Ethics & Morality

Cameron's desire to bomb ISIS in Syria is moral, but not the solution


‘Cameron ready to bomb Syria’ announces the Telegraph on its front page today. As headlines go it’s not exactly a major revelation. The PM has been keen to intervene in Syria for over two years now and made it clear yesterday in his House of Common speech that sitting back and allowing others to carry out the dirty work, isn’t his style: “I’ve always said there is a strong case for us doing so. We should not let others carry the burden and the risks of protecting our country.”

At least you can’t accuse him of wanting to go it alone. Since September the US has been joined by Australia, Canada, France, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE in launching airstrikes against Syrian Islamic State targets. France and Russia are understandably keen to hit Syrian ISIS strongholds right now, and you can’t help but wonder if it had been London rather than Paris that suffered such horrific acts of murder on Friday whether David Cameron would need to be making a case at all.

Let’s not beat around the bush when it comes to justifying attacking Islamic State. If ever there was a case for a just war this is it. But if you want evidence to back this up, rather than looking to politicians who have one ear constantly pressed against the loudspeaker of public opinion, it is far better to pay attention to those who have seen ISIS and their inhuman atrocities up close. Canon Andrew White, famously known as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ is one such individual. He has been involved in promoting reconciliation in the Middle East since 1998 firstly as Director of International Ministry at Coventry Cathedral’s International Centre for Reconciliation and then from 2005 as Anglican Chaplain to Iraq. Since then he has had over a thousand of his Baghdad church congregation killed mainly because of their Christian faith and he himself has been kidnapped and attacked. Yet he continued his work based in Iraq until Justin Welby ordered him to leave last year when Islamic State placed a $57 million bounty on his head. He has acted as a mediator in Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Nigeria sitting down to eat with rival religious leaders, terrorists, extremists and warlords. If anyone is able to give an honest assessment of the motivations of ISIS it is Canon White and this is it given in an interview to the Independent earlier this month:

They were coming for him and his people. Friends were being killed or fleeing for their lives. So Andrew White did what he always does when faced with an enemy. “I invited the leaders of Isis [Islamic State] for dinner. I am a great believer in that. I have asked some of the worst people ever to eat with me.”

“Isis said, ‘You can invite us to dinner, but we’ll chop your head off.’ So I didn’t invite them again!”

There used to be 1.5 million Christians in Iraq but now there are only 260,000, he says. Some are calling it genocide. Surely he no longer believes that negotiations with Isis could work? White stares at me from behind owlish spectacles. “Can I be honest? You are absolutely right. You can’t negotiate with them. I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.”

So what is to be done? “We must try and continue to keep the door open. We have to show that there is a willingness to engage. There are good Sunni leaders; they are not all evil like Isis.”

But surely there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn? He sighs, and answers slowly. “You are asking me how we can deal radically with Isis. The only answer is to radically destroy them. I don’t think we can do it by dropping bombs. We have got to bring about real change. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘So you’re telling me there should be war?’ Yes!”

I am shocked by his answer, because this is a man who has risked his life many times to bring peace.

“It really hurts. I have tried so hard. I will do anything to save life and bring about tranquillity, and here I am forced by death and destruction to say there should be war.”

Andrew White is wise and experienced enough to know that even as a Christian committed to acting as a peacemaker and Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies, when faced with an overwhelming tide of virulent hatred and evil, war is still a legitimate option.

We have already seen and endured far too much  – 129 dead in Paris, 43 in Beirut and 224 flying over Sinai, plus untold others in Iraq and Syria, all within the space of two weeks.  The hope of defeating and eradicating ISIS is a hope for a more secure and stable world that needs to be acted upon.

So what should the UK’s response be? Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to give any situation where he would agree to lethal force being used may be based on principle, but as a leader in a real world with real terrorists and radical extremists killing real people, his reluctance to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation is neither helpful or welcome, nor is his decision to deny his MPs a free vote on air strikes in Syria.

David Cameron admitted only on Monday that airstrikes ‘won’t transform the situation’ in Syria. However the following day he was beginning to prepare the ground for another vote holding the view that there is a very logical argument that if our parliament has sanctioned bombing targets in Iraq then not to extend them across a border that IS does not recognise is inconsistent. He may be right but his inconsistencies of approach undermine his case. He first proposed bombing President Assad’s military, but now by changing the target, Assad will undoubtedly benefit. The UK is only delivering around 5 per cent of the bombing sorties in Iraq, so how much difference would similar levels of intervention in Syria really make? We have committed ourselves to surveillance and deployment of Special Forces, which are potentially far more beneficial than a handful of bombing raids. The whole situation is a quagmire, with a multitude of pitfalls and unsavoury outcomes.

We’ve made plenty of mistakes and displayed a lack of forethought in our previous involvement in Middle East conflicts and witnessed far greater subsequent instability realising too late that we can easily end up doing more long term damage than good. It’s therefore perfectly reasonable for the Foreign Affairs Committee to urge David Cameron not to press for a vote on Syria air strikes until a ‘coherent international strategy’ is in place.

War is always a tragedy, which is why it must never be regarded lightly. Islamic State does not deserve to exist another day on this planet, but this is as much a battle against spiritual powers of darkness as physical ones. Political diplomacy and military strength from the skies will not be sufficient to overcome them. Maybe UK planes bombing a few of their sites in Syria will do some good or maybe it will simply increase their motivation to hit us hard on our own patch. It cannot be considered immoral if our parliament is finally persuaded to vote in favour, but unless we have a bigger and better strategy to destroy IS, recent history has indicated that it will do little to achieve the results we hope for.

  • Anton

    Some one million fit young men claiming to be from Syria and having no wish to live under ISIS have recently arrived in Europe and are now living on social security benefits. Meanwhile Europe considers sending troops to fight ISIS, which is the only way to cause ISIS more than nuisance value. Is not the solution obvious?

    • CliveM

      Just so I’m not doing you a disservice, what do you think the obvious solution is?

      • Anton

        Arm them and send them back. Although probably not in that order.

        • Dreadnaught

          And who do they sign up with when they get there? There is no Syria.

          • Anton

            A warlord whom the West decides to back.

          • Dreadnaught

            You have’nt really though this through Anton.

          • Anton

            Constructive criticism please!

          • Dreadnaught

            OK. Recommend a Warlord we could trust.

          • Anton

            We just want someone we can do business with vs ISIS. Anybody who has already gained a bad reputation with ISIS is not going to go over their side because he knows he will be killed.

          • Dreadnaught

            Of course we do but that’s ‘statin the bleedin’ obvous’. Warlords and different factions are chanigng colours all the time. Leaving aside the religious factor we just can not look at Syria/Iraq through European eyes. T.E.Lawrence knew all about that and maybe some politicians need to get their history books out and do some self educating.

          • Anton

            If our politicians had done that then we wouldn’t have let them in, so I agree with you about that. I am saying that anybody whom ISIS regards as an enemy is going to be willing to deal with the West because ISIS will come at them and will not relent.

          • Dreadnaught

            So we should be backing Assad in that case. He’s a bastard that was defending Alawites and Christians while being beastly to the Sunnis and anyone who disagreed with him; but there was stability, if not equality ad democracy.

          • Anton

            I couldn’t agree more, but the pride of Cameron and Obama makes that difficult as they were once all for bombing him rather than ISIS and they would have to complete a U-turn.

          • Dreadnaught

            I think it will have to be done. When we regained our position in the Far East we relied on the Japs, fully armed to control the public. It wouldn’t be the first time reality overruled conscience.

          • Manfarang

            We briefly relied on the Japs. Troops were soon shipped in.

          • Dreadnaught

            And your point?

          • Manfarang

            The reliance on Japanese troops was because Japan still occupied a lot of territory at their surrender not because of any particular regard for them.The brutalities of the Imperial Japanese Army are remember in Asia.
            In any event the rise of nationalism in Vietnam and Indonesia was not stopped.

          • A common error, to assume that tyrants offer stability. The depredations and terrorism of Assaf, Gaddafi and Hussein are easily forgotten. But it’s not that Al Quaida and ISIS are necessarily meaner; they have taken advantage of new technologies, insecure borders, greater numbers of Muslims in the West and weak Western governments.

        • CliveM

          Hmm whichever order you choose, I think the risk of arming fit young men of questionable aliegence in significant numbers, outways any benefits.

          Nope to be honest it doesn’t seem an obvious solution to me.

    • Dreadnaught

      That’s exactly what the Polish PM is advocating but no one country can resolve this without Nato and the Russians bring their allies to heel. A cohesive strategy that takes in the whole picture including Al Shebab and Boko Haram and all the rest of ME influences has to be established before rushing headlong into a quick bombing on some ten million people still under ISIS control. They wont hesitate to do as Saddam did and strap civilians to his oil installations and key bases.
      What we can influence right no is the flow of money that feeds ISIS. The worlds bankers should be called to turn off the taps. At the same time a global strategy has to be agreed. Isnt this what the UN is supposed to be fore. Ive not heard of them featuring in any reports but they are still draining us of cash and as effective as a comb without teeth.

