Tag Archives: Osama Bin Laden

Syria: Could ‘slow and steady’ win the war?

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Sorry, but This Writer is not wedded to the idea that carpet-bombing – or even precision-bombing – bits of Syrian desert in the hope that it might contain terrorists will make the United Kingdom any safer from attack.

For one thing, our armed forces have been following this strategy in Iraq for a year and have achieved no tangible result and, for another, bombing the desert will do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on UK soil that are carried out in the name of Daesh (IS if you prefer).

David Cameron says “our pilots can strike the most difficult targets at rapid pace and with extraordinary precision”, and that’s great for them – but in that case, why are they still flying raids over Iraq after a year? In that context, one wonders why he mentions it.

His naming of technology like “the Brimstone precision missile system”, “RAPTOR” which he claims “has no rival”, and “Reaper drones” is reminiscent of a comedy routine by the late, great Bill Hicks – also in reference to the Middle East.

He said: “Those guys were in hog heaven out there, man. They had a big weapons catalogue opened up.

“‘What’s G12 do, Tommy?’

“‘Says here it destroys everything but the fillings in their teeth. Helps us pay for the war effort.’

“‘Well… pull that one up.’

“‘Pull up G12, please.’

“[BOOM!]

“‘Great! What’s G13 do?'”

You take the point? Even the names of these things are sinister. “Brimstone” is another word for sulphur, associated with Hell and all things demonic. A “raptor” is a bird of prey. The “Grim Reaper” is, of course, death personified.

Those names remind This Writer of the “death’s head” emblems on German army uniforms in World War II, and the Mitchell and Webb sketch in which two German officers discuss them: “Do you think perhaps we are the bad guys?”

It’s a sobering thought, but if we take military action in Syria at this time, we may be creating a situation in which there are no good guys.

There are alternatives to military action – which of course may be run concurrently with attacks on the terrorists’ heartland. Jeremy Corbyn asked, “What co-ordinated action with other United Nations member states has there been under the terms of the resolution to cut off funding, oil revenues and armed supplies from ISIL into the territory it currently holds?”

David Cameron’s response, that “there was a resolution back in February, and we should continue to support all those measures”, is far from reassuring. This Writer was hoping for much more detail.

It seems that – in this respect – the hard work is being left to the hackers.

Note also that Cameron does not acknowledge the value of these alternatives. He wants us all to believe that the choice is between bombing Syria and “doing nothing” – and that’s misleading.

He was also vague about the positive effect that military action would have. The BBC’s Frank Gardner makes it plainer: “This will not lead to the immediate or even imminent demise of so-called Islamic State. It will simply add to the incremental damage being done over time to this proscribed terrorist group by other air forces already bombing in Syria.”

So we are looking at the possibility of military action that drags on and on, draining our country’s economy, with no conclusion in sight. That would be a poor use of our resources.

Remember Al-Qaeda? Remember how Osama Bin Laden was defeated?

It wasn’t on the battlefield; it was at his home, in a compound in Pakistan. A small US force launched the raid, acting on information picked up by intelligence agents. Some say this information was built up over a period of around 10 years; others say it came to them in a one-off tip. It didn’t come as the result of a bombing raid.

That’s why This Writer still says ‘slow and steady’ will win this war – not retaliatory bombing raids, no matter how accurate the missiles may be. The people firing them need to know what they are aiming at – and that requires information.

If British intelligence services really have foiled seven Daesh-inspired terrorist acts in the UK within the last year alone, then there is nothing wrong with our information-gathering powers.

By all means, let us do everything we can to help our allies in their military efforts, but let us also work to maintain the integrity of our own homeland, and to obtain information on the leaders of the terrorists and their whereabouts. Until we have that, let’s keep our powder dry.

There will be a time for Reapers, RAPTOR and Brimstone, but it isn’t today.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron seems keen to join the ranks of British war criminals

Reyaad Khan (L) and Ruhul Amin (R), who were killed in a drone strike by the RAF in August.(YouTube)

Reyaad Khan (L) and Ruhul Amin (R), who were killed in a drone strike by the RAF in August.(YouTube)

Someone should tell David Cameron that getting his retaliation in first is not an act that is recognised by the law; people need to commit crimes before being punished for them, and even then the punishment must be appropriate according to the law.

