Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
There has been much said in the past few weeks since Paris, there has been much said and now there is much being done. Or about to be done.
The attacks in Paris were met by a beautiful show of humanity on the part of many, in the immediate aftermath the world lit up in horror, in sympathy and in a united spirit that terrorism will never bow us.
But it has. Our collective response has not been one of clear thinking and recognizing that committing solely to an aerial campaign will not do anything for the crisis in Syria and Iraq, but instead has been nothing more then a drive to war.
The drum beats to war are ringing and our actions here cannot be forgotten, though it is often used our actions here will be judged and will be harshly judged.
For the most part, the arguments for bombing Syria have by and large been we have to act and so we are taking action. Unleashing the bombs should never be argued simply because we have to be seen to be doing something, for political expediency. Our action here is not a game, it is not a joke. These bombs are not toys, they are not scalpels they are bludgeons. They flatten neighborhoods and destroy entire areas.
We can try to pretend that these strikes will have no collateral damage, we can try to pretend that the bodies of children that will be pulled from buildings are Daesh’s fault, not ours. But truth be told, it will be our bombs doing this damage.
The second argument is that Daesh are fascists and we should fight them where ever we can. The problem there is that not our actions simply give power to another set of fascists. Nor does it ignore the fact the both the Defense Committee and the Foreign Policy Committee have both said, the case has not been made, the strikes will not damage Daesh.
I am not in favour of these strikes because they have no chance of succeeding. The United States, Russia and France have all been bombing Daesh across Syria and Iraq for nearly two years now. They have had little to no effect that can be demonstrated upon Daesh.
Is the RAF some magical force that it can succeed where others have failed? I sincerely doubt it.
Our actions here should have more extensive, not this plan which lacks depth, clear definitions and the presence of an end plan. The last time we went into Iraq we also lacked those things. When we went into Libya. We also lacked those things. Each intervention we have made without a clear definition of what we are doing, where we are doing it, how we end it and what happens after the end is doomed to failure, not only to fail but to cause a much worse situation.
For my own part, I have been in favour from the beginning of Daesh’s rise to flood the region with a full intervention into Iraq and Syria, with british troops on the ground, UN safezones and various supporting groups from the Kurds to Iran to Turkey alongside a massive sanctions and embargo campaign.
I have been in favour of this because Daesh will never be beaten solely from the air. They do not operate in a conventional manner and the last two years have proved beyond doubt that we cannot beat them solely from the air.
I can wax lyrical and go into detail about why we need to go onto the ground but it really comes down to this. Daesh are fighting a guerilla war, you cannot beat them with bombing, you have to get in their face. If we embargo and they have no bullets, no guns, no transport. They cannot flee or fight against a properly equipped and trained army. But they can and will hide from bombs amongst civilians.
I would ask of every MP that voted for the bombing of Syria, if they truly believe that they would commit British troops to a 10 year occupation of Syria, Iraq and a possible Kurdistan. Because that is the only way to wipe out Daesh and return the region to peace.
The drums of war are beating and we have taken the wrong side, making a tragic mistake for which we will pay dearly for and for which history will judge us harshly for.
Faizal Patel, (2015)