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Let’s not bludge when it comes to solving ISIS

July 2, 2015

There’s lots of stuff out there about Islamic State (IS) right now. They look scary. They wear hoods, have big knives and love to yell out loud. The high definition footage of their atrocities is beyond the pale. Australia is currently spending 500 million dollars a year to fight them. Seems like a very big deal. Here’s a catch up if you don’t know much about it, from the US perspective (seeing as they tell us our foreign policy anyway):

Now I condemn all violence. I would love to see IS disappear. That’s why I am writing this.

Australian and US strategy in the Middle East won’t make IS disappear, it will help IS get stronger- especially if we put soldiers on the ground.

Since October, Australia has been helping the US bomb IS. Politically in Australia this sounds great. No Australian lives at risk; we find the bad guys, blow them up and fly home for a gin and tonic. Things on the ground are a bit more complex though.

Iraq is made up of many different groups. E.g:

  • There’s the Iraqi Army; that has continually crumbled since 2011. It is now being backed by Iranian volunteers and funding, as well as US and Australian backing. There are also other groups.
  • Shi’ite militias that are allied with the government but don’t support it and;
  • Sunni militias opposed to both the Iraqi government and IS.

When our bombs fall, we don’t always hit hooded guys. We have also bombed a slew of civilian casualties in IS controlled areas, but also in Sunni militia controlled regions.

When the bombs fall on your town, you don’t go “oops, they thought we were Islamic State- you rascally Americans made a mistake!” Nope.

You wail, you mourn for your dead family members and you vow revenge.

Iraqis in these areas see the US bombings as support of the Baghdad Shi’ite government. So men, who want to defend their families, join up with a group, that might be crazy, but at least they’re defending your family against the Americans!

This is the very reason IS films its evil on high definition cameras and posts high quality videos. Not only do we drive Iraqis and Syrians to join IS in response to our violence, our image obsessed media spends all of its time talking about the atrocities that the evil barbarian terrorists conveniently uploaded onto youtube.

And our political leaders can score easy points by looking strong against them.

In short, IS knows us. Many have been fighting the US and Australia since we invaded Iraq in 2003, they’ve studied us, and now they’re playing us like fiddles.

Our political leaders, instead of dealing with issues such as, how to give Central Queensland a sustainable future, can just stutter terrorism and they look competent.

This gives resonance when local parliamentarians like Michelle Landry MP and Mayor Margret Strelow; instead of having to demonstrate vision for the region, simply wheel out the old chestnut of ‘we had a conversation with someone and there might be some more tanks in Rockhampton’. Just like they were saying in 2013, when I was last up here.

Australia is facing many problems. Global warming, Aboriginal deaths in custody, asylum seekers, the escalating price of living, being dependent on fossil fuels with only two weeks reserve at any one time, record rates of depression and suicide, an ageing population- to name a few. But what do I read when I get on the news everyday? Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. New laws, new weapons, new wars.

If these guys were in Tasmania, I’d understand. But they’re half a world away. What are we so scared of?

IS, which is really just the battle hardened remnants of Sadaam’s old Iraqi Army combined with people wanting to defend their families from murderous invaders (yep us) know how to twist our media nipples and wet-willy our political ignorance.

Forget the people flying to join them- their numbers are tiny- more rhetoric for our lazy politicians to try and look tough for us on national security. It’s not politics anymore, but a verbal Mr. Universe, featuring Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and another guy who sounds like Arnie.

IS desperately wants to drag Australia into another ground war. Not only do we legitimise them as a significant international force, they gain more funding from Sunni supporters in the Middle East, who are frightened of Iran gaining too much power.

They also gain more recruits, surrounded by horrendous violence from both sides, go with their only option for defending themselves. Or they run away and become asylum seekers…

Australians are hard workers. We pride ourselves on it.

Right now, our military is spending half a billion dollars a year fighting a threat that grows stronger with every bomb we drop and our political and military leaders only know how to scream ‘more bombs!’.

Bombs and guns won’t solve this one, or many of the other challenges facing us. As a country we have to work harder to solve these problems, or our children and grandchildren will have to pick up our weight.

Do you want your grandkids saying:

“Gee, wish granddad didn’t leave climate change to us to solve. What a bludger.”?

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2 Comments
  1. Clair permalink

    Thanks Greg – good work here!

    What is needed now is to shine the light on some of the effective strategies where local communities have successfully suppressed the effectiveness of IS through collective action and non-violent means, because many don’t know about that or even think it’s possible. Show us what positive strategies Australia (and the U.S.) should be supporting.

    -Clair, in Chicago

  2. Adele Goldie permalink

    What is unfolding in Syria is an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey and Israel.

    Armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting the insurgency. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-destabilization-of-syria-and-the-broader-middle-east-war/25312

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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