It seems strange to be discussing the Cameron-supported killing of Reyaad Khan, a Cardiff man alleged to be a member of Islamic State, so soon after This Blog expressed concern over the legality of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US troops, supported by President Obama – but that is how recent events have transpired.

Cameron has told us that Khan was planning terror attacks on the UK, so the Conservative Government ordered his death in a drone strike on August 22.

How do we know this man was planning terror attacks on the UK? Where is the evidence? Is it in another ‘dodgy dossier’, similar to that in which, according to Tony Blair, he had evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Had this man participated in previous terror attacks? If so, when? Where is the proof that shows him taking part?

Cameron said the UK had taken action in “self-defence”, invoking the right to do so under Article 51 of the UN charter – but Article 51 specifically states that an “armed attack” must take place against a UN member state before any such response.

Apparently, under the ‘Caroline principle’, a pre-emptive strike is permissible if the “necessity of self-defence was instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation”. We have no evidence to show that this was the case.

“It’s extremely alarming that the UK has apparently been conducting summary executions from the air,” Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK director told International Business Times. “In following the United States down a lawless road of remote-controlled summary killings from the sky, the RAF has crossed a line.”

On the information we have, she’s right. We’ve seen no evidence of any prior attacks, nor have we seen evidence of the need to prevent future attacks.

All we have seen is an act of murder against a UK citizen by his own government.

Even more worrying is the claim that defence secretary Michael Fallon has a “kill list” of alleged terrorists operating in the Middle East. He is on record as having said the Conservatives “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again”.

Until we see the evidence of terrorist activity, the British public should not see the death of Reyaad Khan as anything other than a war crime.

The onus on David Cameron, Michael Fallon and their co-conspirators is to deliver this evidence at once – or deliver themselves to The Hague for trial.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Attack on Corbyn over Bin Laden assassination is hysterical

bin laden ap

For clarity, this is Osama Bin Laden, not Jeremy Corbyn. Some right-wing commentators may not be able to tell the difference.

… In both senses of the word.

It seems that people who should know better have dredged up a comment made by Jeremy Corbyn in 2011 about the death of Osama Bin Laden – that it would have been better if the Al-Qaeda leader had been arrested and put on trial, rather than killed.

Tory Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC: “Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who any sensible human being in the world would want either killed or arrested.” So he agrees with Mr Corbyn that arrest should have been an option.

And Labour’s – Labour’s! – defence spokesman, Kevan Jones, said: “This just shows you how out of touch he is with what most people’s views are.”

Oh, really?

This Writer would have preferred to see Osama Bin Laden arrested and put on trial, and so would Mrs Mike. We may not be representative of the whole of the UK but that’s two-thirds of this household agreeing with Mr Corbyn (the other third is not available for comment) – enough for one to question whether Mr Jones is more out of touch than Mr Corbyn.

Why wasn’t Bin Laden arrested? The US troops who took part in the operation neutralised everybody in the compound, didn’t they? So there was no reason not to take Bin Laden into custody. The fact that he was shot raises questions about whether he might have revealed information that compromised the USA’s – and possibly even the UK’s – standing in the international community. Those questions must go unanswered, leaving suspicion behind.

And isn’t it interesting that Mr Corbyn’s opponents are reduced to digging around for long-buried comments he made, in order to besmirch his reputation.

Would these people like it if we all did that?

Here’s George Osborne, writing in Tory propaganda sheet The Sun: “The new unilateralists of British politics [meaning Corbyn and his supporters] are a threat to our future national security and to our economic security.”

Those are bold words, coming from a man whose policies before the economic crisis threatened our economic security to a much greater extent, by supporting calls for banking to be deregulated further than they already had. The banks later became part of – and fuelled – a massive debt crisis that threatened the global economy. If Osborne had had his way, it would have been much worse.

Perhaps this is why he has persistently claimed – falsely – that the UK’s debt problems were due to overspending by the previous Labour government.

And perhaps that is why he has been a strong supporter of austerity policies that take money from the poor and hand it to the rich – despite the discrediting of the academic studies on which these policies are based, early in the Coalition Parliament.

With that kind of record, why should anyone listen to George Osborne?

Still, this episode offers an opportunity for the rest of us. If Corbyn’s opponents are willing to dig up anything he once said, just to keep a good man from an opportunity to change matters for the better, they won’t mind if the rest of us do the same.

Pick your targets, folks, and start digging up the dirt.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook