Today Isis is attacking the Middle East. Tomorrow it’ll be the West

Those who have spent the past 10 years warning against intervention need to wake up

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The reported murder of the American journalist James Foley is further proof that Western countries must not be squeamish when it comes to helping the Iraqis and the Kurds to defeat Isis.

Liberals are very good at calling for the bombs to stop, but now is the time for anyone of a remotely progressive temperament to call for an intensification of the military campaign against Isis. Indeed, let more bombs fall on those who behead journalists and enslave Kurdish and Iraqi women.

The latest atrocity by Isis ought to drive home the point that those committing such crimes are not misunderstood men who have been "radicalised" by Western imperialism, but rather are attempting to use our concern for human suffering against us by proudly brandishing their own disregard for it — all to create a hellish and totalitarian Caliphate that would make death feel like a deliverance.

Indeed it bears repeating: the existence of Isis (as opposed to the group’s growth) is in no sense "our" fault. The old communist turned anti-communist Arthur Koestler once said that the difference between a person of a liberal and absolutist mentality was that the absolutist viewed wrong ideas as crimes committed against future generations.

It followed that wrong ideas must be punished in a similar way to other crimes. In the case of Isis this involves taking women and girls as slaves and murdering men who fail to convert to their particular noxious strand of Islam. If you believe that you are creating heaven on earth then anything and anyone that stands in your way must be squashed underfoot like a rotten apple.

Those who have spent the past 10 years trying to neuter Britain and the United States into international passivity need now to wake up. It seems clear that if the gung-ho 2000s showed the consequences of Western military adventurism, then recent events have demonstrated the limits of trying to stop the world on its axis and climb off.

Isis have germinated so rapidly not because of George Bush and Tony Blair, but because Western governments decided at some point that it would be acceptable for Bashar al-Assad to drop explosives on the Syrian people in order to keep power. It may come as a surprise to those MPs who whooped and hollered when the Commons voted against military intervention in Syria last year to learn that they did not "stop the war".

 

Judging by the macabre video which appeared on YouTube yesterday evening, James Foley's murderer appeared to have a British accent. We demand that our politicians do not put British "boots on the ground" in the Middle East yet it is our society which appears to be incubating at least some of the fighters currently chopping off heads in Iraq and Syria. When you live in a country that is failing to prevent at least some members of its own society from travelling to destroy somebody else’s, all talk of "keeping out" is little more than sanctimonious rubbish.

Either way, if you believe that, for whatever reason, Britain is at fault for the rise of Isis you should invariably want Britain to make amends by helping the Kurds and Iraqis to defeat it. Similarly, if you claim to be an anti-fascist you should waste no time in calling for a recognisably anti-fascist policy from the government – the bombing of Isis positions, for example. Indeed, for any genuine internationalist the next course of action is a straightforward one: to help the Iraqis and Kurds to kill those that will otherwise kill them.

For those that are inclined to bury their head in the sand a warning is probably more appropriate; in which case I will quote something a Kurdish friend told me on a recent anti-Isis demonstration in London. "Today they are attacking the Middle East; tomorrow it’ll be the West". In other words, just as you cannot ignore climate change because you do not live on a melting ice cap, Syria and Iraq are not someone else's problem because you have a mortgage and a credit card and live in a prosperous liberal democracy.

READ MORE:
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last
If Iraq is to survive, then it must be divided into separate regions  

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