I had long wanted to return to Kushk-e-Serwan, a small Afghan village at the narrower end of the Hari Rud river oasis, between the Hindu Kush and Iran. The first time I went there, I was travelling with Ismael Khan, the leader of the Afghan resistance in Western Afghanistan. Most days bombs fell on places where we had stayed a day or two before, as soon as Communist spies could report our whereabouts.
If John Prescott needed an easy-to-read précis of the Electoral Commission’s findings on all-postal ballots, published last week, a brave civil servant could have given it to him in four words on a Post-it note: ‘Whoops, not enough fraud.’
The Commission was expected to report widespread hanky-panky in June’s pilot all-postal Euro-elections — especially among Labour activists in the West Yorkshire Asian community, who were alleged to have saved their neighbours the bother of walking to the post-box by collecting their voting papers, helpfully completing them, and delivering them in bundles.
America’s decision to pull troops out of Europe and the Far East should not be seen as a retreat into isolationism. On the contrary: it is classic ‘Rumsfeld-lite’ — the downsizing of old-fashioned Cold War units (principally in Germany) and a new emphasis on flexible, mobile, hi-tech forces to be located around the rim of the Eurasian heartland. By redeploying and streamlining its military the Pentagon believes it will be better placed to respond to threats anywhere in the world.
Boris Johnson, at the Republican convention, says that Bush’s conservative credentials are not always convincing but his optimism is unfailingly inspiringNew York
Come off it, I am thinking to myself. The last time I saw Tuesday night’s Republican keynote speaker was only a week ago. I was lying comatose on a motel bed in North Carolina, flipping from channel to channel, and he arrived, starkers, in a Plexiglass bubble from space.