The Plastic Hippo

November 23, 2015

Network of Death Cult



In these uncertain and dangerous times, it seems churlish to point out that even before the term was coined and the condition categorised, governments have operated from a position of paranoid schizophrenia. Monsters are out to kill us, they bellow. We will be murdered unless you do exactly what we tell you to do. Vote for us and we will keep you safe in exchange for your civil liberties. You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. In the aftermath of yet another dreadful atrocity, “leaders” feel it necessary, usually in the same statement, to tell us that we are in great danger and yet also quite safe.

Clearly, those that carry out the random and indiscriminate slaughter of innocent men, women and children commit the most heinous of crimes against humanity. If they are prepared to die for some cause or other then they should face soldiers on a battlefield and not destroy the lives of people unknown to them and who have caused them no harm. No cause, misinterpreted faith, economic strategy or perverse political dogma can ever justify the murder of a child.

Outrage and anger at such barbarism is, however, inevitable and justified but there is a deeply disturbing undercurrent of irrationality within the reaction of western governments and the western media. There has been a contest of condemnation in parliaments and press to see who can shout “monsters, animals, barbarians” the loudest and who can best describe the increasingly draconian acts of vengeance and collective punishment to fall upon the heads of people unknown to them and who have caused no harm. President Hollande talked of “an army of jihadists” invading France and launched an airstrike on Raqqa in Syria. Within hours, forensic science had proved with finger print evidence taken from soup of the suicide bombers remains that the terrorists arrived from Syria posing as refugees. Unfortunately, the terrorists were EU citizens so this logic of vengeance must make the aerial bombing of “targets” in the suburbs of Brussels and Paris itself a distinct possibility.

A senior British police office, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe who is doing such a great job at the Met, took the opportunity to talk of “huge numbers” of terrorists threatening our safety and went on to ask for more money for the Met. Cameron and Osborne, who between them would have difficulty running a school tuck shop, once again want to join in with the bombing of Syria and launch more drone strikes against British citizens. Such is the genius of Osborne that he is about to cut police funding again yet order more F-35 strike aircraft to operate from British aircraft carriers. Unfortunately, the carriers are five years away from completion, the F-35 is still under development and by most accounts is something of an expensive death-trap that doesn`t actually work. Still, we always have Trident to protect us.

Most of the bellicose rhetoric being screamed by politicians and the media displays a complete lack of understanding of the complexities of Middle East politics and a wilful intent to ignore the history and values of Islam. The brutes that attacked Paris, Mali, Beirut and an airliner full of tourist are, as defined by their actions, not Muslims. They do not represent Islam in exactly the same way that gun-crazed American fundamentalists do not represent Christianity. Those now demanding extreme retaliation for the latest horror are unlikely to demand the extrajudicial termination of the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury the next time there is a mass killing in a school or in a shopping mall.

When a world leader with the credibility of Obama talks of destroying ISIL and a discredited world leader like Putin vows to destroy ISIL, you know that the old powers have completely lost the plot. The very idea that you can bomb a philosophy however warped or fire a missile at an ancient grievance to make it go away is utterly preposterous and, more worryingly, shows a terrifying lack of judgement regarding the nature of the perceived common enemy. ISIS or ISIL or IS or Daesh are not a traditional army or a state or even an organised insurgency. It is a network of relatively small groups with different allegiances and animosities who are just as likely to fight amongst themselves as fight the rest of us. Remember that 1,000 fighters took Mosul by reputation alone resulting in a much larger, better equipped Iraqi army group running away discarding their weapons as they fled. Remember also that the current European nervous breakdown was brought about by a cell of eight terrorists. Still, let`s blame refugees, close the borders and remove civil liberties.

Bombing towns and cities will not destroy terrorists. The tragedy is that it will radicalise even more people and create more and more civilians willing to do anything to fight back. With Iraq and Afghanistan going ever so well, another war will have the arms manufactures and stock markets rubbing their hands with glee. Cameron calls ISIS a “death cult” as if Charles Manson is still knocking on the doors of mansions in the Hollywood Hills and the Prime Minister wants more legislation of a similar ilk to that that prevented the latest atrocities. Osborne has said that a vote in the commons for airstrikes will not take place until an approval is certain. A defeat, he said, would be a propaganda victory for the terrorists. Guess what? The terrorists just defeated democracy.

The solution requires an avoidance of gung-ho sabre rattling from rich men with vested interests and instead a basic understanding of shifting of power as vacuums were and are created in those far off lands with lots of oil. This goes back 1,200 years and more recently to the collapse of Ottoman Caliphate and the disastrous intervention by western governments at the end of the First World War. Scholars might wish to compare and contrast the rise of Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula and the seemingly coincidental rise of ISIS in even more recent years. When a trusted friend and ally drags a woman into the street for a public beheading, that`s “cultural”. When a hated enemy does the same, that`s outrageous. As they say in cheap movies, follow the money.

The diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenic Disorder is falling out of favour with very clever people who understand the complexities of fragile minds. An all encompassing label to categorize a wide range of conditions is considered inappropriate and counterproductive to successful treatment. However, with government intent on reducing services, removing basic human rights and telling us that we are in constant danger and with the media whispering and sometimes shouting lies, it is reasonable to assume that every individual is now presenting classic symptoms of a profound and often chronic psychosis.

Hearing imaginary voices coupled with an irrational fear that everything and everybody intends to cause us harm is now quite normal behaviour. Let`s hope the NHS has enough medication.

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