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Sunday, 15 November 2015

A counter argument to some other postings.

I've always felt that to spout my political views on a blog dedicated to wargaming is not the done thing.
 Certainly when I was gainfully employed, even speaking about my beliefs could have very easily losing my job, and potentially ending up in court.
 However I think that now is a good time to counter some of the out pourings that have filtered onto other wargaming blogs about the latest atrocity committed in the name of Islam.
 In particular the blog of  Robert Cordery who posted a lengthy piece regarding the Paris murders.This and the inevitable Tricolour flags stuck on some blogs, seems to me slightly ridiculous. But then each person is allowed a view, and since the death of Princess Diana, it became fine to join in and show some grief.
Taking us back to the post of Robert Cordery, I follow his wargaming blog, and he seems a decent bloke, so my post is not a criticism of his view, and the majority of the comments he received.
 Bob, to sum up his feelings uses a quote from Doctor Who?

‘So, let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and it’s all perfect and just and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one? ... This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought right there in front of you. Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die. You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they’re always going to have to do from the very beginning – sit down and talk! … You're all the same, you screaming kids, you know that? ‘Look at me, I’m unforgivable.’ Well here’s the unforeseeable, I forgive you. After all you’ve done. I forgive you.’

 Well I would like to ask Bob, and the other commentators this. Just what would it take, for you to take up arms  and physically fight for your existence? Another 7/7, another Tunisia, a new Charlie Hebdo, just what?

  History has a tendency to repeat itself as mankind, forgets the lessons it has learned and goes on to make the same mistakes again. Prior to World War Two, there was a very strong pacifist movement, there was debates held about not taking up arms for your country, and a message of 'peace at any price'. Luckily Churchill existed,Hitler was clinically mad, and of course the rest was history.
 But just suppose, that Hitler had not invaded Poland, and held off his war with France and England, but instead had invaded Russia, whilst pursuing his murderous intent to wipe out the Jewish population.Would Churchill have been isolated, and would the Peace Movement have been able to win a general election, thus keeping Britain out of a war against Germany. In turn blithely allowing us to ignore the genocide taking place across Russia and Europe. Basically that is how I see the views of Mr Cordery and his fellow commentators.
  Sometimes ordinary people come face to face with out and out evil There is no way to reason with this evil, and all attempts at mediation are looked upon as weakness by the perpetrators.
  What our country and France stands for are Western ideals. Live and let live, conciliation, forgiveness, love of music, laughter etc,etc, not perfect but at least people can breathe.
 What these murderers stand for is ignorance, stupidity, cruelty,hatred of women, and every  ism one can think of.
 Any person not of their persuasion is fair game for anything they wish to inflict upon them.
There is no middle ground, there is no starting point to show them, we deserve to be listened to.
 To use the script from a Doctor Who episode is some how laughable, if it wasnt so damned sad.
 Sadly due to the previous criminal acts of Tony Blair and his cohorts, our Parliament is hamstrung. A warlike response to the series of murders, and other murderous acts committed in the name of Islam is very remote, certainly with the election of Corbyn and his flat earth supporters.
 Not everything that the USA is wrong. Not everything that the Tories wish to do is wrong. Sometimes to stand and fight is justified, and certainly when the evil that has grown out of the chaos of Iraq is on the up, right minded people have to make a stand and fightback.
 Forgiveness can come after the evil has been eradicated and the world is made a safer place. 















17 comments:

  1. Robbie- I don't follow or have ever read Mr Cordery and have personally avoided the Tricoleur and such this time simply because it would feel deeply inadequate.
    Now I suspect that politically speaking I'm somewhat to the left of you and even more to the left of many other chaps I know. But having said that there comes a time when you have to fight-v there is no choice here.
    Live have already been broken by the million children are screaming and burning every day and it won't stop merely because somebody posts a quote from a silly sci-fi show because he thinks it says "something" .
    Its all fine and dany to say we should talk to 'em but they don't require to talk. They are so blinded by their twisted ideology of hate that talking is impossible.
    Therefore we must fight

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    1. Afternoon Andy,
      I never would have labelled you as being to the left of me politically speaking, but there you go. Anyway, what I was attempting to provide, albeit quite badly, was another point of view re the latest atrocity. Sticking an image of a French flag on a blog is a pretty weak response to the latest murders, similarly to the outpourings over the Charlie Hebbdo attack. I fully expect more random murders unfortunately due to the lack of controls during the latest current refugee crisis. God help Merkel should such an event take place in Germany. Anyway, as I attempted to do in much greater detail in my reply below, yes there can only be one response I'm afraid, and hopefully before we lose what resources we had due to the cuts, or to Corbyn winning an election..

