Wednesday, September 30, 2015

War Is Good/Bad - An Update On The Rules

Using my special sarcasto-blogger sense, I've concluded that Vladimir Putin's retarded and deranged Syria intervention is about to have an interesting and immediate effect upon our own political and media establishment.

It's not going to change their basic view of airstrikes and bombing campaigns of course, since their opinion on wars is generally comparable to a teenage boy's attitude towards free pornography.  Nonetheless, I think the Russians' idiotic actions are going to lead the UK war party generally to announce a few major ideological tweaks to our national morality on military hijinks, at least insofar as they're perpetrated by countries that aren't us or our allies.

Firstly, I suspect we're about to discover that nations engaging in warfare sometimes employ the language of security and humanitarianism to cover up their shady ulterior motives. 

This type of deceitful propaganda is bad, because governments should always be honest about their motivations for attacking and/or occupying other nations.  Governments definitely shouldn't ever make up any excuses that aren't true to justify their military adventures.  Also, people who repeat the lies that these governments tell will now be regarded as thoroughly despicable human beings.

We'll also learn that attacking the territory of a foreign nation without explicit authorisation from the United Nations is now very bad and illegal again.   Attacking other nations in this manner is now a very serious crime that should be unhesitatingly denounced by all, and punished with economic sanctions and severe criminal penalties

Attacking other nations will stay very bad until the next time that Britain wants to bomb some dipshit Brummie jihadist near Raqqah, at which point it will revert to being perfectly legal and reasonable

Such attacks on other nations will remain perfectly legal and reasonable until the Russian Air Force blows up a different shower of crazy jihadists, at which point they will once more become very bad and illegal.

Russia attacking Syria is also very bad because it's making things worse, in a way that arming random factions to the fucking teeth is not, and in a way that hurling missiles at violently-inclined fuckwits definitely isn't. 

We're also about to discover that so called "surgical" weapons aren't quite as precise as we might previously have been led to believe and that if anything, they're actually pretty destructive over wide areas and hazardous to nearby civilians.

It's true that any civilian deaths resulting from these "surgical strikes" were once entirely accidental and unforeseeable, and thus immaterial.  Now, it's going to turn out that actually, everybody knows that firing massive payloads of high explosives into heavily-populated urban areas is incredibly risky, and is almost certain to result in civilian deaths.

Any civilian deaths occurring in Syria as a result of Russian military action will thus be an unacceptable outrage and a travesty, in just the same way that all those incinerated Afghan wedding parties were regrettable accidents that couldn't ever have been foreseen by anyone, and for which nobody is really to blame.

Some of you may have been under the impression that there are no laws of war, or that violent attacks on other nations are perfectly acceptable, provided that they seem reasonable to the Prime Minister and to the editorial staff of the Times.

You may, for example, have believed that any paramilitary force that conceals itself in heavily-populated urban areas is using the civilian populace as human shields; that this is in itself a war crime, and that any military force attacking such paramilitaries isn't responsible for any resulting deaths.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Belligerent parties are now required to take steps to avoid needless civilian casualties, and they will be right up until the next time the IDF bombards Gaza City, at which point this rule will become utterly invalid to the point of hilarity. 

Finally, readers are instructed to immediately assemble for a now-admirable anti-war protest outside the Russian Embassy, where they definitely will not be joined by the legions of hacks who have spent the day complaining smarmily about a lack of anti-war protests.

Thank you. 

10 comments:

Metat said...

Excellent post.

ejh said...

Among the many things that are laughable about the why-don't-StW-organise-a-demo-against-Putin business - and it's a sign of the utter denseness of our political culture that many otherwise intelligent people think that's a clever argument or one even worth making - is that nobody asks the question what possible effect do you think a demo in London will have on Mr Putin?

I mean what do they think would happen? A few thousand demonstrators in Trafalgar Square and Vladimir thinks Jesus, I can't stand the pressure, better recall the planes at once?

Do they think that if there was a demo in Moscow, say, against UK or US or French involvement, the various leaders of those countries would take the blindest bit of notice?

Of course they don't, and they don't think it would make any difference to Mr Putin either, because as I say, these are otherwise intelligent people. The sole reason for raising the question is because they want to do a bit - more than a bit, in fact - of finger-pointing at people they don't like.

