It is immensely sad to have to say so - but George Galloway is correct about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, or at least he is not completely wrong.
The current consensus of the three main parties, that British soldiers must remain in the line of fire in order to safeguard Britain's streets is a wicked and false one.
True if there were no war in Afghanistan British citizens might be at risk of being killed in a terrorist attack on their way to work - but the events of July 2005 showed that even with the war, terrorists (none of them from Afghanistan one can't help noticing) are able to strike.
So far 409 British soldiers have been killed as a result of the Afghan war, working out at an average of just under 40 dead for each year of the war. If we were really fighting this war to save British lives then we are doing a very poor job of it.
The forces of Islamic jihad would have to pull off a 7/7 style bombing each year for seven years running in order to match the number of people they have managed to kill in Afghanistan. It seems highly unlikely that this would have occurred were it not for our brave boys and girls in Afghanistan.
The policy of sending British soldiers to a place where some of them will inevitably die in order to save British lives is therefore about as logical as jumping into a lake in order to avoid the rain. The terrorists no longer have to come to us to kill us - we are sending people to them.
It is a pity that the British government continues to cling to this flimsy justification when it could at least try to use others.
The main reason for going into Afghanistan was of course to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice following the crimes committed on 11<sup>th September 2001. That objective has now been fulfilled, although perhaps not in a way that matches everyone's taste.
Beyond that there was and maybe still is the desire to topple tyrannical regimes like the Taliban and replace it with something better.
While this may have worked to some degree in Iraq (although at a much higher cost) where there now exists something like a democracy in the place of a hideous criminal, the same can hardly be said of Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai is thankfully no Saddam Hussein but he is still not the kind of man, nor is his the kind of government, that British soldiers should be dying for. It is interesting that while the West condemned the rigging of the Iranian elections in 2009 by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad similar shenanigans by Karzai were met with the kind of blind eye that the Labour Party reserves for Ken Livingstone. Fighting for democracy our troops are not indeed as each day passes Mr Karzai's government seems to differ from the Taliban in outlook only in that it is for rather than against us.
So what is the real purpose of British soldiers being in what George Galloway called the "bloody maw", when potential terrorist atrocities in Britain are just as likely (if not more) to emanate from Leeds, Lahore or London than they are in Afghanistan?
It is no surprise that when supporters of the war are unable to give a logical answer to this question, articulate opponents of the war like George Galloway can sweep by-elections when they challenge the pro-war "cast-iron consensus".