We need to hear Corbyn say: ‘Isil must be defeated’

by Kevin Meagher

Outlining his reluctance to back air strikes against Isil in Syria, Jeremy Corbyn wrote in the Morning Star the other day, that:

 “Amid all the debate and emotion expended over Syria last week, there remains a terrible sense of déjà vu pervading this most difficult of problems. It is the sense of a government – and a nation – repeating previous errors by committing to air strikes without a comprehensive, long-term strategy involving regional powers and allies…

[I]n the absence of a proper strategy informed by better on-the-ground knowledge and intelligence, there is a real danger that any military intervention goes the same way of Iraq, Afghanistan post-2006, and Libya.”

Actually, these aren’t Jeremy Corbyn’s words; it’s an excerpt from a piece by Conservative MP John Baron, a former soldier and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, writing in the Mail on Sunday.

The subterfuge is merely to highlight that fact there are real reasons to proceed cautiously in joining US-led efforts to bomb Isil strongholds in Syria and these reservations stretch across British politics.

Indeed, there’s a decent argument to made that the case for military action will only prevail when we are prepared to wage war on the ground, winning and holding territory  (as Baron eloquently and persuasively argues). There is also a potent argument that David Cameron’s faith in the Free Syrian Army as the instrument to achieve this aim is seriously misplaced, as Jeremy Corbyn has pointed out.

Yet, even when Corbyn is right, as he is in pointing out that bombing is no panacea, he has no bigger argument to make. Where is the moral outrage about the fascistic, throat-slitting, mass-murdering rapist psychopaths of Islamic State? Or, indeed, the moral imperative in vanquishing them?

Although he protests he is not a pacifist, Corbyn doesn’t want to see western boots on the ground in Syria, period. Nor, though, does he seem prepared to sub-contract the task to local opposition, or regional players. He is resolutely unwilling to countenance a military solution to a problem that will only ever be resolved by one.

Yes, by all means remove the financial props financing Isil, as Corbyn argues, but this is a fraction of a solution. (Having your credit card refused is only a marginal deterrent to an organisation all too adept in raping and pillaging).

It reflects the left’s wider problem with Middle Eastern conflict: an intuitive anti-Westernism combined with an unfathomable indulgence of Islamist tyranny. Added to this is the tedious advancement of the ‘reaping’ argument. (This is the trope that the West is ‘reaping what it sowed’ with Iraq and Afghanistan).

It’s peddled by the egregious Stop the War coalition and, most recently, by Ken Livingstone, who, predictably and distastefully, blames the July 2005 murders in London on Tony Blair. (It’s not clear whether they think minimum wage-earning immigrant cleaners in the Twin Towers were also ‘reaping what they sowed’ when they were incinerated on 9/11).

The gesture politicking of the left is simple misdirection. The essential facts remain: Isil poses a threat to people in the UK and Europe and across the Middle East through their sponsorship of terrorism. Geopolitically, it is a force for instability in a region that can scarcely afford any more of it. While we cannot wait for demented jihadists to acquire weapons of mass destruction, invade Libya or attack Israel.

By all means, let’s discuss how we defeat Isil, but this should frame the discussion. Isil must be defeated.  This is something the Labour leader, maddeningly, is not prepared to do. His reasoned critique of David Cameron’s case for military action is rendered meaningless unless he articulates the need to defeat Isil and then sets out a way of doing so.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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11 Responses to “We need to hear Corbyn say: ‘Isil must be defeated’”

  1. Paul says:

    OP: “By all means, let’s discuss how we defeat Isil, but this should frame the discussion. Isil must be defeated. This is something the Labour leader, maddeningly, is not prepared to do.”

    Corbyn’s letter to Labour MPs on Friday: “We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.”

    Ergo, OP is utter rubbish.

  2. Feodor says:

    ‘Yet, even when Corbyn is right, it is still the job of the Labour “moderates” to nitpick and find something to criticise him for, helping refocus attention away from the issue under discussion and back onto Corbyn’s leadership instead.’ There, fixed it for ya.

    If they had any shame, I’d suggest that the ‘moderates’ will one day find themselves embarrassed about the way they have behaved since the summer. But they don’t, so they won’t. Instead, New Labour just keeps spinning along.

  3. Tony says:

    If someone ignores the warnings, then they do deserve some of the blame for what happens. This is hardly unreasonable. Of course, Blair is not wholly to blame for 7/7 any more than Bush and the Federal Aviation Authority are wholly to blame for 9/11.
    Nevertheless, we should expect our ‘leaders’ to take such warnings seriously rather than simply ignore them.

    This is my view and I think Livingstone should have said something along these lines.

