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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Time Event
Why I think Dan Jarvis is wrong
It's important to examine Dan Jarvis' case for voting for bombing, because he is going endlessly to be cited as the persuasive Labour case. I have to say I am not convinced.

1. He assumes that the RAF is superior to other air forces in precision bombing and can therefore reliably strike against Daesh's command and control points within Raqqa. He implies but does not state that this can be done without harm to civilians - this seems implausible especially because he does not state how the RAF is going to know with certainty where those C&C points in Raqqa are - reliable intelligence sources? Really?

2. He blusters about ground forces - he is clearly sceptical about Cameron's figure of 70,000 but 'It reminds me of the dilemma I faced when commanding Afghan soldiers whose knowledge was invaluable but whose competencies were questionable in other areas. Sometimes you have to work with what you have'.
a - like Afghanistan was a huge success
b- the ground forces in Syria include a lot of Al Qaeda whose argument with Daesh is real but impenetrable.
He acknowledges that Cameron has a lot of explaining to do but thinks it can be deferred until after the bombing starts.

3. He continually poses a false dichotomy between action - ie bombing plus other avenues like chasing money, diplomatic efforts and so on- and inaction - those avenues without bombing. Clearly this is untrue; he also assumes, without much evidence, that Cameron will pursue those other avenues in the face of the fact that doing so effectively would mean taking a tough line with our allies.

4. He talks as if Daesh were the only 'new fascists' in the game - this is trasnparently untrue and renders everything he says about Atlee and WW2 a piece of rhetorical nonsense.

5. He argues that bombing Daesh will make Britain's streets safer. My own view is that since Daesh and other groupes long ago moved from revenge to provocation in their deployment of terror is that this is as much nonsense as the assumption by anti-war forces that not bombing will make British streets safer.

I fear that Jarvis is groping for reasons that will enable him to vote in a way that positions him as the candidate to replace Corbyn as leader; I am not accusing him of entire insincerity but, since he acknowledges that he is voting on the basis of a thin margin of reasons, I fear his judgement in the matter,

After reading his arguments I still think joining in an incoherent, not especially competent and immoral bombing campaign with allies who are not actually pursuing the same goals is both stupid and wrong.

More Jarvis bollocks
Some amplification.

Intelligence about command and control is of two kinds. 1 Electronic tracing of GPS chips etc. This tells you where the chip is but not who is there with it - thus, blown up hospitals and schools readily provided for propaganda purposes.
2. Special forces infiltrators on rooftops with binoculars and laser sights. That might mean you get someone you want to kill but bombs aren't bullets and you get eg the building he is next to eg school or hospital.

Also, of course, Daesh believe in 5 caliphs before the End. Al Baghdadi expects he will die. Leaving him alive buggers up the prophesies he relies on.
End time bollocks
Here's another amplification. As I understand it, one of the differences between Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIL is that both have an end time theology but that Al Baghdadi believes himself entitled to declare himself caliph with minimal authority from theologians and start the clock ticking whereas Al Qaeda defer to the major universities to let them know when the end times start.

This is private Islamic business - which I may have hopelessly mis-stated - and for Muslims to sort out among themselves.

However, one thing that the Christian world could do is de-escalate Christian theology about the End Time. The Christian Right in the US and elsewhere started the clock ticking long ago, and this has particular ramifications for politics. Part of this is the assumption that eg equal marriage is a provocation to god and evidence for climate change is a sign of his wrath.. There is also the stuff about Obama or Putin being the Antichrist. More importantly, in relation to Middle Eastern affairs, there is the backing of Israel beyond all reason on the assumption that the Apocalypse kicks off with a lot of Israelis suddenly converting to Christianity and the rest all dying horribly. The Israelis find this belief on the part of most Republicans and many others convenient - bar the conversion/horrible death stuff.

I am suggesting a convention of those major branches of Christianity who think this is all impious bollocks to say so, loudly. I don't normally think the Pope should tell other Christians that something is heretical nonsense, but in this instance...

If you want to put out a signal, that might be one of the ones to put out
Too sick at heart to write well
To 67 Labour MPs

Gold tongues and lion hearts are worthless trash.
Virtues that history will not recall.
We do not care what reasons made you fall.
Ambition, pique, or principle or cash.

It is the crime and not the motive weighs
so heavy, breaks our hearts, loses our trust.
It's hard to hate you now but hate we must
to keep our anger hot. When each page says

how right you were to take us all for fools.
You are the clever ones with clear bright eyes
yet sell yourself so cheap, tell stupid lies
corrupt your virtues into broken tools

All that you were for this one day you sold
For jobs which go with power which goes with gold.

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