Category Archives: war

14 Jul

Transcendental gibberish

William Hague, who was leader of the Conservatives while they were in transition between what Theresa May called “the nasty party” and what, under her leadership, has become “the totally useless party,”  now moonlights as Occasional Panglossian Columnist (OPC) on the Church Times.

William is very ambitious. Not for him the trivial aims of passing a law to ensure that everyone is happy all the time or turning the reservoirs of ignorance and imbecility which are our state schools into models of scholarly excellence. No, William really wants to make his mark.

He wants to abolish all rape and sexual violence in warfare. He says: 

“It is often said to me that without war there would be no war-zone rape, as if that were the only way to address the problem. While, of course, our goal is always to prevent conflict, we cannot simply consign millions of women, men, girls, and boys to the suffering of rape while we seek a way to put an end to all conflict, since this goal is one we should always strive for but may often not attain.”

I have read William’s statement eight times already this morning and I still can’t make up my mind whether it is a moral message so profound that we should all be awe-struck and take our shoes off before we read it, or whether it is a candidate for one of the six impossible things that the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass boasted she could do before breakfast.

William’s words are so momentous that I cannot bear the full glory of them in their entirety, so I shall have to discuss them a bit at a time.

First his certainty of the truth of the proposition, “Our goal is always to prevent conflict.”

No it isn’t. Sometimes the right thing to do is to wage war thoroughly – for instance, when our country is threatened by a murderous aggressor. Let us take the example of Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in September 1939. We shouldn’t have done it according to Bill Pangloss. We should have tried to prevent it. And we did this resolutely and consistently for a decade. It was called “appeasement” and it didn’t work. In fact, most military historians are agreed that, if we had waged war on Hitler sooner – for instance when he marched into the Rhineland with a battalion that was little more than ceremonial – the far greater carnage that ensued would have been averted.

I hope I’m not going too slowly for you, but one has to be so punctilious when stating the bleedin’ obvious.

So, let me move on to the next episode of Willie in La-La Land by reminding myself that in moral philosophy ought implies can. In other words, I cannot be bound morally to do what I can’t accomplish physically. For convenience, let us take another historical example. How would William have prevented the mass rapes perpetrated on German women by the avenging Red Army in the last years of the Second World War? What “mechanisms” would he have “employed”, what “systems” would he have “put in place” so that these unpleasant things could not have happened?

The answer of course is that, if William had been around in 1943, he would have been powerless to do anything to prevent these atrocities – because he would have had no authority over the Red Army. Similarly today, he has no control over what barbarians of Islamic State or Boko Haram might do in the territories which they occupy.

(Incidentally, he might just possibly be able to minimise such atrocities but, ironically, only by doing the one thing which, he says we must not do – and that it by waging war on them).

Of course, we might devise a moral code for the conduct of our own armed forces which says that they must not rape the enemy’s womenfolk. But the conduct of the enemy’s armed forces is beyond our control.

In the light of these reflections, we can return to William’s original statement and see that it is not, after all, some exalted ethical proposition.

It is sanctimonious gibberish

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28 Dec

Arrest the Prime Minister of Japan

Speaking at Pearl Harbour, Japan’s prime minister has offered Americans his “eternal condolences” for the deaths inflicted by his country on US soldiers in the 1941 attack. I believe the emperor of Japan is regarded as a god by his people, but it’s a bit presumptuous for a mere prime minister to express “eternal” condolences: he should leave such promises to the one true God who alone can deal in the business of eternity. Condolences – eternal or not – are one thing while apologies are another. The PM stopped short of making an apology. But he did make an astonishing promise: he said his country would “never wage war again.”

The man should be arrested, charged with treasonous intent and locked up.

“Never” means “never.” I think, in this case, the Japanese for “never” is “zettai ni.” And it means “In no circumstances.”

So the PM has pledged that Japan will not go war even if his country and people are attacked. That is a contemptible promise for a statesman to make.

