Sunday, July 12, 2009
NATO is an acronym for "North Atlantic Treaty Organization."
It is a formal military alliance treaty which was signed by several countries on April 4, 1949, and has enlarged, little by little, since then.
NATO has its roots in the "Treaty of Brussels," signed a year earlier by France and the United Kingdom, together with the fierce warrior nations of Belgium and The Netherlands. The Treaty of Brussels, in turn, was in response to the Soviet Union's scary aggressions, including the "Berlin Blockade."
This was only a few years after the end of World War II, and France was greatly in shambles and the United Kingdom still largely so as well. These countries took a look at themselves and then took a look at the military might of the Soviet Union, and decided that, even with the mighty Belgians and Dutch at their sides, perhaps they needed a big brother to accompany them, just in case the Soviet Union laughed at them when they told it to stop.
Who would fit the bill? Gosh.
It was thus decided to invite the USA to join their European alliance. They changed the name to "North Atlantic" (since the USA wasn't yet part of Europe) and started a whole new gang. Why the US decided to join this rather impotent little band is still not clear. The US probably thought it could more or less defend the UK and France, and even, perhaps, mighty Belgium and the Netherlands, but certainly there must have been a tiny cloud of doubt as to whether these folks could defend the US if it were ever attacked. Be that as it may, the USA joined this new thing called NATO. God bless Harry Truman.
Over the years, many other countries in Europe were invited to the party - and some of them were a pretty dang long ways from the Atlantic. The whole idea of the military alliance was to "act as one" - if any of the member countries were attacked, then the other countries must act as if they had been attacked, too. Except France. We all know how France acts when attacked.
Admittedly, this deal looked pretty good to the Europeans over the years - especially to folks like Estonia and Latvia - but the more guys there were in the club, the more chance one of them was going to be attacked. This may not have meant much to Belgium, but it kept the USA up at night.
Over the years, by gosh, some WERE attacked. And some (not France, usually) stood by their word and went and helped out. And all was well in the land of Europe.
But - horrors! - one day the unthinkable happened! The Europeans woke up one morning to the news on TV that the USA had been attacked. Well. Jumping Jiminy. THAT wasn't supposed to happen!
Not only that, but it was learned that the attackers were trained by and abetted by the hardcore religious government of a place called Afghanistan. The name of this government was "Taliban". Or at least the name of the people who made up the government were called Taliban.
The US was therefore effectively at war with Afghanistan. They were also at war with the people the Taliban trained - a group of free lance religious fanatics who subscribed to the same concept of love as the Taliban did - called, loosely, al-Qaeda. It was actually these al-Qaeda lovlies - who came from all over the middle east, but the head honchos and chief martyrs came from Saudia Arabia - who had attacked the US. God, talk about complications. Nobody wanted to irritate Saudi Arabia. Nobody is quite sure why, but that was a fact.
Anyway, al-Qaeda holed out mainly in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, so Pakistan also became the enemy. And in there somewhere amidst the other oil countries was Iran. When Pakistan had it explained to them that the US was about to bomb them until they all died, they changed their name from "enemy" to "ally." And Iran, suddenly peaceful as well, for a time, resolved to also cooperate by not shooting down any airplanes that drifted over their territory. By god.
But all this began to make the Europeans fidgety to the point they were thinking maybe they had made a bad bargain with this NATO thing. It was one thing to have the USA come to their aid over many years but quite another thing indeed to become the actual fightee, as it were.
Several countries DID ante up, though. I don't recall how many troupes the Czech Republic sent, but I think France came up with over a hundred (although they were not to be put in harms way or anything like that.) So that left the usual group to do the actual fighting. Mostly the British and the Canadians and the Australians (who were there because they remember WWII and were generally angry that the US had been attacked.) Oh, and the US, of course. But everybody had one thing in common: they felt this was not "their" war, and they didn't much like "being dragged" into "America's War".
The feeling along those lines is much more pronounced today. For example, below are a few British responses on a forum I ran across the other day, right after 8 British soldiers had been killed in action in Afghanistan. To be fair, these opinions are a lot like the liberals in the US as well - so I am not particularly picking on the British, by any means. (I would pick on the French, but, hey, no French are dying, right?)
Read these comments and see how many you agree with. But DO put them in context with this NATO thing they all signed onto.
News story headline: Eight British troops killed in Afghanistan
(Reuters) – "Britain said on Friday it had lost eight soldiers in Afghanistan in the space of 24 hours, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown said troops faced a "very hard summer," suggesting it should brace itself for more losses.
The deaths, announced by the Ministry of Defense, included five who were killed in two blasts while on foot patrol, the highest death toll in a single attack."
[End news story, start comments to news story.]
What are these laddies/lassies doing in sic a godforsaken sh!tehole,in the ersehole of nowhere?What are their deaths actually achieving?
Its a terrible loss for their families and fellow soldiers.
Although in the scope of war casualties these losses are small we have to realise that this is yet another war in which we should not be involved.
The added tragedy of these deaths and injuries is that they are pointless, in the long term they will achieve nothing.
Gorgon Brown's callous remark inferring that our troops will face even greater losses over the next few months, shows just how unfailing and self-centred this egotistic man is!
