Sunday, September 28, 2014

PETER HITCHENS: Dragged into a war by clowns who can't even run a railway

By Peter Hitchens
Wars cause far more atrocities than they prevent. In fact, wars make atrocities normal and easy. If you don’t like atrocities, don’t start wars. It is a simple rule, and not hard to follow.

The only mercy in war, as all soldiers know, is a swift victory by one side or the other. Yet our subservient, feeble Parliament on Friday obediently shut its eyes tight and launched itself yet again off the cliff of war. It did so even though – in a brief moment of truth – the Prime Minister admitted that such a war will be a very long one, and has no visible end.

The arguments used in favour of this decision – in a mostly unpacked House of Commons – were pathetic beyond belief. Most of them sounded as if their users had got them out of a cornflakes packet, or been given them by Downing Street, which is much the same.

Wild and unverifiable claims were made that Islamic State plans attacks on us here in our islands. If so, such attacks are far more likely now than they were before we decided to bomb them. So, if your main worry is such attacks, you should be against British involvement.

The same cheap and alarmist argument was made year after year to justify what everyone now knows was our futile and costly presence in Afghanistan. Why should the Afghans need to come here to kill British people when we sent our best to Helmand, to be blown up and shot for reasons that have never been explained?

Beyond that, it was all fake compassion. Those who favour this action claim to care about massacres and persecution. But in fact they want to be seen to care. Bombs won’t save anyone. Weeks of bombing have already failed to tip the balance in Iraq, whose useless, demoralised army continues to run away.

A year ago, we were on the brink of aiding the people we now want to bomb, and busily encouraging the groups which have now become Islamic State. Now they are our hated foes. Which side are we actually on? Do we know? Do we have any idea what we are doing?

The answer is that we don’t. That is why, in a scandal so vast it is hardly ever mentioned, the Chilcot report on the 2003 Iraq War has still not been published. Who can doubt that it has been suppressed because it reveals that our Government is dim and ill-informed?

As this country now has hardly any soldiers, warships, military aircraft or bombs, Friday’s warmongers resorted to the only weapon they have in plentiful supply – adjectives (‘vicious, barbaric’, etc etc). Well, I have better adjectives. Those who presume to rule us are ignorant and incompetent and learn nothing from their own mistakes. How dare these people, who can barely manage to keep their own country in one piece, presume to correct the woes of the world?

Before they’re allowed to play out their bathtub bombing fantasies, oughtn’t they to be asked to show they can manage such dull things as schools (no discipline), border control (vanished), crime (so out of control that the truth has to be hidden), transport (need I say?) and hospitals (hopelessly overloaded and increasingly dangerous)?

None of them will now even mention their crass intervention in Libya, which turned that country into a swamp of misery and unleashed upon Europe an uncontrollable wave of desperate economic migrants who are now arriving in Southern England in shockingly large numbers.

We have for years happily done business with Saudi Arabia, often sending our Royal family there. It is hard to see why we should now be so worried about the establishment of another fiercely intolerant Sunni Muslim oil state, repressive, horrible to women and given to cutting people’s heads off in public. Since we proudly tout our 1998 surrender to the IRA as a wonderful and praiseworthy peace deal, it is hard to see why we are now so hoity-toity about doing business with terror, or paying ransom.

We gave the whole of Northern Ireland to the IRA, to ransom the City of London and to protect our frightened political class from bombs. Why can we not pay (as other NATO members do) to release innocent hostages? We conceded the principle of ransom years ago. Talk about swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat.

How is it that we have allowed our country to be governed by people so ignorant of history and geography, so unable to learn from their mistakes and so immune to facts and logic?
Can we do anything about it? I fear not.

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