Friday 24 July 2015

Time To Stop "Dribbling" And Start "Clouting"?

Boots On The Ground: The former head of the UK armed forces, General David Richards, suspects in his “bones”, that if the Islamic State is to be defeated, then the armed forces of the West will have to stop "dribbling" and start "clouting". In the General’s words: “tanks would have to roll and there’s going to have to be boots on the ground”.
ARE WE AT WAR with the Islamic State – or not? The Prime Minister says “Not”. Our role in the conflict between the Islamic State and its enemies is merely to assist the government of Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Sixteen NZ Defence Force personnel are stationed less than an hour’s drive north of Baghdad at Camp Taji – a former US military base. Their mission: to help train Iraq’s army. A further 100 Kiwi troops have been sent to provide them with protection while they get on with it. That’s all.
This is what General David Richards, former head of the UK’s armed forces, and current member of the House of Lords, calls “dribbling” – the sort of one-handed military activity soldiers are required to engage in when their political masters would rather not have them wage war with both hands.
Lord Richards has warned UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, that, when it comes to defeating the Islamic State, “dribbling” will not be enough. What’s needed against the highly motivated and exceptionally well-led soldiers of the self-proclaimed Caliphate is “clouting”.
“Properly brought together with proper leadership and proper command and control it is a very doable proposition”, Lord Richards told the BBC’s Andrew Marr. “But I worry that […] if we dribble, which is really rather what we are doing at the moment, it is simply firing up the problem rather than dealing with it.”
The former head of the UK armed forces told Marr that he suspected, in his “bones”, that if IS to be defeated, then its army will have to “clouted” by his country’s soldiers – on the front lines. In the general’s words: “tanks would have to roll and there’s going to have to be boots on the ground”.
But the UK could not possibly do this alone. After 14 years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the UK’s defence force is bruised, battered and in urgent need of repair and replenishment. Lord Richards knows full-well that what he is really calling for is the assembly of another great Western invasion force; comparable in strength to Operation Desert Storm, and guided by similar, strictly limited, objectives.
The mission of Operation Desert Storm was to drive the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait. The core mission of this new Western force would be the utter destruction of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. To render the defeat of IS permanent, however, it would, almost certainly, be necessary to accomplish the complete pacification of Syria and the disarmament of the Iranian-backed Shite militias operating in Iraq.
The elimination of the murderous regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the disarmament of his many enemies, would lift a huge burden from the shoulders of Syria’s neighbours. Millions of refugees, driven across borders by civil war and religious extremism, would be free to return, and the arduous task of reconstructing their ancient homeland could, finally, begin.
An effort of such magnitude on the part of the West – especially the USA and the UK – is the only truly effective means of bringing the multiple tragedies of the last quarter-century in the Middle East to an honourable resolution.
The barbarity of IS is an affront, not just to the peoples of the Islamic world but to all humanity. And, in their heart of hearts, the USA and the UK both know its poisonous creed could only have been distilled from the seething cauldron of hatred and resentment which their 2003 invasion of Iraq created. “You break it, you own it”, quipped US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, back in 2003. Well, between them, the USA and the UK smashed Iraq into a thousand pieces, and now they must make her whole again.
Do the peoples of the West have the stomach for another great military effort in the Middle East. Many would say “No.” But they should fix their eyes on the tens-of-thousands, desperate and despairing, who daily make their way toward Europe’s borders. If the West does not bring peace to the Middle East, then the Middle East will bring chaos to the West. Lord Richards knows the efficacy of forward defence, that is why he is urging his prime minister to stop dribbling and start clouting.
Would it be asking too much of our own defence force, and prime minister, to do the same?
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 24 July 2015.


Unknown said...

