Doomed if we cannot learn from our history

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WHAT good news it was to learn of the demise of Osama bin Laden.

Whether it will change much with regard to terrorism is quite another question, but it was certainly satisfying to hear of the extinction of the main culprit.

However, during the Afghanistan war, there have been various politicians and columnists who have changed sides on this confrontation. Indeed, some now believe we should withdraw because we did not send enough troops in the first place.

Well, here is just one lesson.

In 1979 the USSR marched into Afghanistan to support the Government against the Mujahedeen – Islamic militants. During nine years the Russians lost nearly 15,000 soldiers. One million Afghans died and five million refugees fled to Pakistan.

Moreover, the Russians deployed 600,000 soldiers in all – six times the size of our army. The US and UK supported the Mujahedeen with weapons and training. The irony was that one up-and-coming young star we backed was Osama bin Laden.

You couldn’t make it up.

Then the Russians withdrew, leaving a country in chaos, and the Mujahedeen became the Taliban. Then the UK and US went in.

We switched sides. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban then became the enemy.

Here we are again, repeating the mistakes of the past – brave men dying, and what for?

Will we ever learn?

John Hunt, address supplied

We should not rejoice in death

The Bible tells us: “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”

Martin Luther King Jnr also states: “Though I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”.

Many who call themselves Christians seem not to follow this path concerning the death of Osama bin Laden. Rather, they do the opposite.

A parent, while hating the evil their child may commit, still loves their son or daughter.

God, too, hates all sin, but separates it from the love He has for each one of us, by sending His son to pay the price for our sins on the cross if we choose to accept it.

Therefore, we should be more like God, by adapting to his loving ways, and not delighting in the death of even an evil person, but rejoicing in their repentance and the securing of a salvation.

John K Bourne, via email

Welcome for drive training

As the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, we welcome government proposals to give novice drivers extra training.

Many young drivers crash simply because they lack driving experience. Extra training with in-depth coaching, and more hours behind the wheel, will prevent accidents and save lives.

We will work with the Government and the insurance industry to make this new approach a reality.

But we are concerned that issuing spot fines for careless driving could downgrade the offence, and this is why we shall be monitoring the impact of this proposal very carefully.

Simon Best, chief executive, Institute of Advanced Motorists