      Without ground forces to plot targets and feedback that will allow the follow up of Middle Eastern ground forces, bombing alone will simply invite repercussions in the UK.

      This whole business has to be taken far more seriously by the world politicians than words of condolence and futile gestures. Where’s China’s contribution in all of this – they should be at least slashing the cash if not the hardware. They need their European market more than we do.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Declaring war on ISIL is vital, but not the entire solution. Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIL are marking out their own territory, so they are more easy to identify as a target. Death is the only thing they seem to value. There can be no dialogue with them, so they must be destroyed.

    Their destruction is only part of the solution however. A poll earlier this year showed that around 25% of British muslims sympathise with ISIL. That sounds like a potential internal threat, especially if ISIL is destroyed in the ME and they decide to avenge them. There is a large contingent of muslims who work in a local sorting office in my town. These muslims were heard cheering on hearing the news of the London Tube bombings. I wonder how much cheering there was in British Muslim households last Friday? The fact that most muslims don’t commit acts of terror does not mean they are on our side.

    I think the internal threat wil take a long time to deal with and will require us to stop indulging muslims as if they are some kind of endangered species.

    • Anton

      The problem is that a peaceable Muslim need only heed the Quran more closely (notably sections 8 and 9) to become committed to violent means. It is exacerbated by the obvious and growing crisis in secular society.

      • Manfarang

        The problem is the House of Saud was placed in power by the British.
        From 1915 to 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.
        By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that year.

        • Anton

          There’s a bit more to it than that. In 1915 Medina and Mecca were firmly in the hands of Hussein bin Ali, whom we preferred to ibn Saud, but when the latter attacked the Hejaz in 1924 we weren’t prepared to get involved in an Arab civil war and ibn Saud eventually took over almost the entire Arabian peninsula. He was ruthless enough to destroy his crack troops, the Ikhwan, when they looked like causing him trouble. His last surviving sons still rule Saudi Arabia. But what is this to do with the problem? Islam has had oil revenue for decades, has been partly united and has looked to its radical wing as a result of hatred of the Israeli State, and greatly resented Western colonialism; so there was always going to be trouble no matter who ran its holy places.

          • Manfarang

            Wahhabism has had oil revenue revenue for decades and spread its word to other parts of rhe world.

          • As with the British assistance to the Imperial Japanese Navy, you are being unclear about where you are going with this, Manfarang. Are you arguing for total non-involvement and isolationism?

          • Manfarang

            British Imperialism has a mixed legacy.
            Intervention can work but all the implications must be thought through. A full understanding of the local situation is essential.

          • Those are essentials which all adminstrations strive for, but preconceptions, bad or misiterpreted data and unclear goals muck things up probably most of the time. This has alwsys been a problem and always will be.

    • john in cheshire

      We had a similar problem with Japanese Bushido; including kamikaze soldiers and pilots. A couple of bombs seems to have clarified their minds, so, maybe islam also needs its Hiroshima moment.

      • Manfarang

        During the years it was established, the Japanese Imperial Navy was trained by the British.

        • Technical training; the modernized form of Bushido was a unique, home-grown feature. We cannot foresee future developments, changes in circumstances and interests, and shifting of alliances. You pays your moneys and you takes your chances…doing nothing is often worse.

  • David

    Isis must be destroyed, utterly. You cannot negotiate with them. That has been stark, starring obvious for a long time. Now that someone as Christian, wise and brave as Canon White says this too, further dithering is totally unjustifiable, and only for the fools, unless tactical delay secures military advantage, which I very much doubt.
    But bombing is insufficient. The Polish Prime Minister is right. These young fit men should be told that they must fight to destroy IS and regain their home lands. Then we can assist them to stay there and rebuild it.
    Coupled with that all Muslim immigration to this country must cease. Those that are here must no longer be humoured. Schools must change to ensure that teaching is directed towards developing patriotism amongst all, in a forthright, muscular way. All Muslim led religious teaching, outside the state system, must be rigorously policed and any anti-Muslim teaching, or Muslim supremacist teaching, and the responsible teachers, removed permanently.
    If a culture is to survive it must fight and, when necessary, be ruthless.

    • Anton

      The RE teacher at a school near me prepared some slides about Paris, stating that the event was contrary to everything in Islam and that ISIS were not real Muslims. The school’s management then stated that these slides should be shown to all pupils. I would have been happier if sections 8 and 9 of the Quran advocating jihad had also been shown in order to stimulate debate, together with a reminder that Muslims should be treated – like everybody else – with courtesy and respect in personal interactions.

      ISIS vs others who profess Islam is just the latest split in a list that began with Sunni vs Shia. Perhaps that school could offer its RE teacher the opportunity to inform ISIS in person that they were not real Muslims? Our children deserve better than politically correct half-truths.

      • David

        Hopefully these children will be given a more balanced view by their parents. But they will grow up to compare the schooling to the reality, that will see, increasingly day by day, and learn to mistrust authority even more than previous generations.
        Even ordinary people, of no particular achievement, are not stupid, and will not be misled for long. Truth always outs. The establishment are just burying the problem – temporarily.

  • Interviewed in 2010, the then Chief of the Defence Staff said that the West could only contain, not defeat, militant groups such as al-Qaeda; that a clear-cut victory over militants was not achievable; and that extremist Islamism could not be eradicated as an idea.

    The doctrines of ‘extremist Islamism’ are available to anyone who opens a copy of the Qur’an. To eradicate them would require obliterating not only Islamic State but the entire Muslim population of the world and destroying every last reference to Islam.

    As that is beyond the pale, the West’s only option is to return its Muslim populations to their homelands and then isolate Muslim countries. Stop all trade with them, produce oil from coal to make up any shortfall until we develop alternative fuels, withhold our inventions and innovations. Christopher Caldwell writes in chapter seven of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: ‘The Islamic world is an economic and intellectual basket case…Spain translates more foreign books in a year than all the Arabic-speaking countries have translated since the reign of Caliph Mamoun in the ninth century…Outside of fossil fuels, the entire Arab world exports less than Finland does.’

    We cannot rid the world of Islam but we can hold it at arm’s length and let it stew in its own juice.

    • Anton

      Better still, we can get oil by fracking rather than from coal.

      Trouble is, economic isolation involves turning ourselves into a police State because policing the prevention of free trade and verifying end users involves extreme intrusion. Moreover if we stop trading with people willing to trade with them then we stop trading with everyone. the USA tried trade embargoes on the Soviet Union during the Cold War and it didn’t work: see Antony Sutton’s book The best enemy money can buy. The Soviets gloated that they would beat the West with the West’s own weapons. That they failed shows one thing very clearly: the battle is, at root, a spiritual one.

      Secular society hasn’t the guts for it. The institutional Christianity of an earlier era was more of a Trinitarian Judaism than it was gospel Christianity, but at least it was up for it. What’s an evangelical to do? No problem: keep offering Christ non-coercively to secular people and Muslims, inform our politicians what the Quran says about jihad, and leave the rest to Christ. In him we trust, come what may on this earth; for one day he will return to put it right – and us with him.

      • @ Anton—Your non-coercive approach suffers from the disadvantage of making the triumph of Islam a copper-bottomed certainty. Islam also teaches that Jesus will return… to destroy Christianity. The rate things are going, Christians will have finished the job long before He gets here.

        • Anton

          I couldn’t care less what Islam teaches about Jesus. I support political action against Islam in the UK when it is done via our political authorities. I do not support any form of vigilante action. If the government don’t do it and Islam takes over, I will regard that as the judgement of Jehovah on secular humanism in Britain. I am not going to stand in the path of divine judgement, for that is to get flattened by both man and God. (Jeremiah was falsely accused of being a traitor for his warnings that the Babylonians were divine judgement.) If you want to stop Islam here, you must stop, at a cultural scale, the secular humanist sins for which God is moving judgement closer.

    • Martin


      Except there are Muslims who reject the values of ISIS. James White tweeted today

      Watching street screechers screaming at Ahmadiyya Muslims…clueless about what Ahmadiyya believe.

      It’s probably worth checking what Ahmadiyya Muslims believe.

      • Mr Bulls

        Yes, some Muslims do reject ISIS, but is this because they are still a relative minority in the UK/West and are commanded to comply ‘for now’ by the Quran? Or, are they the hypocrites that aught to be slain because they don’t slay according to the Quran?

        Needles to say, ISIS is Islam in its purist form!

      • Anton

        Islam has been divided since Sunni vs Shia within decades of its founder’s death. That doesn’t mean that one or other side isn’t Muslim.

      • CliveM

        Well no Muslim believes that Ahmadiyya are Muslim, they are seen as a heretical sect. They are accorded no recognition in Islamic countries.

        They are meant to be peaceful.

        In one notorious incident, a local paper in Luton apologised for calling them Muslim following complaints from the mainstream community.

        • Martin


          Hence the daftness of blaming them.

          • CliveM

            Don’t disagree.

  • Martin

    Not sure I have faith in the UK’s police forces in a ‘shoot to kill’ situation. Can they tell the difference between a Brazilian electrician and a terrorist, and when they get it wrong do they deal with the people who got it wrong or do they promote them? I suspect that isn’t on Corbyn’s mind tho’.

    The problem with bombing is that it is essentially a blunt tool, you can’t ensure that only the guilty are hit. And haven’t those subject to the rule of ISIS suffered enough?

    It’s a nice picture, the whole World declaring war on ISIS. Trouble is, when did the whole World ever unite against anyone effectively? Will the Russians agree to put their troops under the commander of another nation, the USA for example?

    And someone out there must be supplying ISIS with munitions, I doubt they have set up factories to supply what they need. Indeed what do they produce for themselves?

    So perhaps there are ways to hit ISIS that don’t involve boots on the ground, but is there the will to do it?

    • dannybhoy

      You;re getting into the realm of conspiracy theories…

      • Martin


        Not conspiracy, just total incompetence.

        • dannybhoy

          I of course agree that oftentimes people screw up, but I am coming around to the idea that there may be a group of people (large or small*), who have a definite long term agenda for our world.
          *The group, not the people.

          • Martin


            I do recall there was some reports in the past of the police protection officers threatening to withdraw their services from the political class if they didn’t do as they want but I wouldn’t call that conspiracy as such.

          • dannybhoy

            Neither would I.
            I was thinking more along the lines of very wealthy people with deeply held views aided and abetted by talented people who also like money and power. Or perhaps people with some strong religious/mystical ideas.
            I have never bought into the conspiracy idea, on the grounds that human beings will always find a way of screwing things up.
            However, where we are today with the power and speed of communication technology, I think it’s now a distinct possibility. When one looks at the presidency of George W Bush, I think it’s quite possible he was manipulated: willingly or otherwise.

      • No, I think he’s onto something. We have lost the ability to cooperate on large, ambitious campaigns and the half-arsed bombing missions make some diffetence, but not enough. Under these circumstances, buggering up ISIS weapons supply and starving their economy makes more sense. Unless, of course, we also the balla to confront the suppliers and enablers, in which case we might as well go back to making popcorn, watch ISIS snuff films on YouTube and moan about the state of humanity.

  • john in cheshire

    If the government really wanted to protect us, the indigenous white, Christian population, they’d put an immediate halt to immigration, particularly muslim immigration; refugees, asylum seekers, whatever label is favourite today: and carry out a search of all mosques in our country. But no, they’d rather spend millions on bombing runs whose benefits to us are not clear. So, whose interests are the government looking after?

    • Martin


      The government, as always, looks after themselves.

    • Coniston

      I think the government has no wish to ‘protect…..the Christian population’ of this country’. It is a minority part of the population now, and the government (and all political parties) are simply embarrassed by us. It is far more concerned to attack ‘Islamophobia’. Attacks on peaceful Muslims should certainly be stopped, but the government, aided by the BBC, seems determined to prevent any criticism of Islam

  • Mr Bulls

    Thank you for your post Cranmer. Peter Hitchens, to much derision, pleaded for us to mourn first, then to stop and then to think. Your post is definitely in the ‘think about it’ category!

  • dannybhoy

    “White stares at me from behind owlish spectacles. “Can I be honest? You are absolutely right. You can’t negotiate with them. I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.”

    The good and saintly Canon Andrew White verbalises the dilemma Christians have to face from time to time.

    “What are my responsibilities as a Christian who should turn the other cheek in the face of a demonic maniac who would destroy me in a heartbeat?”


    “What are my responsibilities to my wife and children who may be raped or murdered if I turn the other cheek”


    “If I refuse to join up and fight, will my faith justify my decision if my country, my community, my family and my neighbours are overrun by ISIS/ISIL/Da’ish and subjected to the mercies of Shari’a law….?”

    I for one don’t believe that the mess that is the Middle Eastern Islamic world will be put right by the West** going in with boots on the ground, and showing these evil, warped, inadequates how real soldiers fight.

    (providing of course our politicians grow some balls and put the likes of Phil Shiner* behind bars).

    I don’t think it will solve the problems of an unreconstructed Islam, but equally I don’t think we Christians can live with the blood of innocent Christian/Yazdi/Kurdish/Muslim men women and children on our hands, because of our failure to grasp the nettle and smash ISIS completely.

    I still find myself against the importation of ‘refugees’ or ‘economic migrants’ into Europe. I believe Cameron’s support for safe, secure, and fully provisioned refugee camps in the area is the right one.

    I still believe that the West is putting its continued existence at risk by allowing in people from other faiths and cultures, who refuse to assimilate into our Western cultures.

    We really need to stop listening to the bleeding hearts/ hand-wringers/ do-gooders who would live out their guilt ridden fantasies at our expense.


    ** Who have to accept some responsibility for creating that mess!

    • David

      Well said !

  • Sir Walter Tyrell

    If we want to stop ISIS then the key thing is to hit their sources of funding. That means finding and gaoling the people who are buying smuggled ISIS oil, sure. But it should also mean stopping trade with those countries where wealthy individuals are providing them with funding. It might be painful to stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait ( link: ) but surely that’s what needs to be done. Russia, the USA, Mexico and Canada all have plenty of oil. We will just have to start paying a higher price for it now instead of in 3 years’ time.

  • Our eight or so planes bombing ISIS in Syria won’t make much difference. Intelligence gathering and passing it on to those who are bombing would make a difference.

    I also agree w George Osbourne that all their social media sites need to be closed down as fast as they spring up on the web and the black web in order to stop them recruiting all over the world. They are selling naïve youngsters,
    purposeless drifters,druggies, the dispossessed left over from Iraq,
    Afghanisan a dream and if Bagdadi and his henchmen fail to deliver
    this dream of glory and martyrdom then they are finished

    We know they are being covertly funded by some rich private individuals and from some countries that are members of the G20 too. Shame on them all. The thing is to get their finances intercepted and cut off.

    The Western countries arming the ‘moderate rebels’ should stop as those weapons find their way into ISIS’ hands. I’d be careful arming the Kurds, they are a strange bunch of turncoats too.

    Leave Assad alone he is fighting ISIS. If the US get rid of him Syria becomes another Libya and ISIS will take an even longer time to eradicate because Northern Syria along w Mosul area in Iraq were the places of the inception of Wahabbism and there’ll be someone else as bad or worse arising to fill the void.

    • Manfarang

      And don’t forget that porous border with Turkey.

    • Hmm. Britain should be passing intelligence to “those who are bombing?” Like, let’s see, perhaps Russia? Pointless, as Russia did little against ISIS (until the downing of its airliner in the Sinau) and bombs mainly threats to its puppet, Assad, and its Mediterranean port, some of which are Western-supported groups battling Assad.

      The Kurds are turncoats? What have they done against the Western alliance? Nothing. Who do they threaten? ISIS, Assad and his masters, and Turkey.

      • The Ruskies been bombing since 30th
        Sept Avi and working well with Assads troops who’ve been sharing
        target co-ordinates and mopping up on the ground after the raids,
        they have made good headway so far. ISIS have been moving their
        ammunition and arms stores which was spotted by

        Russia from the sky. If someone was
        quietly undercover on the ground able to locate and communicate
        further locations for bombing and mop-up by Assad’s troops. We need
        to unite w Russia, France, US, Iraq and Iran to all agree for duties
        as to who should be responsible for what and to share intel.

        Baghdadi & IS is like a plant that gets sprayed with “Round-up” weed-killer, before it finally dies it gives a last spurt of growth and seeds. The US use it on wheat to get a better yield and easier harvesting. As IS get territory taken back from them and are seen to be failing, they give their most
        terror inducing spurt of strength the only way they can by using the
        brainwashed dopes they have recruited from around the world by
        promising martyrdom and glory in the after life.

        Most Muslims don’t want to live under IS rule, nor do they want to fight for them. I doubt whether any sane citizen of the Middle East would actually
        chose to live under his and ISIS’s cruel and barbaric Quranic
        interpretations. I imagine they are hated by the civilian
        populations of those areas they have taken. Baghdadi needs to fail
        in Iraq and Northern Syria the place of Wahhabism’s conception and of
        great importance to them.

        Assad has to find out how much ISIS are paying their troops and offer more, then set up a sub army with those that join.

