Britain Clings to Its Bombing Addiction With the Weary Rationale of a Junkie
Turning Libya into a jihadi Mad Max should have cured Britain’s habit. But, instead of entering recovery, Cameron is just looking to score another hit in Syria
By Frankie Boyle / theguardian.com
Oct 21, 2015

In every addiction, a part of us is addicted to the process. Laying out the cigarette papers to build the joint; heating the spoon and flicking the syringe; dealing with our emails before our DMs; cueing up Netflix for when the kids go to sleep; methodically polishing the keys to our own prisons.

Britain seems to be going through the preliminaries associated with one of its most cherished addictions: bombing. Bombing Syria has probably only been postponed by Russia’s intervention. It was, of course, amusing to see the western press suddenly preoccupied about whether bombs were hitting their intended targets. Perhaps Putin should have avoided such rigorous international scrutinyby bombing only hospitals.

Historically, Syria has existed as a place where outsiders come to fight, a bit like Wetherspoon’s. No one likes Assad: he has the surprised appearance of a man who has just swallowed his own chin, and a bizarre, faint, fluffy moustache, as if he pulled on a cashmere turtleneck just after eating a toffee apple. He has created a hell for his own people that British teenagers seem eager to go to and fight in, just to give you some idea of how shit Leeds is.

But if their desire to go to Syria is deluded, how is our government’s any less so? A government that doesn’t believe it should have any responsibility for regulating our banks or even delivering our post thinks it needs to be a key player in, of all things, the Syrian civil war. Somehow, the plight of this strategically significant state has touched their hearts. Britain is so concerned about refugees that it will do anything – except take in refugees – to try to kill its way to a peaceful solution.

Why is war more palatable than more refugees? Why is the destruction of lives you can’t see easier to live with than someone on your bus making a phone call in a language you don’t understand? The idea that war is for Queen and country has always struck me as bizarre. It must be hard for the British royal family to see who we choose to fight against – I can imagine they were as baffled when we went after the Nazis as they are now that we disapprove of the ritualistic murder of journalists.

So, which of a variety of awful groups is Britain going to side with? We have all the options of a 39-year-old woman whose Tinder app has given her only one match: Broadmoor.

Of course, there are no guarantees that airstrikes in support of rebel groups will work. It’s simply uncharted territory for Cameron, with only the fact that he did exactly the same thing recently in Libya and caused an unmitigated disaster that turned the country in to a kind of jihadi Mad Max to provide any kind of guide. Perhaps we believe the myth that bombing helps because we think bombing beat the Nazis. That was a win, wasn’t it? I mean, it’s not as if we now live in a Europe controlled by the Germans or a country where the poor are restricted from breeding and disabled people are dying as a result of forced labour.

We cling to our dependency with the weary rationale of any addict. The addiction is simple; giving up is complicated. It’s a tricky old situation when you get down to it. Our key allies are the people funding the jihad that we are supposedly trying to stop. We want to stand against Islamic State while having a cosy relationship with other Islamic tyrannies. The tiresome thing about social democratic allies is that they don’t usually need to gun down their own people in any significant numbers, and we don’t make our money exporting ballot papers. Bombing is simple. It’s what we’ve prepared for. As the old saying goes, when all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a foreigner you can beat to death with a hammer.

Yes, recovery is difficult, but that’s because it’s a return to reality, in all its beautiful complexity. The ability to act unilaterally and the ability to create solutions for difficult situations with multiple actors are mutually exclusive. The very idea of unilateral action is probably a post-imperial hangover. If we wanted to get well as a society, we would end up like anyone in recovery: sitting around a table talking, having awkward conversations and making compromises. Instead, a few months from now, we’ll be dealing with the kind of horror that is unleashed when British MPs are told they can vote with their consciences.

Photograph: Keystone USA-ZUMA/Rex Features

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 12,175 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 8,353 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 8,224 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 7,226 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 4,403 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 2,728 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 2,018 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,960 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
True Justice Should Have Compassion in It
Thich Nhat Hanh · 1,829 views today · I believe that true justice should have compassion in it. When someone does something harmful, destructive, the destruction is done not only to the person who is the victim...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,820 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
The Price of Certainty
7 min · 1,717 views today · It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong...
How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct action
IWW · 1,054 views today · The indignity of working-for-a-living is well-known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which our society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,048 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,038 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 668 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
Meet the Earthship
7 min · 434 views today · Outside of Taos, New Mexico, you'll find a community of people living in off-grid homes made of garbage. The homes are called Earthships and were invented by Michael Reynolds...
The Importance of Empathy
3 min · 395 views today · With an increasingly polarized and divided world, we need empathy more than ever before. Too often we are talking at each other, unable to listen and jumping to entirely wrong...
Growing Huge Amounts of Food on 1/2 an Acre - Urban Abundance
5 min · 378 views today · In the small town of Oxford, Kane and Fiona Hogan have transformed their urban 1/2-acre property into abundant veggie gardens. Their business Urban Gardener aims to build...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 328 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 314 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Britain Clings to Its Bombing Addiction With the Weary Rationale of a Junkie