The need to stop Taleban control of Afghanistan is as significant as resisting Hitler's invasion of Poland, Defence Secretary John Hutton has said.
Speaking on Armistice Day he said if the Taleban won, Britain would have to face the consequences of terrorism.
"In one sense, it has the same significance as the invasion of Belgium in 1914 and the invasion of Poland in 1939," he said.
Let's take that a bit at a time :
a) no it isn't - and for his info we didn't resist Hitler's invasion of Poland (we were not physically capable of resisting it, to be fair) - we declared war on Germany, which was not at all the same thing. Poland remained an occupied country for the next 50 years.
b) no matter what happens in Afghanistan, we'll continue to be at risk of terrorism. Even in WW2, while few German agents managed to do much damage in the UK (thanks to internment and a non-porous border), the IRA were still able to detonate bombs on the mainland, because the enablers were there - a large Irish population in which to hide and traffic across the Irish Sea between the North and the mainland. Similar enablers exist for Islamist terror.
c) no it doesn't. Not unless the Taleban acquire nuclear technology from across the border. Even then they can only kill some of us, not conquer and occupy us as Germany threatened to do. Any threats of conquest and occupation which exist - and there are some - have their root causes in our own cultural weakness, not Taleban strength. As Toynbee puts it, great civilisations are not killed but commit suicide.
I've said my bit on the Taleban and on Afghanistan. We're wasting our time there doing anything but duffing up terror camps - and even there, as I said above, the solutions lie within our borders rather than in Helmand or the NWFP.
One passing point - the problems of reconstruction and the battle against feudalism are pretty much precisely those the Soviet-backed Afghan Government, then the Soviets themselves, faced in the 1980s. The mujahideen were killing doctors and teachers, burning schools just as they are today, while the Soviets were building generators and trying to keep the power lines up (pylons are terribly vulnerable things). And Reagan and Thatcher, for 'strategic reasons', armed them. I thought at the time (I was a lefty then) it was morally indefensible and I still do.
Take a quick look at the history of Afghanistan from the arrival of a left-wing (in Afghan terms) regime in 1978, through the Soviet intervention and the post-Soviet civil war to which a Taleban administration was, initially at least a blessed contrast. Not a lot of hopeful stuff there. Even the good guys are bad guys.
There's a Radio Four series about Afghanistan - the current one is called 'Into The Morass' which gives you an idea where they're coming from. Nonetheless it's worth a listen. It'll probably only be there a week.