Of course, there are those – so called “pacifists” – who would never make war. And pacifists tend to get a very good press. The fact remains that pacifism is fundamentally immoral. I may on my own behalf refuse to fight, but to refuse to fight to protect those for whom I have responsibility is both cowardly and wicked. To refuse to defend my country when it is under attack is a betrayal of all upon which I rely for my safety and well-being.

War is a very bad thing, but there are things worse than war: for instance, surrendering to tyrannous aggression. Redemption can indeed come through war – when men are prepared to shed their blood to redeem us from the enemy. I would go further and say that when our soldiers give their lives in battle, their sacrifice is joined to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

It is a bit much when so called “peace activists” presume to lecture soldiers about the nature of war. Soldiers do not like war – because it is they – and not the peace activists – who are called to fight. But soldiers know that there is a worse thing than war, and that is the triumph of evil. Sometimes war is the moral, the righteous, thing to do. The soldiers are the true peace activists, because peace is what they are fighting for. This is the lasting peace which only comes after victory. And the Bible itself warns us against those who “…cry peace where there is no peace.”

I wonder where soldiers get their courage from? Surely their love of our country and their fierce attachment to their Regiment. Through the knowledge that they are fighting a good fight. Through their loyalty to their comrades-in-arms.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

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19 Nov

ARCHBISHOP TALKS SENSE!

Indeed, the age of miracles is not dead. Let me write the headline: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TALKS SENSE. It’s even better than MAN BITES DOG. Yes, Justin Welby has surprised us by acting entirely out of character. He has said we must accept that the terrorist group Islamic State has some connection with Islam. Here is an extract from the Archbishop’s speech:

“If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it.

“A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that.

“This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Islamic State is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism.

“Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”

I have never heard him say anything remotely sane or sensible before. I ran out of fleshy areas of my body which I might pinch to establish that I was not dreaming. Now I am left wondering why Welby spoke as he did. In the past he was always a fully paid up member of the Islam-is-a-religion-of peace-and-love brigade: those Guardianistas and BBC types who claim that the murderous psychopaths’ shout of “Allahu Akbar!” immediately before they behead you/throw a few bombs into a shopping centre/spray a playground with Kalashnikov bullets/ or perhaps crucify you is an aberration or a mere coincidence.

It was probably too much to expect the Archbishop to take the reasonable next step and declare that the Christian response – in fact the Christian duty – towards those who deliberately kill the innocent should be to fight them. This teaching, derived from Aquinas’ doctrine of the just war, is entirely orthodox. Better still if Welby had followed the example of St Bernard of Clairvaux who, in the Burgundian town of Vézelay on 31st March, 1146, delivered his famous oration on responding to the Muslim threat:

“…Will you allow the infidels to contemplate in peace the ravages they have committed on Christian people? …Fly then to arms; let the holy rage animate you in the fight, and let the Christian world resound with these words of the Hebrew prophet: ‘Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood!’ ”

But credit where it’s due: The Archbishop’s words represent movement in the right direction and a welcome change from the usual evasive, euphemistic tosh that churchmen speak concerning the barbarians who perpetrate mass murder in the name of Islam. Who knows where these things might lead? Perhaps next week the Archbishop will ascend the pulpit in Canterbury cathedral and say, “Up, lads, and at ‘em!”

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06 Sep

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Here follows the cheeriest, most encouraging, sentence I’ve read in a long time: “A Christian militia has liberated a village in Iraq from Islamic State.”

This victorious Christian militia bears a name with sonorous biblical resonance. They are called the Nineveh Plain Protection Units, in number about 3000 men, and they have just taken back control of Badanah in south-east Mosul. The group published video and images on Facebook of NPU fighters driving Islamic State from the village.

Praise be to God!

NPU commander Bahnam Abush told the Iraqi press: “The operation is a step towards the restoration of confidence and hopes for Christians to stay in the land of their grandparents.”

The Nineveh Plains were captured in 2014 by Islamic State who murdered many Christians and drove 125,000 from their homes. Since the Muslims took control of the area, they have used torture extensively. They also destroyed a number of historical landmarks in the area such as the walls of Nineveh and the 4th century Mar Behnam Monastery.