        The Kurds are just as likely to turn their fire on the West when things don’t go their way they are as aggressive and as fractious as most of the other groups demanding control of oil and power.

        But as they and Assad are the only ones fighting ISIS/ISIL, we can support them by sending them protective clothing, gas masks, (ISIS rumoured to be making chemical weapons have made some mustard gas) and other kit to help them but not arms.

        • Yes, that’s a competent list of Russia’s position you have pasted together, Marie.

          In a nutshell, it argues that Assad, a tyrannical mass murder who used chemical weapons and is indiscrimately bombing Syrian civilians, is the only savior of Syria, the only viable opposition to ISIS and the only defender of secularism and Christians. That all opposition to him and all warring parties against him are terrorists. And Russia, as is its habit, wants only to stop a great evil, at its own cost (because it’s flush with money and its army has nothing to do), and the West should not only cease all opposition to its ambitions, but give it a hand in keeping its client state.

          • No Avi it’s my opinions and observations that I have written first in OpenOffice so I can keep track.

            Assad has been fighting those who have been causing violence and trouble in Syria (mainly factions of Sunnis) for decades. He did not use chemical weapons, it was proven to be a false flag by the CIA stirring things up to get rid of him for their pals the Saudis and the Turks so do stop twisting things. Assad is the best thing Syria has got. Russia is involved because it sees the dangers of an ISIS/ISIL lead Syria to whom they are geographically reasonably close and they see their friend struggling. Also he asked them for help.

            I read on the Ron Paul Institute website that the US have not been very proactive in getting rid of IS:

            “Today, in an article titled “Why US Efforts to Cut Off Islamic State’s Funds Have Failed”
            Bloomberg tries to explain just how it is that despite a more than a
            year long campaign, ISIS funding remains as strong as ever, and notes that “the latest round of airstrikes are directly related to the
            administration’s new math. “You have to go after the oil, and you
            have to do it in a serious way, and we’ve just begun to do that
            now,” citing Benjamin Bahney, an international policy analyst at
            the Rand Corp., a US Department of Defense-funded think tank.”

            “Here is where it gets interesting:
            Bloomberg cites Pentagon officials who acknowledge “that for
            more than a year they avoided striking tanker trucks to limit
            civilian casualties. None of these guys are ISIS. We don’t feel
            right vaporizing them, so we have been watching ISIS oil flowing
            around for a year,” says Knights. That changed on Nov. 16, when
            four US attack planes and two gunships destroyed 116 oil trucks.

            So any qualms about vaporizing “innocent civilians” promptly disappeared when the Pentagon realized that its 1+ year long campaign had been an epic debacle, that a suddenly surging ISIS was stronger as ever, and most importantly, that its critical revenue lifelines had been largely untouched for years. Perhaps they weren’t innocent civilians after all.”

            More like when they heard that the Russians had bombed two oil depots and had aerial views of the lorries carrying oil making their way to Iraq and Turkey, the US sprang into action.

            “But what we have been wondering for months and what we hope some enterprising journalist will soon answer, is just who are the commodity trading firms that have been so generously buying millions of smuggled oil barrels procured by the Islamic State at massive discounts to market, and then reselling them to other interested parties.

            In other words, who are the middlemen.

            What we do know is who they may be: they are the same names that were quite prominent in the market in September when Glencore had its first, and certainly not last, near death experience: the Glencores, the Vitols, the Trafiguras, the
            Nobels, the Mercurias of the world.”

            I bet Goldman Sachs have something to do with too at some stage!


          • And again, I say that your positions and points aligns perfectly with the official Russian ones, as promoted by its propaganda organs, Pravda, RT, its collabarotors such as the Chossuvdys, with various “analyses” from cooky conspiracy theorists.

            This is the new post-Soviet strategy in advancing Russian geopolitical intetests; dump the disappearing, impoverished and powerless radical Left and appeal to the radical Right, ultranationalist, neofascists and outright nutters by addressing their needs. The fact that these appeals coincide with some Conservative and traditionalist interests doesn’t mean that Russia’s aims coincide with those of the West.

          • Russia is no threat to us, they are a white growing Christian nation with whom we can work with, trade with and be friends with. We don’t need to be in each other’s pockets.

            Only the US see them as a threat because they are in growth economically so are competition like China is too whom the US is also not getting on too well with as they are seen as a threat to the US global hegemony too. NATO has to stop prodding Russia with the stick and winding them up and the Yanks need to stop their dangerous meddling So what if my opinions align with theirs, they are talking a lot of common sense right now. Like Putin said Russia is not the aggressor. The US needs to learn that there are up and coming countries that have a lot to offer in the grander scheme of things. It’s not all about them and their greed.

            What have you got against the Russkies anyway?

          • Well, at least you finally declared your preferences. And you chose expansitionist, and increasingly tyrannical and expansionist Russia with whom business is clearly impossible, over that of the West, including Britain, one might add. Essentially a re-furbished USSR changing tack to appeal to pseudo-conservatives. The old shtik, internationalist socialism didn’t work, so its back to national socialism fueled by imperialism.

            You are free to abandon Western and British interests, to admire primitivism and dictatorships appealing to race and religion and to trash Britain’s proven ally, the US, of course. I suppose we should feel lucky that you’re not shilling for China, a far more capable, ambituous and dangerous adversary than Putin’s catastrophically declining Russia.

          • No I have not declared a preference at all, I explained I love Britain, but there’s good and bad in all. You seem to hate Russia but don’t explain why you do? I haven’t abandoned western and British interests at all. I think it’s in our interests to be friends with the Russians under Putin & Co., and China as well.

            If the truth were known Avi, Britain’s ‘proven’ ally the US is not all what it’s cracked up to be. They drag us into situations and wars we don’t want to be in and they exploit and use us along with anyone else they can for their own gain. They are pushing their Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership onto us whether we like it or not, so that their corporates can write our laws and sue our government if there are laws that they don’t like. That’s not friendship and consideration, that’s a frenemy!! And they are doing the same with the Trans Pacific Partnership onto those countries in the Pacific side of the world. They are not interested in mutually beneficial, it always has to benefit them. But increasingly in this day and age no one country can rule the world.

            We found out communism does not work, countries grind to a halt as Russia discovered. We are starting to find out that corporate fascism does not work either as nearly all the money ends up owned and hoarded by 1% of the population – the corporation owners and executives and so the country will grind to a halt if this goes on much longer. Money has to flow and not into the
            pockets of American giant corporates and banks!

            You’re just writing stuff in order to have the last word, so I think we should agree to disagree.

          • You want to have the last word, but ask questions.

            “You seem to hate Russia but don’t explain why you do?”

            So, you want to have the last word…even though you ask questions. And you keep on reinforcing my suspicion that English is not your first language every time you plonk down logic fails and oddities like putting a question mark on your sentence above.

            I’ve repeatedly explained my views on Russia in these debates; it is an aggressive dictatorship backing a murderous Arab dictator for its own geopolitical gains which present clear and present dangers to the Western alliance, including Britain. Hence my position that if you were British, you’d be a fifth columnist for repeatedly shilling for a foreign power on a British blog using material from identified Russian propaganda organs.

          • ? was a typing error.
            I am British and not as narrow minded as you Avi.

          • Oh, well then, perhaps your cat stepped on the shift key and pulled the keyboard just as your finger was about to hit the period key, but instead landed on the question mark key. Happens to me all the time.

          • I don’t have a cat.

          • I do.

  • steroflex

    You mention that Canon White was insulted when he invited IS to dinner. You also mentioned the violent destruction of the ancient Syrian Christian Church. These people are not very nice. Every now and then Islam breaks out in a rash of murder: the Assassins, the murders of the first Caliphs, the death of Huseyn, the Kafes.
    And we are WELCOMING these people into our Christian world! We must be completely naïve – or mad.

    • Manfarang

      Every now and again Europe breaks out in a rash of murder-Wars of Religion, Napoleonic,WW1 etc.

      • CliveM

        Wars of religion, WW1?

        • Manfarang

          Northern Ireland.

          • CliveM

            Ok I was confused, I thought you were saying WW1 was a war of religion.

          • Manfarang

            Dare I say the Ottoman Turks declared a jihad in 1914.

          • CliveM

            Well you said Europe, the Ottoman Turks weren’t really Europeans (although the did still hold part of Europe) and it’s doesn’t really make WW1 a religion based war. It certainly wasn’t the case for the main belligerents.

          • Manfarang

            I am sure they thought they were fighting for God as well as country.

          • CliveM

            There is a difference between a religious war ie a war fought for religious purposes and a war fought which includes religious persons. WW1 was not a religious war.

          • Manfarang

            Examples abound. Russians denounced Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm as the Antichrist. German writers equated Britain with the great whore of Babylon described in Revelation. English bishops informed their countrymen that they were God’s “predestined instruments to save the Christian civilization of Europe.”

