MP kicked out of parliament for saying the government is lying about the Afghanistan war

MP kicked out of parliament for saying the government is lying about the Afghanistan war
19 September 2012     Robin Beste     Afghanistan and Pakistan

MP Paul Flynn says government ministers are using British soldiers as human shields for ministers' reputations by sending them to die in vain in a war in Afghanistan which is lost.

By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
19 September 2012

Paul Flynn MP is kicked out of parliament for calling defence minister Phillip Hammond a liar.

Paul Flynn MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Caroline Lucas MP deliver a Stop the War Coalition letter to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, in March 2012, demanding the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

IN THE HOUSE of Commons, on 18 September 2012, MP Paul Flynn was kicked out of the UK parliament for telling the defence secretary Phillip Hammond that he was using British soldiers as human shields for ministers' reputations by sending them to die in vain in a war which was lost.

He compared Hammond and other government ministers to politicians in the First World War "who lied and soldiers died." Paul Flynn refused to withdraw the accusation of lying and was banned from the House of Commons for five days.

Paul Flynn's accusation of lying came the day after a number of MPs called in parliament for British troops to be withdrawn immediately from Afghanistan, and not wait for the supposed exit date in 2014.

The former Labour minister Denis MacShane -- who had previously supported all the wars of the last eleven years -- asked why the government was allowing British soldiers to "be sacrificed without any purpose".

They were engaged in an unwinnable conflict to no strategic benefit to the UK, he said.

The former Conservative minister John Redwood said: "Bring our troops home for Christmas."

Hammond replied: "We have a legacy in Afghanistan that has been won at a great cost: 430 British service personnel have given their lives and we intend to protect that legacy by ensuring that the UK's national security interests are protected in the future by training and mentoring the Afghan national security forces to take over the role we are currently playing."

Did Hammond know when he said this, that Nato was about to announce that it was suspending all of this "training and mentoring" of Afghan soldiers and police because there have been so many "green on blue" attacks, in which Afghan forces are killing their trainers and mentors.

The number of "green-on-blue" attacks this year has seen 51 Nato troops killed, with fifteen of them in the last three weeks. Nine British troops have died in 2012 at the hands of "rogue Afghan forces". In 2011, the British Army suffered just one green-on-blue death.

So much for the "legacy" of the 430 UK soldiers killed -- and of the tens of thousands of Afghans who have also died in the past decade.

In March 2012, Paul Flynn joined with fellow MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas to deliver a Stop the War Coalition letter to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, which demanded the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. If the government had heeded that call we would not have had the wasted lives of the 25 British soldiers who have died since then, nor of the countless Afghans that have been killed in the same period.

The only question now to be asked of David Cameron should be the same that was put to the US Senate in 1971 by John Kerry, then a soldier returning from the war in Vietnam: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Afghanistan?

The US president Richard Nixon thought the deaths of American soldiers was a price worth paying to avoid admitting the war was lost. It was four more years before the US military scuttled out of the country, in which time over one million Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians were killed.

How many lives are David Cameron and his government prepared to sacrifice to save their reputations?