Well now, thanks be to God and the Christian militia, they have got their come-uppance.

Christianity has a long and noble military tradition employed frequently against imperialistic Islam. Charles Martel raised a Christian army and defeated a huge Muslim incursion at Tours in AD 732. The Knights of St John relieved the siege of Malta in 1565. When the Muslim general crucified captured Christians and floated their bodies across the strait on crosses, the Abbot rounded up 1000 Muslims, beheaded them and fired the severed heads back at the enemy from his cannons. Papal armies raised a fleet and routed the Muslims at Lepanto in 1571. And it was a Christian army under Jan Sobieski which lifted the siege of Vienna in 1683.

Now that what’s left of the European civilization created by Christianity is once again under Muslim attack, the words “Christian militia” never cross the lips of our archbishops and bishops. They prefer to appease our enemies and persecutors. You might say the policy of the church’s contemporary leadership is pre-emptive self-abasement. In Europe, the Middle East and much of Africa, Christians are being slaughtered wholesale and dispossessed on the grand scale. But all the bishops’ talk is about “Islamophobia” – in other words, don’t blame the Muslims; it’s our own fault.

Don’t hang around for Welby’s Christian militia to turn up: you’ll have to wait a very long time.

On at least four occasions in the last 1400 years, Christian militias have defeated the barbarians. This time it looks as if the barbarians are going to win. Not because we lack the resources to fight, but we lack the will. A courageous people under threat of subjection or annihilation can always hope to defeat the enemy. But once a people has lost the will to fight, has lost confidence in itself, there is no power on earth that can save it.

Things will have to get worse before they get better. When the threat became severe and critical in Iraq, there emerged that wonderful Christian militia to smite the enemy. The Muslim threat is only going to intensify here in Europe.

So we should all sing Psalm 68: “Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered: let them that hate Him flee before Him. Like as the smoke vanisheth, so shalt thou drive them away: and like as wax melteth at the fire, so let the ungodly perish at the presence of God.”

Shall we, in our extremity, produce a Christian militia too? Let us pray in the words of The Book of Common Prayer:

“O Almighty God, King of all kings and governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners and to be merciful to them that truly repent; save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; abate their pride, aswage their malice and confound their devices; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

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29 Jul

The Religion of Peace and Love: Overseas Branch

The European mass media has devoted hundreds of hours and thousands of pages to the murder of an elderly priest in Normandy.

Understandable, because this occurred in our own backyard. But let’s put this atrocity into perspective.

David Curry, president and CEO of Christian Watchdog Group Open Doors, has reported that in 2015, more than 2,000 churches in Africa were attacked by Muslim arsonists and murderers and more than 7,000 Christians were killed. Muslim terrorist organisations such as Islamic State, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram are particularly keen to perpetrate wholesale slaughter inside Christian places of worship.

Mr Curry added, “In Nigeria, an average of five churches are attacked every Sunday.”

Similar figures are reported for the persecution of Christians by Muslims in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

Syria and Iraq were home to populous and flourishing Christian communities for two thousand years.

But Christianity has been almost completely wiped out in those countries.

The same goes for all the North African nations, as well as for Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the face of these massacres, genocide by any other name, taking place across three continents, I don’t want you to be disheartened.

Instead you should turn for reassurance to the people in authority, and to those who really know what’s going on: The BBC, The Guardian, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope.

These luminaries constantly give you all the reassurance you could possibly need. they are unanimous in saying:

“THESE ATROCITIES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM!”

There now, that feels better, doesn’t it?

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18 Jan

Sell-out Saturday

I hope you had a good weekend and that you particularly enjoyed your Saturday – Sell-Out Saturday when the US ended all its earlier attempts to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. The deal was done in Vienna and there are many rumours in circulation about what went on there. One such rumour – and I have it on good authority – is that a consultant neurologist attending the US delegation found minute traces of mental activity in John Kerry. Anyway, the deal is done, sanctions are being lifted and Iran will be free to export its oil again and garner billions of dollars to bestow on its favourite charity: the sponsorship of terrorism worldwide.