          • CliveM

            And? There is no serious analysis of WW1 that says its a war of religion.
            Yes religious people used religious language and understanding to underpin their support. But it was not a religious war. It was a war fought for prestige, empire, loot and stupidity.

            It was also fought to protect national positions, but it wasn’t fought over religion.

          • Manfarang

            BOOK TITLE
            The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade
            Philip Jenkins
            RELEASE DATE
            April 29, 2014

          • CliveM

            Yes an interesting title, did you note the word ‘Became’?

            Have you read it?

          • Manfarang

            None of my relatives I knew who fought in the Great War were particularly religious. I tend to think this was a reaction against the church that tried to sanctify the conflict.

          • CliveM

            It is beyond argument that the combatants attempted to mobilise the power of the Churches to aid the war effort. I still would argue that doesn’t make it a religious war.

            At least two members of my family joined up to escape their religious father!

          • Manfarang

            I feel the truly devout don’t fight wars. All wars have a socio-economic aspect to them.

          • CliveM

            Regards the second sentence, I certainly agree with that.

          • alternative_perspective

            As I understand it, this was a decidedly nationalist versus loyalist stand off that gradually took on religious overtones. It wasn’t a religious conflict but region played a significant part in the political identities of the general populations. Find it somewhat impossible to believe that the various paramilitary fighter who traded drugs during the week were regular attendees of a bible study group in their free times.

            My Mum, from the republic, told me about a couple of chaps who would together visit her each year, during the 80ss, both from the North, one a catholic the other a protestant. And they told her the fighting was less about politics, ir even religion, and more about who controlled tge drug trade.

          • Manfarang

            The Protestant Unionist Party (PUP) was a unionist political party operating in Northern Ireland from 1966 to 1971. It was the forerunner of the modern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and emerged from the Ulster Protestant Action (UPA) movement.

  • Tutanekai

    “Thou shalt not kill.”

    “Turn the other cheek.”

    These basic tenets of Christianity are apparently no longer binding. Unless you’re reminding someone of his responsibilities towards you. But if he doesn’t listen, you can retaliate as much as you like, can’t you?

    The hypocrisy of Christians! It doesn’t so much boggle the mind as desensitize it to all the rest of the piffle they spout.

    • dannybhoy

      Not that they’re no longer binding, but that they have to be seen in context.
      Was our Lord saying turn the other cheek in the context of an imminent war?
      Was He saying “Thou shalt not kill, no matter who’s involved or what the circumstance”?
      He was talking to individuals who had come to hear Him, and how they as Jews responded to the Roman occupier, the pseudo Jewish Samaritan, the woman of loose morals, the tax collectors and the religious hypocrites of various degrees and theologies

      • Tutanekai

        Thank you for the lesson in obfuscation and how to twist clear words into whatever you want them to mean.

        I’m now no longer surprised at the astonishing number of Christian churches and sects out there, all “interpreting” the Christian holy book in the way that best suits them and their political agenda.

        Indeed I can only marvel that there aren’t many, many more.

        • dannybhoy

          “I’m now no longer surprised at the astonishing number of Christian churches and sects out there, all “interpreting” the Christian holy book in the way that best suits them and their political agenda.”
          Glad to be of help!
          Now you can help me by explaining what my agenda is..

        • The Explorer

          Christianity, of course, pales before Postmodernism. Once the meaning resides with the reader not the text, there are as many meanings as there are readers.

          Fortunately, Postmodernism encourages illiteracy; so the problem may be expected to resolve itself in due course.

          • Tutanekai

            Anglicanism is a postmodernist faith then, is it?

          • The Explorer

            Depends on which branch you mean. The liberal wing, certainly. It would feel free to interpret the text in any way it liked. On the other hand, it tends not to read the Bible at all: so the issue remains hypothetical.
            But liberal Anglicanism would agree with Postmodernism that there is no grand narrative of Fall and Redemption. Its insistence that there is no grand narrative is, in fact, its own grand narrative.

          • Tutanekai

            Well look at you, sharing your beloved Church with all those liberal heretics and closet unbelievers!

            Whatever happened to the dreaded S(P)aul’s exhortation to shun the unorthodox? Shouldn’t you be crossing the road when you see them in the street rather than sitting in the same pews as them and letting them get away with all sorts of heretical abominations?

            Shouldn’t you boot them out? Or if they’re more numerous than your side, shouldn’t you walk rather than remain in their evil and corrupting company?

            Or is it just easier to stay where you are and take bitchy pot-shots at them from the sidelines because right now they have the upper hand, and trying to find a new church home is always such a bother?

            Way to go with the evangelizing zeal, my friend! What will your reward be in heaven for all this holy grumbling and pious name-calling? A spacious penthouse condo with extensive Throne views? Or a damp and dodgy basement bedsit in the eternal equivalent of Peckham or Tooting Bec?

            Careful how you answer that one. Your eternal social status is at stake here. Get it wrong and you could find yourself banished to the lowest choir of angels with the jobbing session players and back-up singers who scratch a meagre living and never get to bask in the warmth of god’s spotlight. Heaven’s hell, in fact. And all because ye were of little faith and tolerated heresy and all manner of iniquities without going after them with your righteous flaming sword.

            Or is it more of a damp squib than a fiery glaive? Sure sounds like it.

          • The Explorer

            Vigorous and well-written post: quite up to the standard of Linus’ best.

            And, like Linus’ line of argument, based on supposition. My current church-going patterns and religious affiliation are pure (or impure) speculation on your part.

            You have, however, made some perceptive observations about the state of the Anglican Church. I suspect the C of E will go the way of the Episcopalians in the States. The Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics will break away at some point: leaving the Liberals in charge with their congregations dwindling to almost nothing. What’s the point, after all, in going to church when there’s nothing to believe, and you can celebrate the joys of secularism in a more appropriately secular environment?

            But we’ve had this conversation before.

    • Pubcrawler

      Hi, Linus. Good to see you weren’t amongst the victims.

      • Tutanekai

        I thought you people loved it when you could point to a random catastrophe and claim it as evidence of divine retribution.

        But I guess that thosr of you who take me for this Linus chap will have to settle for the consolation prize of divine mercy instead.

        It must be hard work being a Christian and constantly having your hopes dashed like that. But take heart, perhaps he got what you seem to believe are his just desserts after all.

        I suppose we’ll never know…

        • Pubcrawler

          Well you thought wrong. As usual.

          It’s ‘deserts’.

        • dannybhoy


        • The Explorer

          I don’t think it’s random. New York, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Paris, Tunisia, Nairobi and now Paris again. I think there’s a pattern.

          Also a catastrophe popularly has the connotation of non-human agency as its cause. Allah, of course, may be the ultimate source, but human agency is very much in evidence.

        • William Lewis

          It’s times like these that a moat and drawbridge really come into their own. I hope that this Linus “whoeverhemaybe” fellow has a pot of burning vitriol constantly on the go, to help repel boarders.

        • chiefofsinners

          The fact that you have survived is all the evidence we need of divine retribution. You continue to suffer the fate of living with your appalling self all day every day.

      • chiefofsinners

        Truly an answer to prayer.

        • Inspector General

          A gift to the world, no less. Probably….

    • The Explorer

      “I come to bring not peace, but a sword”. (Matthew 10:34)
      “If he has no sword, let him sell his cloak to buy one”. (Luke 22:36).
      Basic tenets of Christianity – words of Christ no less – that must be taken into account.

      • Tutanekai

        He never said you had to use the sword.

        Or maybe he did, and then in the next sentence commanded you to turn the other cheek.

        Consistency wasn’t his strong point, was it? Was it a case of trying to be all things to all men? Meek to the meek, belligerent to the belligerent?

        Your saviour really was a Jew. His real name was Leonard Zelig. Woody Allen made a film about his life. You should watch it. It’s pretty funny.

        • The Explorer

          Next sentence, no. Each statement must be looked at in its context.
          Woody Allen as a guide to anything? I don’t think so.

        • Inspector General

          Your modus operendi is that of Linus. He was a tragic victim of homosexuality and his attempt of living a life where arse banditry is not cheered finally drove him to paranoia. Something you wish to say about yourself?

          • dannybhoy

            Linus was okay.
            Truly sorry if I sound pompous, judgmental or whatever, but
            that he was homosexual should not have given us reason to ridicule him Inspector.
            I am grateful not to be gay, because if I was (and say, didn’t want to be) -how would I feel if heterosexual people treated me with derision and contempt?

          • Inspector General

            The only homosexuals deserving of derision and contempt are the several thousand activists who want to impose their misery onto the next generation at school level. Those reactions to that wickedness are thus honourable estates, are they not?

        • dannybhoy

          I’d rather read your comments.
          You know so much.

