Note. This was intended to be one article but by the time I slowed down typing it I realised I was over 3,000 words. So I've split it into two parts or maybe three.
All the tub thumping and the jingoism from Cameron, the calls for patriotic British men and women to stand shoulder to shoulder with France in its moment of need, the constant mentions that we are in danger. Those who speak against bombing are called a threat to national security, those who oppose ever stronger state intrusion in our privacy are called friends of terrorists.
We are a few hasty words away from calling those who don’t want the RAF dropping more bombs or firing more missiles on an already war torn region cowards or traitors.
Anyone recognize a pattern in all of this, I’ve included the quote in the header picture to give you a big hint.
ISIL came about when a number of what were thought to be moderate or at least controllable groups were bought together, funded, armed and equipped for the purpose of fighting yet another of the west’s proxy wars against everyone else. They quickly went off to do their own thing and for the last few years have been named as THE greatest threat to the west. Countless billions of Dollars and Euros and Pounds have been spent blowing things up and killing people, often innocent bystanders and all with the publicly stated aim of destroying Islamic State.
The most powerful military forces in the world, the richest nations in the world, all claiming to seek the destruction of IS and all busy dropping bombs and firing missiles from aircraft and drones. Vast sums were spent training and equipping the Iraqi army, then vast sums were spent destroying the thousands of Hummvees, the hundreds of MBTs and the huge stockpiles of weapons and stores that IS captured when those trained Iraqi soldiers ran away.
Every day combat aircraft launch themselves skyward, bombs, missiles and fuel tanks hanging from their wings and bodies, to criss cross the sky over Iraq and Syria looking for something to blow up. Weekly we hear the names of IS celebrity figures who have been killed and of new celebrities rising up to replace them. For every Jihadi John there are plenty of replacements waiting in the wings to replace the last martyr.
Bombs, missiles, they don’t defeat a state. Carpet bombing entire cities and killing hundreds of thousands in firestorms failed to defeat the states who have suffered such attacks or have we forgotten out own history. All they have served to do is slow down, a little, the capacity of the enemy to wage war and created new hatred to inspire them with.
Over the course of this century, again and again the west has created groups to fight against other groups that the west doesn’t want to fight themselves, again and again these groups have turned into an enemy and yet more new groups are created and expanded to fight the last group who was armed and equipped to fight the group before that. In the whole of the century so how exactly how often has this worked, how many of these so called moderate groups have been trained and funded and armed and equipped and actually remained moderate and continued to fight the people the west wanted them to.
Well the Pentagon reckons four or five, that's not groups or wars, that’s individuals. The Pentagon spent half a billion dollars training and funding groups in one operation (out of many) and they think, that’s ‘THINK’, that four or five people may actually be fighting as opposed to having joined the enemy or sold their weapons and vanished.
A year of the US bombing, thousands of aircraft, thousands of bombs and missiles, how many dead and maimed. What exactly has that achieved?
Which is the basis of for my objection to bombing, not because I’m a pacifist or a coward or a traitor and I don’t think that anyone who is against the bombing should be accused of any of those. But because I have looked at the situation and thought about it rather than being led by the nose by propaganda, spin and the media.
The UK joining the bombing of ISIL in Syria will not defeat them nor will it achieve anything other than limited and symbolic victories. To my mind we need to defeat ISIL in detail and by destroying them as a state and as an idea, killing a few of them with bombs cannot and will not work. We have to kill the hydra in a way that will stop another head growing and then another after that. There is no point what so ever in fighting IS in a way that makes them stronger and guarantees that if they do fall they will be replaced within months by another group following the same path and doing the same thing.
What we need to do is aim for and achieve four main objectives:
Destroy their reputation.
Destroy their economy.
Destroy the religious creed that supports them.
Once these three are done the final one should be fairly easy.
Destroy their name.
Do this and we not just destroy ISIL but we don’t leave the seeds of the next ISIL and the one after that in the rubble of our bomb strikes.
Destroy their reputation.
ISIL or IS function in many ways as a fledgling state, they consider themselves to be a state and as much as our politicians and talking heads can try to deny the fact or mock it those who rush to join them and those who fight for them believe they are a state. Perception and belief is important, when people believe something strongly enough, when they see something they think to be true then they are prepared to fight for that thing and even die to support that thing. It doesn't matter that they are wrong, all that matters is they think they are right.
IS believe themselves to be a state and act as if they are a state.
An IS fighter who is wounded on the front lines or by a bomb or missile is taken to an IS hospital, treated by IS doctors, looked after by IS nurses and if he is bored he can get a book or two out of an IS library.
Meanwhile IS tax collectors are out and about and IS people are providing other services. Sounds like a fledgling state to me and more importantly it sounds like a state to the many people who support it.