What about the growing number of Muslims in U.K? Multiculturalism has multiple political perspectives (allegiances).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Movements like Isis do not arise out of nowhere. It's all very well to stress their fundamentalist religious beliefs, and general barbarity, but they arose out of the Sunni- Shia conflict in the Middle East, and Iraq in particular. They arose from a corrupt government that discriminated against them. Little matter that they did the same when they were in power perhaps, but until this problem is solved, all the clouting in the world isn't going to do a great deal. Didn't work in Vietnam, maybe slightly easier to do in Iraq for various reasons, but basically it's not going to work until the political problems are worked out. I can't see a solution, given the attitude of the Iraqi government.
Once they've clouted though what then? Some political solution has to be found, and it may be that dividing Iraq into two or three independent countries is necessary. I can't see that happening given the usual sanctity of the nation state, artificial though it might be. Who or what is going to hold all this together? Western troops? Yes right – that would go over like a lead balloon. And the Iraqi army has pretty much shown that it can't do a great deal, even with billions of US dollars spent on it. So some form of peacekeeping force would be necessary. Where to get that from? It would have to be Muslim. Sunni or Shia? Or a mixture of both? Because eventually Western troops would become part of the problem. I sometimes think that there are some places in the world that are so divided that they are better run by dictators. Yugoslavia a case in point.
Anyway, Western troops, although they are probably the only ones who can militarily sort this out, will simply increase the number of nutty fundamentalists who join up with Isis, because they want them out of the Middle East and their holy places et cetera et cetera et cetera.
To be honest, I can't see an answer other than splitting Iraq and splitting Syria. Let the fundamentalist whack jobs have to cope with the problem of running a state. That might sober them up a little.

Brendan McNeill said...


The Middle East is a complex mix of ethnic, tribal and sectarian rivalries of which we know very little. You say the result of deleting Assad would be "Millions of refugees, driven across borders by civil war and religious extremism, would be free to return, and the arduous task of reconstructing their ancient homeland could, finally, begin."

But is that a realistic outcome?

Could Syria simply degenerate into another sectarian battlefield between Shia and Sunni militia intent on establishing their supremacy? Their particular brand of Islamic extremism?

Removing the bloody tyrants from the Middle East has not resulted in the self governing democratic utopia Obama and Cameron had expected, Egypt Libya and Iraq being three examples.

We clearly need to respond to the refugee crisis, assist other Muslim countries like Jordan who are prepared to take them, and pressure Saudi Arabia who are not. However beyond that I doubt there is little the West can do other than shift the balance of power between competing factions.

Is that an outcome worth sending New Zealand troops to die for?

A O said...

Terror begets terror, this won't stop until the world's # 1 terrorist stops meddling when and where it suits their business elite. This won't happen of course, there always needs to be an excuse of some kind to expand the near trillion dollar terror machine. Our mob, is at war with the off-shoots of thee most effective terrorism machine of all time, there's little doubt about that.

Nick J said...

Bashing ISIS militarily wont help anybody unless they recognise the true nature of the challenge posed by Islam to the West, and honestly appraise how to win the peace before trying to impose it. I am afraid that the liberal Left and Right don't actually allow themselves the intellectual honesty to step aside from their precepts of Islam, and to merely fight wont help.

For example to the Right there is no honest acknowledgement about the role of oil and its connection with funding Wahabist radicalism via the Saudis. The Right also goes along with a Neo Lib philosophy of open economies with immigration based on economic imperatives that completely ignore cultural and demographic issues. That has allowed immigration into Europe on a scale sufficient to move the conflict zone to the European heartland.

To the Left a form of blinkered political correctness creates a vacuous interpretation of the relationship with between Islam and that outside of Islam. When this is viewed in Western liberal terms the liberal Left assumes the superiority of the rational construct over a whole of life theistic construct. And it assumes that the Islamic reference points will accept western rationalism. It comes across as "lets be nice, you guys have some honorary victim-hood status." That looks and feels nice but in reality it is very stupid thinking. An analogy is that tigers are cuddly and cute, tigers don't see us as cuddly and cute...try hugging one.

I have expressed this viewpoint amongst my liberal PC circles, and I always get rounded upon. Express the real challenge and it is too horrible to contemplate. In plain language there are very large portions of the Islamic world who actively support a central tenet of Islam, that a good Muslim will bring that which is outside of the faith into the faith. By force, by infiltration. And you cannot reason with this faith because it does not recognize the equality or rights of any other philosophy. If you doubt this go read the Quran.

