UK could learn a lot from Sri Lanka – by Edward Leigh MP

child-soldiersI commend the fact that Sri Lanka has virtually wiped out one of the most vicious terrorist organisations the world has ever seen. The Tamil Tigers invented the suicide bomb attack and mercilessly and extensively use child soldiers in its terrorist and criminal activity. Britain and America – who between them spend almost as much on defence as the rest of the world put together – have so far failed to damage the leadership or operational capacity of Al-Qaeda. It is to be applauded then, that a country with a GDP per capita 25 times lower than Britain has managed to successfully destroy a terrorist movement and its leadership.

Sadly, no war has been won without casualties. All loss of life is a tragedy, and we are not alone in regretting the terrible, and sometimes unnecessary, deaths caused by the Sri Lankan government’s campaign. Of course, what contributed in no small part to these deaths was the Tamil Tigers’ policy of using civilian as human shields. However, it is important to consider the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have needlessly died in Iraq since the British and US invasion, and what has been achieved. Britain has not stopped a rogue state from posing a threat, and equally we have not damaged Al-Qaeda’s operational ability. Sri Lanka, in its short campaign, has totally destroyed a group that over the past thirty years has caused pain and misery to thousands of Sri Lankan citizens, and has the strength to assassinate foreign leaders.

This is a success story. Well done, Sri Lanka, for doing what Britain has found itself incapable of.

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