The news that six more British soldiers have died in Afghanistan, bringing the total to over 400, is a disaster and a tragedy beyond comprehension when a date for withdrawal has already been set.
One can only think of the tragedy of Siegfried Sassoon's death on the last day of the first world war as a comparison, and an illustration of the uselessness of war.
Ten years into the Afghan war we have 400 British soldiers dead alongside several thousand US soldiers, hundreds of other coalition forces and many, many thousands of Afghans - civilians, military and Taliban.
Britain has spent £10 billion on wars in the last decade, creating huge profits for arms manufacturers, suppliers and dealers and massive "security" contracts to maintain various agencies and international companies in Afghanistan.
Take the balance sheet a bit further and the levels of poverty, malnutrition and medical shortages in villages all over that country show what a 21st-century tragedy the whole experiment has been.
But as if the West has not learned enough lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq the media who hyped up these invasions, as well as the bombing of Libya last year, are now going through the same narrative over the alleged threat from Iran.
On Tuesday EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton finally got round to replying to a letter from Saeed Jalili, the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, which he'd sent last month.
Baroness Ashton, who is the contact on the issue for the five permanent UN security council members plus Germany, said these countries would be prepared to meet an Iranian delegation.
Ashton said she hoped Iran would "enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress in resolving the international community's long-standing concerns on its nuclear programme."
That would sound fine if it wasn't accompanied by UN and EU sanctions on the country and the intensified naval patrolling of the Straits of Hormuz to intimidate Iran.
Imagine the reaction in the West if Iran's navy patrolled the coast of Israel - or, God forbid, the southern shores of Britain or the east coast of the US.
US President Barack Obama has had a strange week. He made his obligatory appearance at the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, pledging full support to Israel in all its endeavours and praising himself for sending it yet more high-calibre heavy weaponry.
But he was then lectured by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel cannot be influenced by anybody and became even more bellicose in his attacks on Iran.
Obama is egged on by the absurd debate among Republican presidential hopefuls about when, rather than if, the US will mount war on Iran.
Netanyahu appears to be running US foreign policy, despite Israel's total economic dependence on the US.
And Israel is apparently above criticism by the US or anyone else for its possession of over 200 nuclear warheads.
Without any sense of irony Obama told Geoffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic that the Middle East was "the most volatile region in the world" and that if Iran obtained nuclear weapons then other countries in the area would want them.
He added that "Iran is known to sponsor terrorist organisations so the threat of proliferation becomes that much more severe."
So Iran's hypothetical future possession of nuclear weapons would lead to proliferation. But at no stage did Obama acknowledge Israel's nuclear arsenal or the decisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference to press for a nuclear-free Middle East.
Those who oppose war against Iran are not apologists for the regime.
There is obvious anger at its government's human rights abuses, the imprisonment of trade unionists and the denial of ethnic minority and linguistic identity.
But threatening war and the annihilation of a whole society will not bring about the political changes that some want. It's more likely to create the horror and instability that has been visited upon Iraq and Afghanistan.
The events in Syria are obviously horrific and the bombardment of civilian communities with heavy weapons can never be acceptable.
The Assad regime should rightly be condemned for the loss of civilian life.
But increasingly strong reports of French and other Western special forces training anti-government troops in Syria and supplying them with weapons suggest that intervention has already begun, just as across the border in Iran the assassination of nuclear scientists points to Western or Israeli efforts to destabilise the government.
There is a sad irony that Libya - or at least its National Transitional Council - has donated $100 million to the Syrian opposition to buy yet more arms.
The strategy of Western leaders ever since their surprise at the Arab Spring last year has been to divide Arab opinion, promote the Gulf Co-operation Council, ignore human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and encourage the occupation of oil-rich Libya and now, apparently, to undermine if not occupy Syria.
One can only wish Kofi Annan well in his mission to the country and his hope of opening a dialogue with the Syrian government to forestall a Western invasion.
Annan was strongly critical of Nato actions in Libya last year and it should be remembered that he was prepared to defy Blair and Bush back in 2003, travelling to Iraq on the eve of the invasion.
No-one can or should condone human rights abuses or the killing of civilians in any conflict or country in the region.
But those who have presided over the deaths of tens of thousands of wholly innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have no moral authority to condemn anyone.
Nato bombardment does not bring peace, human rights, democracy or justice.
It is the advance guard for commercial interests seeking to exploit natural resources.
Political change comes from popular movements and respect for the rights and diversities of all communities.
It's time once again to take to the streets to stop Western intervention in Syria and Iran.