Adam Lovejoy writes from London: So, were you surprised that Britain was dragged into another unwinnable war, in Mali this time? You were? Well that’s weird. Because it was only logical that Western governments would find a place to launch a military campaign, with the dates for the retreat – yes, it’s a retreat and not a heroic disengagement as NATO would like it to be seen – from Afghanistan quickly approaching. And what would Western politicians do then, with their economies falling apart and social tensions growing? A good juicy war that would last a decade or so is just the thing to keep the generals and the death merchants happy, not to mention dispatching troops to a faraway land. New Labour and Tony Blair perfected the vile practice of starting wars abroad, primarily to keep the armed forces out of the country in case they turned against their treacherous political rulers. And David Cameron is no different from Comrade Blair and acts accordingly.
French President François Hollande was the first to send his troops to Mali, having failed to prevent the mess in the economy getting worse. A high profile war with heroic French soldiers defeating the Islamist militants was just the thing, Mr Hollande figured. The fact that this is an unwinnable war and that it would run for eternity, simply because the jihadists have lots of places to hide in neighbouring countries and could conduct a guerrilla war for decades, was carefully avoided by the French government’s propaganda. Not to mention that no one is talking about the flow of arms from ‘liberated’ Libya into Algeria and Mali.
And now it’s Britain’s turn to get involved in North Africa proper. And so the government announces that 240 or 350 – the information is confusing so it’s probably going to go up to a thousand soldiers this year – will be going to Mali, to protect the 40 or so British military advisers who are going to train the Malian armed forces. That on top of the British military personnel involved in providing supplies by air to the French troops. A classic opening to a big invasion. Text book stuff really. Ever since Vietnam it always starts with military advisers sent to the conflict area and then the army following.
And the British generals seem to be all excited about the prospect of another war and more speedy promotions. Unlike the wars of the past, when top officers were killed on occasions and even led troops into battle, the new lot never gets to taste any action. It’s all about sitting in fortified bunkers and planning operations that never actually go according to plan, but still allow the top brass to think that they actually matter and even do a great job. If generals were forced to be closer to the real action they would be less keen to get involved in wars.
What is really interesting about this war is that the government this time didn’t even bother to present a proper explanation of why it is getting involved in another military adventure. By now politicians feel that it makes no sense to waste their precious time on keeping the masses informed. And with Mali no one even bothers to talk about freedom and democracy and people power, with the Arab Spring putting an end to all that rubbish. It’s a war against Islamist militants this time, pure and simple. No mention that that these same militants got their inspiration from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, where the West created all the conditions for the jihadists to get their training and their arms.
As you read this Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting North Africa, leaving the British economy that is going down the toilet in the capable hands of former researcher turned Chancellor, George Osborne, who is determined to finish it off before he is kicked out of office, along with the rest of the gang. Mr Cameron has paid his respects to the victims of the attack on the BP gas plan in Algeria that had been carried out by extremists who got their arms from Libya, the country Mr Cameron takes pride in saving from tyranny.
The irony never stops, does it?