Where have dignity, compassion and respect gone? Is there any event that current politicians would not seek to win points from? May calling out by name an opponent at a time when a need for true unity is required, shows the height of the sort of bad taste that current politicians feel is perfectly acceptable. Corbyn repeating his, yet again, perfectly bloody obvious observations that his advertising department are quick to link back to previous specifically framed ‘man of the people’ comments, is no better.
They have no gravitas, they have no depth, they are the perfect example of empty vessels used to portray the sort of politicians spin doctors and those who wish to divide populations for political or financial gain, continue to push into the limelight. When you start to hear the words, “I will work with all my colleagues in government to bring an end to this situation.” AND NOTHING MORE following such events, we will have begun to have sight of true political leaders again.
Take a leaf out of Queen Elizabeth II’s book and if there is nothing to say that would help, say nothing. When addressing a woman who has just lost her daughter, there is nothing that can be said to benefit. There is a universe of compassion in a look and a moment of time shared with others who have witnessed and survived the great sufferings that the human condition can bring.
For the brain dead and those out there who will have trouble with the longer words here, constructive criticism is not a subversive act against the state, even if British security services could deem it so to allow for the newly published loose interpretations around gathering of ‘intelligence’ and protecting ‘the state’. In the current world of British politics, there is no aim to gain the support of the country, just enough of those who have sided in a position diametrically opposed to the ‘enemies’ of the party they support (around 10 million people). As this builds on 40+ years of expanding the carefully defined policies based on ‘free markets’ and ‘socialism’ or a blending of the two, that have merely resulted in a see-saw effect on the fortunes of the British nations, Britain has little stability or common purpose to build upon..
There is no doubt in the military that situations of civilian casualties will continue, since soft, public targets are all that is available. As there are thousands of such easy targets, there is no way to stop attacks happening. Look at the situation before and after. “We are stopping lots and lots of attacks, this one must have slipped through”, “Now that we know who the attacker is/was, we can figure out who was linked to them” Hardly the shiny world of CSI/Counter Intelligence portrayed in box sets is it? What, so now that someone has shouted to the heavens, “I am a terrorist”, you can make arrests because you have ‘uncovered’ their network?
We have created the globalisation of terrorism by building connected global networks of commerce that undermine governments and exploit untold numbers of people to ensure a better life for some. One of the greatest examples, untraceable mobile phones were a great little earner but they also allowed criminals and terrorists pre-built moderately secure communication networks for a low cost. There was no need to change the previous methods for providing mobile phones based on a validation of a person’s identity and address, it just didn’t bring in enough revenue for businesses. In this way, the needs of the few outweighed the safety of the many. Thus almost entirely untrained civilians could begin to take on the mantle of ‘freedom fighter’ as one must always remember, the term ‘terrorist’ can be used contextually by both sides in any conflict.
Of course our governments have created the situations that exist today. We got involved in a series of actions that have led us to the situation we are in today. In the same way that civilians get caught up as collateral damage in a ‘War on Drugs’, a ‘War on Terror” will lead to the same outcome. Support a political movement that works towards creating a greater nation that does not get led into such actions, can take a better moral path to a better conclusion or, at the least support a government that will act consistently and not change our country’s stance towards another nation purely for personal profit. Don’t attack your state without purpose or rally to the cause of those whose plans follow the same old paths that have been trod before and didn’t change where we are now.
It is not possible, under any treaty or convention, to declare war on a concept or substance. Therefore there are no guidelines that can be followed, no boundaries that can be set nor any limit to the types or status of targets. Is it not clear from both sides that this has now come to pass? Civilians in countries on one side deemed valid targets of opportunity, extremists in others deemed outside the rule of law and thus free to torture and kill, as it is deemed ‘an act of war’. If there are no boundaries, no states, no armies to fight, all we face is criminality. It may be widely distributed, well-organised and hard to trace. It is nothing more though. By elevating the status of these situations to that of ‘War’, each side opens up the vague world that exists in the concepts governing the ‘Law of War’. To have validated such options rather than by treating the situation as subject to international criminal law, we have opened the door to far greater numbers of civilian casualties. If you look up the term ‘reprisal’ in relation to the ‘Law of War’ you will see how open to interpretation that is. Criminal law demands greater accuracy.
“It’s a different theatre of operations today” is the oft quoted military statement to describe the many ways in which the military are acting as mercenary organisations in modern conflict. A single country may oppose a UN resolution and International Law and act unilaterally whilst complaining that the UN is not acting as it should and the UN continues to do little beyond berate a government. As is now really a cliché, what is the point of the UN if one state can veto the chosen path of all others? It is like saying an accomplice to a murderer can veto the judgement of a court if they disagree with the verdict. It suggests that to avoid a single state declaring war on all others, we are willing to accept massive numbers of civilian casualties caused by extremist individuals and groups.