How did the Great Verbiage Producer Barack Obama celebrate his sell-out?  Last July he celebrated the deal – then in draft – by making a speech (of course) in which he said what a jolly good deal it is and added that he would bypass the US Congress if representatives there dared vote against it. President Obama is the boss of America and so I suppose he should be allowed to celebrate as he likes. The boss of Iran is Ayatollah Khamenei. How did he celebrate the deal? He tweeted a drawing of Obama holding a pistol to his head, about to commit suicide. Tasteless as this is, it was the more appropriate celebration of the two because it perfectly illustrates the swindle that has been perpetrated upon the USA – and by extension the West – by the Iranian authorities who will now go full steam ahead with their nuclear enrichment programme until they are able to produce the atomic bomb. And how did Britain celebrate the nuclear sell-out? By re-opening our embassy in Tehran which had been closed since it was attacked and ransacked by an Iranian mob in 2011.

Here’s a bit more detail for you about that nuclear programme. Recent photographs of the Parchin military complex, eighteen miles southwest of Tehran, where for years Iran has worked on developing nuclear arms, show increased activity since the nuclear deal was reached in Vienna. Pictures taken on 26th July and analysed by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) – a respected Washington think tank and not to be confused with the acronym for Islamic State – show a bulldozer at the base, as well as oil spills, which indicate heavy machinery at work.

“What the activity is precisely remains unknown,” said Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, an ISIS analyst. “But the concern is that Iran is potentially trying to get rid of any evidence of past experiments.”

What a surprise! But the next sentence I shall write in this blog is unbelievable – but true. The US and the other five world powers involved in the negotiations do not have access to the document containing the details of the nuclear deal. It was left to a US congressman to articulate the blinking obvious: that “side deals” have been done with Iran.

You have to admire Obama’s outstanding commitment to his policy of appeasement and sell-out. In a fresh development, Iran has been test launching long range missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. This is forbidden under the terms of earlier agreements. What did Obama do when he saw these launches? He threatened sanctions – only to withdraw his threat.

So Obama will have his phoney peace legacy and Iran will have its bomb.

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08 Aug

A bit on the side

It is only a couple of weeks since the swindle and deceit – sorry, I mean the transparent historic deal which will promote world peace – that allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons was announced. Already some of the predicted consequences are beginning to take effect.

New satellite images show Iran may be trying to scrub out evidence of its past nuclear experiments before international inspectors are allowed to investigate a controversial military facility.

Recent photographs of the Parchin military complex, eighteen miles southwest of Tehran, where for years Iran has worked on developing nuclear arms, show increased activity since the nuclear deal was reached in Vienna.

Pictures taken on 26th July and analysed by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) – a respected Washington think tank and not to be confused with the acronym for Islamic State – show a bulldozer at the base, as well as oil spills, which indicate heavy machinery at work.

“What the activity is precisely remains unknown,” said Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, an ISIS analyst. “But the concern is that Iran is potentially trying to get rid of any evidence of past experiments.”

What a surprise!

Access to Parchin, a vast military base with a corner devoted to nuclear research, is one of the most controversial elements of the entire nuclear agreement.

(The next sentence I shall write in this article is unbelievable – but true.)

The US and the other five world powers involved in the negotiations do not have access to the document containing the details of the nuclear deal.

It was left to a US congressman to articulate the blinking obvious: that “side deals” have been done with Iran.

So the US Congress is suddenly waking up to the fact that the Iranian government has fooled the IAEA inspectors.

The director of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, visited Congress last Wednesday to try to reassure senators but said his agency could not show them the details of the documents.

“My legal obligation is to protect safeguards and confidentiality,” he said, which, being interpreted, means We promised the Iranians we wouldn’t let the cat out of the bag.

Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, said the meeting with the IAEA chief was “not reassuring.”

In plain language, this means that the West has signed up to deal while not knowing what’s in it and effectually the safety of the West has been entrusted to the dodgy bureaucrats who run the IAEA – and who, of course, will do exactly what Mr Obama tells them to do; neither more nor less.

