UK Goes to War Again Based on Tory Misinformation Campaign

David Cameron has called Jeremy Corbyn, life-long peace campaigner, a “terrorist sympathiser” for failing to back air strikes in Syria. That pretty much gives us the measure of the intellectual rigour behind Cameron’s position, which could most charitably be described as disingenuous.

Cameron seems to be taking his approach directly from the advice of Nazi Hermann Goering, who is quoted as saying:

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are in danger of being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

What Cameron has not explained, of course, is how we can win this war; or even how it will help to lessen the threat from ISIS. ISIS don’t have obvious military infrastructure that can be destroyed; if they had, US and French air strikes would have destroyed it by now. In reality, ISIS are a bunch of shadowy figures hiding among the general population. David Davis has correctly pointed out that we don’t actually have any significant strategic targets to bomb. Cameron’s 70,000 “moderate resistance” fighters, if they exist, are not the kind of people we should be arming: most of those arms will just find their way into the wrong hands and get used against us. The idea of achieving a “political settlement” in Syria, with no credible plan of how such a thing could be achieved, remains hot air for the forseeable future and will not be helped by this military action.

Of course, it is natural to feel anger following a terrible atrocity like the Paris attacks. It is natural to feel affinity with the victims and their families, who are close to us, in a place many of us are familiar with, and living lives similar to ours. But what if we take some of those feelings of anger, and amplify them: imagine it is us who lost a loved one, perhaps a child, in that attack. Imagine the hatred and desire for revenge that we would be feeling. Now consider that almost every time we drop a bomb in Syria (or in Iraq or elsewhere) there will be another innocent person in that position, harbouring those same feelings. To our military, these people are “collateral damage”. To ISIS, they are potential new recruits. In addition, people will have their homes, posessions and livelihoods destroyed by the bombing (you can’t buy insurance that will pay out on a home in war-torn Syria). These people become destitute; and ISIS will mop them up too, by being their only source of food, money and camradery.

To put ourselves in these victims shoes is not to sympathise with terrorism, it’s to recognise that violence always breeds more violence. To break this vicious circle actually takes more courage than to perpetuate it.

As Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This intervention is a carbon-copy of previous interventions in Iraq, Afganistan and elsewhere which have cost millions of lives and achieved nothing except to completely de-stabilise the Middle East and expose us to the ever-increasing threat from terrorism. For our MPs to be claiming that this intervention will make us safer, when we know from experience it will do just the opposite, is shameful.

Instead of pouring petrol on the fire and flooding the region with more arms, why not try a serious effort to starve ISIS of arms, oil money and propaganda? For some specific ideas on what we could be doing better to counter this threat, watch Caroline Lucas’ excellent speech yesterday in the House of Commons.