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2009 was the year that the war in Afghanistan went from the 'good war' to the bad war. Public opinion in Britain and the US hardened against the war. Any pretence that it was being fought for democracy was destroyed as the election process unfolded and the scale of the corruption was revealed.

This afternoon I'm going to Downing Street with representatives of people who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan to hand in a petition calling for the troops to leave. They will be joined by relatives of soldiers who died in Iraq and former British soldiers who oppose the war.

It is the end of a bitter year for many of these families, not least the more than 100 who have lost a soldier killed in Afghanistan during 2009. The scale of deaths there this year is twice what it was last year and the past few months have been as bloody as any in terms of casualties of Nato troops.

That hasn't made the Nato powers consider their failings in this war. Exactly the opposite. Barack Obama ended the year by announcing 30,000 more US troops as part of a surge supposedly aimed at reversing the fortunes of the Taliban but which threatens to embroil Obama's presidency in the most serious war since Vietnam.

The crazy logic of the warmongers is that they need to 'deal with terrorism' in order to make countries like Britain safer, and this can only be done by waging the war on terror. Yet it is obvious that even within its own terms this argument is failing. The situation in Iraq, supposedly a success story, is in fact deteriorating with more suicide bombing and sectarian divisions. In Afghanistan, the war is present in Kabul as well as in Kandahar.

The war against the Palestinians continues. In Yemen, the Saudis have now intervened in order to 'stop terrorism'.

After eight years of this, since victory was first declared in Kabul, it seems only reasonable to ask how exactly are these serial wars making the world safer? The grievances they cause have given rise to more attacks, not fewer.

There will be a great deal of talk about the war and the troops over the holidays. None of it should hide the fact that decisions made this year will lead to more war next year. In 2010, Gordon Brown is hosting a January conference over Afghanistan. In May at the latest there will be a general election in which all the main parties will try to down play the war as an election issue, given their commitment to it and its unpopularity among the electorate.

And then there's the small matter of Tony Blair's appearance before the Chilcot inquiry. So the war on terror and its consequences will continue to make their mark.


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Lindsey German

Lindsey German

As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.

Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.

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