The real issue is for us to recognise the challenge of radical Islam and how to respond appropriately: if you are happy to coexist with Islam on their terms so be it, but don't pretend that their terms are negotiable, and that Sharia for all is not their goal. Being nice and PC wont stop that. Being realistic and setting a line in the sand that states the non Islamic preferences, and being prepared to defend these might help. Whether that involves military action in Iraq I don't know: that did not work last time. But let get real, we are at war. ISIS has declared it whether we like it or not.

Anonymous said...

hhhmm I have to say this is telling it like it is and in my mind is the way to go. Because IS and the like will just keep getting under bellies and in the end if we are not careful and keep our eyes shut they could easily take over. And we ache at the atrocities they do but we actually just use words to condemn and sometimes words are just not enough.

Anonymous said...

This is a good piece of material and we all do it we just put a plaster on something and slowly it might heal. With IS and the like around and roaming as they like will never be cleared.
We get upset at the atrocities these types do but we just talk about it and hopefully it won't happen again. Hey but it will and it will continue until they are basically eradicated, they are not human and they are not animals they are just dirty bugs that need to be splattered on the wall and put down the insinkerator (not sure I spelt that correctly lol) but hopefully not coachroaches otherwise they will come back.
The only way to get rid of these types is to go in there with enormous fly sprays and bomb the lot of them.
But in all seriousness it just cannot keep on going. Because we are not actually over there we do not see the suffering the woman, children and elderly etc experience and it is heartbreaking.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
I think the best the west can do is twofold
Firstly set an example of how to run a society that is fair to it's own people as well as it's neighbours people and not exploitive.
Secondly to provide safe passage and secure and generous sustenance to all the people in conflict zones and let the combatants kill each other if they feel the need; allowing the peaceful refugees to return and take back their land when its over. ( if ever)
Cheers David J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. "Islam" – there are almost as many branches of Islam as there are Christianity. It's just too stupid to lump them all together, as you seem to be doing, as it is to ignore the fundamentalists.

Davo Stevens said...

Firstly we have to look at how ISIS/ISIL came about. When George II appointed Paul Bremmer as the Sultan of Baghdad the first thing he did was sack Sadd's Army who were mostly Sunni. So some 300,000 Sunnis found themselves armed to the teeth, angry and un-employed. The Sunni were cut out from the oil revenue and pissed off.

Iraq was the buffer between the two factions and kept Iran and Saudi Arabia apart. Dump Sadd and the faeces hits the oscillator.

Iran is the Heartland of the Shia and the Saudis are the heartland of the Sunni and now we have a sectarian war. So a deal had to be struck between the US and Iran over the nuke issue so that the Yanx could get them onside. The Saudis are livid about the deal. They are supporting ISIS/ISIL indirectly.

How to sort it is a conundrum. ISIS can only be defeated by military force and a political solution sorted later. There needs to be a buffer set up between the two. ISIS is not interested in a political solution.

The Yanx wetdream of making Iraq a beacon of democracy in that area turned into a nightmare, they never learned that one cannot bring democracy from the muzzles of machineguns. The people have to find it for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Isis have but one light: Islam. Unfortunately

Anonymous said...

It needs a operation and commitment similar to "Desert Storm". The West needs to resolve their differences with the Russians over the Ukraine, even if they concede Ukraine territory to the Russians and then get the Russians involved in the coalition. The Russians and the Syrian government are as one in their fight against Isis. Saudi Arabia will also have to be negated. The whole situation is a mess and I cannot see the British Parliament easily agreeing to anything in the Middle East, but most people in the world agree that Isis has to be conquered and a stake driven through its heart.

Nick J said...

Guerilla, "Islam" – there are almost as many branches of Islam as there are Christianity. True, and all Islamics read the Quran as all Christians read the Bible.

Lets get basic though. You think it stupid, simplistic to lump together moderates with fundamentalists. So lets say we have moderate Christians and fundamentalists. Where does the adherence to the Holy text divide the two? Surely the scripture and its dogma are one and the same. They might belong to slightly different versions such as Catholic and Anglican but they believe the same teachings from the same Biblical sources. Ditto Islam.

