Wednesday, 2 December 2015

To bomb or not to bomb?

Er... Not to bomb. That was easy.

I suppose it should no longer astonish me that the standard response to an atrocity such as that committed in Paris last month is to massively increase the budget of the military industrial complex that does so much to increase misery around the world. "There's been a horrific shooting in Paris? Quick we better buy some more bombs."  

How the hell is bombing Syria supposed to alleviate any of the problems of recent months? 

The Jihadists that radicalised the young men who went on the killing spree in Paris want the West to go to war. For them, a bombing campaign on a predominately Muslim country is a recruitment campaign. Dissatisfied young British men and women have already been slipping away by the hundreds to go and fight the Assad regime that has caused so much pain in Syria. Some of them have joined Isis. Some of them have joined other groups with different interests and ideals. The troops in Syria that are not with Assad and not with Isis are not a unified group following one command. Bombs are not the most discriminating of weapons and rely on accurate information coming from the ground. Who is to supply that information?

Something else is going on here. It is possible to see the whole bombing response as part of a broad neo-liberal agenda to move great swathes of public money into the hands of the privately owned arms manufacturing companies. But even seen in these cynical terms... it seems a spectacularly ill-advised way to proceed. Money means more to these people than morality, that much is obvious. But more than the safety of the streets of their own cities? Apparently so.

What about the other great crisis of Europe's near future? The number of migrants fleeing their war-torn country will not be reduced by contributing to the warfare that is tearing up the country from which the migrants are fleeing. 

MPs are debating now. You won't hear much about the neo-liberal agenda of the military industrial complex from that lot. Cameron will be making the moral case for war. Because wars can be moral now since Tony Blair said so in 1998. 

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