If as chancellor and now as Prime Minister Brown and his Ministers of Defence, had made the MOD furnish our troops with the right equipment these losses would almost certainly be much lower.
The military guru's are asking for more troops in Afghanistan, IMHO we should realise the real facts and be pulling our troops out.
Its time we followed the European stance and stopped being a puppet nation to the USA!
Sending even more troops into Afghanistan will not stop more atrocities like 7/7.
Terrorism is a war that has be be fought here at home, not 1000s of miles away in a foreign country.
This is a sad day,I have a son in 1st riffles,the government ie Gordon Brown needs to get them home as they will loose more and more,this is not our war.
Rosieinlondon, your comment about fighting the terrorists at home rather than in of Afghanistan make as much sense as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest...would the Brits have rather fought the Nazis in England instead of Africa, Italy, and mainland Europe? You're no puppet of my country...feel free to wuss-out like the Spanish....as far as i'm concerned, I'd rather fight them overseas than in my backyard. America will do it alone if need be....
THIS IS NOT OUR WAR !!!!!!! we should not be there in the first place this is second mistake after iraq , 99% of both wars are being fought by uk & us troops the rest of the world either don't care or a very small minority just have a token support in afghan only not in iraq and are placed in very low risk areas hence 99.999% of the dead are uk & us troops FOR GOD'S SAKE BRING BACK THE BOYS NOW and stop having more grieving families. were are the WMD'S I KNOW IRAN AND NORTH KOREA HAS THEM.
Our troops should not even be in that country nor should they have been in iraq , and as our so called eu allies will not send their troops to helmand province why the hell should Britains troops be there and this is the sole reason we are suffering casualties . Rosie is right we should be fighting terrorism at home and there is no comparison re fighting them there or here , at least here the terorists are small in number and we know our own country.
David Milliband says the troops are fighting for the future of Britain , what a load of bull , we are fighting because the yanks want us there yet complain about us .
We have had to many deaths for no reason , its time to pull the troops out and let the moslems kill each other and live their backward lifestyle.
Our soldiers die every day, because they do not get the protection that they deserve. Not enough weapons, ammunition, body armour, radios, air support or vehicles that will protect them.
For that, you can blame the labour party in general and brown in particular because he, as chancellor, spent 10 years running down our defence budget so that he could spend it on asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. Spend it on the very terrorists that he sent our soldiers over to fight.
This is a socialist war, a war planned by left wing zealots who wish to force democracy upon people who do not want it.
The fenian traitor reid famously predicted that our soldiers would be in and out of afghanistan without firing a shot. He has gone to celtic to sing anti-British songs of hate. Typical bloody socialist, the enemy of Great Britain. Hang them all.
One soldier killed in Afghanistan is too many...each one that comes home in a flag drapped coffin is too many...
These are our sons, our daughters, our husbands, our brothers and sisters and our fathers...our young people.
They could be my relatives or friends...they could be yours...
But they should not be out there...
What George Bush did was a knee jerk reaction to 9/11...which was the worst peace time atrocity known to man in my lifetime I agree...
But Tony Blair should not have commited British troops to this war, history tells us, that wars in Afghanistan are unwinable...just ask the Russians...
How many more flag drapped coffins will come home carrying our soldiers before we pull our troops out...
God Bless them all...
It wouldn't be so bad if we at least gave our troops the best protection we possibly could. Get the poncers of the benefit system and the money saved (which would be massive) could be split between the NHS and the military. If you want our brave soldiers to put their life on the line at least do the decent thing and give them all the equipment they could possibly need and look after them properly. Decent housing, their own hospitals, adapted housing should they need it surely that is just basic common sense?
Guys, I am writing this from Afghanistan. I have been here for 15 months now - here are some observations that I have learned from my time here:
- Anyone who says this is about oil is sorely mistaken. I haven't seen one oil pipeline or refinery, like I did in Iraq.
- Iraq and Afghanistan are COMPLETELY different. They are not similar, as the countries are setup differently, etc. And, can I just point out, while there is the occasional bit of unease in Iraq, it seems much better now.
- We are in Afghanistan to bring freedom and stability. You may laugh at this, as the UK media does a poor job reporting the successes - all we ever hear in the UK news is about the deaths of either our guys, or the Taliban. They never report on new hospitals, schools, etc. being built by NATO for the Afghans. This Operation Panther's Claw that so many of our guys have died for - how many of you know what is is about? We are clearing the area of Taliban so the local people can vote - something that we in the UK can take for granted. The Taliban is a brutal, oppressive regime that must be stopped.
- The majority of Taliban fighters (that I have come against, certainly), are idealistic young men (most of them aren't even Afghan!) from Pakistan, who wish to carry out 'Jihad' on the Western infidels. Ask yourselves this - if we weren't here to provide a target for them, where do you think they would go to?? We would see a much larger influx of extremists into the UK.
The brave men and women out here are doing a great and important job. And while it is terrifying, sad, and brutal - we have to be here.
Just my two cents.
eliaz85, we get stories in England about lack of government spending on things like weapons, ammunition, body armour, radios, air support or vehicles that will protect you from roadside bombs. Can you tell us what the situation REALLY is? Is there anything that you think that you need to make your job safer?
Its awhful - so what they knew what they was getting into