Attacking Iraq (twice) was a mistake, attacking Libya was a mistake and gave rise to IS, ISIL, Daesh, whatever you want to call the power hungry, heinous, murdering hordes that are rampaging in the Middle East and giving rise to deluded religious fanatics in Europe and elsewhere.
The US and UK are engaged in air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in the US case and currently only in Iraq by the UK. The UK government is about to consider expanding strikes into Syria also. Another mistake? I think so. Attack by air can never defeat these thugs and more importantly thousands of innocent people will be killed in the process giving rise to even more hatred of the West and so becoming a recruiting sergeant for more terrorists. There is an argument that troops on the ground is the only way to defeat them but as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can defeat a nation and impose a new government under the guise of a flawed democracy but you cannot impose peace. Thousands of bombs have been dropped in the last year and yet ISIL is unmoved and the lack of western triumphalist videos and news reports rather make the case for me.
So if air strikes can’t ‘win’ and using western troops on the ground is politically unacceptable to the electorate, as is the case at present, what should the West do? This is always the question asked but never the question “Should we do anything?” We first have to accept the fact that the West is Capitalist and Capitalism cares nothing about the suffering of people and only has an interest in money. Having accepted that point we can move on and see that the death and destruction wreaked upon the Middle East was not to free a people from Saddam Hussein or the Taliban but to ensure reliable cheap oil supplies from Iraq and the hope of building an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan. The result as we can see has been utter chaos; we may be getting cheap oil by way of repayment of Iraqi debt (incurred by the war) but the pipeline is still too risky a project and ISIL has been born and is a bigger threat to Capitalist hopes than before.
As I said and history has shown, peace in the region cannot be forced by western arms so just suppose we pulled right out and indeed did nothing. Middle Eastern nations are awash with wealth and stocked to the skies with armaments, supplied by us of course. Leave them all to get on with it and maybe, just maybe, the two wings of Islam might cease their squabbling and co-operate against the common threat of ISIL and with the excuse of Western infidels removed it would focus their minds. We may have to cut down a little on oil imports which is no bad thing but the Arab need and greed for cash would ensure it kept flowing. In addition by removing ourselves as a perceived threat to the region and also to Islam we would vastly lower or remove the risk of terrorist attacks in our own cities. We would of course, be morally bound not to supply arms to any other nation and perhaps there is the rub. Arms sales equals deaths equals Capitalist profits.
You would think by my time of life it would take a lot to surprise me and it does but I am genuinely shocked how blind to truth many of you are out there.
The government is spending at least £50 Million on WW1 remembrance events not to mention local costs and of course various royals trundled around to make fine speeches prepared for them to deliver in praise of millions of soldiers sailors and airmen who died in those terrible four years. Not one of those men is still alive so why is this enormous energy being spent on publicity, media connivance and money that would be better spent on feeding our hungry who are forced into Food Banks?
So what is going on? Well let’s start with what it’s not, just briefly. If it was about remembering the dead, then we should be reminded of the terrified men ordered over the top knowing the insanity of the orders and that they would be facing machine gun crossfire resulting in either death or if ‘lucky’ serious injury resulting in being sent back to England. Knowing too that too question the madness or to refuse the order even if suffering from what we now know to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would mean being shot on the spot by their own officers. We should be reminded also of the incredible bravery of conscientious objectors who through religious or moral reasons refused to fight and were also shot by firing squad or served long terms in prison with the worst of conditions. We should also be reminded that some CO’s died working in coal mines and also in particular, those who joined the Friends Ambulance Brigade (mostly Quakers) who served on the front lines collecting the injured under intense fire very many of whom were themselves killed. It’s not either, about learning the lessons of history because clearly we haven’t, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya …….
So what is it about? It’s about conditioning your minds, mild brain washing if you like, into nationalism, patriotism and an acceptance of waging war yet again if required. It’s about the royals and senior figures strutting the stage of history, making themselves look good bedecked in medals and rank that they have not earned but been given by their peers. It’s about politicians who have never been in the thick end of war spouting about the bravery of others long since dead about who’s lives they know nothing and care less. It’s about linking the past to the present and glorifying our vast war machine and gaining your acceptance for the massive expenditure that you have to pay for. When they spend £200 Billion on nuclear weapons that they can never use you will hardly murmur, or tens of Billions on aircraft carriers which by their very nature mean they are preparing for wars far away already, you won’t bat an eyelid. When hundreds of our soldiers die in Iraq or elsewhere and thousands lose limbs for the City of London you raise money for artificial limbs but you don’t ask why, you don’t say stop. Two million people marched before the Iraq war to say NO and they fear that next time there may be 10 million, 20 million, marching and demanding an end to war and the capitalist war mongers and arms salesmen will not add to their fortunes if we say no more. Capitalism not just thrives on war it depends on war. Fear of war allows acceptance of expenditure on the military and remembrance keeps that bit of fear in the mind, linking the past to the now.
Finally, they will not be remembering or reminding us of the mutinies and the strikes in the military towards the end of the 1914-18 war nor will they point out how many were shot and crushed as the uprising took hold and were put down by the government. So when you see ceremonies, hear some politician praise those poor sods in the mud with the stench of death all about, or see heroic films just ask yourself what is behind it? What thoughts are they trying to put into your mind?
The financial cost to the UK of the Iraq & Afghanistan invasions have now passed £20 billion. That figure does not include the wages of the troops and neither does it include the ongoing cost of caring for the wounded who must now be in their thousands although detailed figures are not released.
We are of course, still in Afghanistan with troops numbering over 10,000 and so the cost is ever increasing and not just the financial cost with the numbers of the military killed now reaching 300 wasted young lives.
As has been said by many people, not just me, this escapade cannot be won so if you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is stop digging. We will get out eventually without a satisfactory conclusion, so why not do it now and save enormous sums of money that we cannot afford and lives too. Perhaps then it will not be considered so necessary to impoverish so many of our own citizens.
Four families of servicemen killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan by roadside bombs whilst in ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers are suing the MoD for compensation.
Come on! If you join the armed forces you do so knowing that there is a risk of injury, disablement or even death, it’s not all mountaineering, skiing and piss ups with your mates.
I feel very sorry indeed for the loss that these families must feel and even more sorry for the young men who died but no amount of money (even if they win the case which I doubt) will make up for it.
It can only be a week ago that Gordon Brown promised there would be a change in the way that he and his government operates. More openness, more transparency, more accountability was his cry. Hooray we said, the leopard can change it’s spots or at least that’s what we hoped, whilst mostly unsuccessfully holding back the doubts.
So here we are digesting the long awaited announcement of an inquiry into the lead up to the Iraq invasion. Same old recognisable leopard, the one that creeps about shrouded in the darkness of secrecy. An inquiry committee selected from the Privy Council, that unaccountable bunch of the establishment appointed by the unaccountable Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Nothing in public, evidence not given under oath, no one forced to give evidence, no one to be blamed for anything, not even hundreds of thousands of deaths and the report not to be released until after the general election.
Yet another secret non event, as I suggest there will be little new to actually be published and the average blogger or political commentator could probably write the report for them now and save them the trouble and expense.
Brown had his chance of some new spots and blew it and whitewash certainly wont cover them up.