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  2. Robbie Rodiss,

    As you state above, we are all entitled to our opinion, and I will respect yours in the same way that you respected mine.

    In answer to your question ‘Just what would it take, for you to take up arms and physically fight for your existence?’ my answer is brief ... not much.

    I come from a family who have served their country in time of war ... and in times when we were supposed to be at peace, but weren’t quite. In 1968 – at the age of 18 – I tried to join the Army, but was rejected on medical grounds. (It had something to do with having been born with a double curvature of the spine, flat feet, and deformed legs, the latter having been corrected by a number of surgical procedures during my first five years of life. I never had any problems with these physical ‘disabilities’, and took part in all sorts of sports including Rugby and cross-country running, but the Army felt that it could not take the risk of having a soldier with my medical history.)

    Had I had the opportunity to serve I would have done so ... and the chances are that I would have done time in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. I may even have ended up dead or seriously wounded, but I was willing to take that risk to defend my country and what it stands for. If the opportunity or necessity arose where I was called upon to serve my country, I would do so.

    That said, conflicts must at some point come to an end, and when they do there are only two possible outcomes; total annihilation of one side by the other or negotiation. If negotiation can be done at the end of a conflict, then why cannot it be done before or during a conflict? You seem to argue that as there is no middle ground in this particular conflict, we cannot negotiate with the enemy. Are you therefore advocating total annihilation of them? If so, then say so. If not, then what do you propose? Limited strikes against military targets? Troops on the ground? Allying with our enemy’s enemies (who might be little better in terms of their records regarding ‘ignorance, stupidity, cruelty, (and) hatred of women’? My personal point-of-view is that there is a need for the Western Powers – possibly allied with Russia – to contain the situation as best we can whilst trying to work towards a solution whereby the forces that call themselves ‘Islamic State’ are dealt with. (I find the term ‘Islamic State’ quite inaccurate and distasteful. I have known many Muslims, and the overwhelming majority were peaceful people who found the so-called bastardised version of Islam practiced by IS to be anathema to everything that they held as central to their religion.)

    You state that I and my like are rather like the Peace Movement before the Second World War, wishing to ignore the genocide taking place in Nazi-controlled Europe. I am not ignoring the genocide that is taking place in Syria and Iraq, nor the bombings that are devastating places like Beirut. What I am asking is what can we do to stop this happening? I am not looking for a ‘quick fix’ but a long-term solution.

    You seem to have found my use of the script from Doctor Who ‘laughable’. So be it. I just felt that it summed up what I felt in a way that was accessible to others. I suppose that I could have quoted the relevant sections from the New Testament about ‘loving thy neighbour’ and ‘thou shalt not kill’, but in the modern world quoting from the Bible seems to be the perquisite of the right-wing Christian fundamentalist, of which I am not one. (For your information, I am a Unitarian ... and as a result I would probably be regarded by the Christian fundamentalists as no better than a member of IS.)

    I hope that the above has clarified my views. I hope that the current situation can be resolved without a full, all-out war ... but I have doubts that it will be. Hoping to avoid a war is not the same as surrendering; it is about fighting - and fighting with every possible method available to you - when there is no other option other than to fight.

    Bob Cordery

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  3. Bob,
    Thanks for your prompt reply.
    I cant really reply to your opening paragraphs re the army etc.
    However, does a conflict have to come to an end?
    Certainly I dont think it enters the heads of the leadership of Isis. In fact I think its pretty desirable to them that their conflict goes on forever, as how else can they remain in power, if not by fear and hate.
    In a former life I always attempted to understand the motivation of an opponent. For this group, this latest atrocity shows some of what they are about. Firstly the publicity will attract new groups of recruits. Secondly as a direct consequence of the attack, the peaceful muslm population throughout Europe will feel and become more marginalised and therefore open to exploitation by already radicalised people embedded in our countries.
    Thirdly a tightening of security will impact on everyone, and apart from causing inconvenience, it will also cause anger and uncertainty, as you yourself touched upon.
    So what exact am I advocating?
    I didn't allude to it, as you state, because sometimes somethings dont need to be said outright if they are that obvious.
    But airstrikes or containment cannot be an option, neither would stop this group.
    There has to be a coalition of the all armed forces that have a cause against these terrorists, and if that includes, Assad, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or whoever, then so be it. No matter how distasteful this is, this has to mean a full blooded conflict, with every means available to us to be used. As I stated, there is little stomach in parliament for such an event, but a groundswell of public pressure could force the more sensible MP'S to consider this. Unfortunately between the consequences of the Iraq War and the fear of being labelled as anti Islamic, the voice of public opinion would have to be deafening.
    Personally I never warmed to the New Testament as a child, and found the teachings of the Saints a tad cloying. Being out of step, I always thought the Old Testament had a greater grasp on reality and human nature, where it speaks of 'an eye for an eye' Something I think Isis could understand and perhaps cause them to think more carefully the next time they plan some murders.
    Anyway, thanks again for your prompt reply and well argued comment. By the way I do enjoy your blog.