By mocking them in the media but treating them as a state in most other ways except when attacking them we actually support their rhetoric. Putting aside the stupidity of the never ending and highly nebulous war on Terror / Crime / Drugs, acts of war are committed by nations and states, declarations of war are issued between nations and states.
The nations of Europe declare war on each other, Russia declared war on Germany, Japan declared war on the US (eventually), declarations of war are things that are done between states. So when France, probably not thinking it through clearly due to their anger of the moment, declared war on IS it was an act between states, a recognition by a permanent member of the UN security council, member of the G7 and well known nation state that IS was a peer, another state.
Islamic State are currently at war with four of the top six military forces in the world, they are at war with three of the G7 nations and two of the other four are providing non combat support to the anti IS alliance. In fact they have been at war with the US for over a year now and are still fighting, a singular achievement for any state.
As religious fundamentalists what conclusion can they draw from the fact that they are at war with four of the permanent members of the UN security council, they fight to create what they believe is their gods kingdom and while doing so they are fighting such powerful enemies, but they are still here. It doesn’t take much to push the line that god is with them under those circumstances.
As long as the west treats IS as an enemy nation WE help to build their reputation, WE bring them new recruits and funds, WE help keep them alive and WE will ensure that if and when IS falls there will be plenty of people to replace them.
We need to destroy their reputation to destroy them and this is not a short term objective but it is far more certain than dropping a few more bombs.
IS are extremely active on social media, the western response is pitiful. Delete or block a few Facebook and Twitter accounts. Wow, that’ll teach them fanatics not to mess with us.
It’s the 21st century, cyber is a form of warfare these days and that doesn’t just mean hacking. If every time some IS supporter posts something on Twitter it is buried in responses pointing out just how wrong it is then yes IS get more traffic but if ten times as many posts opposing IS terror as supporting them are posted every time then we begin to undermine the reputation of IS. Where is the effort to get those millions of so called moderate muslims up and posting, where are the anti IS campaigns posting thousands of messages a day?
IS post large amounts of propaganda videos and articles, where is the response, where is the effort to undermine these. Where are the Youtube videos focusing on the harm that IS does, where are the Arabic articles and the videos of all the poor dead fools who went to join IS and died, not as martyrs but just as unidentifiable lumps of meat. IS have skilled editors and publishers producing propaganda for them, where is the western response, where are the many skilled producers and editors of the west producing the effective anti IS Youtube videos?
IS are a bunch of bandits and cowards who prey on the weak and the defenceless, why isn’t that in the news every day, where are the attacks directed against their reputation. IS rape little girls because children can’t fight back. IS have to take slaves because decent women don’t want them. Attack the machoismo, attack the reputation, attack the culture.
Bombing IS isn’t a war, it’s a half arsed police action, it’s helping a few middle eastern nations deal with bandits and savages. We should be using the power of the internet and social media and the old media and peer groups and word of mouth to destroy the reputation of IS and everyone who joins them, the digital world and the real world should be filled with those truths IS don’t want revealed, the painful and pointless deaths of the fools who go to join them, the corruption of the leadership, the real reasons why IS fights (US mercenaries and Saudi puppets to create more profit for Saudi princes).
Where is this in our news?
The harsh truth is that we, our security services, our media and our politicians are actively and deliberately enhancing the reputation of IS, WE are making them stronger, WE are bringing them more recruits and WE are, as what seems to be a matter of political agenda, NOT using the tools we have to tear away at and destroy the reputation of IS.
I could go on and on just with this subject but I hope I’ve made my point.
So my question is; will bombing help to destroy Islamic States reputation?
Part two to follow.
Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert. News at nine. Church upset, and spokes priest says there is a case for legal action since it is discrimination as religious speech is protected.
Before I look at this from a distance let me say I’m fully against any group of sky fairy worshipers getting in my face. When I go to the cinema to watch STAR WARS if I get the CoE advertising their imaginary friend while I’m sitting there I’m going to be annoyed. I don’t want to have to sit through that sort of crap nor do I want to have to leave the cinema to avoid it. When I’m sitting there waiting for the film the only religion I’m interested in is Sith, oh and maybe Jedi a bit.
To my mind religion is something personal, you can bother whatever imaginary friend you want to in private but don’t wave your sky fairy in my face, Christmas IS NOT a Christian festival and when I’m waiting for STAR WARS to start being forced fed anyone’s religion is going to result in deaths, slow painful deaths.
Anyway, on a less biased and less passionate note.
Is this discrimination, is the Church of England causing a fuss for no real reason but a load of cheap publicity at a time when they are looking at people walking away from them and many other religions as having no place in the 21st century.
The advert was a minute long and as the church pointed out contains no actual reference to God or to the CoE. But and this is a huge BUT, the words are extremely recognizable, the lord’s prayer or at least the modern version of it from the most recent version of the King James bible. It is recognizable to a wide variety of people, both Christian and otherwise as it is perhaps the most common Christian prayer.
