Like It Or Not – We Are At War
The death toll in the awful terrorist attack that has occurred in Tunisia is now up to 15 British citizens and is still expected to rise further. Some papers are claiming up to 23 Britons have died – sources from the Tunisian government suggest that the majority of the 38 dead could be British Citizens. The details of the stories of what people have gone through on that beach near Sousse are heartbreaking and devastating and I can’t even begin to imagine the terrible heartache, sadness and anger that the families of the victims must be feelings.
ISIL, or the so called ‘Islamic State’ have claimed responsibility for the attack which was a needless act of violence and aggression against innocent holidaymakers who were enjoying a summer holiday.
Now I know there are many anti-war people in the UK – but the undeniable fact is that now, whether we like it or not, one way or another, the United Kingdom (as well as others) is at war with the Islamic State.
We don’t know yet whether the attacker in Tunisia deliberately targeted the hotel due to the fact that there were predominantly British citizens staying there – however, one thing that we do know is that a hotel was targeted, presumably with the knowledge, that it would be full of European holidaymakers – whether this terrorist wanted to directly attack the British or attack Western citizens in general is in many ways, an irrelevance – neither are anywhere near acceptable.
The first duty of any government is to protect it’s people. By callously disregarding the danger that Islamic State pose, in my view, we are not doing enough as a nation to fulfill this promise of protection.
Now, people will see that we aren’t disregarding it – well, it’s clear (and to be honest, has always been clear) that simply launching airstrikes on Islamic State is, at best, going to hold up their advances to some degree in the short term. However, we are never going to rid the world of this poisonous organisation until we take definitive military action, along with our partners. And yes, I’m afraid that what this means is we will need boots on the ground.
Airstrikes have been used as a halfway house, by both the British and Americans. With the backlash from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars still firmly in our leaders minds, they’ve tried to strike a balance so that we’re not ‘doing nothing’ but equally we aren’t being drawn into what many will see as a long futile war.
Our leaders have pinned their hopes on supporting the Iraqi Army and Syrian resistance forces to quash Islamic State – and whilst I agree with the principle, in reality this just isn’t going to be possible.
Iraq is a country that still has serious difficulties, that barely a decade ago was flattened by Coalition forces – and people obviously have various views on whether this was right or wrong. The whole weapons of mass destruction fiasco aside (which, in my opinion, was categorically wrong), do I think we were right to go into Iraq?
I’m afraid the answer is yes we were. It’s easy to see the Saddam regime in rose tinted glasses now that it has gone – but could we really have humanely stood by whilst innocent civilians were killed, whilst genocides took place, whilst a program of ethnic cleansing occurred in a country with a leader that was all too happy to indiscriminately use chemical weapons against his own people?
Were we safer with Saddam in power in Iraq? Yes, we actually were. Were Iraqi citizens safer with Saddam in power? Even despite the issues that there are still in Iraq, the answer is no they were not. I believe that the justification that we should have left Iraq alone so that we were safer, at the expense of other citizens of the world that were equally deserving of safety is justification based on an incorrect (and, in reality, slightly selfish) principle. In a post globalisation world, the whole ‘Little England’ mentality is out of date and will only come back to bite us again and again.
Regardless or not whether you are pro or anti war there is one indisputable fact. Islamic State are not going to stop until they have achieved their plans for a worldwide caliphate. The notion that they will invade a certain number of countries is one that is based on eternal optimism rather than any basis in reality. Islamic State will have not completed their mission, until every country – the United Kingdom and the United States included, is under their control.
Pie in the sky – well yes, there’s no chance of Islamic State managing to successfully invade the UK or US – but that doesn’t mean they won’t keep trying, for decades if necessary.
The result is, that whether we actively declare war on this quasi-state, the free world is currently at war with Islamic State.
On a side note, I’m actually so disappointed that they’ve picked such an unfortunate name for their ‘state’. Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam – Terrorist State, Dictatorship State and Barbaric State would all be more fitting accurate descriptions for this evil group that has plans for oppression and dictatorship across the world. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with fanatics and terrorists.
The UK, along with our allies now needs to take decisive action – not only to protect our British interests, at home and abroad, but also to protect the oppressed citizens of Islamic State that are being brutally murdered by these terrorists.
Again, on a side note, it’s worth knowing that the civilian casualties caused by Islamic State, when compared with civilian causalities caused by other countries (due to for example, airstrikes) is actually, at a conservative estimate, 10 times higher. All civilian causalities are intensely regrettable – but are unfortunately a consequence of war.
Now is, unfortunately, time again for action – we’ve tried the pacification route, and actually it’s turned out to be more futile than the attempt at pacification with Nazi Germany was in the previous century.
There most certainly needs to be emergency meetings of the United Nations Security Council and NATO.
A coalition now needs to be prepared and built that is ready to do what is necessary to defeat the Islamic State – and this will involve boots on the ground. Western armies have been built up over decades to the strength that they now are – we cannot seriously expect an army which is not even a decade old – along with resistance fighters – to be able to mount a serious and sustained attack on Islamic State.
And now, more than ever, it’s becoming acutely apparent that we need to halt defence cuts and agree to meet the 2% of GDP target for defence spending.
My primary hope now, for us and the rest of the world, is that we start to act before it’s too late, before many many more civilians from across the world die, before any more countries are taken over by this brutal regime and before there are more disgusting and terrible terrorist attacks against innocent citizens.