It is easy to be ironical, pose as a saint, and ponder:”Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world? Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East.”
I generally like The Guardian’s Mr. Monbiot, and I understand he has to be funny and controversial to earn his keep. Yet, is that ethical? No. If “ISIS” (Daesh) could get its hands on Mr. Monbiot, they would saw through his throat as if he were another sheep (or Abraham’s son, whoever!). It’s something Fundamentalist Muslims have to do. I pointed this dynamic feature in many essays in the past, such as “Violence in the Holy Qur’an“. It’s best addressed this way:
Here are a few quotes from the first real chapter (“sura”) in the Qur’an. “the Cow”:
“A fire has been prepared for the disbelievers, whose fuel is men and stones.’ [Qur’an s. 2: v. 24]
“Disbelievers will be burned with fire.” [Koran, S. 2:39, v. 90]
“Jews are the greediest of all humankind. They’d like to live 1000 years. But they are going to hell.” [Koran, s. 2: v.96]
“Allah will leave the disbelievers alone for a while, but then he will compel them to the doom of Fire.” [Koran, s. 2:v. 126]
“Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don’t kill them.) [Qur’an s.2:v. 191-2]
“War is ordained by Allah, and all Muslims must be willing to fight, whether they like it or not.” [s. 2: v. 216]
“Those who marry unbelievers will burn in the Fire.” [2:221]
“Disbelievers worship false gods. They will burn forever in the Fire.” 2:257″
That’s just the first chapter, sura 2, as I said. Nothing wrong with it, of course, if you don’t take it too seriously. But apparently too many take it all too seriously, as they learn little else.
The same problem arose with Christianity: was the Bible to be taken literally? It was solved by the Church’s Founding Fathers, around 400 CE, by deciding it was all allegoric, metaphorical, etc. The exact opposite decision was taken by one Caliph around 850 CE.
Hence the on-going need to flatten completely some systems of thoughts and moods infesting the Middle East, as Ebola does West Africa. As Monbiot points out unwittingly.
Says Monbiot:”Let’s bomb the Muslim world – all of it – to save the lives of its people. Surely this is the only consistent moral course? Why stop at Islamic State (Isis), when the Syrian government has murdered and tortured so many? This, after all, was last year’s moral imperative. What’s changed?
How about blasting the Shia militias in Iraq? One of them selected 40 people from the streets of Baghdad in June and murdered them for being Sunnis. Another massacred 68 people at a mosque in August. They now talk openly of “cleansing” and “erasure” once Isis has been defeated. As a senior Shia politician warns, “we are in the process of creating Shia al-Qaida radical groups equal in their radicalisation to the Sunni Qaida”.
What humanitarian principle instructs you to stop there?”
Then Monbiot in his stupidity, proposes to bomb Israel, Iran, etc. He forgets that Israel is an ally, and Iran used to be one, and could be one again. Besides both have more or less free elections. After the French started to bomb in Iraq, the Iranian president came over, and visited with the French president, in peaceful agreement about the necessity to flatten terrorists.
The leaders of the West made no mystery that they are destroying fanatics according to the prime moral directive, namely survival. Saving the Middle Earth is secondary.
It is true that, as I have been saying for decades, and now Monbiot repeats, the plutocratic connections between Assad and London, or the Saudi family and Washington, ought to be brought to light (actually Monbiot does not mention the former: too close to his employer, and his social circles, I guess…). There is a global plutocracy problem, and it has impacted the Middle Earth, from Ukraine, to Pakistan, Libya…
However, it is useful to consult with a bit of history, Mr. Monbiot. In 1936, similar arguments to the ones you brandish, under the guise of irony, were used to do nothing about the Civil War in Spain. The first step is the hardest, and that’s getting into the fray, and flattening those who want to flatten much of what passes for civilization, in this world.
Another point is that there was certainly something very wrong with the Christianity of the Inquisition. If such ferocious Christians existed today, had an army, and invaded, one should certainly intervene, and flatten them. It would be a matter of security of the Republic, civilization, and… peace. I am all for sending some Rafales against Louis IX, the so-called Saint Louis, a rabid murderous fanatic of the worse type, and give him the Qaddafi treatment. However, as he died nearly 750 years ago in Tunis, I will have to content myself with scathing criticism.
Islam is also a religion of Europe, and the USA, and ferocious, murderous Islamist organizations ought to be treated just as ferocious, murderous Christian fundamentalist organizations would be, if they were still around, killing and torturing.
By the way the present Pope is more than an hypocrite. He loves Opus Dei, the closest thing we have to the Inquisition, which took part in the massacre of millions of Spaniards, and has entangled itself with the West’s plutocratic circles… And probably Putin. The Pope just “beatified” the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Satanas is more like it.
This, of course indicates that the present Pope, below his benevolent smile, was in hock with the Argentinian dictatorship, as charged.
The present bombing in Iraq and Syria is highly targeted. The big bombs below that Rafale above are guided by laser beams, they land within a meter of the target. We are very far from the area bombing which flattened Hitler’s Reich. The French Air Force Rafale depicted can, and does, hunt, identify and destroyed individual vehicles (that’s how Qaddafi was targeted, hit, and, later died, after spending some time in a tunnel like a bleeding rat).
Scathing irony does not replace deep thinking, or, for that matter, scathing thinking.