It doesn’t need to have a banner saying Christian or Church of England. It is very recognizable. It is distinct and within seconds it can be identified even without the first few seconds showing a rather well known figure.
So the argument that this isn’t blatantly religious doesn’t work.
Next, is this discrimination, does this violate the law against protected speech.
Where to start with this one. The law protects people who follow a religion, it is intended to prevent discrimination against the religious, at no point does it ever say that other people are forced to parrot religious doctrine. The advertising company turned this down because they felt it would upset people. Well duh. To start with you are talking millions of fanatical STAR WARS fans, geeks and nerds who have booked their tickets long since and will be queuing outside their cinema long before the doors open at midnight.
Us nerds and geeks may be quiet but we are not a group you want to piss off and force feeding us your religion while we are geeking out waiting for OUR film to start, really bad plan there people. As far as annoying follows of Islam or Judaism, well if they were going to see STAR WARS they are probably Geeks first and religious second so will be double pissed off because their excitement is being interrupted by religion and because it’s not their religion.
Even if you are CoE who wants the church getting in your face while you are in full on geek mode out waiting for the film to start.
The advertising company is not being forced to show anything, they are allowed to choose what they show and what they don’t, it’s not censorship, it’s wanting to avoid annoying the audience and speaking personally interrupting the flow of my STAR WARS geek with some prayer from the CoE is annoying.
So when they decided not to show the Church of England advert it was good business not an act against the church.
Next, this is an attack on the church. Oh right, another attack on Christianity, poor religion, so many people attacking them these days. Churches closing everywhere, the CoE no longer the power behind the throne or burning heretics in the square for the amusement of the mob.
No it’s not an attack specifically on you, it’s a reflection of society at large, the 21st century and the last generation of people who may have be born into a Christian nation but have long since walked away or who were born into the current generation for whom god is about as real as Santa Claus, probably less real since the sky fairy doesn’t bring presents.
Turning down an advert isn’t discrimination, not wanting to annoy people with the lord’s prayer when they are trapped in a cinema isn’t discrimination, though ramming your faith down people’s throats when they are trapped and can’t easily leave could easily be described as forced Proselytism (forcing people to listen to a religious sermon or speech in an attempt to convert them to your faith). If people want to hear your prayers they can go visit you, everyone else who isn’t interested would rather not have you bringing your prayers to us. Yes the idea that people would convert just because they heard one advert of the lord’s prayer is silly, this whole situation is silly.
The CoE tried to get into everyone’s faces and in the process tried to piss off millions of Geeks in the worst possible way; you do not interrupt the pre STAR WARS Geek like this, ever.
The ad was stopped because the ad company thought it was a bad business idea, which it was.
The CoE have spend a lot of money that could probably have been better spend on the needy and by complaining and kicking up a fuss they have gained a great deal of free publicity for themselves. Well done, your marketing and PR consultant was worth the money after all. You got the headlines.
Now go away and do not, that is DO NOT try to push your religion in my face again, not when I’m waiting for the music to start and STAR WARS to begin and not an any other time.
But mostly not when I’m waiting for STAR WARS.
Appologies for not posting anything for the last few weeks, many reasons but overall no writing coming from this writer.
Note. I am calling Islamic State ISIL, I’ve been told off for calling them ISIS since she was some sort of nice goddess in Egypt and I’m not calling them dash or desh or whatever, the stupidity of not calling someone Islamic state because it offends the Islam is peaceful and these people are not proper muslims crowd but instead calling them by the initials of the Arab name for Islamic state just boggles the mind.
Anyway, the last few weeks have seen a series of attacks, suicide bombers, people killed by gunfire in batches and general attacks on civilisation by the barbarians who are inside the gates.
Paris was the most recent and being in Europe got the most attention, all across social media people have been showing their solidarity and everyone is talking about what a terrible thing it was.
But the victims had barely been counted when Cameron was back on his box calling for airstrikes again, others are saying how our security services needed the new powers, British special forces have been promised a bumper Christmas and the spook agencies are going to be hiring a few thousand new staff.
Perhaps a few of the police who have lost their jobs over the last few years of cuts could get a job with the security services, protecting the population and all that. In fact so great was the governments concern that they found billions of pounds to spend while still not able to explain where those billions of cuts in tax credits are coming from.
But most worrying of all is the relentless propaganda campaign most of our media is pushing, bomb the bastards, send in the RAF, give the Vulcan a final run, start airstrikes in Syria.
We are told that 60% of the population support airstrikes, that 49% of Labour MPs would vote for airstrikes if given a free vote but that dammed pacifist Corbyn is threatening them or some such. A mere handful of Tory backbenchers are against bombing while everyone else is for it though numbers are always a bit vague.