If you should read the Quran (I have) you will find in it amongst all the good bits some instructions from the Prophet to the Faithful that are totally antithetical to the values of our Christian heritage and to our Enlightenment heritage. These are common to all Islam. To us the idea that it is fine to enslave, convert by force, treat those outside Islam as second class etc etc as instructed by the Prophet are entirely wrong. To all true Islamics they are the words of the Prophet.

I contend that while it is entirely wrong to regard all Islamics as fundamentalists, I also contend that there is a fundamental incompatibility between Islamic thought and tradition and western secular thought and tradition. As long as we in the West fail to recognize this in our interactions with the Islamic world we will fail to accommodate each other. By failing to understand what underpins Islam we fail to respect their culture(s) whilst doing our own a huge disservice.

pat said...

@ anon 14.12
...a bastardised version of Islam.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris!

You old uneducated war criminal.

ISIS is an intelligence fabrication. I know people fighting for them, and they even get visits from John McCaine. You should check his hacked cell phone records to ask real questions, which your readers will find fascinating.

As for NZers fighting with ISIS, I personally know two. You should ask how Mark Taylor, is allowed in and out of NZ, when he is on a travel ban. The only reason why, is that the NZ government, is complicit.

You can Whinny, Bleat and Moo advocating terrible lies about President Assad, and make wild claims - but remember this. Both Russia and China have his back.
That's why ISIS/ISIL exists. Because coward nations and their media would rather spin a story, than tell the truth.

If you want to screw economically and military with both Russia and China, then say so publically. Till then, get your nose out of interventionist crap when you can't tell the truth to your readers.

Anonymous said...

Mark Taylor sends his regards BTW.

You start little wars. For little gain. If you want to play with Russia, they will win.

Slava Rossii!

greywarbler said...

@ Davo Stevens 13.12
That matches what I have read previously. There was advice that taking action against Saddam would break apart an already fractured society along sectarian lines.

I feel that the USA had to act against one of the oil states, didn't want it to be Saudi Arabia their President's business partner where the Wahabi cult of Bin Laden originated, so unlucky Iraq drew the short straw.

Chris's recipe sounds good and I wish it would work but I think the arguments presented against it lead to the conclusion that there is no shutting of this Pandora's box, just the closing of the lid for increasing lengths of time.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick, it's religion. People make it mean what they want it to mean. Yes there are strictures in the Koran which are against Western rationalism. There are also strictures in the Bible. Religious people cherrypick what they want, so that either their lives are comfortable enough – i.e. the Catholic use of birth control, which is the same as everyone else's in spite of the fact that churches agin it, or to be able to do what they want to do – whatever that may be.

Davo Stevens said...

Islam is going through what Christianity went through for over 1000yrs. Islam is a relatively young religion. We had Protestants fighting Catholics, Catholics fighting Catholics, Protestants fighting Protestants etc Each believing that their own version was the one true faith. There are still hot-beds of religious Zealotry today. Nth Ireland, the Balkans for example.

Nick J., The Koran (Qu'ran) is the same as the Bible. Read the Old Testament particularly, it's full of the same Bullshit. So it's not surprising when one considers that the Koran is a almost copy of the Old Testament.

GreyW; Agreed. The Yanx could not attack Saudi Arabia (where the most of the 11/9 attackers came from) as it would have put the price of oil up to the sky! And they have backroom deals going on with the Yanx too. OBL objected to the Yanx building a massive base at Medina, one of the holiest places in Islam.

Mark Taylor, the Maori Muslim, is in gaol on Preventative Detention and has been since he was picked up at the border of Pakistan back in 2003. He's likely to stay there until he karks it.

Anonymous said...

pat said...

a bastardised version of Islam.
so how is it that the light is so faint that it leads people up the garden path?

jh said...

Why is the west always seen as the cause and solution to the worlds problems?
The west is supposed to have "the wealth" (to spread around), the space and the culture to bind all the other cultures as one. [I hope I'm not too obtuse for someone from Massey].