So Obama will have his legacy and Iran will have its bomb.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, Obama’s legacy is worth about as much as Mr Chamberlain’s piece of paper. Munich is next door to Vienna, after all.

If we seek to know the reality behind Obama’s shady deal with the Mullahs – the same Mullahs, by the way, who even after the deal are still crying “Death to America and death to Israel!” – observe the reaction of those who are at the sharp end.

Obama’s criminal sell-out has been condemned not only by Israel – which country Iran has promised time and again to “wipe off the map” – but also by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Neither Egypt nor the  Saudis can afford not to try to produce their own nuclear weapons. So now we can look forward to the bonus of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, to add to the joys of that colourful region.

Observe also the faces of jubilant, well-heeled Iranians in their limousines as they give their V-signs to the West’s media, while shouting, “We won! You lost!.” No wonder they are grinning ear-to-ear. The deal guarantees the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran – thus providing an additional $150billion for Iran to spend on its main industry, which is the promotion of terrorism worldwide.

And, in the process, greatly increasing the wealth of the V-signers

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06 Aug

God, what a prayer!

Can you imagine, even for half a minute, anyone actually sitting down and composing this:

God, you are the Father of all the families of the earth,
and call the nations to live in peace and unity.
We remember with sorrow the devastating destruction and death
unleashed on this day upon the city of Hiroshima,
and later upon the city of Nagasaki.
We pray for the people of Japan,
and all whose lives are disfigured by war.
We pray for ourselves,
the often unwise stewards of the powers of the universe.
Transfigure the lives and cities scarred by conflict
by the revealing of your glory
and move us by your uncreated energies
to advance your sovereign purpose of peace.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ,
our light and our salvation.

It is the Church of England’s official prayer for Hiroshima. What a nerve they must have to talk to God like that! The first line is at best offensive and at worst blasphemous. Notice, the utter lack of reverence, the failure to indicate the great inequality that separates our existence from God’s existence. The eternal maker of all that there is, the sun, the moon and the stars is addressed in a perfunctory manner. What upstart could think to begin speaking to the Almighty with, “God, you…”? You wouldn’t talk to a dog like that.

The model for formal prayers is the Collects in The Book of Common Prayer, and no one trying to frame words of thanksgiving or petition can afford to ignore the Collects, masterpieces in miniature all of them. The first thing to notice about the Collects is that they establish a proper courtesy by regarding God as infinitely greater than ourselves; “Almighty and ever-living God…” for instance. “O Lord and everlasting Father…” Or “Blessed Lord…”

Next the Collects do not presume to tell God his business; “God, you.” God’s activities are referred to by means of subordinate clauses: “Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.” To say the least, this is astonishingly beautiful. It is also polite. How would the illiterate, self-elevating thug who produced the prayer for Hiroshima have begun that Collect of thanksgiving for the Scriptures?

We know, because he has himself provided the model: “God, you wrote the Bible.” And then the prayer is a confusion of notions and sentiments with heavy words all rushing together: “families…nations…peace…unity…sorrow” and so on, so that the worshipper is not helped to focus attention on a theme.

And what is the sentiment of the prayer? This – insofar as it exists – is evasive and imprecise. I can imagine someone sincerely writing that we remember Hiroshima with penitence – because he believes we were wrong to drop the bomb. I can imagine someone else praying, “We remember with thanksgiving” – because the dropping of the bomb shortened the war and saved many lives. But sorrow only reveals the prayer as muddled, inarticulate and indecisive.

And – because the bomb was dropped on the Feast of the Transfiguration – there is this cack-handed attempt to weave together banal contrasts: disfigure, transfigure, powers of the universe, uncreated energies.

Just when you think the church’s liturgists couldn’t get any worse, they discover new depths of incompetence whereby God is insulted and mocked.

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05 Aug

Brighter than a thousand suns

“And Jesus was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light” – (St Matthew 17:2)

“The atomic bomb – brighter than a thousand suns”  – Robert Jungk

Is it only a fearful coincidence that the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord and the dropping of the atomic bomb are on the same day, 6th August? C.G. Jung thought not. With the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, Jung developed a theory: Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. This was meant to throw light on parallel events, neither caused by the other, yet they seem to relate to each other.

