In a few hours, parliament will have decided how large of a hole they want to turn Syria into. The vote will decide whether the UK will join the four other nations currently cooperating on this rather ambitious renovation of the parts of the Syrian nation – which are now under the control of a bunch of mad men with a rampant drug problem and obsession with death, otherwise known as ISIS.
There’s no denying that ISIS are the most unbelievably evil organisation of real human beings since the Nazis, just like there is no denying that bombing the Nazis actually worked pretty damn well at solving that problem, at least if you take a short sighted and simplistic view.
Although I hate to fulfill Godwin’s Law, I’m going to run with the Nazi comparison due to them being probably the most cartoonishly evil attempt at an empire in history – they did have skulls on their uniforms.
The growth of ISIS
The Nazi party gained power in the wake of the destruction that befell Germany in The First World War, and upon taking control of their area they expanded and took over half of Europe, before they eventually hit a wall of nations they couldn’t invade and were gradually pushed back to their centre of Berlin. ISIL gained power in the wake of the destruction that befell Iraq in the wake of The Second Gulf War, which much like The First World War was a complete disaster that achieved nothing – but a high body count and lots of property damage. After establishing themselves and gaining some grass root support they moved into a warzone known as Syria, using the chaos to gain some power and expand into their own modern caliphate.
We all know that initially pretending that Nazi Germany invading other countries was not a problem, and that everything would be fine if we just ignored them, was in fact a bad move that allowed them get the upper hand. And that going full tilt with bombs and boats and everything else that makes war could arguably have saved a lot of time and lives, so the argument could logically be made that the same thing should be true of ISIS.
Honestly, it is not the bombing of Syria I disagree with, it has been invaded by a strong organised military force and the first thing we need to do is get rid of that invading force. However, I doubt that just bombing it continuously will actually help and I seriously doubt that we need six different nations bombing it – particularly when some of those six nations aren’t really on the best of terms, but that’s a whole other matter.
My real problem, and why I really hope against hope that Parliament will vote to not contribute to the Syrian bombing campaign is because it’s short sighted and ignores the immediate problem. In the exact same way that every Western army fighting a war on another continent has over the last 50 years, that problem being that destroying Syria is not victory.
Bombing will not restore normality
The ultimate aim of Western intervention in the current ISIS territories, as I understand it, is to liberate the controlled areas and restore freedom from the oppression of the Islamist regime. Thus, all those faced with persecution and tyranny in those areas, who have either fled or been trapped within what I can only imagine as a nightmare fuelled hellscape, can return to some kind of peaceful normality.
I believe it’s quite hard for these people to return to normal lives when their homes, hospitals, food stores and schools are all craters, and two thirds of their neighbours have been killed because they didn’t make it into their shelters quick enough. I wish I could believe that this apparently very organised multi-national bombing campaign will be backed up by all the involved nations with the necessary monetary aide to rebuild Syria and Iraq – once ISIS inevitably crumble under the weight of their own ridiculousness. But the fact that this has not been the case in Iraq after the second Gulf War, or Afghanistan after the Soviet Invasion, or Afghanistan after the Coalition Invasion makes it kind of hard for me to believe that that will be the case.
You know how the allies really won the Second World War? They didn’t repeat the mistakes of the First World War. They didn’t leave the nation that started it in the state of disrepair that allowed opportunists to turn that nation into their own personal murder factory, they invested in it, they nurtured it, and they built it into one of the most powerful economies in the world.
That is how you win the war against ISIS, not with bombs, not with constant airstrikes, you win by ensuring that the same situation can never occur again in the lifetimes of the people that had to suffer it the first time. Fighting fire with fire only creates a bigger fire, if you want to put out fire, you fight it with water. War does not end war, it only makes more, the only way to end war is with love, and a shit load of capital investment.