And then, periodically, you read this sort of thing – calls by leftists, people like Jeremy Corbyn, Michael Rosen, Walter Wolfgang, for British troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. And what puzzles me is that those issuing these calls never seem to reflect on the fact that delivering the people of Afghanistan back into the hands of the Taliban might not be an outcome entirely to be welcomed. It’s not treated by them as something to regret – you know, something we may no longer be able to avoid (in their judgement) because of the balance of costs, but they wish that it were otherwise. So what to conclude? Is it that these proponents of withdrawal actually look forward to the successful return of the Taliban, with all that it entails? I’m not prepared to make so ungenerous an imputation. What I think it’s at least partly about is having a ‘costless’ conscience. Over Afghanistan – as, for many of them, over Iraq – they do not count the costs of the policies they favour, only of the policies they oppose. The former costs have nothing at all to do with them. If what they recommend goes badly in some way, it’s just the way of the world; but if what they oppose goes badly then it has everything to do with those who supported it. It’s a fool’s method of political calculation: recognizing no hard choices, everything obvious and easy.