As a general principle, I don't support the involvement of British forces in wars unless there exists a real threat to our security. This principle cannot be absolute because of our membership of NATO, where we have treaty responsibilities to partners. The two most significant wars in recent years which have involved British forces have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. I supported the Government's decision to go to war in both cases. I suppose there never is any certainty about the appropriate moment to make a judgement on whether Britain's intervention can be regarded as a military success, so let's consider this to be an interim opinion.
Firstly Iraq. I accepted Tony Blair's warnings that there was a serious threat to Britain's security. Surely a Prime Minister would not lie to the British people on so important an issue. We now know that what he said was 'questionable' (to put a generous interpretation on it). Must admit I was very disturbed when I learned that the 'dossier' was 'dodgy' and that there never were any weapons of mass destruction. I'm nervous about claiming that I was 'conned' into taking a position that I otherwise wouldn't have taken. Don't like people who retro-fit previously advocated opinions, for convenience. In any case I still reckon its too early to be certain how history will judge the removal of Saddam Hussein by foreign intervention.
I've also been and remain supportive of British involvement in Afghanistan. This is not because of a desire to impose Western values about democracy and gender equality on another country. Its not even, principally anyway, about eliminating a breeding ground for exportable terrorism. These are important issues of course. The real reason I feel that we are right to be in Afghanistan is the danger of allowing the Taliban to establish a base from which it can further destabilise neighbouring Pakistan, a nuclear power - and become a nuclear power themselves.
I comment only because people ask me my opinion, consequent upon the steady drip of dreadful news about casualties. I have no specialist knowledge of international relations, it being limited to just one year's study at Aberystwyth University 15 years ago. It's because the exercise of writing a post helps me reduce my thoughts on serious issues of the day to a form of words that are readable and understandable. It may be that they may stimulate supportive comments - or otherwise.