Sunday, September 28, 2014

...and war...

...of a sort.   But it is not really clear why it will be useful to send  our pilots flying over the desert and dropping bombs.  Aerial bombardment only has value if you are trying to achieve something specific on the ground.  What is it that we are seeking to achieve?

During the Falklands War, the object was to regain territory and place it once again under the British crown. Bombing airfields that could be used by the enemy was a part of the campaign: it had rather mixed results because airfields can be repaired and used again fairly soon, but it did help to make things difficult for the enemy.  The  actual victory was gained by landing troops who fought their way across the land, reached the capital, and liberated the islands.

Today's war? A vile terrorist group of fanatical Moslem faith is spread across different territories in three countries - four, if you include our own, where there seem to be some enthusiastic cells plotting to create horror in our cities.  Killing terrorists isn't easy: they have their own places in which to live and work and hide, and it isn't possible to detect these from the air. Bombing places doesn't always achieve much strategically, and it has the disadvantage of making all the people who are bombed hate you, and unite against you, even if earlier they had viewed you with some favour.

Above all: what is our aim?

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Who knows. The Pope is deeply worried by all of this. ISIS obviously wanted to draw the West into the conflict, it's the only rational explanation for the provocative executions of hostages. But why I don't know. The other possibility is that they are not rational, but that seems unlikely given the sophistication of the organisation.

Partly it's a secessionist movement by northern Sunnis, from the Shia government in Baghdad and the alawite government in Syria. As such, we have no dog in the fight. But successful revolutionary movements almost always project themselves aggressively against other states. Doing nothing doesn't seem to be an option.