Might not it be time to look at population, ecology and the stresses on societies?

pat said...

being led up the garden path in this instance has little (I suspect) to do with religious zeal and a lot more to do with anti social disconnected youth joining the cause du jour and being manipulated for the grand purposes of a shadowy other words....nothing new, but none the less dangerous for that.

Brendan McNeill said...

Only theological illiteracy would allow anyone to conflate Islam’s holy texts with those of the Bible. Yes, Christians have behaved badly in the past, both to non-Christians and to each other. However, they have done this in contradiction to Jesus teaching and example.

However, when Muslims wage war against the apostate and the infidel, slaughter captives, and take sex slaves from among them, they are doing so in accordance with Mohammad’s teaching and example.

Can you spot the difference?

That is why a peaceful reformation of Islam is all but impossible without it ceasing to be Islam. That’s why David Cameron’s initiatives, although rational to the western mind, are a theological nonsense when it comes to the followers of Islam.

This is why there will never be peace in the Middle East while Israel exists, while both Shia and Sunni Muslim sects exist, while the infidels exists.

When it comes to Islam, the only rational policy for western nations is one of containment abroad, and closed borders at home. However, as long as David Cameron et al persist with the belief that Islam can be reformed, this is unlikely to happen, and as we have seen recently in the USA and in Tunisia we remain exposed.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Brendan, we have been through this before, but I will say this. There are stupid biblical rules. You don't follow them. You are clean-shaven for a start. You probably wearing a polycotton shirt? – Both of these are forbidden by the Bible. And yes I am theologically literate enough to realise your usual get out of these are nothing to do with Jesus. But didn't Jesus say something like I am not come to abolish the law of the profits but to fulfil them"? – Matthew 5: 17 And I assume if your kids ever swore at you you didn't put them to death? Leviticus 20:9. Did not God’s servant command the Israelites to kill all of the used Midianite women who have been captured in war, and all of the boy children, but to keep all of the virgin girls for themselves. Numbers 31:18. All I will say is that only someone who is psychologically illiterate will not understand that people will take from any religious writing what they wish. Particularly as God – either yours, or Mohammed's – never quite sure if it's the same one – is a really bad communicator. In fact if the Bible was anything to do with business or government, it would get some sort of prize for obscurity. As would just about every other religious book you care to name.

On the question of religious fanaticism – yes of course it is largely adolescents, who have become disillusioned with the materialism of Western society, and we all know that when teenagers get a bee in their bonnet, it's very difficult to get it out again. But I used to know at least one grown-up Christian who made his wife walk three paces behind him whenever they went out. :-)

Anonymous said...

Chris, the logical error you make here is thinking that those who broke it have the wherewithal to fix it. They broke it because their intentions in the first place were bad and their methods of securing their policy goals were flawed too. These realities haven't changed, so asking them to fix anything will only lead to more misery. What the world needs them to do so badly is to STOP trying to fix things.

Davo Stevens said...

Speaking of theological illiteracy Brendan when did the blow-up in the Balkans occur? 1990's I believe, Nth Ireland from the 1920's until quite recently. Hardly a long time ago!

I suggest that you go and read the Koran and compare it to the Old Testament (and some of the New Testament too) and checkout the wholesale slaughter and butchering that is commanded of the followers. Read up on the rape, the slavery and the killing of all infidels. Read up on the Teuton Knights and what they did throughout Central Europe at the behest of the Pope. The list is long and all done at the command of God!!!

Yes, ISIS is barbaric but have you ever seen what 50 tonnes of white phosphorus does to the people trapped in a city (Fallujah)? Have you ever seen the result of 10 tonnes of Aluminium powder and napalm dumped on a town? Have you seen the result? The burned bodies lying around and the smell of roasted flesh? I have! All done by pious Christians!

What about a missile from a drone hitting a wedding party and killing almost everyone there? Are they all villains? The women, the children? Are they guilty too? Is that not just as barbaric? No side has clean hands and no side can justify the wholesale slaughter that is done by the religious on each other.

Anonymous said...

