The Wootton Bassett Effect

The nightly viewing on prime time television of the body bags coming back from Vietnam finally broke the will of the American public. The sight of funeral cortèges moving slowly through Wootton Bassett, past rows of mourners, is probably doing the same thing to the British. Now Lt Col Matt Bazely claims a “post-Diana” reaction to fatalities is creating a pervasive culture of pessimism over our military adventure in Afghanistan. That is a facile observation because there are other parallels with Vietnam in particular the deeply unattractive respective leaders Richard Nixon and Gordon Brown. In addition most citizens believe our boys should not be there in the first place and are trapped in an equally hopeless war the other side can win by not losing.

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