I find it astonishing that to this day, one of the most common criticisms of the UK's tiny anti-war movement is that they’re reflexively opposed to any British military wheezes, and that this in some way reflects badly on them.
It's hardly as if there aren't any other criticisms that can be thrown. I could suggest a few myself, and yet it seems to me that knee-jerk opposition to whatever bombing campaign, invasion or occupation is under discussion at any given time is their most endearing trait.
I mean, can anyone think of another area of government policy that has fucked up as badly as our recent wars? Can anyone suggest a policy that has exploded in our face so publicly and so undeniably, this many times, and hasn’t been axed?
Not only do they fail to achieve their basic aims, they cause actual, long-lasting grievous harm. If road traffic regulations were causing fifty-car pile-ups every other day, or if the NHS were horribly botching 80% of surgical procedures, they’d be scrapped in seconds. Anyone opposing their immediate, fiery destruction would be instantly denounced as a psychopath, and any politican trying it would probably lose a popularity contest to the Yorkshire Ripper.
And yet, here we are again. I don't see any need to reiterate in depth the long list of disasters that have befallen our military endeavours over the years, and yet - only 13 MPs voted against the use of force in Libya, after a decade in which US-UK involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has led to a bodycount so vast that we’re afraid to tally it. Maybe they're all privy to a plan that I'm not, or something.
The coalition can’t decide who’s in charge, FFS, and it’s blatantly obvious that they can’t even agree what they’re trying to achieve or how they’re going to go about achieving it. They can't agree upon whether Gaddafi is fair game or inviolate. We still don't have much of a clue who the Libyan rebels actually are, and if there's a sunset clause in resolution 1973, I'll be damned if I can see it. How long are we prepared to continue enforcing this no-fly zone, and are we prepared to escalate even further if it's ineffective? Have any UK government ministers given us halfway satisfactory answers to any of these questions?
Still, maybe they deserve another chance to prove that exploding the hell out of people in pursuit of a vaguely-defined goal will deliver. After all, what could go wrong?
Honestly. I thought that pretty much the only good thing that came out of the catastrophes of the last decade was a general awareness that war is a Big Deal; a last resort, an option that we don’t use lightly. Now it turns out that we don’t even have that, and that we're still primed to go off like Two-Push Charlie the nineteen-year-old porno addict in a lapdancing club when somebody whispers airstrikes.
I really hope that I'm wrong about all this stuff. I hope I'm back here in two weeks going Wow, I didn't know that you could set up a people's parliament that fast.
I hope this latest bombs away, fingers crossed effort finally, somehow, works. My ideal outcome - as it was in Iraq and Afghanistan - would be an outbreak of peace and amity across the region for decades, coupled with the near-total extermination of the idea of international intervention as a political possibility in all but the direst need.
Hell, I'd take just the peace and amity if it was offered and never mind the exterminating part, but I figure that, while I'm asking for the moon on a stick, I might as well aim high.
(Cribbed from a slightly more heated comment of mine at Crookit Timber).