Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Friday, 27 November 2015

Corbyn And The War Nerds

After Young Dave pout forward his jolly good proposals for sending someone else off into harm’s way, and in the process fly over parts of Syria controlled by ISIS, or whatever they’re called this week, and drop a few tonnes of high explosive on them, many of the assembled punditerati proclaimed that this was A Very Good Idea: we have to confront ISIS, we have bombs, therefore we must confront ISIS with bombs.
But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. There is no benefit to the safety of anyone in the UK from bombing parts of the world that have already had the crap bombed out of them several times over. This inconvenient fact caused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to dissent from Dave’s view.

His letter bears close examination: “The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated … We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS … Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security”.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee … In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign”.

He concluded “In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK … For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it”.

This is an entirely sensible and indeed courageous stance. For taking it, Corbyn has been castigated by a number of his own MPs, and especially those pundits by whom he has been judged insufficiently bellicose. Gripes of “George Lansbury” and witless comparisons to the expansionist tendency of the Third Reich are being cited. It would be moderately amusing, were it not so unedifying. Why the tendency to war in every situation?

Ah well. Not only do we now have a generation of politicians for whom personal and intimate involvement in war is almost totally absent, but we have a pundit class filled with nerds who are frightened shitless of being considered less than totally patriotic, and even cowardly. To compensate for their inadequacy, the response at all times is to advocate war. No-one can say in the retelling that they lacked guts.

Why the bombing will not work has been outlined by Jürgen Todenhöfer in a piece for the Guardian; he was the first Western journalist to spend time with ISIS and then return safely. His article shows why Corbyn is right and the nerds are wrong.

He does suggest a way out: “But there are ways to beat Isis. First, America has to stop Gulf states delivering weapons to the terrorists in Syria and Iraq … Second, the west has to help Turkey seal its long border with the ‘Islamic State’, to stop the flow of new fighters joining Isis.”

Third, Isis can only exist because it has managed to ally itself with the suppressed Sunni population of Iraq and Syria. They are the water that carries the Isis project. If the west managed to bring about a national reconciliation in Iraq and Syria, and integrate Sunnis (which in Iraq would have to include former Ba’athists) into political life, Isis would be finished, like a fish out of water”.

Jeremy Corbyn needs to latch on to this, and very soon. He then has not only the correct call on Cameron’s ill-judged call to drop bombs “because we have them”, but also a credible solution to the problem. It is a sad thought, though, that so many of his MPs will ignore and even castigate him because they naively see belligerence as a passport to more job security.

Meanwhile the class of war nerds will carry on masking their inadequacy by calling for the bombing to start, knowing that when it all goes wrong and Corbyn is proved right, enough people will have forgotten to allow them to cary on penning their witless bletherings.

6 comments:

Richard Lawson said...

Terrorists create hate rather than terror in people, and hate is an emotion that demands expression.

Bombs express hatred very well. Tabloid editors and commentators are working up to demanding that Daesh be destroyed. Any civilian deaths will be accidental, not intended, which is the thing that makes them totally unlike terrorist-caused death.

Hate is simple, easily expressed on the front page of a tabloid. Reason and strategy are complex, not easily front-paged.

Ergo, Cameron will lead us into Syria. Whether he will lead us out of Syria so easily is another matter.

Rivo said...

Perhaps if there were a rule that those who most enthusiastically call for war be the first on the front lines, "journalists" would be less likely to call for it? And if they didn't, well, they'd be over in Syria any way and we wouldn't have to listen to their bellicose blustering...

Anonymous said...

Some people never learn.

When the Yanks invaded Indo-China with a half million strong army, they also threw in three times the total bombing by all sides in the Second World War, 7,662,000 worth (compared to 2,150,000 tons in the world conflict).

The tragic result was millions dead, the vast majority indigenous peoples resistant to invasion, and a moonscape environment. The USA STILL LOST. And they couldn't have found a smaller or more vulnerable opponent.

There is not a single precedent in military history where bombing alone has "won" a conflict. Not even Nazi blitzkrieg could manage it.

The reality is of course that war in any form brutalises everybody. The Bullingdon head boy and his apologists will make it worse all because they want to appear "tough." In actual fact they would be every bit the cowardly war criminal brutes that brought all this on in the first place, conscienceless Blue Blairites and tenth rate death mongers.

If Labour MPs go along with this proposed useless atrocity they will lose whatever regard - and it isn't much - they have in the public eye. Worse, they will have buried the seeds of revenge for equal homicidal maniacs. Eventually they will grow to more of the same horror.

Small wonder people feel we live in a de facto far right one party state, that all politicians are the same opportunist spivs. Nobody can say they don't know where THAT leads.

Oscar James said...

Media agitating for blowing up parts of the ME, from the safety of their computer screens are a dangerous lot. Look at the rubbish printed about Ken Livingstone who said suicide bombers 'gave their lives' for their cause. It's a statement of fact. He did not condone it or congratulate them.
I still think it's probably a true story- the so-called incident where Krushev supposedly commented to JFK :"how do you get your journalists to write what you want, we have to threaten ours with jail"

Andy Platt said...

We also need to cut off ISIS' funding by pressuring Saudi Arabia etc to stop their rich businessmen sending them money and Turkey buying oil from them. Similar pressure needs to be put on Turkey to stop using the conflict as an excuse to bomb the Kurds.

Of course anybody bringing this up is met with the robotic "Saudi Arabia/Turkey are valued allies" or, like in the case of Dennis Skinner, a witless accusation of being an apologist for Russia. Because Russia is bad m'kay?

Anonymous said...

I see the disgusting hate-filled McTernan has been wheeled out right on cue by Sky, ITN and the BBC.

I wonder who's paying the transport costs of shuttling him between propaganda clerk "interviewers." And which of the propaganda "editors" decided to promote his neofascist poison.

After all, McTernan does have form in promoting war and lies with the war criminal Blair, and then shuffling off to South Australia to peddle the same odious muck.

He is of course a bought-and-paid-for saboteur of everything decent and civilised. His natural place is with the tories and other far right spivs in "new" Labour.

A horrible fellow deserving of nothing but contempt.