And with this goes the cynical reality of a media which refuses in the mainstream to highlight the urgent need to explain what is written in your article in such a fashion that will bring the morality of us all to do something as ordinary citizens to demand our govt doesn't make blood and guts speeches but unites the country's support for the humanitarian needs which we can provide to refugees before ands during the impending carnage takes place by doing something now to provide facilities here, now to help lessen the suffering of the innocent

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear GS (and Davo)

GS, The ‘stupid Biblical rules’ you refer to are in the OT and were given to the Jews. As Christian’s we are not obligated to follow them. They were (as you unintentionally suggested) fulfilled in Christ. However, this is what I meant by ‘theological illiteracy’. You cannot debate something sensibly when you only have a superficial understanding of the text, and while I appreciate your zeal, it is not well informed.

Davo, did you even read my post? What does the Balkans have to do with the difference between the teaching and practice of Jesus and Mohammad? Did you note that I said those Christians (including Pope’s) who have engaged in slaughter in Christ’s name have done so in contradiction of Jesus teaching and example, while this is not the case with Mohammad?

However, it’s not Christianity that’s on trial here. The question Chris raised, is how best do we respond to a violent expression of Islam in the form of ISIS and its followers? Obama’s concerns about the Crusades not withstanding, ‘radical Christianity’ is neither a physical nor existential threat today.

When it comes to Islam I have suggested containment abroad, and closed borders at home. Chris has hinted at a way forward, what practical steps do you two gentlemen recommend?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I was lying awake last night, thinking about theological illiteracy. And I came up with a question or two for Brendan. Not particularly sure I'm going to get an answer, because Brendan does have a tendency for these commando raids, where he makes a statement and then ignores all further debate. We live in hope.
Brendan, did you gain your theological literacy from reading and annotating the great works of religion? Did you pore over the Bible? The Quran? Perhaps even the Borgia group codices? Did you delve into Sikhism, into Rastafarianism, Shinto? Did you read the commentaries by various people with advanced degrees in comparative religion? Did you then abandon all ideas of more than one God, and settle on just the one? And then decide in which way this one God should be worshipped? Did you decide that other monotheists worship different, evil gods? Or that they are worshipping the same God as you but wrongly?
Or did you just accept something akin to the religion of your parents? Or perhaps something in between.
If you did the first then all kudos to you and even though I don't believe your God exists, you have every right to make statements about theological illiteracy. If the second, I find your position amazingly arrogant. As arrogant in fact as Richard Dawkins, who I notice just in passing Christians do call intellectually arrogant, and theologically illiterate, but only when he criticises their religion – they are remarkably silent when he criticises Islam.
What I suspect is happened of courses that you did inherit the religion of your parents, not to say that you haven't done some Bible study, but I guarantee your knowledge of the Koran is reasonably shallow, as is mine. I suspect that you get your knowledge of the Koran's teachings not from the Koran itself, but from Christians who – let's say – have some sort of reason for wanting it to be considered an evil or misguided book.
You see, unless you have actually studied the Koran, and the various writings associated with it in some detail, as say – professors of comparative religion do, you have very little right to criticise it, because you essentially don't know a great deal about it. Particularly on the ranking and interpretation of the various writings. Perhaps you should think about this Brendan and come back to us with a touch of humility.
As someone who stands aside from or less religious bickering, I find it somewhat distasteful. If I was forced to take it all seriously, I think I would just go and lie down in a corner and quietly pop my clogs. As it is though I think it's much better to laugh at you. Hence:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit, that should be law of the prophets not profits. But on reflection maybe I won't change it :-).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You don't have to obey the laws of the Torah Brendan? Surely Jesus said you did? :-) "I have not come to change the law" he said. Okay, we'll assume that I'm not fit to debate this, but how does that make you fit to debate Islam under your own rules? I doubt you have anything more than a superficial understanding of the texts. I'd really like an answer on this, because it goes to the heart of your criticism. But no doubt you will inform me of your actual study of the Quran and what you've achieved in your next post? Particularly as you are going against the opinions of academic scholars here.
Christianity might not be on trial, but what Davo and I are trying to do – I think me more successfully than him :-) – is point out the inconsistencies in your rhetoric. And rhetoric it is, because there is no meaningful content. Unless – again – you have a deep understanding of Islamic teachings. I can't wait to hear.
Incidentally, the bridge joke above is by Emo Phillips. I should have acknowledge that, given that he claims it's the funniest joke in the world.

