Thursday, 3 December 2015

Greedy Geoff's Warporium Of Death

What's the good in having a Labour MP if you can't even trust him to not vote to murder children?  I asked him that very question via email.

Actually, I didn't. I just abused him for a bit. Changing hearts and minds is all very well, but on occasion one simply needs to vent in an appropriate direction.
Dear Mr Robinson,

There seems little point in writing this email – how can one hope to persuade those with so much blood on their hands they think they’re undergoing a brain haemorrhage every time they pick their nose? – but nevertheless, let it not pass unremarked that your vote has shamed your party, your city (which these days is also my city) and essentially humanity in general.  Innocent people will die, and you have killed them. Innocent people will become refugees, and you have set the torch to their houses. Innocent people will hate our country, and you have shown them why they are right to do so.

We will not win this war with bombs. We will not win this war with Tornadoes. And we certainly will not win this war with you presuming to lead us. It would please many in the fine city of peace and reconciliation if you were to resign immediately, join a religious order of your choosing (if they'll take you, though you could always try Sam Harris if you get desperate), and take a vow of silence, to last until your dying day, with exceptions made only for the phrases “I am so, so sorry” and “Oh Gods, what have I done”?

Yours in disappointment and disgust,

Dr Richard Crossman


Tomsk said...

Abuse aside there is a moral question in there which is worth thinking about, namely in what circumstances, if any, is a bombing campaign justified given that there will always be a risk of civilian casualties? I tend to agree that MPs reached the wrong decision about extending bombing to Syria but I am far from certain in my own judgement.

For me weighing heavily on the other side of the argument are at least two cases where American air strikes backing Kurdish soldiers have by all accounts prevented genocide by ISIL: in Kobani and against the extremely vulnerable Yazidi community trapped on Mt Sinjar in Iraq. I would not label Obama a child murderer for authorising those attacks without which many thousands of innocent men, women and children could not have been rescued from a fate too sickening to contemplate.

My chief concern with bombing ISIL elsewhere in Syria is that we have no reliable allies on the ground outside of Kurdish areas and with no clear strategy set out we risk creating yet more chaos. That is why I think on balance my MP was correct to vote against the motion on Wednesday.

SpaceSquid said...

I think there are bombing campaigns that can be justified, in the same way that whilst the Hippocratic Oath states/implies "First, do no harm" there are clearly circumstances in which a doctor must cause great harm to someone in order to save their life (hell, up to and including killing a child in the case of say, conjoined twins who cannot survive whilst attached). Like all lines in the sand like this, its strength is rhetorical; a forceful reminder of what is incurred, and how extreme the situation needs to be for other people before you act. The dangers of overstatement (not that I necessarily see it as such in this case, and of course Barack Obama IS a child murderer, whether we dismiss your examples or not) are vanishingly small simply because the chances of a British government ever becoming too skittish about bombing to not actually do it if it ever becomes truly necessary are essentially zero.

(Well, they're not zero, obviously. We'd only do it if the government saw the positives outweighing the negatives. It's simply that civilian casualties are never more than a footnote in the pages of calculations done in that analysis.)

And of course, it should not go unsaid that Western bombing campaigns were a necessary condition for setting up the situations in Kobani and Mr Sinjar, so they speak just as powerfully against air-strikes as they do for them. In short, these are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Regarding your concerns in this instance, I agree completely, and moreover I'd see creating more chaos as essentially a certainty rather than a risk. I'm not even sure the examples you mention reduced chaos, so much as disrupted a vile order that was posed to do horrific damage. The only order ever strengthened by bombs is in the resolve of those who oppose "us".