing feature of his writing is his ability to recycle, which is something he does right away to his career. this is somebody who wins the nobel prize, but if he writes a newspaper article and he thinks it's good, he will use it again and again and again. when i was at the churchill archive to i came across the many scripts and he cut nice progress was telegraph dispatchers onto a piece of paper, paste them on a piece of paper and ribbon around its we didn't have to duplicate
anything. very prudent way of writing. >> tom from barron's magazine. could you say a bit about what happened after churchill left afghanistan? and what lessons, if any, the offer counterinsurgency strategies in general from the bridge extremes there, the totality of the british experience there. >> the british finally settled the border in 1901 when george courson, who was then the british visor, literally went all the way along the border and negotiated individual tribes, deals with the tribes. summer handed bags of gold. some were carted off down to india into captivity. but the important thing, and again, researching the book i went through the whole malakand district and they interviewed a
couple of pakistani civil administrators who would run the malakand district in the 1960 1960s, at a time i might add when the queen of england went there on a holiday to malakand and she cabled churchill who was then in his 90s saying, i'm standing, i visited the seeds of one of your greatest triumphs. prince philip went duck shooting in the valley. and that the spirit, after the aggression of pakistan, the pakistanis left the tribal areas in the same autonomous state that george courson had negotiated. and that arrangement really lasted until after 9/11 attacks. and, of course, one of the effects of our intervention in afghanistan was the taliban went over the mountains back into tribal areas, pakistan, and
that's where all the trouble started. and pakistanis will tell you that the only way to really calm this down, if these talks are restarted, you've read this morning that the pakistan government is in talks with the taliban, i.e., pashtuns. it's time to come to this kind of arrangement again. george courson's basic formula is you don't threaten us and we will lead you in peace but and if you really drill down to the offer that we're making to the taliban is, you don't harbor terrorists who harm us, we will leave you alone. if you look at most western policymakers, that's where they are at. the problem is because we don't, the taliban have nothing to fear from us anymore, we are not even willing to do that deal. >> i'm a former deputy secretary
of defense for afghanistan and pakistan. doing a lot of work with organizations in support of the afghan people. we've had made a little success in the last few months but i was wondering with respect to the uk, is the uk involvement in afghanistan, it is something that is going to just end and the british people can wash their hands of afghanistan now? do people see a future in relationship to afghanistan and the uk? >> the answer is yes, there are elements in britain that want to maintain a relationship here for example, britain has just set up a military academy to train the afghan officer corps. that's a long-standing commitment.
which one where british officers and trainers go up there and train up a new generation of the afghan army and instill in it the kind of discipline and principles that we would expect from a western army. but whether this is sustained is a big question. as you probably know, the old chicago group two years ago that said the west provided for million dollars or so to pay for the afghans. but the absence of bilateral security patch with karzai really jeopardizes that. karzai has gone off on his own strange journey again. and i get the sense that the obama administration is almost exasperated by this and is just not prepared to make any commitment beyond 2014. it's all in the balance. from my expri
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