Home > Defence, Foreign Policy, National Politics, Uncategorized > ISIS will not be beaten with token gesture warfare, just as sure as feckless political policy could destroy Western Democracy as we know it…

ISIS will not be beaten with token gesture warfare, just as sure as feckless political policy could destroy Western Democracy as we know it…


However we might look at the Liberal Democrats or how we might feel about their policies, the recent and untimely passing of Charles Kennedy should perhaps draw useful attention to the fact that at least some of our politicians said no to the war in Iraq.

Had the decision been reliably black and white without the mix of political dogma and skilfully crafted grey areas – painted by Blair at his truly allegorical best onto a canvas not unlike the image of the dulux dog that everyone attention is focused on, rather than the paint itself – the words of the leader of what was then the UK’s third largest Political Party may have perhaps resonated a whole lot more.

War will always be dangerous. But when based only upon principles and political principles or ideals at that, the results are almost always going to be catastrophic, and may never be as apparent nor likely to manifest themselves as quickly in the immediate term as we might optimistically think.

Today, much of the uncertainty in the Middle East can be viewed in terms of the consequences or effects of the Iraq War, and there is perhaps a frightening irony that the threat to our own Country that was used to justify that particular invasion is now – as a result – comparatively very real indeed.

The brutality of ISIS is motivating fear-based responses on a world-wide scale which eclipse anything that New Labour spin doctors were able to use to take the UK to war.

It has gifted an insignificantly sized force with a weaponry which is delivering disproportionate results and threatens the UK directly in terms of the risk of further terrorist attacks, but also indirectly through the impact of factors such as immigration via the North African area.

With even Iraqis who fought us now asking for the British Military to return, it is becoming easier for politicians to ‘see’ an increasingly compelling, and arguably safer time to commit further military resource. But should they really even be considering doing so when we must surely be practical enough to accept that it would serve as little more than a token gesture for us to do so?

With our Armed Services having finally withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014, some of the inconvenient truths of what really happened in just that theatre of war alone have found their way into the mainstream media.

Whether you read the news or watch some of the more insightful documentaries which have been produced, it is very clear that there are two resounding failures on the part of overall strategy. The first, that there simply was not enough resource – or boots on the ground. The second, that winning the peace – or ‘hearts and minds’ as the spin doctors these days prefer to call it, simply didn’t happen in any kind of meaningful and dare I say it ‘informed’ way.

The real tragedy of this wasn’t just what might otherwise have been the less than inevitable death and injury of so many of our fantastic service men and women. It was the fact that the whole project was doomed to fail, leaving us and our partners caricatured and projected as the true villains of the peace, when in fact, if we really had to be there fighting a foreign war at all, we could have done so and walked away being anything but.

Looking back at the last 100 years of our history, we may soon begin to see the elephant trap which is the wide-held perception of British Military invincibility.

With both the First and Second World War and perhaps the Falklands too, all-too-often portrayed as the benchmark images of our military capability and reference point at which we sit upon the World stage, it is easy to understand why many people, and perhaps far too many of our politicians too, have been patriotically misled into the idea that we, at war, simply cannot fail.

Regrettably, of course we can. And the way that everything is now spun as a win by government, when it is actually nothing of the sort, is only putting us, and the dwindling number of our austerity-ridden armed forces members at an even greater risk.

Spending any reasonable amount of time in study of the Second World War will quickly demonstrate how far from certain the whole episode actually was, and that chance, good fortune and shear obstinacy on the part of our then leaders was in the early years often key.

Ultimately, we realise that it was only the assembly, use and logistical support of forces of such overwhelming size and magnitude, shoe-horned surge-by-surge into the European Theatre of Operations by leaders who truly understood the level of ruthlessness and sacrifice required that made the difference in defeating the technically and at times strategically superior German Army.

Whilst smaller than the 1940’s, our military capability was much more substantial than it is now at the time of the Falklands crisis in 1982. Yet even then, the use of commercial resources and the hasty re-introduction of equipment that had already become museum pieces played its part in keeping war machine GB afloat. The realities of how very hard it was for those who did their bit to get just one ageing Cold War bomber to Port Stanley in order to win the propaganda war, using the RAF’s entire mid-air refuelling fleet in the process, perhaps illustrates the point only too well.

Yet with these lessons only too easy to pick up and read, Government Ministers would have us believe that we can really make a difference by sending just a few hundred soldiers to try and teach people to fight an enemy obsessed with the medieval vogue of lopping-off heads at whim, and with no resource in place that will be there and capable of rescuing those soldiers who have been trained, should they be unfortunate enough to get caught.

The harsh reality of the ISIS problem, and in fact most of the militant-based problems around the World, is that in terms of the physical military capability that these uncontrolled forces have, they will only be fully defeated by the use of disproportionate and overwhelming military force, which then has to be backed by the immediate introduction of local governance and support structures which are aligned with the general population in those countries and not just those who seem easiest to approach and often have the most to gain by befriending an occupying force which doesn’t understand local culture.

Today, the UK is not capable of winning a conventional offensive war alone against an organised and hostile enemy, and nobody should be fooled into thinking that we can use defensive resources to do so.

Our political establishment has become far too used to being able to manipulate the truth for the purposes of little more than political expediency. However, the cold hard facts of military intervention will be ignored at our peril and pretending that we can solve a whole problem with a mere fraction of the solution is going to help nobody, and least of all the UK at all.

We should not be choosing to fight battles that we simply cannot win. Its time that the politicians accept that our big military presence is actually quite small, and that some words actually need to be backed up by real action too – and that isn’t quite as simple as begrudgingly keeping up with a peacetime spending commitment the politicians have made to their buddies in club NATO.

If a time does indeed come when this war reaches beyond the pictures on our TV screens as ISIS have threatened, the feckless politicians who treat this terror as a game today will have many more innocent people paying for their irresponsibility tomorrow.

Money may indeed be tight. But there is no price that cannot be justified in the fight for any one particular man’s ‘true freedom’.

ISIS understand this all too well and herein lies perhaps the greatest threat facing Western Democracy today.






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