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  4. Robbie Rodiss,

    My opening remarks were intended to give you some background as to my personal history. As the son and grandson of Warrent Officers I was brought up to serve my country, and it was one of my greatest disappointments when I was told that I could not.

    I sincerely hope that all conflicts come to an end at some point; the prospect of a never ending one fills me with dread. I tend to agree with you that the leadership of IS has a singular goal and will not stop fighting until it is achieved or they are totally destroyed. This makes them such a difficult enemy to deal with, and leaves us with few options as to the courses of action that we can take.

    I totally agree with your three-point analysis of the potential outcomes of this incident. It will bring in new recruits to the ranks of IS, and Muslims living in Europe will be subjected to further pressures from certain groups which will force them to feel even more marginalised and into the arms of the IS recruiters. As to heightened security ... well it is something that we got used to during earlier terrorist campaigns, and as long as the reasons behind it are fully explained, the majority of the population will accept it. (The 'snagged-toothed, corduroy-wearing' members of British society will of course object ... and will be the first to complain if they were subject to an attack!)

    I am not sure if the sort of mega-coalition you are suggesting is possible in the current international climate ... although I am mindful of Churchill's comment about passing a favourable comment in Parliament about the possibility of an alliance with the Devil if it would ensure the defeat of Nazism. I do think that any such coalition would have to include Russia, a country which is also experiencing serious internal problems with IS-orientated Islamic militants.

    Our current Parliamentary political class is - in the words of Terry-Thomas - 'a right shower' and have little stomach for anything that might upset their respective political apple carts. In 1982 Mrs Thatcher had advisers/ministers who had served in the front line during World War 2 and knew that sending young men - and now young women - into conflict was a hard decision to make ... but sometimes a necessary one.

    Until recently I had not read much of the Old Testament, but since I became a Freemason I have, and I have begun to appreciate that it has a lot of wisdom contained within its pages. Interestingly my take on 'an eye for an eye' is that it supports a proportional response rather than anything else. As to the Epistles ... well they always struck me as someone trying to make something that was essentially simple more complicated ... and I have doubts as to the motivation of St Paul et al when they were written.

    I suspect that you and I are not going to reach a total agreement with regard to the sort of response the West should make to this incident. If the French invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, then we will see a strong military response, and I will give it my full support.

    Thanks for enabling this exchange of views. At least we live in a society where we can do this without worrying about the consequences.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Thanks Bob,
      Im certain we will continue to differ on some things. But not on wargaming.

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  5. Frankly I think we are mostly in agreement here- Like Mr Cordery I would have served if I could but the eyesight- or lack thereof did not permit. My Dad was a Rifleman in the 60s and my late stepson a Grenadier who saw combat in the Falklands- attached 3 Para- and later in the Balkans as well as being shot at in Northern Ireland.
    Yes we must fight But and its a big but how and to what end- tarring all Moslems with the same brush will only do Iis work for them Likewise all immigrants. We must also be very careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater by knee-jerk repression- again theis does ISIL work for them.
    Remember the object of Terrorism is to terrorise- said first by Michael Collins almost a century ago- and in that isil have succeeded- so far so any response must be considered
    Though both Father and Brother were and are Freemasons I never was or could be nor any kind of religion and frankly the idea that conflict must end is a mere pious hope. It is not going to happen . In practical terms we are going to have to get used to a continuing low level conflict with one or another group who for thier own reasons find the western way of life anathema. Religion will not help here- possibly rather the opposite as we seem in some form to be entering a new "Age of Faith"- PC shorthand for the Dark Ages .
    Again in practice Europe has had this low level of terror for years- IRA UDA ,ETA-Militar, Bader -Mienhof Black September etc etc .
    The difference here is the basic idealogical nature of the enemy and the fact that they have a - currently inaccessable- safe haven and far far more resources than any previous terror group.
    It is also imperative that we study the reasons for the upsuregin Islamism- Lets face it if you had the misfortune to ne born in the biggest prison in the world - ie the Gaza Strip - ypu might be a tad pissed off I know I would so that is one starting point many Moslems - not all islamists by any means see themselves as persecuted and have a very different world view to us- their concept of "Umma" is not one I fully understand but without understanding THEIR world view we cab niether talk to the non-radicals or fight the radical effectively .
    We cannot fall into General Westmorelands trap- this will be a long costly war - mostly a hearts and minds job and it will cost blood and treasure. When we smash ISIL- where will the bits land?

