Friday, 3 October 2014

America and its British poodle leap to do the wrong thing. Again

It was, perhaps, one of those “they would say that, wouldn’t they” moments. There have been a lot of those on both sides. Or perhaps one should say on all sides.
According to the Syrian terror group Jabhat al-Nusra, Western air-strikes against IS in Iraq are “a war against Islam”.
They are not that.
As a few people have pointed out lately, IS no more represents Islam than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity.
But it is a little difficult to say precisely who the combined forces of the USA, Britain and the rest of the 40-nation coalition are waging war against.
So let me try. Or, rather, let me hand over for a moment to the blogger Richard Alan Jones. His enlightening words have been pirated all over the place, but let’s give him due credit here:
“Some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting our other enemies, who we don’t want to lose, but we don’t our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.
“If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they might be replaced by people we like even less.”
So that’s all clear, then. No risk of mission creep or things going wrong there. Much.
With every major party in Westminster and Washington baying for blood, and a large majority of the public apparently backing bombing raids, the calm voice of reason is not much heard.
But it's there if you listen, and not always in the obvious places.
Cameron is the new Blair. And as with Blair, there is some dissent on his own benches.
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon was one of six Tories who voted against military action last week.
“Is suspect this is what IS wants us to do,” he said. “They want it to look like a battle against wicked imperialists from the West.”
Quite. The beheadings of innocent westerners have achieved exactly what they were intended for. The bombing now begun is giving IS its best possible recruitment campaign.
You can't bomb people into changing their minds. Unless it's to make them hate you more.
Prime ministers and presidents always talk at such times as if going to war abroad somehow made us safer at home. It should be obvious to anyone that the opposite is true.
As an al-Nusra spokesman so clearly put it: “These states have committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world.”
That's us he's talking about.
David Davis, a former Shadow Home Secretary, made another good point in last Friday's debate. A point with the potential to come back and chill us all later.
“The moral case is clear,” he said, “the practical case is not.
“What do we do when we stop bombing?”
What indeed.
It was Major General Tim Cross, the most senior British officer involved in trying to rebuild Iraq after our last interference there, who pointed out: “We the West won't solve this problem.”
And added: “The answer is isn't purely military, or even primarily military.”
But when did politicians – or the public who vote them in and out of power – ever pay much attention to experts?
In the face of such horrors as those posed by ISIS, it's natural that people, or governments, want to do something.
But at such times America and its British poodle have a truly horrifying record of doing the wrong thing.
I fear we're at it again.


It seems hard to believe that a dog, with its ultra-sensitive nose, could fail to notice a palpitating frog when it's within paw's reach. And the transfixed frog certainly seemed to have noticed Cooper.
But let me start at the beginning.
I was mowing the lawn. I'm not an obsessive lawn-keeper and the grass was rather long.
Long enough for me to have to stop occasionally to clear the blades. Long enough to conceal quite a large frog.
When I first spotted it, I thought I'd killed it.
It was lying very flat with its unfeasibly yellow underbelly turned up to the sky. And very still, as if a little squashed.
But frogs are very good at playing dead.
I hadn't quite finished the mowing when I saw this one raise a tentative hind leg and wave it around slightly.
After a little while of this it flipped. One moment it was belly up, the next it was prostrate. Prone, you might say, to hop off. Which in due course it did.
Just a little way. Just until it spotted Cooper, lying right in its path.
At which point it froze again. While Cooper, my labrador-collie cross, utterly ignored it.
And there they remained. The frog stayed rigid even when Cooper decided to have a nice roll in the new-mown grass right next to it.

It was still there when I sat down to write this – though the dog dutifully followed me indoors. It's gone now.

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