As people grow-up, particularly boys, you learn not to get into fights where you are likely to take a beating, don’t you? In any potential confrontation, being at your strongest has always been a wise precaution, as well as not provoking trouble without good reason or a good idea how it will end, and indeed some plan to finish it.
We don’t seem to have applied any of those parameters to dealing with the Middle East, and in particular the current threat of the jihadists of ISIS, do we? We are wandering like a lost soul aimlessly into the wilderness. We are embarking on a so called war, in a belated attempt to beat-off a perceived (or perhaps even manufactured?) threat to the West from a massive gang of armed to the teeth, brainless and brainwashed, religious driven fanatics; these men, women, & youths, possibly thirty thousand of them, are inescapably corralled in a ‘belief system’ that entices them to die to achieve a place in paradise – how are we going to counter that do you think?
The thing that we all need to take account of is that ALL those fighting in the civil war against Assad’s regime in Syria are jihadists – so called ‘moderate’ jihadists as well as the ISIS jihadists.
You would have thought that Britain would have learned the lesson, or at least something, from the past and our near demise in WW II, wouldn’t you? In the 1930s we had run down our military capability disgracefully (disarmament and minimal defense), and we relied on smart-arsed policies and keeping out of conflicts (so gambled on there being nothing major) – all to be financially prudent of course. The Territorial Army indeed took pride of place over the Regular Army When we subsequently faced the threatening aggressive might of Hitler, we were stuffed, and had to rely on a policy of appeasement didn’t we? That failed miserably, so Britain and France finally declared war on Germany in 1939, following the invasion of Poland.
We sent our rapidly assembled Expeditionary Force (a tenth of our capability) to get badly defeated in Belgium & France, and only got the remnants back to Blighty through the courage of our small boat owners (not through a well equipped maritime navy).
Any of that sound familiar to you with now – groundhog day perhaps? This summer another 1,060 Army, Navy & RAF redundancies were announced in a fourth round of cuts We have slashed our regular armed forces dramatically, and regular soldiers from a hundred thousand to eighty thousand [for example four of the British Army’s thirty-six regular infantry battalions are disbanded, the Armoured Corps and Artillery is halved, and much more besides], and again priority is given to reliance on reservists – the Territorial Army will be renamed the Army Reserve, and will be expanded from 19,000 to 30,000 personnel. [The National Audit Office has warned that plans to cut the Army and increase reservists have “significant risks”]. Maritime nation? Our pride & joy Navy now has only nineteen warships (too small to meet commitments say the experts), and we have even scrapped in the last four years our three aircraft carriers (and are many-many years away from getting another operational!); we also sold off our squadrons of iconic Harriers to the Americans to deploy, as if they were bits of useless scap metal.
If you as a country have ambitions to ever get involved in an overseas type conflict (like now in the Middle East), the one thing you need is an ocean going ship from which you can launch aircraft, and some planes to go on it; we don’t have either – worthy of a 1970s Monty Python comedy sketch without doubt, don’t you think?
This was all done for ‘financial prudence’, with the emphasis on restoring fiscalality, and because we apparently didn’t need to worry about ‘hypothetical’ threats! Surprisingly, a view taken at exactly the time that the threat from ISIS was being given birth in Syria!
Unfortunately, Britain’s failure to learn major lessons from the past seems to be a lesson to be finally learned too late, wouldn’t you say? We have now ‘belatedly’ embrolled ourselves in a military situation (albeit with a derisary half dozen aircraft – about to attack minor if not irrelevent targets in Iraq, when the real ones are in Syria), when our forces couldn’t be relied-on to punch their way out of a brown paper bag.
Early Anti-ISIS Allies in airstrikes against the jihadists, or providing aircraft: five Arab countries – Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar; Australia, Great Britain, France, Netherlands.
[All military opinion is that you can NOT fight & win a war by air strikes – it needs ‘combat troops’ , so you have to get ‘boots on the ground’ as they say. Who has got those boots? NOT Britain for sure. Who WON’T provide those boots either? America of course. Who has got totally inadequate boots? Iraq without question].
FURTHER COMMENT & OPINION ON THIS SITUATION WILL BE POSTED LATER