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Why has Britain sent troops to Ukraine?

A special forces soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. Scott Nelson/Getty

“As far as I know,” says Peter Hitchens in The Mail on Sunday, “this country is not at war with Russia.” And thank goodness for that. If we, as a Nato member, did ever intervene in Ukraine, we’d immediately “widen the current conflict to cover the whole of Europe”. Why, then, do the recent Pentagon leaks suggest that around 50 SAS troops are currently operating in the war zone? What are they doing there? Who sent them? And what was a British surveillance plane, capable of carrying 30 people, doing over the Black Sea in September last year, “when a bungling Russian pilot almost shot it down”? There used to be “brave, indomitable” MPs like Tam Dalyell who would force the government to answer such questions. Now? Crickets.

The truth is that a “powerful faction in Washington DC” has long been trying to wage a proxy war with Russia. Guided by the principles of the arch-neocon Paul Wolfowitz, they “believe passionately that Russia must never be allowed to rise again”. Yet these people have an “unparalleled record of fanatical stupidity”. They’re pretty much exactly the same gang who “created the Iraq war out of nothing” and got the West stuck in the “Afghanistan quagmire”. Every country they invade “ends up in corpse-strewn ruins”, sending waves of refugees fleeing towards Europe and the English Channel. And now, for some reason, Britain is doing these idiots’ bidding by putting special forces troops on the ground in Ukraine. “Is anybody thinking about what we are doing?”

🪥🤫 The “real scandal” behind the leak of Pentagon documents, says Edward Luttwak in UnHerd, is the vast volume of material designated “secret”. A friend of mine was hounded out of his government job after reading a defence report on a plane, despite it containing only a single “classified” sentence, “itself of trivial importance”. If a member of the Diplomatic, Consular or State Department adds a comment to any of the daily media summaries produced by diplomatic posts around the world, it instantly becomes “secret”; if someone at the CIA adds a comment, it is elevated to “super-secret”. But the US Special Operations Command really takes the biscuit: even its toothpaste orders are classified as “top-secret”.