    • Inspector General

      Christ made no comment about killing beyond neighbourly relations, and as he was hanging from the cross, you might think if he had anything to say on the subject, it would have been then…

      • bockerglory

        The only strong sane Christian is Putin. He knows what to do. God works in mysterious ways.

        • Inspector General

          Yes, he’s awfully good. And stops his queers from asserting themselves. A fine fellow if only for that…

        • A funny thing for an ex-KGB neo-communist to be doing, on the surface of it, but quieting the masses with the help of his subservient Church and by appealing to populist appetites is a cheap and effective way to to hold on to power and money. Now, if he could only make the trains run on time….

  • Manfarang

    In Laos today there are bomb craters visible from the air.The Americans dropped more bombs in SE Asia against the communists than they did over Germany in WW2.
    The Laotians don’t say,”Ah yes, the Americans they did it for our good.”

    • Inspector General

      Next door in Cambodia, the USA failed, and one day, ‘Year Zero’ was announced by Pol Pot…

    • The US had better planes and bombs then, than in WW II and it wasn’t bombing Laotians, but VA and VC “sanctuaries”. It wasn’t meant to be for the good of Laos, but for the US and S Vietnamese forces.

      • Manfarang

        There was also the Pathet Lao rooted in French anti-colonialism.
        The bombing didn’t dislodge them.
        I used to know Americans based in NE Thailand who stayed in Thailand after the American forces withdrew.
        The North Vietnamese intercepted American radio communications so they knew when the bombers were coming.Lack of industrialization also limited the effectiveness of the bombing.

  • The Explorer

    desert – abandon
    desert – something deserved
    desert – arid region.
    Which one is meant at any particular time depends on the context.

    • chiefofsinners

      For the benefit of the gullible:
      Linus – Satan
      In Perfect Ignorance – Satan
      Tutanekai – Satan

      • CliveM

        I think you flatter him.

        • chiefofsinners

          Satan’s little helper then. A Caliban-like figure. A cyber-gargoyle.

          • CliveM

            How about Wormwood?

    • Tutanekai

      No, English is my mother tongue. But not my smartphone’s, it seems.

      BTW Maori apparently doesn’t have a word for “desert”. Probably because there are none in New Zealand.

      And there’s a factoid that’s vastly more interesting than most of the conversations that take place on this site.

      • chiefofsinners

        There are no puddings in New Zealand? How disappointing.

        • Pubcrawler

          Maoris have enough trouble with diabetes as it is.

      • The Explorer

        The Polynesian Islanders didn’t have a word for ‘snow’. That was a facer for the missionaries when they tried to translate Isaiah: “though your sins be scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”. They were equal to the occasion: “they shall be as white as the kernel of the coconut”.

      • William Lewis

        “And there’s a factoid that’s vastly more interesting than most of the conversations that take place on this site.”

        Poor you. It must be so tiresome having to keep coming back to comment on this uninteresting site. I can only think that you must have been signed up for some kind of cyber purgatory, for it’s not as if there aren’t other sites more suited to your particular tastes.

        • Tutanekai

          My reasons for being here are logical enough, even though I will agree that it’s not a pleasant place to be. Keeping company with religious bigots is never pleasant. But ignoring them, especially these days when religious bigotry is causing so much harm across Europe and the world, would be a mistake.

          You can’t fight your enemy by sticking your head in the sand and pretending he doesn’t exist.

          • William Lewis

            Indeed you cannot but what can you hope to achieve with a strategy of misrepresentation, name calling and baiting? A temporary relief from your tortured predicament perhaps. Certainty no possibility of discerning any kind of truth. What a waste.

          • The Explorer

            It wasn’t Christians shooting restaurant customers or blowing themselves up in concert halls. If you want to take on religious bigots, go to a Muslim website.

            Seeing this latest event as a random catastrophe rather than the latest in a long string (including the shooting down of a Russian airliner) of similar atrocities looks to me like sticking your head in the sand and pretending that the enemy doesn’t exist.

  • Inspector General

    Gentlemen, welcome to the world as it really is. Populated with races whose traits are not only self-evident and inevitable but so reliable that we can with certainty predict to a degree the future. And the future does indeed look bloody, FOR US! If a muslim gets hold of a gun, he might not use it himself, but he’ll pass it onto another who will. To be used on us today as it would have been used on his fellow countrymen in the past over petty disagreements like who was Mohamed’s successor.

    The Inspector fears now that the religious fratricide that so preoccupied these blood thirsty uncivilised heathens in their wretched desert hovels will give way to OUR religious and cultural murder from henceforth. Paris was merely the template – to show it can be done and effectively at that. Which leads to the point of this post. The so called refugees now polluting Europe need to be sent back at the earliest possible, so if we are going to bomb the warring vermin out of that damned godforsaken place we know as Syria, bloody well get on with it! There’s several hundred thousand of the dangerous unwanted that need to be sent back there. Forcibly, if necessary…

    • I’m afraid sending back Europe’s new guests will never happen, simply because of logistics and asylum laws, Inspector. Tens of thousands of anchor-babies are gestating as we speak, and if the EU can’t stop people arriving on smuggler dinghies and marching in columns through Europe, how do you think anyone will be able to dislodge and transport them back? Only Britain and some Eastern European countries have a chance; Britain, because it’s far grom the Med and the Channel can’t be crossed with dinghies and E Europe because it’s economically unattractive to the migrants and is closing its borders.

  • Phil R

    To defeat ISIS the money needs to be cut off.

    So where is the money coming from?

    • Ivan M

      It is not just money, which comes from the Saudis and the Gulf sheikhdoms. It is the men. The other side of the so-called civil war in Syria is led by foreigners from Chechnya and Saudi Arabia and such places with supplies coming in through the border with Turkey. It is bogus for the likes of the moron Cameron to speak of a civil war when in fact what has taken place is an invasion of Syria supported by foreigners who intend to feed on her carcass. But I really have little fear that Syria will fall apart, since they and their allies will take it all back. The butcher’s bill is a long and bloody one, that in the fullness of time will be paid with interest by those who plotted her destruction.

      • Hagen vanTronje

        “”But I really have little fear that Syria will fall apart, since they and their allies will take it all back””

        I agree, you could not have a better ally on your side than Mr. Putin.

        • Hardly. Russia won’t care about Assad or the intehrity of Syria beyond their aim of keeping access to the Med and a base for regional influence. Some of its specific plans may coincide with West’s, but not its overall interests. We need to remember that Putin is a clever neocommunist thug who is trying to support a murderous regime for Russia’s intetests.

          • Hagen vanTronje

            Can you blame him ?

          • Yes. By exploiting his people through their prejudices, impoverishing the vast majority and dragging everyone back to Tsarist and Stalinist times, he’s destroying the country for the sake of propping up his nomenklatura. Regardless of any of this, though, Russia’s interests are not the dame as the West’s, and that counts.

          • Hagen vanTronje

            All I can say is the Russians I meet with think Mr. Putin is akin to a saviour.

          • CliveM

            And what did Germans think of Hitler in 1938?

            Apologies Avi.

          • No apologies needed; good point. Still, Russia’s return to type and the popularity of the layest strongman doesn’t surprise me nearly as much as its success in building a sympathetic audience in the West in an entirely different sector of our societies.

          • CliveM

            Sadly and shamefully, Christian History is littered by Churches and individuals being willing to turn a blind eye, or offer support, to some unpleasant thug or regime, simply because they stamp Christian on their passport or enhance the Churches status.

            There are exceptions, but in the long term this will damage the Church more then it helps it.

          • Same policy, different targets. The funny thing is that we’re still suffering Russia’s previous influence on the secular Left, while now its building a following on the Right and looking for ways to find common ground between the two…”surprisingly” through animosity to Jews among one the of the ways. Just look at the composition of types at a typical pto-Palestinian rally.

          • CliveM

            Yes very often terms like right or left are simply flags of convenience for some unpleasant individual after power and status.

            Then when things start going wrong, the scapegoat has to be dragged in front of the baying masses and stoned.

            Some day on this site some atheist will use Putin as an example of Christianity and how religion encourages immoral behaviour and you know, to a certain extent we will only have ourselves to blame.

          • Very good point, didn’t think of that…and neither have any of our seculars yet. Ha! You might just have supplied them with the idea, not that it’s not bound to happen sooner or later.

          • CliveM

            It’s why we are tasked with being in this world but not of it.

            I understand why some Christians bow out of politics altogether. But it’s not the answer.

          • Similar issue with some religious Jews, although perhaps for diffetent reasons. Politics is ignored as a waste of time, a distraction from the study of the Torah…until it affects their lives, by which point it’s usually too late. Soeaking of which, time for me to get ready for a Sunday Talmud session with a study group…..

          • CliveM

            Have fun!

          • Hagen vanTronje

            Most (not all), Germans thought the sun shone out of the Fuhrers fundamental Orifice, if the truth be told !