I don’t know what to make of this as a theory, but there’s no denying that some coincidences are very striking and this leads people such as Jung and Pauli – men of utterly different temperaments and inclinations – to suggest that they are somehow meaningful

Of course, back on the ground on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, we are regaled in all the usual quarters with remonstrations about the horror of war. As if we didn’t know that war is horrible. But what war, when, where and how?

In the Potsdam Declaration of 26th July 1945, the US told the Japanese government that the alternative to unconditional surrender would be “prompt and utter destruction.”

The Japs knew they were bound to be defeated – not just by the massive naval and air forces deployed against them by the Americans, but by the imminent invasion of one and a half million Soviet soldiers.

Consider: if the Americans had been obliged to fight the Japs island by island, it is estimated that it would have cost them more than half a million lives

What rational and humane president – such as Truman certainly was – would elect for a policy that meant he had to write letters of condolence to 500,000 mothers and widows?  

Consider the blame that would naturally have been attached to him if he had not used every means and every weapon in his armoury to end the war as quickly as possible.

The Japs were told straight that their refusal to surrender would mean “…the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.”

And, by the way, it was the Japs who started it all: the USA was always fighting a defensive war after the attack on Pearl Harbour. Moreover, the Japs fought in an especially cruel style: their treatment of prisoners of war was despicable and their sadism infamous.

I do not need to be told that war is terrible. I am not impressed by emotive arguments which amount to nothing more than looking again at the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and being asked to hold up my hands in horror.

I know that waging war is a terrible thing to do. I also know that sometimes it is the right thing to do. And it was right in the Far East in 1945

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29 Jul

Come on if you think you’re hard enough–we’re not!

A few years ago, I asked an Air Marshal, “If the government decides we should bomb Libya, will both our aircraft be involved?”

Emphatically: “No – one of them is out of service.”

Things are not as bad as that – quite or yet. But the number of our military personnel – army, navy and air force – now stands at 143,000, down from 176.000 five years ago.

Of course, when asked why the reduction, the government blames the economies which have to be made following the financial crisis. Agreed, economies have to be made, but is military provision the right place to make them?

The world-political scene would suggest not. The Russia-Ukraine conflict shows no sign of abating and, more generally, there is plenty of evidence for believing that the Cold War is hotting up.

And, unless you’ve been asleep for the last twenty years, you have probably noticed that there is a violent Muslim insurgency in west Africa, central Africa, north Africa, all across the Middle East and as far as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Given recent local atrocities – and the un-stemmed tide of immigration – this shows every sign of moving imminently into Europe.

Is the minister of defence confident that we have the forces to counteract this threat?

We have limited resources, so what are our spending priorities? An out-of-control benefits racket, a national health service that is not fit for purpose and foreign aid – including to countries such as India which are wealthy enough to boast a space programme; as well as to profligate African states where our hand-outs disappear into the pockets of crooks and dictators.

The first duty of government – some would argue the only duty of government – is to preserve the peace in our streets and to defend us from foreign enemies. But we conspicuously fail to honour these responsibilities because we are spending our resources on items not essential to our survival.

When a breadwinner loses his job and belts have to be tightened, the household does not look first to cut back on necessities but on optional extras. And so it should be with the national defence.

I have just read a very disturbing sentence from Professor Keith Hartley, a defence expert at York University. Asked to comment on the reduction in our armed forces, he says: “We can’t fight in as many wars as we used to.”

But we don’t always have a choice when it comes to which battles we are obliged to fight. Often war is thrust on us.

Clearly Professor Hartley has not thought through to the shocking implications of his statement. He is as good as saying to any enemy, “Please don’t attack us, because we are unable to defend ourselves.”

Pre-emptive self-abasement. Cowardice and abject surrender.

It’s a serious crime to give such comfort to the Queen’s enemies. A crime almost as serious as our government’s refusal to arrange for the national defence.

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