If you want a world with no rules, then just carry on bickering about whose fault it all is and it will soon enough be too late.
Of 65,000,000 people in Britain today, there are approximately 250,000 Military and 250,000 police/security service personnel currently. A claimed 23,000 ‘jihadists’ would suggest that extremists number nearly 10% of our military forces. An oft quoted by me observer of the human condition, Terry Pratchett, wrote about the smoke and mirrors of policing, which states; “It only works so long as the population chooses to support those who know that any organised and determined group can overwhelm them.” To suggest that there are 23,000 militant extremists living in our country and preparing to attack civilians is nothing more than fear mongering which only serves to destabilise the British people. If this were a known fact to our security services, they could act upon it. Otherwise it is purely either a media or political story made up to emphasise a particular viewpoint, as, one could quite easily state that there are well over 1,000,000 violent criminals in the UK purely based on the ONS statistics for 2016. In any case, just taking the figures of reported crime in the UK for 2016, there is a 50:1 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in the UK at present in any case. Are we discussing instituting a police state to deal with that? 23,000 scared or disaffected youths whose quality of life or lack of mental acumen have led them to extreme beliefs are a drop in the ocean when compared to 1.3 million other violent offenders surely?
For many years, I can recall representatives of law enforcement and government stating that terrorists were criminals and not soldiers. By beginning and continuing to state we are ‘at war’ with terrorist organisations is to elevate their followers to a hard to invalidate belief they are not criminals also inconsiderate of the suffering of others, rather than soldiers fighting for a just cause.
Certainly extreme measures are needed to counter the acts that will continue to be perpetrated over the next decade or two at the least. They should be handled in the same fashion as previous extreme criminal activity, by security services, covert and visible. These acts and the organisations they belong to should then answer to our government, not the people. That was the way in which the system was set up, that is the only way it works to protect our state and people. We cannot on the one hand continue with half of the public stating “we do not trust the people who have been elected” at the same time as the other half stating “we have to trust them for our security”. You can either support our system of government or not. Continuing to support one side or another whilst stating that the other side is your enemy will only perpetuate this state of affairs.
We can clearly and categorically state as fact that it will not be possible to say where in the world the next set of civilians will be killed by a person or persons linked directly or just by belief to a terrorist organisation. That is no different to my mother sitting in her parent’s home in Battersea during The Blitz being able to determine where the next ‘Doodlebug’ would land. So how can we demand our security services intercept all such attacks given pretty much any location in the world being at risk, rather than be honest with the public and take the likely difficult but realistic steps to make progress against the difficulties that certainly lie ahead?
A government is supposed to protect the citizens of the state, not just in deed but in the way they portray themselves and what they stand for. If this requires the sort of hidden and more dubious actions to be undertaken, as has always been the remit of a responsible government, then that is what the people of the state have voted for their government to do. Currently we are being fed a mixture of both the need to ignore every aspect of law that this country has been built upon for hundreds of years, merely, as one could imagine a king from the dark ages declaring, “For the greater good and by my God-given right”, and the contrasting spread of unnecessary information that could only inspire fear, intrigue and uncertainty for the majority of the general public.
It seems odd that what should be common knowledge, if tacitly ignored as belonging to the supposed fiction of spy films, ours and other governments kill people. However, what was generally understood in these cases was that targets would most likely be involved as participants in the conflict in question and thus not under the classification of civilian. The ‘new theatre of war’ that is spoken of is that of including civilians as targets by both sides, on one side as the perpetrator of attacks on other civilians as the only viable targets and with the other sides having to investigate every civilian to determine if they are actually a hidden or potential combatant.
When our leaders and potential leaders stoop to the sort of mudslinging that is repeatedly demonstrated today, they are not distancing themselves from intrigue by remaining aloof as a truly respected person in their position should. In doing so, they also undermine their integrity by demonstrating that the importance of their own political party is greater to them than the lives of the people in their care. Politicians have a long road ahead to gain the respect and support of our entire nation. They do not seem to be seeking it at present.
Even were we to have an enlightened democracy commence today, it will take many years to undo the damage done in the past 20 years of global politics. That would also require the countries currently following expansionist policies to work together, businesses to stop exploiting those they can control through financial power and a global league of nations that would support stability above individual states and businesses desire for more land or global control. Does that seem likely?
So it must be built by strong, unified and defiant example, that is then followed by other states who learn to respect such an approach. Our leaders and then our states must rise above common attitudes, demonstrate a moral virtue that begets respect and create a system of governance that becomes unassailable by any form of subversion, due primarily to the purity of purpose it is founded upon.