          • You’ve sampled the worshippers; those who have doubts keep quiet, and all organized opposition is effectively dead or allowed to exist if it’s polite and small enough or comically odd enough to cause no worry. With gangs controlling the public and the state apparatus the media, you have, essentially full return to Soviet-style control.

            Again, it doesn’t matter, Russia will be Russia and regardless of popularity, Russia is back to posing the same problems, challenges and dangers to the West as the old USSR. And as before, a significant fifth column in the West is coalescing, pushing for submission to Russian will and spreading fear among opponents. with Obama at the helm of the free world and uncertain future, it’s anyone’s guess how much political …and physical… territory Putin will grab before the US finds its balls again for a push-back. Doesn’t anyone understand historical and political inertia anymore?

          • Hagen vanTronje

            You mean the inertia that had the UK reducing it’s armed forces to a fraction of what they used to be ?
            Building hugely expensive Aircraft Carriers just to keep Scotsmen in work ?
            Buying so-called ,’Stealth Fighters’, at horrendous prices ?
            The Russians just got on with producing decent kit and a lot of it ! which is why they are now massacring IS in Syria.
            I don’t watch TV much, I prefer watching something that is genuine and makes me laugh such as Russian Dashcam Video compilations, but the days of the battered old Tatra’s, Zils, Zastavas, etc are over, the Russians seem to be buying Western Cars and top models too although they crash them with reckless abandon !

    • From a number of sources, but a sifnificant culprit is Turkey, our NATO “ally,” which facilitates or allows contraband such as oil and antiquities to pass through and foreign terrorists to filter through its borders while attacking the only serious opposition on the ground, the Kurds.

      • Pubcrawler

        Ah yes, dear old Turkey. Or ‘Occupied Anatolia’ as I prefer to call it.

        • As well as Occupied European Territories and Cyprus.

          Re your link, what do you think the chances are of Turkey winding up before the ICC for their “policing” of Kurdish villages? Or of Kurds even gaining observer status to give them the ability to file charges as the “Palestinians” do. On the latter, I note with mild surprise that Gillan appears to recognize a new country called “Palestine” in his post….”He [Canon White] has acted as a mediator in Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Nigeria…”

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, those too, esp northern Cyprus (which I often raise to the ‘Free Palestine’ lot, to deafening silence). But I’m on my smartphone and in a pub so I wanted to keep it brief.

            Re your question: about as much chance as the Grand Mufti becoming cardinal.

          • Hope your phone’s smarter than my piece of dreck and enjoy your pint(s)! Ah, to be in an English pub right now, instead of working on a computer project.

          • Pubcrawler

            You can’t beat a proper English pub and proper English beer. Should you ever happen to be in my neck of the woods, I would gladly buy you a pint.

          • o©ºº©oo©oº°©
            | |____)
            | B E E R | | |
            | | | |
            | F O R | | |
            | | | |
            | Y O U | | |
            | |__|_|
            | |____)
            HAVE A COLD ONE ON ME!!

          • Darn it! Doesn’t work in this table. Supposed to be a mug with foam.

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s the thought that counts 🙂

          • Alright, now look at it. Thanks to IrishNeanderthal.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Would it work if you added <pre> </pre> tags, which should display it in a typewriter font?

            And meanwhile, for your enjoyment: THE SIN OF PROHIBITION, by G.K.Chesterton

          • Hey! Lookit-dat! Didn’t give me Courier, but stretched the width of the field and increased the font size. Then I took off the tags and the mug appeared! You the man!

            I’m keeping that link and its nuggets. Prescience fascinates me: “By the time that you have persuaded a nice and normal child that it is wicked to fetch his poor old father a glass of ale, you have so bewildered the mind that it may end by saying it is not wicked to put prussic acid in the ale.”

  • bockerglory

    Funny how we have no sanctions against Saudi and Qatar but we do have sanctions against Russia. Russias are our allies.

  • Dreadnaught

    With permission of HG may I refer to the following incisive

    Losing the Losers, an article by Tim Marshall which is well worth a read.

    On the plus side – they’re a bunch of losers who are going
    to lose. On the negative side – it’ll take some time, and another version of IS
    will take their place unless the ideology which underpins their fanaticism is
    diluted. To do this, even while military action is ongoing, we must stop saying
    ‘This is nothing to do with Islam’, because it is. However, we must never start
    saying ‘This is Islam’ because it isn’t

  • chiefofsinners

    Pissoire, desserts, how many languages can’t you spell in?

    • Pubcrawler

      Now that made me laugh!

    • Tutanekai

      Poor little girl. Any more bitchy comments you want to sling my way? Feel free.

      Being bitch-slapped by a so-called “loving and compassionate Christian” illustrates the total disconnect between what they preach and what they practice so much better than anything I can say. Keep it up. Hypocrisy speaks for itself.

      • chiefofsinners

        Think of it as splash back. A bit of what you give comes back to you. Like when you use one of those urinal things. What is it the French call them?

        • Tutanekai

          How should I know?

          • chiefofsinners

            Ah, I was forgetting about your ‘perfect ignorance’.

          • Pubcrawler

            You’re on fine form this evening, sir!

          • chiefofsinners

            I’m not proud of myself, but taking the pissoir out of Linus is just too tempting sometimes.

        • How apt. Splashback is the chief design failure of the pissoir.

          • William Lewis

            Now, now Avi. Don’t go mentioning the P word again. You know what happened last time.

  • Anna

    Luke 14:31

    ‘Rushing’ into war is foolish. You will not be able to call it off tomorrow, when emotions have cooled. Indiscriminate bombing of countries – destroying people’s homes and infrastructure – has consequences. If you cannot afford the reconstruction costs and are unprepared to house their populace in your countries… then wait. Bomb a country today and you have an enemy forever.

    Europe will only exhaust resources, and as with previous adventures, find themselves in a bigger tangle. It is necessary, instead, to develop a detailed, time bound plan to tackle the Islamic threat, which, at some point may include sending in troops. A multi-pronged preventive strategy is needed.

    a. Secure borders
    b. Stop Muslim immigration and improve conditions for refugees in camps. Repatriate as many Muslim families as possible, especially those on welfare, using financial incentives.
    c. Close down mosques at the slightest hint of trouble. Ban all Muslim preachers and organisations from operating in schools and university campuses.
    d. Do not employ Muslims in ‘sensitive’ jobs – in the army, police or Home Office (to process refugee claims!)
    e. Reduce dependence on Gulf money and oil.
    f. Stop selling arms to Muslims.

    Learn from the rules that Muslim nations themselves have for foreigners. Non-Muslims are not permitted to acquire citizenship or own land or similar assets in their countries. To set up a business, you need a national sponsor who then receives a high percentage of profits in return for his patronage. They understand that you cannot expect outsiders to be loyal to your interests or values.

    Unfortunately, none of these things will happen, as we all know. So, at least let ISIS weary themselves fighting – and when their morale is low and infighting begins in their camps – the job is easier, and damage might be limited.

  • IanCad

    Excellent article Gillan – Thanks.

  • carl jacobs

    You can’t wn a war against ISIS from the cockpit of a fighter bomber. You need to occupy ground and control it. Then you need to do the hard work of delegitimizing ISIS. But Western populations won’t stand for actual war. So Gov’ts use aircraft instead. The risk is exceedingly low. The commitment is easily severable. But its hard not to see weakness in this over-reliance on airstrikes. “We’ll fight but only so long as it doesn’t cost us.” That is not an attitude designed to strike terror into the heart of an enemy.

    ISIS must be shamed and humiliated. You need to make a public spectacle of its leadership and the bandits it its ranks. The end must be dishonorable and not honorable. It’s much less important that they die and much more important how they die. That harsh reality cannot be effected from an aircraft.

    • The US quickened Japan’s surrender with massive fire bombardments and 2 nukes. The current air campaign has been restrained …far below cacities… and the Kurds are not being properly supplied, perhaps due to Turkish pressure, and still, ISIS is starting to lose territory.

      • carl jacobs

        The Army didn’t surrender. The Emperor surrendered.

        • Yes, a mere puppet up to that point, the Emperor formally took responsibility for the surrender before his Imperial conference and then to the Japanese over the radio. Yet apart from a tiny, symbolic and unsuccessful mutiny, the army meekly “went along.”

          It doesn’t matter what mechanics or pretences are used in surrenders; assume that they are politically directed to assure maximum benefit and minimum loss of face to the governing parties.

          • carl jacobs

            No, he wasn’t a mere puppet. If it hadn’t been for the Emperor, there would have been no surrender.

