And Shoot...

Welcome to my blog; my take on all things photography, travel, wildlife and a few other things too.

Hope you enjoy it.
Glenn

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

War, Huh – What is it good for? Absolutely Something!

Like many of you, I have watched on in horror and sadness in recent months at the events in Syria. I I heard all of the arguments for and against military action, often both passionate and well-reasoned and was delighted when the situation abated and came to a relatively peaceful conclusion, for now. However, the more I have reflected on this, the more I have come to realise that there is one school of thought on war that I simply cannot abide; the argument that there should never ever be any action, no matter the cost.

Let me state upfront that I abhor violence and suffering of any kind, but that is precisely why I believe in war. Just imagine for a moment if you can, that the Conservatives suddenly decided to engage in chemical warfare against the North of England for opposing them and voting Labour. Men and women, children and the elderly, all dying excruciating deaths in front of their families – with no doctors or nurses able to do anything to help. And imagine those that managed to survive the horror, living in constant fear that a second or third or fourth strike could happen at any time.

And imagine still further, if the rest of the world simply turned a blind eye and said ‘Oh I'm sorry we can’t get involved – we might make things worse’. Cameron could simply give the order again, whenever the whim takes him, without fear of reproach or retaliation or retribution. Silly analogy I know; ridiculous and far-fetched. Well this almost exactly what happened to the Syrian people.

Listen, I fully understand the concerns that the ill-fated forays into Iraq and Afghanistan have raised. I can entirely agree with the notion that a robust and well planned exit strategy (hell, even the bones of one) is required before putting more civilians and our own soldiers at risk. You cannot go in all guns blazing to these situations without firm proof and the risk of escalation should be minimized at every opportunity. These, of course, should be a given before any proposed action takes place.

But what really gets me angry is those who decry war whatever the circumstances. Those like American Senator Paul Rand ‘’War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened’’ or activist and anti-war protester David Swanson who said on Syria ‘’Risking a major war, no matter how slim you think the chance is, ought to be done only for some incredibly important reason. The White House doesn't have one.’’

But what really gets me angry is those who decry war whatever the circumstances. Those like American Senator Paul Rand ‘’War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened’’ or activist and anti-war protester David Swanson who said on Syria ‘’Risking a major war, no matter how slim you think the chance is, ought to be done only for some incredibly important reason. The White House doesn't have one.’’

Doesn’t have one??! I simply cannot believe they actually mean this. Are they saying that if we reached 6 million deaths like in WWII, they would still disagree that action was needed because America is not being threatened or because things might get worse? Surely not but if there is a red line of numbers, or circumstances then what is it?

I despise those people who take the tone of a moralist when children are being murdered. They have no genuine respect for the dead, neither for the civilian victims, nor those who bravely and selflessly fight to save others. I can only assume they have either not thought through the argument fully, or else are attention seeking; jumping on the trendy bandwagon of anti-war protesting to get themselves some notoriety. I bet they do not even wear a remembrance poppy.

Even the Pope is getting in on the act ‘‘violence and war lead only to death’’. This comment is na├»ve at best; war can also lead to the freedom and liberation of those persecuted by dictatorships and evil regimes. I wonder if the survivors of the Jewish concentration camps would agree that going to war with the Nazi’s was an immoral, foolish idea.

No. You must to strive to end the conflict. It is the duty of the strong to protect those who threaten the weak. Of course peaceful negotiation is the preference but news flash: evil people are generally not reasonable. So force is sometimes necessary and even if the violence does escalate, who is to say this outcome would still not be preferable to what would have occurred should we have done nothing? Who is to say an abstinence of action will not encourage even worse atrocities to take place in future? Only time will tell but the point is to try with the best of intentions, to help – this is surely far more forgiveable than doing nothing?

It is the teacher who tries to stop the school gunman. It is the plane passengers who try to bring down the terrorists. Who criticises them now, despite their failed efforts? I doubt you can ever reason with such individuals or groups but perhaps, just perhaps, if they had tried to do so instead of trying to overthrow them with force, there is a small chance they would have prevented further deaths.
But surely no reasonable person could ever hold that against them? I cannot imagine having any grievances with somebody who has tried to help but failed. However, I could very well have cause to complain against those who stood by and did nothing.


It is oh so easy to sit in your Ivory Tower, atop the moral high-ground, hurling names at those who fight beneath you. Just know that you will need more than sticks and stones if the hunters run out of elephants and their cast tusk-hungry eyes towards your own home instead.