Davo Stevens said...

Brendan; I have a chronicle of all the atrocities done by the "Followers of Jesus" over the last 2000yrs. It will make you weep! All done in the name of Christianity (i.e; the followers of Jesus)!

The Balkans was a Sectarian war between the Serbs (Protestant), the Croats (Catholic) and the Bosnians (Muslim). Nth Ireland was between the Catholics and the Protestants too. All of whom, except the Bosnians, have professed to believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus! No mate, it makes no difference who these 'Followers" follow, it's their actions that tell the story, words are cheap!

ISIS is a master of publicity, their videos of be-headings are done with the knowledge that the West will be outraged. They are drawing attention to the atrocities caused by pious Christian (followers of Jesus) West, notably the US/UK. Something that good Jesus followers like your fine self seem to ignore! All we humans are very capable of some very dark deeds and all we need is a trigger.

ISIS are following their particular idea of what The Qu'ran says. Every religious text is open to interpretation. There are 1.5billion approx. Muslims in the world and most are peaceful just a very small section are warlike. The Christians are the same.

The rest I will leave for you to read GS' eloquent and erudite post.

ISIS can only be defeated by military action, once the militants have been defeated the rest will listen to a diplomatic negotiation. The force has to be a combined effort by the Yanx (who, by their actions, created ISIS) and countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Yanx know this which is why the deal over Iran's nukes has been done. To date neither of the latter have shown any stomach for committing their personnel.

Nick J said...

Davo and Guerilla. Thank you for proving my point. You both responded in a way that demonstrates that you belong to a western post Christian post Enlightenment psyche and you have interpreted the issue within that construct. And that is exactly why until we entertain the idea that Islamics (of all multifarious varieties) dont necessarily think like us, then we will fail to respond appropriately.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick, I don't think I've necessarily proved your point. I think we all realise the irrationality of religion. (Using that in a non-pejorative sense before anybody gets their knickers in a twist) but perhaps you'd like to suggest what our "appropriate" responses should be?

pat said...

Since we are being biblical...the support of neo-lib direction by the religious right is a curious phenomenon given that Hedonism is its foundation and lure.....difficult not to draw parallels between the fall of the Roman Empire and today.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The fall of the Roman Empire, contrary to what many fundamentalist Americans seem to believe, took place under the aegis of Christianity :-).

Nick J said...

Guerilla, yes I think appropriate responses come from two strands:
* understanding / knowing and articulating what is important to us (the secular West) and demonstrating commitment to that stance to both Islam and our own people. How that plays out in actions depends upon how much we value our values and where we draw that line.
* understanding the challenge of Islam especially the thinking that promotes Jihad. As I said not all Islamics are Jihadis but it is a central tenet of the faith. Because religious motivation is "irrational" to the Western mind that does not diminish the commitment of those who believe in it. We wont change that but we might understand it better for our on sakes and safety.
On a more positive note I would suggest listening to and reading Tariq Ali (made famous as the "Street fighting man" in the Stones song), he articulates the issues really well.

Victor said...

The guys in charge of the later Roman Empire were mainly Christian hedonists, although there were obvious limitations on the hedonism of the eunuchs amongst them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

From what I can gather Victor, the amount of hedonism depends on whether the eunuch was created as a boy, or as a man. :-) Incidentally I once heard John Amis interview the last of the castrati. On the BBC years ago. I was amazed to think that there was still one alive in the 1950s.

Victor said...

I suspect that the hedonism of those operated on as adults did not lead to satisfaction. But I might have got that wrong. The excellent film 'Farinelli' anyhow suggested a life of pain.

Personally, I can't bear to listen to the former castrato parts unless they're sung by women.

This observation must take us more wholly 'off topic' than anything in the entire annals of Bowally Road. I apologise to our host and will desist.