On 1 January 2010, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US led invading armies in Afghanistan, said in an interview with "Stars and Stripes, "We are not winning yet, but we are going to win.
"I believe that over the next year to 18 months that we’re going to be able to decisively change the perception of momentum and gains by the insurgents."
What McChrystal did not of course mention is how catastrophic 2009 has been for the foreign military, with both the US and Britain suffering twice as many casualties as in 2008.
The last two weeks alone has seen seven US special forces killed, in the second worst one day attack in the CIA's history, and eight British troops killed.
But victory is coming, insists McChrystal. And the key is his counter-insurgency strategy. "What we are working on is that we’re really focusing on getting counterinsurgency, protecting the people, in the minds of the Afghan people. We are not viewed as occupiers now."
Central to protecting the Afghan people is "the use of special operations forces... in very precise targeting."
The "precision" was somewhat lacking on 27 December when eight school students were killed in a US army raid on a remote village, now confirmed by the United Nations. NATO officials had insisted that the dead were all "insurgents" killed in a joint US-Afghan operation.
This "precison" was again in evidence three days later, when a US air raid killed another eight civilians, at least three of them children.
The United Nations says civilian deaths rose by 10.8 per cent in the first 10 months of 2009 to 2,038 - up from 1,838 for the same period of 2008.
As for McChrystal's claim that NATO forces are "not viewed as occupiers", clearly no one told him about the demostrations by Afghans which followed the killing of the eight students, demanding that all foreign forces should leave Afghanistan at once.
Afghans protest against occupation
The other corner stone of the Obama-Brown strategy for "victory", the building up of Afghan security forces, is simply laughable. Fifty percent of all recruits leave as soon as they have finished training, happy to receive the wages, food and clothing but not prepared to kill or die supporting the foreign occupation of their own country. Taliban infiltration of the Afghan army and police is clearly pervasive, with at least 18 NATO troops killed by uniformed Afghans in the past two months, including the CIA operatives on 31 December.
When will this lunacy end? McChrystal says, "There’s no way to put an exact timeline on it [victory], because as I’ve said, the Afghan people will decide".
Supposedly he means by this the government of President Hamid Karzai, who was "elected" on a sea of corruption. But Karza can't even get the usually supine Afghan parliament to agree his nominees for a new cabinet, which one MP said werechosen for "ethnicity or bribery or money".
Only three weeks ago, Gordon Brown said "With Karzai, we have good cooperation and we're hoping with the new Cabinet to work on fighting corruption and take a step toward improving security in Afghanistan."
Brown's mantra that British troops are in Afghanistan defending Britain's national security interests, in particular against an al-Qaeda which barely exists at all in Afghanistan, becomes inreasingly threadbare the more he repeats it. No Afghan has ever committed a terrorist act outside of Afghanistan.
In truth, Brown is sending British troops to kill and die propping up Karzai's regime, which is more of a racket than an administration. He does so because he is tied umbillically to the foreign policy of the United States, which wants to restore the credibility of American arms, so badly tarnished in Iraq -- and before that in Vietnam -- and it doesn't care how many lives are destroyed on the way.
The conclusion to draw after eight years of ever escalating death and destruction is not McChrystal's: "We are going to win". It is the view taken by the majority of people in Britain, the United States and Afghanistan: Stop the killing, end the war, bring the troops home.