The media are pushing hard, the need to defend the country by killing more civilians, creating more refugees and inspiring thousands more people to hate the west and Join ISIL never seems to come up though.
But what I am not seeing is something very simple, the answer to a little question, an explanation to my three words.
AND THEN WHAT?
That is the question, just three simple little words, three syllables, not hard to say.
So why is there no answer to this simple easy little question?
Remember Iraq, shock and awe, the daily entertainment of watching the US drop bombs on some far distant dusty coutry full of brown people. Remember that one clip, repeated endlessly at the time, a car driving over a bridge seconds before a bomb destroyed the bridge. The driver, most likely a civilian, escaped death by seconds but it was a jolly jape, boys own fun watching the bomb miss him by such a tiny distance.
Then the tanks rolled in and the Iraqi army died, Saddam was overthrown and democracy prevailed, or so we were told. Years later after governments representing one religion or the other Iraq still tops the list of people killed by terrorists every year.
The military of the west rolled in, crushed all opposition, overthrew the dictator. . .
AND THEN WHAT ?
Well not much as it happened, vast sums of money to bring democracy that is faltering and all too often falters, an expensively trained and equipped military that either joined ISIL or ran away leaving all those expensive tanks, humvees and weapons behind to be captured.
There was no long term plan, nothing beyond a sort of commitment to sort of support a democratic government in a sort of vague way.
Libya, Airstrikes, bombs, working with the rebel groups. Death and destruction all round, government weapons by the warehouse full grabbed by groups who later turned out to be religious extremist/ The dictator found and killed, the government overthrown.
AND THEN WHAT ?
Well nothing as it turned out, the west clapped their hands and went out for a drink to celebrate the death of Gadaffi and then looked elsewhere. The country collapsed into chaos, the new government ministers maintaining private armies, warlords and extremists fighting for control of their local areas, death and destruction that the world turned its eyes away from.
Then we have Syria. The west wants Assad gone, seen that before and it never ends well.
The west along with the house of Saud has been funding, training and arming local groups to overthrow Assad (most of whom turned out to be terrorists and religious fanatics, seen that before and it never ends well.
The west wants to put yet more bombers into the crowded airspace over Syria to bomb the terrorists of ISIL despite there being no apparent explanation as to why months of bombing raids, thousands of bombs dropped and it is still easy to find some high profile targets for the French to hit. If our intelligence services knew that building was the IS headquarters for all of Syria why wasn’t it destroyed the day after it was identified?
But aside from that point, sending in more aircraft, sending in more drones, killing more people on the ground, some of whom may be terrorists, seen that before and it never ends well.
Odd that the Tory backbenchers who are vocal in being against airstrikes seem to be overwhelmingly those who have served in the military, that many retired senior military figures are against air strikes, that the politicians appear to be deciding on a military campaign the military says is wrong, seen that before and it never ends well.
Then we have the promises that there will be no mission creep, just drones and bombs, just air strikes, no troops on the ground, no expansion of military operations , no steady increase in resources allocated to the campaign in Syria, definitely only attacking ISIL, absolutely will not bomb any Syrian government forces or do anything against Assad, heard all of that before and it never ends well.
But nothing that will answer my simple little question.
AND THEN WHAT ?
After the bombs have been dropped, after the west sends in more and more forces and accidentally ends up fighting Assad as well, by accident of course.
After it becomes clear that carpet bombing cities doesn’t stop a fanatical regime that has indoctrinated it’s young to form shock troops and is fighting across Europe and the middle east to form the thousand year Reich, Oh sorry, almost broke Goodwin’s law there.
But then what ?
Troops on the ground, a massive campaign to arm the Kurds who seem to be the only effective force on the ground that isn’t either religious extremists or US mercenaries (or both), what happens when a well armed Kurdish group declares a new Kurdish nation and takes chunks of Syria, Iraq and Turkey as it’s homeland, oh look an act of war against a NATO member, seen that before and it never ends well.
Kick out Assad now, let he stay for six months, leave him in power till ISIL is defeated. Then what?
What is the long term plan, where are the grownups using adult thinking here, what is the long term plan. Heck what is the medium term plan?
Send in the airstrikes, drop bombs, and then what?
Too many boys own adventures, not enough thinking about the consequences. Iraq and Libya have demonstrated what happens after the air strikes when there is no long term plan, when the airstrikes are the only option and beyond that no one cares. Chaos, anarchy, hatred, refugees, countless thousands of recruits for the terror groups.
Apparently 60% of the UK population, who expressed an opinion are in support of airstrikes. If that happens to be you I would like you to answer my simple little question. If it’s someone you know then then ask them my question. What is the answer, anyone who wants airstrikes and bombs falling from the skies to kill more people (some of whom may be ISIL), what is the answer to the question.
AND THEN WHAT ?