Friday, July 29, 2005

A bad feeling about a more than bad policy.

'On a couple of very fleeting visits to London and Belfast in recent weeks, I had the vague feeling that Britain is on the brink of a tragedy it doesn’t quite comprehend.'
(Mark Steyn)

I have recently expressed my opposition to the idea of the War on Terror as a law enforcement policy- the opposite of a war, really. I believe the citizenry have to be involved. I think they actually need to learn to go completely against their training and put pressure on the communities around them who see themselves as possibly benefitting neutrals in the struggle we face, and make them in turn put pressure on those who might be conduits of terrorism. We need to personalise the War- the opposite of State policy. We need to support all means necessary- not just the last resort- to actually attack the interests of the terrorists. We need them to feel their opponents are real, human, and deeply angry. Such tactics might even save lives, as in the case of Charles Menenez.

I really fear the alternative. I read this article (via USSN) about the fears of a Muslim that his unwise fellows, the jihadists, had roused a tiger in the West, with interest. His thesis was as follows:

'In this new cold and hot war, car bombs and suicide bombers here and there will be no match for the arsenal that those Westerners are putting together - an arsenal of laws, intelligence pooling, surveillance by satellites, armies of special forces and indeed, allies inside the Arab world who are tired of having their lives disrupted by demented so-called jihadis or those bearded preachers who, under the guise of preaching, do little to teach and much to ignite the fire, those who know little about Islam and nothing about humanity.'

What I really fear is that the perception of remote, technocratic, remorseless yet destined-to-be-victorious opponents- mere automatons- will ignite something quite horrible. The reason for the war in Iraq was establishing a foothold in our own fate, yet the British people, by appearing to fail to support it, have made that foothold tenuous, especially as far as our own involvement is concerned (British soldiers keeping out of it, letting the locals have their worst habits intact). What this may mean is that by fighting a low key, technological kind of criminal investigation- war to them, legal proceedings to us- we may be unready and helpless when the technological challenge is answered by a more advanced kind of bomb. They have to be saving the chemicals and radioactive materials for something.

What we badly need is to have some Muslims on our side, to prove that we can live together on a higher plain, levelling up rather than demolishing the old order. Hamid Karzai was a good start. Iraq has given us that opportunity but we are blowing it because, in pathological fear of casualties and sacrifice, we are exporting the remote control warfare ethos from civilian to miliary contexts. Wars you win work the other way round, making civilians behave with military discipline and sacrifice.

Steyn has a characteristically brilliant article about the failings of a legalistic approach. He concentrates on the absurdities, or, perhaps, the tragedies, of the asylum system. He's dead right. Relatedly, I have met a number of Somalis on my travels (not in the UK, though). I know they can be absolutely great people- the liveliest minds and the most energy you'll find anywhere. The three I got to know were capable of anything- I mean in a good way, mainly. One of them had been trained in mechanics by the Soviets in the Seventies. What you need though is to engage, to relate, to harness these people. They don't respond to robots and they are looking for someone or something to blame for their situation. Admittedly these three were all apostates from radical Islam, living in fear of their lives from gangs of roaming Islamofascist gunmen, but if they were not totally exceptional then they were part of a larger phenomenon of people waiting passively to be given a positive lead, who were nevertheless capable of tackling the idiots who ruled their cowed people- if they were equipped by positive mentoring. However, they can't be rallied without a cause.

Google Custom Search