And please, if your response to a situation of war and death and murder is that you think, aha, here's a chance to do some finger-pointing - you've really lost the plot, have you not?

flyingrodent said...

I mean what do they think would happen?

I imagine they think they're making a razor-sharp point about the meaning of the words "anti-war" - well, if you're so anti-war, why aren't you protesting against Russia/Saudi Arabia/Boko Haram and so on.

The problem is that this is hilariously over-literal, like when people used to ask war pundits why their enthusiasm for spreading freedom/fending off threats didn't extend to invading, say, North Korea. To which the only answer was, because invading North Korea would be an idiotic idea.

So it is, with the "Why don't you protest Russia" nonsense.

A more pertinent question might be on Saudi Arabia vs Yemen, where the war is if anything even more needless and demented, and the British Government does actually wield at least a bit of clout with one of the belligerent parties. As we've seen though, there's not much chance of swaying Cameron and his mates away from Riyadh.

andrew adams said...

We'll also learn that attacking the territory of a foreign nation without explicit authorisation from the United Nations is now very bad and illegal again.

Isn't one major difference between the Russian military action and any action we might take, that Russia is acting with the permission of the Syrian government and so doesn't need UN approval?

Which doesn't mean Russian intervention is a good thing or minimise its culpability for the civilian deaths which have already occurred.

flyingrodent said...

Isn't one major difference between the Russian military action and any action we might take, that Russia is acting with the permission of the Syrian government and so doesn't need UN approval?

That's a good point, and one that I hadn't considered. I notice that the issue of legality hasn't come up as yet and, considering the potential for sniggers and chuckles, it'd probably self-defeating for anyone to make it.

If this argument does put in an appearance, I'd guess it'll be along the lines of "This government is so brutal that it has lost the right to sovereignty over the country". That carries no legal clout that I'm aware of, but would at least paper over the cracks until attention moves elsewhere.

Phil said...

As I said on the other thread, if consistency mattered in these things Rentoul and his pals would be commending STW for not demonstrating against Russian attacks on IS. That's been the charge all along, after all - you don't really oppose war, you just support the Islamistsses. Now handily disproved.

(Meanwhile in an alternative reality, alt-STW has a rush of pacifist blood to the head, does organise a demo outside the Russian embassy and is denounced by alt-Rentoul as a bunch of jihadi sympathisers rushing to the defence of IS.)

gastro george said...

Re surgical strikes, it was interesting to see the report on the BBC news last night showing video of the Russians using "what might be non-guided weapons". Because, of course, we make sure that we only kill the bad guys.

septicisle said...

The point about Russia being invited in is that's precisely the justification being used for us once again bombing Iraq, the Iraqi government not by any means having responsibility for Islamic State rising again. Russia isn't bombing Iraq because it hasn't been invited, whereas everyone other than Russia is bombing Syria despite not being invited. Although it's been apparent ever since the intervention against Islamic State that there is cooperation between the Syrians and the wider coalition, they just both deny it. The Saudis and the others bombing Yemen were also incidentally invited in by the deposed leader, but in that case there's also a UN security council resolution backing their bombing the whoever the fuck they feel like action. The only abstention? Russia. And weren't we hearing earlier in the week just how the UNSC is being undermined by Russian vetoes?

gastro george said...

Sending troops and military hardware into the middle of another country’s civil war to prop up a ruthless and despised dictator rarely turns out well for anyone ...

Which could easily be said about the US/UK "intervention". The lack of self-awareness is staggering.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article to propagate nonsense to a little Johnny's audience, which is a major part of the country, during Sunday's quiet enjoyment of yorkshire pudding.
Every paragraph is arguable to say the least:

- "Firstly, I suspect we're about to discover that nations engaging in warfare sometimes employ the language of security and humanitarianism to cover up their shady ulterior motives."
UK/US+NATO members employed the exact ploy mentioned her, i.e. Tony Blair.

- "We'll also learn that attacking the territory of a foreign nation without explicit authorisation from the United Nations is now very bad and illegal again. Attacking other nations in this manner is now a very serious crime that should be unhesitatingly denounced by all, and punished with economic sanctions and severe criminal penalties"
Exactly what UK/US/+NATO members did to former Yugoslavia, i.e. attacked the country without an approval from UN SC.

No need to continue as it might be a bit of a shock to the Jonny's community after being exposed to their government's naughty agendas.

Best reagards,