I sometimes wish I could be as certain as the people I know on social media. There, people are certain that they know what ISIS wants us to do, they know how to defeat them and they know that we should not go to war. They know that all other strategies are fool headed and wrong. It is possible for them, with a isolated quote or shameful picture, to know what path to take and the future outcomes which will follow.
Although I wish to avoid and end war whenever possible I am not a pacifist and not one who feels that war is always wrong. It seems to me that the only grounds for war are those of self-defence and when those grounds are met then war is indeed necessary. As I listened to the debates I was struck that many of the grounds for self-defence have been met and, despite the decriers, I was impressed by Hilary Benn’s call to oppose fascism.
In particular, as I watched BBC’s Questiontime last night, I was struck that Majiid Nawaz was the sole voice of reason and source of good counsel. He argued that the air-strikes are unlikely to be counter-productive (a fear of many #notinmynamer’s) and further would give support and defence to the Kurds already fighting this war (sometimes hindered by our ally Turkey).He makes a good case for calling for the use of article 5 of NATO and the doctrine of collective defence. (article)
There is one aspect of this problem that is fairly clear while everything else remains difficult and ambiguous; that is, the need to defend free societies against fascism. It was the defining conflict of the last century and may, sadly, prove to be ours also.