  4. Mike Homfray says:

    Actually Livingstone made it very clear that he does want them defeated and would support ground troops in doing so, but thinks they should not be western forces

    I really don’t think anyone carries a torch for Isis/l. The problem is that whats happening in Syria is only part of ther story. The Isis fighters in Syria are not Syrian. They are an international group of people attracted by a bizarre apocalyptic interpretation of Islam, and its that ideology which is what needs to be defeated. The problem is how to do so in a world where controlling electronic propaganda is virtually impossible (in both senses of the word)

    In terms of the immediate issue, pussyfooting around the roles of both Turkey where every single overseas fighter goes to get into Syria to fight with Isis, and Saudi Arabia, whose regime shares its Wahhabi Salafist theology and trains its adherents in the west – and realistically, must be contributing money and arms – cannot be ignored.

  5. Anne says:

    Tony – terrorists have got to start taking responsibility for their actions – they came into Paris with guns and bombs, killing innocent people.

  6. John P Reid says:

    Feodor, the issue under discussion isn’t Corbyn has pointed out Cameron hadn’t made the case for bombing, the issue under discussion, is Cor yo hasn’t suggested he’s even untreated in suggesting another way to START trying to defeat them

    Tony 911 wasn’t home grown in the USA the way 7/7 was in the UK ,persecution by Bun Laden had been noted before 911′ 7/7 would have happened eventually without Iraq,unless we had a police state which no one wants, there may have been a way of stopping something like 7/7 if everyone had their bags X rayed before they got on busses, but then that would be near impossible,and something similar could still have happened

  7. Madasafish says:

    The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.

    Anyone who disagrees is a supporter of terrorism. (to use Corbyn’s logic)..

  8. Tafia says:

    We need to hear Corbyn say: ‘Isil must be defeated’

    You really are terminally stupid. He doesn’t doubt they must be stopped and actually stated ‘defeat them’ (defeating them is actually impossible. They are no more ‘defeatable’ than Al-Queda are. He doubts the sense in what we are about to do – which is probably the correct position.)

    We are going to send two Tornados to a theatre of operations that sees more than 60% of all sorties return to base still fully armed (except Russians – who always use all munitions and couldn’t give a toss about ‘collateral’). We don’t know how long for, we have no idea what for, and we have no follow-up plan.

    Corbyn was right over Iraq – Blair wasn’t. Corbyn was right over Libya – Cameron wasn’t.

    When this achieves the square root of fuck-all – which is exactly what it will achieve and at very great expense, (even that well known extreme left winger Senator McCain now says bombing is achieving nothing other than “rubble shifting”) just remember that everyine in favour is going to lokk like a c**t, will be treated like a c**t and doesn’t deserve any better.

    And Corbyn meanwhile will, by their own actions, have lit up his targets for deselection and the Constituency parties will start sharpening their guillotines – and that is going to be fun to watch.

    In the meantime, the Kurds – remember them? Have asked for more anti-aircraft missiles from us and the Americans to shoot down Russian and Turkish aircraft that are attacking their towns and villages. They say without them they face imminant defeat as they can no longer manoevre against ISIS. The Americans are about to deploy their Special Forces to insurgent groups – despite the fact that the Russians are now giving less than 20 minutes advance notice of their strikes and are being deliberately vague as well – so sooner or later a US Special Forces team is going to be on the wrong end of a 1,000lb Russian bomb. And the Russians have equipped theoir aircraft with anti-air missiles as of yesterday and instructed their pilots to open fire without further clearance if they are ‘locked on’ by a third party and have started moving in radar jamming equipment.(not to mention the S-400 which can take out even stealth aircraft).

    And Cameron still insists Assad must be deposed. What a fucking plant pot.

  9. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Corbyn is keeping mum but Der Schattenkanzler has articulated his views on defeating the evil force………


  10. Jamie Stewart says:

    1. Wars should not be waged on moral outrage. They should be sober, matter of fact decisions based on clear strategy (rightly assessed as lacking by Jeremy Corbyn).
    2. Anyone who says “ISIL must be defeated” must stand up to the question “How?” To say that ISIL can be defeated by dropping a few bombs is naiive in the extreme.
    3. This is not just a question of how to defeat ISIL, it is a question about tackling global terrorism in all its forms. Get rid of ISIL, another group will spring up to fill another power vacuum in another failing state/war zone. Then there are the global cells, radicalised individuals and so-called “lone wolves” who will not be any less radicalised by the demise of ISIL.

    Lets not kid ourselves and see this for what it is – a helpless, knee-jerk lash-out reaction to the Paris attacks.

    Don’t get me wrong – we need to solve the problem of Syria and I don’t think military solutions can be totally ruled out. But not like this.

  11. John P Reid says:

    Livingstone constantly contradicts himself, depending who he’s talking too, plus he likes sending coded meassages ,that can be interpreted by Muslims, like the Tories are riddled(a work that can only mean disease) with gays
    Or rich Jews won’t vote for me, a factually in correct statement,

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