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"It is true that I warned," says Barth Eide


According to the US embassy fortiet the Norwegian government the war in Afghanistan and misled the public by presenting it as if Norway only participated in civilian tasks in the country. Ny Tid asks former Minister of Defense and parliamentary representative for the Labor Party Espen Barth Eide what he thinks about it:

"There was no policy to conceal or prevent debate. I experienced that we discussed Afghanistan all the time. The reason we talked a lot about a political solution, stabilization and reconstruction, was that it was the overriding goal for both the UN and ISAF, while the military part was a means and not an end in itself. But we did not underestimate that military power was necessary and right, that risky situations would arise and that one would have to both take and lose life. "

In another document, the embassy writes that you warned the US against openly asking for the Telemark battalion to Afghanistan, because "this would provoke political debate" and thus undermine stthe fate of Afghanistan's efforts?

"It is true that I warned against this. We felt there was broad support for our Afghanistan policy. We did not want to send the Telemark Battalion to southern Afghanistan at that time, and if the Bush administration were to make a lot of noise demanding that Norway change its way of contributing to Afghanistan, it would probably not lead to increased support. "

Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Audun Lysbakken, who would later join the red-green government, tells Ny Tid that the US ambassador's description of the lack of information about the war is quite accurate:

"There was too little openness and willingness to call it war. This was a special situation, with only one of the government parties openly discussing Afghanistan, which we got a lot of trouble for. But posterity has shown that the popular skepticism about the war, which the SV represented within the government, was both sound and wise. ”

"SV wants a defense policy that will make us less dependent on the US."

About the documents that reveal the US's covert attempt to influence Norway's government and public opinion in favor of increased war participation, Lysbakken says:

"I am not surprised that the United States tried to influence Norway, but it is useful and important that. . .

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Eirik Vold
Former freelancer in MODERN TIMES. Today political adviser in Red.

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