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    1. Andy,
      the big problem as I see it is the lack of education and the clash of two diametrically opposite cultures In western society religion has more or less been sidelined and countered by scientific argument. In the middle east and Afghanistan, religion is still tightly linked to their society.

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  6. Whilst the events on Friday were shocking it is the fact that they were on our doorstep that has stirred up the media. Events on this scale happen daily in other parts of the world but we have become almost immune to them.
    To that end I agree with the need to negotiate and to find common ground. Otherwise this is a conflict that will continue to feed the extremes on both sides.

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  7. A violent response to this appalling act would not be to fight for our existence. Isis to do not threaten our existence, they threaten a number of future terrorist attacks. More bombing, more war, will only make those attacks more likely. Our existence as a free democratic state is threatened by those ruling us, as they turn us into slaves with their surveillance and take away our legal rights in the name of anti-terrorism.

    As you say Robbie, it was the criminal acts of Tony Blair and our US allies that got us here. No Iraq invasion, no ISIS.

    We live in a terrorist state, just like the poor devils living under ISIS rule. We are lucky to have a bit more personal freedom and and wealth. Tragically, our terrorist state has the wealth and power to kill rather more people than ISIS.

    More terrorism can only make things worse, whatever side it comes from. We should realise that our governments only want to increase the bombing and killing so that the regime change they want in places like Syria (in order to control oil resources), can be realised. Their act of aggressive war against Iraq in 2003 to achieve the same thing has turned into a nightmare of slaughter, which has killed hundreds of thousands in the Middle East as surely as it killed those people in Paris.

    Was there a minute's silence (as there was in my place of work today) for the innocents killed in the deliberate attack on an MSF hospital by US forces recently? Perhaps the crew of the AC-130 that spent around an hour pounding the buildings until there was nothing left thought they were fighting for freedom and democracy.

    Respectfully, Keith Flint.

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    1. Im sorry Keith I disagree with a lot of what you say. I've worked a lot with surveillance powers, and this myth of Big Brother is laughable if one knew the realities of how the powers are used and how difficult it is to instigate such a surveillance.
      Certainly a lot more could have been achieved to counter the constant threats if not for the endless 'checks and balances' so beloved of our lawmakers that emasculated the progress in surveillance equipment etc. Acts of stupidity as committed by Edward Snowdon and his supporters can have hardly help the cause of counter terrorism.
      I think we agree with the act of arrogance and downright criminal behavior committed by Blair and his cronies, but in the main I have always thought that my government had attempted to act in a decent manner. Naive perhaps.
      To compare any response to the barbarity of these thugs as a similar type of terrorism is beyond me.
      But anyway thanks for your views.

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    2. Keith,
      By the way, I have just obtained your newly published rules. Cant wait to try them out, well done.