          • We are arguing over the mechanics of the surrender. Because of Bushido, and its issues of honour, the army couldn’t surrender on its own or because of the desire of the nation and its government without the word of the Emperor. Once he did that, the system collapsed with evident relief and the nation became submissive and abject in its total surrender, completely turfing militarism and turning to its new industrial “warlords” and the conqueror’s political values. The Emperor didn’t do that. Unless you believe some of the latest revisionist history about the Russian threat being the real driver behind the surrender, the simplest, conventional explanation that the new mysterious weapon and the Americans’ will to use it and keep on using it, (they didn’t know how many H-bombs there were) still works.

          • carl jacobs

            The atomic bombings were essential to breaking the Emporer’s will to fight. There is however no historical evidence that the Army would have surrendered in the absence of the Emperor’s decision. It was not looking for a way out in August 1945. It was looking for an honorable death. Hirohito was not a puppet of the Army but the only power in Japan capable of compelling the Army.

            The revisionism has more to do with modern rehabilitation of Hirohito – a post war political decision. He had direct command of the military. He was more responsible than people want to believe.

            There is a shrine in Japan for seven war criminals executed after the war. These seven men took a bullet for the Emperor – and so they are remembered.

          • We are both of speculative ground here and the evidence you are asking for, or the kind I would look for, is lost to us . We both agree on the importance of the atomic bombs in ending the War, but there is plenty of room to argue against Hirohito pushing through unconditional surrender single-handedly and against the wishes of the army. He was close to the army, arguably approved violating laws of war in China and his prime minister advocated a negotiated, conditional surrender. The feeble coup attempt by a small group of officers against him by the pro-war faction suggests not the strength of the opposition to surrender, but the opposite; the army had the opportunity to isolate and seclude Hirohito “honourably,” but did not.

            What makes this bit of history unknowable is the fact that the Japanese were intentionally secretive and indirect in all their political dealings and decisions. So when you say that the army was “looking for an honorable death,” you are taking their manifested claims at face value, assuming as (admittedly most do) that they were ready to go kamikaze. Me, I’m speculating that the army wanted to project an old and expired ideal to the end, was searching for a way out along with the civilian leadership and used the Emperor as the fall guy who would retain the army”s honour by seemingly acting on his own.

          • carl jacobs

            I do not agree there is no evidence.

            There is the behavior of the Japanese Army on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They did not surrender in large numbers but fought almost to the last. They preferred suicide to surrender. I have stood in the Underground Naval HQ bunker in Naha Okinawa and seen the shrapnel marks in the wall.


            There is the behavior of the civilians in the Gov’t who were feeling out peace solutions – but secretly for fear of assassination by the Army.

            There was the considerable preparation the army had made in anticipation for the invasion. They had stores of food and ammunition for an extended fight.

            There are the encoded military transcripts that the US was reading at the time. They contain no hint the army was prepared to surrender. Indeed, the Army was prepared to sacrifice 20 million to bleed the US into suing for peace.

            There is the Bushido cult itself which governed Japanese behavior throughout the war. The Japanese acted consistently with the cult throughout the war. Why change at the last?

            There is the unconditional nature of the surrender which guaranteed the military would be dishonored in defeat, and therefore could not maintain power to rise again for revenge in the future.

            There is the person of the Emperor himself, to whom these soldiers owed fealty as to a god. If he commanded surrender, they would obey because of who he was – dishonor or not. You are suggesting the Emperor was not really seen by the army according to Japanese beliefs.

            I have never seen any suggestion that the army was preparing for anything other than an honorable fight to the death. The Japanese army never saw significant surrenders until the Emperor commanded it. To suggest the army was complicit and wanted to surrender requires some historical basis.

          • As I said,or perhaos only implied, I Have no evidence, only a set of plausibilities. Evidence is hard to come by because of incomplete records, Japanese secrecy, impenetrable inside aliances and conflicts and complicated, indirect approaches mostly due to unfathomable Japanese culture as it worked its way through traditionalism and modernity.

            The evidence I presented above is circumstantial and vague. It’s based on my undetstanding of the culture and its complex and totally non-Western, non-linear logic. Bit your evidence is weaker, mainly because you are approaching it through your own cultural goggles. Thus, written communications, declarations and claims, and even actions themselves, do not reflect the reality behind the scenes. That is evident in Japanese culture even today, as many a businessman in Japan has discovered. I still maintain that had the army wanted to, it could have easily manipulated the Emperor or defied him and covered its defiance, whilst dragging the civil government along. And that it had no other option but to pretend to be willing to fight to the end, as per the bushido code, while allowing a surrender under the pretense of total submission to Hirohito to save face. I could be wrong, but I think my speculation is thw more plausible one.

          • Hagen vanTronje

            Just a minor comment, I lived in Kyoto back in the 1970’s and got to know some Japanese ex Soldiers who told me that in 1945 they were so hungry they could hardly walk let alone fight and they viewed the Japanese surrender as divine intervention to save them, It seems the USA managed to successfully blockade the fortified bases to starve the Japanese out, the plan seems to have worked.

          • The whole surrender by Emperor explanation always felt like an elaborate kabuki play to me. Karl is right about the intensity of the resistance, but I think that it was mostly a pretense towards the end of the War and until Hirohito supplied the exit strategy, everyone was stuck. People are people and eventually they find a way to influence their leaders in any system, now mayter hiw seemingly rigid.

          • PS to post below. Further circumstantial evidence:

            Japan instituted revolutionary changes to its society, economy and culture. It violated the bushido code in adopting fire arms. It desyroy the samurai and tranformed its feudal nobility into the previously despised merchant class. Its rapid modernization is unprecedented. In comparison to that, the surrender of the army under the necessary pretenses eas peanuts. Bushido, emperor worship and such were already violated at keadt a century before. Yes the citizens and the rank and file wete ready to fight to the end, but the top echelons…including those in the army were not.

          • Hagen vanTronje

            “”that the new mysterious weapon and the Americans’ will to use it and keep on using it, (they didn’t know how many H-bombs there were) still works.””

            The H Bomb was invented by Mr. Teller a couple of years after the end of WW2.

          • Right you are. Egg on my face. The hydrogen, fission device which replaced the fusion model was developed by Teller with Stanislaw Ulan in 1951 and tested in ’52. Thanks!

  • CliveM

    If anyone doubts where Turkey’s loyalties are

    They must never be allowed to join the EU.

  • chiefofsinners

    If we want to take out a few extremists and don’t mind accidentally hitting lots of innocent men, women and children. If we don’t mind creating countless new enemies or destroying vital infrastructure. We could just bomb one of our own cities.

    • William Lewis

      Good point, well made.

      Was it Bradford you were thinking of?

      • chiefofsinners

        Bradford? I said ‘vital infrastructure’!

        • William Lewis

          They must have a few building societies left?

          • chiefofsinners

            It is an irony that the people of Bradford are not renowned for ‘building society’.

    • Ivan M

      Sorry to ride on your comment, but Obama already does that.

      Apparently a ratio of 20 civilians to 1 damp “ticking bomb”, somewhere in Yemen or Pakistan is already an acceptable ratio.

  • William Lewis

    Wow. Deja vu or what? In fact I think it was Linus (WHMB) who made exactly the same predictions some months ago. If only he could come back to help us sort out your identity crisis. It’s the least he could do really, having left without saying goodbye.

  • The Explorer

    Clever chap, Linus. To be likened to him is a compliment.

    • William Lewis


  • Phil R

    The thing is that Christianity is growing at around three times the rate of population growth worldwide.

    What may be happening in the West is irrelevant numerically.

  • Phil R

    If Cameron really wants to do something useful to help the situation at no cost he could simply give Assad all of the 250 or so tanks that have recently become available because of budget cuts to our own Armed Forces and consequential drawdown in Germany.

    If he won’t do that then give them to Putin.

    The alternative? Bomb them often enough and they will eventually move. We all know where they will move to where they cannot be bombed, but will force us to yield.

    A change of tactics that we force on them will not be in our interests. The IRA eventually won that sort of war and now they are “respectable” their crimes are now described using different, more “inclusive” words and worst of all we see them not defeated, but in power.

    • Hagen vanTronje

      If Cameron really wants to do something useful to help the situation at
      no cost he could simply give Assad all of the 250 or so tanks that have
      recently become available because of budget cuts to our own Armed Forces
      and consequential drawdown in Germany.””

      But the USA, Turkey, Saudi, France and Qatar are already supplying advanced TOW anti tank missiles to Terrorists in Syria.
      Let’s never forget the fool cameron was itching to bomb Syrian Government troops that were fighting Rebels not so long ago, now Cameron wants to bomb the Rebels fighting Syrian Government troops ??

      I reckon Cameron had better leave matters to real Statesmen such as Mr. Putin.

  • Christian Priest

    I suspect that only ‘boots on the ground’ in terms of tens of thousands of troops from a large coalition including US and Russia this this organisation can be destroyed. Will this happen? I suspect that the US public opinion will not support this until there is another ghastly attack on its soil.