The ultimate sacrifice – reconciliation

Hearing yesterday that a number of reports had been provided for the Afghan government to consider how it might resolve the situation, it seems that perfidious Albion (that's what the French call us in their worst moments) whose casualties have been proportionately worse than any other NATO members has provided a memo suggesting a government of national unity with the Taliban. I don't know know what makes soldiers get up in the morning and take such appalling risks – I have heard it is more to do with loyalty to one another than the gilded phrases spouted around the cenotaph around this time of year about sacrifice for the rest of us.

You might imagine that the reason for all the suffering was the hope of ultimate victory – crushing the enemy absolutely. When what is far more lilkely is that the politicians find a way to make a peace with the enemy who has been successfully killing and maiming. I have a Croatian friend who fought the Serbs at Vukovar for 3 years and was wounded 3 times. I asked him how he could keep going that long. He said To make it stop. The hardest thing about peace is that your enemies need to get involved. Which must be a bitter pill for troops whose training has to be to dehumanise and to diminish those they fought. But must in the end give a place at the negotiating table.

I was brought up in Japan. It was my second language. But when I returned to Britain aged 9 I had to face the prejudices against the Japanese by some who regarded them as devils. Even when the agency I was working in in launched Lexus in the early 90s we were getting hate mail in response to direct mail about a  new Japanese luxury brand.

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