Tuesday, December 01, 2015

To bomb or not to bomb..

Lot's of debate going on around the place at the moment about whether or not the UK should join in the anti-ISIS bombing campaign over Syria. It's not a simple decision; the situation is complex and as the recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shown it's also not an entirely academic exercise for most Europeans either; particularly the ones that spend time in our various capital cities.

It seems clear that ISIS intend to do us harm and we (UK) are already doing them harm via bombing in Iraq and assisting the bombing effort in Syria, you could argue that this move will simply enable us to do more harm to them than we're already doing and since we're effectively at war with them then this is surely a desirable outcome. The argument that we could avoid terror attacks by not bombing them seems flawed, we've already been attacked by proxy in Tunisia so it seem like a safe bet that if ISIS has an opportunity then they will take it. There are other reasons not to take this action, fear of collateral damage would be one as would not wanting to help the corrupt Assad regime would be another, but since ISIS seems intent on laying waste to the entire region then it would seem like there is a balance to be struck between damaging the country further and removing the force that's doing a great deal of that damage.

For me the best (and pivotal) argument for attacking ISIS (in whatever ways possible) is that they are clearly committing genocide and other crimes against humanity in the territories they hold. For those of us old enough to have watched the videos of UN troops standing by in Srebrenica, powerless, as Serbian thugs lead the boys and men away into the woods or remember our paralysis as a million Tutsi people were hacked to death in Rwanda in front of CNN cameras this kind of thing sticks in the throat, sometimes we can only take the least worst option. Those that argue bombing would not be a "solution" should perhaps consult with the widows of Srebrenica; I suspect they would put the case that some action is be better than none much more persuasively than me. Clearly we need to do more than just drop high explosive from 30,000 feet; the case for this is evident in the last 20 years of often misguided intervention in the Middle East; we will need deep resolve and persistence to truly combat this disease and not feel sated just treating the symptoms. People (particularly on the left) need to wise-up in my view, the real problem is a set of ideas, not just the current army of extremists.

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