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  8. First Iraq 2003 - Does anyone actually recall the pleasure on the faces of the Iraqis at the fall of Saddam Hussien - or didn't that matter in the flush of 20-20 hindsight?
    To blame our governments alone for the rise of ISIL is simplistic. There are plenty of other factors yet they are not blameless- the biggest single factor for the mess in Iraq was the power vacuum left by the fall of Saddam- and the way the US- despite British warning to the contrary(from soldiers mostly) simply disbanded the Iraqui power structure without having anything in its place. THAT is what led to the leangth of the Iraq war This was to say the least catastrophic. ISIS would have risen anyway as it did in Syria which is where their main strength lies- as a response to their percieved persecution by other Moslem sects. That the new Iraqui state was powerless to stop the invasion and fall of Its Northern provinces is another question
    To categorise this as a war for resources is also simplistic and to say that ISIL do not threaten our existance is also to oversimplify- they do- currently they do not have the resources to do more than terrorise but a "dirty bomb " on Tel-Aviv or London or Paric or New York ? You have to consider that they must be trying for that option.
    They do this both to us and to their "own people" - so what happens if we leave them alone- will they leave us alone- Not a chance "Jihadi Chic" has too much of a hold in the minds of their target recruiting groups.
    I'm not saying the West is blameless here but to trot out the automatic knee- jerk "we live in a terrorist state" is equally wrong as Begins attributed "they are all terrorists kill them all "
    Is there common ground- currently I doubt it Dialogue requires two speakers and the implicit recognition of the Caliphate (!!!!!!)and their massacres of Kurds and Yezidis or indeed anyone who does not immediately comply- not to mention the slavery and casual brutality of "normal" life in the Caliphate.
    So whats the solution- the bombing won't be enough it will need troops on the ground- but they MUST NOT be Western- but Arabs and Kurd and Yezidi indeed as broard a group as possible. for obvious reasons Arab xenophobia and racism exists - its not only white blokes who are racists so this is going to take time as I said previously and simply blaming your own more or less demoratically elected governments for not being precient enough won't work.

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    1. Good comments Andy,
      One thing does bother me though, and its your mention of the Kurds. They were mentioned several times today as being a key factor in a response. But what happens after the defeat of this caliphate? Will the kurds be finally recognised as a state.
      I dont think Turkey would countenance that, so will the West allow them to be crushed again by the Turks? I just think back to the first Iraq war where the Syrians in the marsh areas were encouraged to revolt and then left out hanging as Saddam gassed the lot. A potential for even more sorrow.

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    2. See your point re the Kurds but its a case of one thing at a time I think- the Kuds must be given safeguards- the Truks won't be allowed to move into Norther Syria or Iraq.

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  9. A number of thoughtful comments and pretty much along the lines about how I feel. Unlike most I know on Farcebook, I have not tri-coloured my profile pic, and some have commented upon it. As I explained to them, each to their own as to how they demonstrate their feelings towards the events in Paris.
    There is one commentator that I feel I should add my tuppence worth to. Mr Flint seems to live in a world where our lives are just as bad as those in Syria or Iraq. That we are ruled by terrorists in a different guise. And that everything the USA, UK and others have done since 2003 is inherently evil. In a word, No!
    Firstly, "Isis do not threaten our existence". What? By our existence, you mean our culture and society? What about the culture and society they have already destroyed in the Middle East, equal and I would say far worse than the chaos after Baghdad fell. Or do you mean my personal existence? I would dare say they threatened and destroyed the existence of those killed in Paris. But as long as it's over there, and not over here, we can just talk and have a nice cup of tea...
    Secondly, whilst I agree that talking ends conflicts, what kind of negotiation do you expect with religious fanatics? From the videos coming out of Isis held territory, unless you walk the very narrow path they want you to, then you are as good as dead. In a way, it's like the school bully. Talking didn't stop him. Putting him on his arse does, if only for a short while. There are times when violence is the best of a bad set of options.
    Thirdly, although the west in general, and the US and UK in particular, have not had a (retrospectively viewed) good track record over the past 15 years, the current situation is the result of individual errors, like the disbanding of the Iraqi security forces, like the sad and unfortunate bombing of the MSF hospital and not some choreographed plan. I do think that there should be an inquiry, and criminal convictions if the attack was deliberate in the MSF case, but only after an investigation and inquiry held to the standard expected of the society we live in, and not just the blanket belief that everything that has occurred in the last decade and a half is part of some grand scheme to covertly control the world. (ok, I am reaching with that one, but that's the vibe I get from Mr Flint).
    I will end by asking Mr Flint what he proposes to do to end the state of subjugation we apparently live in? By talking. By force? Or by taking advantage of the freedoms we have and moving somewhere more in tune to his values...

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    1. Good comment Andrew. I think you and I tend to agree on most things. I dont subscribe to the left wing theory, that anything involving the USA is evil, and a counter view should be adopted on anything they attempt. I always remember my dad, talking about how his unit lost more men through the Americans bombing them at Monte Cassino than to the Germans. They didnt plan it, it unfortunately happens in war, and the Americans just seem to commit more of these mistakes than us. As regards our existence being threatened. I take a long view, and worry for my grandchildren.

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Austria 1809.

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