Thursday, February 06, 2014

A Glossary of War

A simple lexicon for the comprehension of modern rhetorical techniques for the promotion of UK involvement in murderous civil wars.

This week: Alistair Burt MP

InterventionThe act of hurling high explosives into murderous civil wars in the hope that some material good may be achieved by spreading the blood around a bit.

Stronger: Stupider.

Resistant to... constant horrorsOf a blood-curdling civil war - actively backing and encouraging the side that is losing.

Civilised worldCountries that give lots and lots of guns and bombs to all sides in murderous civil wars.

Our best interests: Anything that expands opportunities for Members of Parliament to pull out little toy planes and charge around the House shouting "Dakka-Dakka-Dakka!" and "Whoosh". 

Some military actionSee Intervention. 

Boots on the groundAn especially awesome Intervention using even bigger high explosives.

HumanitarianPrimarily preying upon humans.

Legal, proportionate and focusedCarte blanche; a blank cheque.

JihadisForces armed and deployed by inter alia British allies inc. Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Logistical or intelligence supportGiving lots and lots of guns and bombs to one side in a murderous civil war who may or may not lose them, quite possibly to Jihadis.

Worked to a conventionCarte blanche; a blank cheque.

Current conventionA very large and low hoop to jump through before receiving carte blanche and a blank cheque.

Quite a messAny situation that lessens opportunities for Members of Parliament to pull out little toy planes and charge around the House shouting "Dakka-Dakka-Dakka!" and "Whoosh".

Difficult foreign policy executive actionSee Intervention. 

Discussions with alliesPlotting; also, scheming.

Regional strategic defenceGiving lots and lots of guns and bombs to inter alia Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who will most likely then give them to Jihadis;  An opportunity for a Humanitarian Intervention in Our best interests.   

Asks for our assistanceSee Regional strategic defence. 

Our constituentsThe Sucker;  The Mark.

UK military involvement abroadSee Intervention;  also, Our best interests.  

Unpopular actionStupid action

 Accountable to the publicCapable of being democratically removed in favour of different Members of Parliament, who will then pull out little toy planes and charge around the House shouting "Whoosh!" and "Dakka-Dakka-Dakka".

The democratic balanceA situation lessening opportunities for Humanitarian Intervention in Our best interests.  

Sooner or laterAs soon as possible.

Sort out our parametersBuy more little toy planes and hope for Humanitarian Intervention.

7 comments:

organic cheeseboard said...

Excellent.

This is totally off topic, but I've found it interesting that in the midst of a massively high-profile campaign from the Guardian to 'do something' about Female Genital Mutilation, our Decent chums have been very quiet - nowt on HP Sauce, and Nick Cohen, who works for the Guardian group, hasn't mentioned it once on Twitter.

Remind you of anything about 'shameful silences' and the maxim that the Guardian hates human rights, etc...?

Anonymous said...

Alistair Burt is right to a small extent: there is a lack of clarity about the role of parliament in deciding on military actions. Prime Ministers appear to be no longer confident of authorising bombing, or boots on the ground, without the backing of parliament even though there is nothing about this written down.

What he appears to forget is that there were some steps taken to clarify this in the bad old days of old Pa Broon. There was a parliamentary committee looking at this issue and it took evidence from FCO and from military top brass (who spent a lot of time bickering about who should sit where in the committee room). Nothing definite happened before Broon's government lost momentum, and nothing has happened under the Coalition, which leaves us with a new, unwritten convention that parliament has a say in military adventures.

There was a lot of opposition to the original proposals along the lines: what happens if the UK is attacked? Does the PM have to recall parliament if invaders are on the beaches? What is clear from Burt's views is that the objection is to parliamentary oversight of military actions even when they it has nothing to do with the UK's self-defence.

Guano

Bruschettaboy said...

The Guardian has, of course, treacherously focused its current round of the FGM campaign on (largely Christian) Kenya rather than (largely Muslim) Somalia ...

flyingrodent said...

Remind you of anything about 'shameful silences' and the maxim that the Guardian hates human rights, etc...?

Yes, that has been a bit odd. You'd expect the usual suspects to be in full-flow, but not a peep.

Mind you, I read most of the stuff on this and it basically breaks down to:

- The police responding to accusations of incompetence last year by pointing the finger squarely at doctors, teachers and social workers. Unfairly and in a snide manner, IMO.

- Wildly varying estimates of the incidence of this in the UK - from 24,000 at risk (Herald) to 66,000 at risk (Guardian) to 170,000 actually mutilated (Times). The basic message from activists and reporters is, it's happening but nobody knows how much. And while the hotlines aren't exactly ringing off the hook, they are ringing, which is surely good news.

Either way, a storming victory for the women in these lobbying groups, in terms of awareness-raising. Much high-profile coverage of what's usually a low-profile issue.

Notably missing this time, though - strident calls to condemn this or that group of people for either ignoring the problem or being too tolerant of cultural blahblah.

The last part here may explain the current lack of outrage. After all, you can't well spank up much rage at people who are expressly agreeing with you, and that's always been the entire point.

The Guardian has, of course, treacherously focused its current round of the FGM campaign on (largely Christian) Kenya rather than (largely Muslim) Somalia ...

The fiends!

flyingrodent said...

What is clear from Burt's views is that the objection is to parliamentary oversight of military actions even when they it has nothing to do with the UK's self-defence.

That's certainly the message I take from it, anyway. And I'll add that the now-customary parliamentary vote on "humanitarian action", or whatever euphemism we're using today, is surely a creation of Tony Blair more than anyone else, and he wasn't exactly famed for reluctance in the area of unforced warmaking.

Really though, I just wanted to point out that almost every one of these war with (x) pieces is choked with cliches and euphemisms of the sort that would deeply St George of Orwell. Which is kind of ironic.

flyingrodent said...

"Deeply annoy", that is.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder whether Blair would have joined in the attack on Iraq without a parliamentary vote if the conditions had been different. I suspect that Blair originally hoped that he could, but he had counted on Iraq being obstructive in some way and (maybe more importantly) he hadn't realised that there would be so much public questioning of the invasion. Politically it became difficult to be involved without saying that parliament had approved it.

What has changed in the last 10+ years is that the public takes an interest in foreign affairs and critique the spin surrounding it. The public doesn't automatically assume that decisions taken behind closed doors are being taken in our interest. Burt doesn't seem to have noticed that.


Guano