Friday, 30 October 2015

New Statesman anti-bombing letter

Jim Murphy appears to base his argument, that parliament should vote in favour of "RAF raids against Isis positions in Syria", on the idea that Britain`s position in the world hierarchy will be dimished otherwise (For What It`s Worth,23 October). "Conscientious objection", he says, is not a " legitimate posture for a P5 nation", but he fails to explain not only how British bombing will achieve success, but also what that success would entail. In WWII, the Luftwaffe`s bombing failed, and all the subsequent attempts to bomb the enemy "into the stone age" in Vietnam and the Middle East have met a similar fate. Indiscriminate bombing does not decrease resistance, nor the determination of the victims to carry on. The fact that the enemy is prepared to drop a weapon, from hundreds of feet in the air, which has the potential, not only to blow to pieces women and children, but to miss any intended "targets" and hit hospitals and schools instead, only ever increases hatred, and the desire for revenge.      

 Murphy contends that bombing Syria would end the "uncertainty about what Britain means abroad", but why can`t the same be achieved by taking a stance against mass killing? The usual justification given for violent jihadism is the foreign policy of the west, with its repeated invasions, interference and killing. Paddy Asdown, recently, rightly asked how can we expect to destroy Isis "by killing more Muslim Arabs with Western bombs". The solution has to be found diplomatically, not militarily. Does anyone really think that killing every jihadist will solve the problem of Isis or Al-Qaeda?

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