Sunday, 20 March 2016

Endless war...


As Joe Haldeman wrote:

“The 1143-year-long war had begun on false pretenses and only because the two races were unable to communicate."

So while you can't stop fighting just because you've decised to stop fighting, you can (while the fighting's going on) address yourself to the communication. Or not as this reminder of how limited many spies and spooks are in their thinking:

There may be no end to the war against terrorism that the US is leading, according to former CIA employee Paul R.Pillar. And one of the main reasons would be a misinterpretation of the notion of “terrorism”.

Now this might be true if we take the broadest definition of terrorism but that's not what Pillar is on about. He's speaking specifically about Sunni Islam as if it is inevitable that this particular faith will continue to churn out terrorists so long as it's around. Especially given that, for most of Sunni Islam's history, it hasn't been churning out said terrorists.

So we need to develop two sorts of communication - firstly one with Sunni Islam that doesn't start from the premise that this set of beliefs is culpable in the creation of terrorism, that somehow the prosecution of terror is inherent to Islam. And secondly one with the very small number of Sunni Muslims who are attracted, for whatever reason, by the violent Islamism of Daesh.

There really aren't very many terrorists of any sort but we really don't need very many to have a disproportionate impact on people's feelings of security, on attitudes to Islam and on the policies of governments in the West. The sort of situation that leads to this kind of story:

The National Crime Agency (NCA), which was critical in the operation to arrest the suspects in that case, had reportedly been given new orders amid fears of a Paris-style attack involving terrorists returning from Syria using heavy weaponry.

The unnamed minister was quoted as saying: “We used to plan for three simultaneous attacks but Paris has shown that you need to be ready for more than that.

“We are ready if someone tries with seven, eight, nine, ten.”

This manages to reinforce our worries about terrorism, show a 'tough' government response and suggest that the culprits in these putative attacks will be Muslims. None of this is to suggest that government shouldn't be prepared but rather that the strategy seems incomplete without recognising that Islam is - whether we like it or not - a significant religion in the UK and that nearly all its adherents are not terrorists or ever likely to be terrorists.


1 comment:

asquith said...

We need to stop ilegally overthrowing secular regimes and start doing what Bush should have done the day after 9/11, work with the powers on the ground in an international effort against terrorism. Recognising that the secular dictators are bad but the aftermath of a power vacuum is worse.

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first."

And this is down to the illegal war in Iraq and my accusation to Dave is that he has done something just as bad with his "intervention" in Libya. And the shocking criminality that happens in Yemen.

I think there are more repressive and intolerant tendencies in Islam than in other religions or among atheists. Other ways of life can do their persecuting, as in India and Burma, but Islam is I believe worse if not kept in check. And that's why western governments need to stop supporting the worst elements and stop attacking secular dictators like Saddam and Basher who are bad but repress people like Islamic State that we now know to be even worse than them.

An end to the arming Islamists when they're against secular regimes that are deemed inconvenient by people we shouldn't supporting and an end to the "alliance" with the Gulf States and Turkey. We need to be at peace but keep people at arms' length. I support the peace Obamaa made with the Iranians but they need to stop supporting Hezbollah and the Gulf states need to stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and bombing Yemen with what is, staggeringly (can you BELIEVE it), Cameron and Hamond's support.

There is also a serious danger that Hillary will get the support of all the neocons and be even worse than the Donald in that department. And I think people should start to look at Gary Johnson.