War, what is it good for?


1st December


I am writing this on the eve of the parliamentary vote that if ‘AYE’ will commit Britain to adding its military might to the French, American, and Russian air strikes against ISIL in Syria. I have been pondering the complexity of the issue. Listening to and reading the contributions from the many commentators exposes the lack of a consensus and the mess both politically and militarily that is Syria. Do I have an opinion? Everyone has an opinion though few seem to reflect that of those who have fled the country seeking sanctuary from the murder and mayhem.

The overarching opinion of the pundits suggests that air strikes alone are futile, and from refugees that they are indiscriminate. The death toll continues to rise while the Assad Regime, which unleashed this murderous intent, survives. Refugees see no resolution from the conflict without the removal of Bashar Assad’s Regime.

A British Army Officer, retired, added his voice to the call for military intervention on BBC’s Radio 4.He reinforced his argument sighting the success of British military action in providing an outcome in N.Ireland that led to the Good Friday Agreement. Jesus wept as did I in frustration at the blinkered view of one qualified in warfare not peace. The British Military intervention over a 30 year period, supported by the government, judiciary, and police, promoted a flawed policy that saw: the imprisonment and death of innocent victims, the nurturing of terrorist and paramilitary objectives and boosting of their ranks, and elements of which still haunt our society today.

Each successive British government from Jim Callahan’s (1970’s) to Tony Blair’s Labour Party (1990’s) had open lines of communication with the IRA and UDA. Thatcher stated that she would not negotiate with terrorists, while behind the scenes diplomacy and negotiation was key to a long-term solution to the open sore that ailed our society. The recent death of Fr. Gerry Reynolds brought focus on those who had worked diligently, out of the spotlight, in pursuing a resolution to a fractious war, with a common consensus that terrorism could neither be beaten nor succeed in it’s objectives. From this potted local history perspective I would conclude that, in my opinion, the ‘War on Terror’, now in its 15th year, is unwinnable.

What approach to take with a disparate grouping of murderous barbarians, ISIL, Boko Haram, AQ, Shabaab, and others no doubt, when the general consensus is that air strikes will have no positive outcome. The ‘boots on the ground’ proposal offers its own set of complexities, while diplomacy may be a rank outsider but ultimately it will have its moment.

Are the real criminals in all conflict not those who manufacture and supply weapons that are designed to eliminate human beings whilst making profit for CEOs and shareholders?


2nd December: We are at war. I will probably take some flak for my views but that will harm no one.



Unclear on nuclear?


Another WWII anniversary seventy years on as the conflict drew to its conclusion. Not a military extravaganza of marching veterans, regimental flags, displays of military hardware, or fly-bys. There may be no laying of wreaths for the fallen soldiers or the hubris of battles won. It’s the anniversary of the unleashing of a mighty and destructive force, the Atom bomb, and the advent of nuclear weapons.

Was the opening of Pandora’s box a force for good or a force for evil? Seventy years on and the nuclear debate remains unresolved. Our planet has eight countries with a nuclear capability which, claim its advocates, are a deterrent to would be aggressors. In support of the case for a nuclear arsenal the acronym ‘MAD’ (mutually assured destruction), a doctrine of military strategy and national security, sold the case for the deterrent and as a cunning proposition of non-aggression.

In recent years following SALT2 and arms reduction, though not elimination, public awareness or concern for nuclear weapons seems to have virtually disappeared, with the odd spike to reinforce the subconscious fear and ensure the silos remain armed. Is that down to a healthy appetite for celebrity and reality TV shows, the 21st century’s “opiate of the masses?” So all is well.

Well? Well not quite. Britain’s nuclear arsenal is under attack from those troublesome Scots. The SNP are determined not to host the new generation of Trident missiles on their turf. Now another voice has been added to the debate. The Labour MP and leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has pitched his tent in the anti-Trident camp. Hooray for the voices of sanity in a MAD debate.

Our current Conservative Government has put the fear of god into the electorate with battle cries of austerity and immigration. It has imposed draconian measures on the public to ensure we do not live beyond our means, yet they intend spending £100bn on Trident in the US arms market for our security. Now that is MAD. No actually it’s fucking insane!

War and Peace


The Balaclava, was a knitted woollen helmet produced by the good ladies of the Empire for British soldiers during the Crimean War. Sent during the winter of 1854 to provide warmth and the comfort of knowing they were still remembered back home, while they laid siege to the strategic port of Balaklava on the Black Sea.

In later years it became the headgear of adventurers, walkers, climbers, and of course school children during a brisk British winter. My own kids, in their days of innocence, wore bright red balaclavas to keep their little heads warm during the cold, dark winter months. Their little faces and rosy cheeks framed in an oval of wool provided a familiar snapshot of childhood.

The design has evolved and is now de rigeur kit for any self respecting terrorist. The many paramilitary groupings in N.Ireland donned the now familiar headgear to secure their anonymity while also achieving the sinister threat of their presumed status. Murals on gable walls portrayed these factions with redtop slogans: ‘Prepared for Peace, Ready for War’ showing armed and uniformed fighters wearing black balaclavas and gloves, obviating the need for the street artist to attempt faces and hands.

The anonymity the Balaclava provided was so successful that Police in many countries have adopted the fashion. Footage of Riot police in the Robocop Hollywood style adaptation of the uniform can be seen cracking skulls with impunity. This masking of identity is sinister since public servants are paid to uphold the law yet their transgressions are above the law; the MET’s actions during the G20 summit in London, 2011 for example: ID no’s removed, kettling, and manslaughter.

Islamic State is another proponent of the Balaclava. Their quasi-religious zeal and logic plucked from the medieval mind of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi lacks any empathy for human kind. Ubiquitous images of marching jihadi’s in black Spiderman uniforms further demonstrates this desire to be anonymous.

A question for the Balaclava wearer: If you are to represent the law you uphold, or the righteousness of the path you tread, of the necessity for the rest to follow, then why hide your face?

All of the above is an opinion, one of 7 billion. The issue of Arms Manufacture and distribution has to be high on the agenda of how we as human beings move forward. The world seems awash with ingenious methods of murdering our fellowmen, which begs the question: Who profits from this in real terms?

War or Peace?


War. Wars give Government a sense of purpose and good media copy. We do wars well. We have devised weaponry down the generations for face-to-face combat and remote assassination. Children of the digital age are proficient at virtual war on their games consoles some graduating to actual combat. Images of drone strikes half way across the world delivered by an operative in a bunker in the Nevada desert are common and will become more so as the technology develops. Faceless combatants murder innocents in cases of mistaken identity. Collateral damage? No no. MURDER

Who are the winners in this war? Certainly not human beings. An increasing humanitarian crisis ensues of displaced peoples, of woman and children whose security has been robbed in the name of security, whose innocence is not considered by those who perpetrate these obscenities.

It’s not surprising that the Arms Industry is a global leader. Their agenda does not factor in the devastation to human life they facilitate, or the misery they cause. The numbers don’t figure on the bottom line. Investors, shareholders and governments are the beneficiaries not those on the delivery end of the product Such blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life can only be described as evil. Is there another word?

Peace. Now there’s a word we’ve bounced about in our vocabulary for a million generations. And, as yet, seem to have either misplaced or misunderstood it’s meaning. Our culture is awash with symbolism purporting to address our conviction. T-shirts, flags and Christmas cards emblazoned with the word amount to no more than lip service to the potential. Gatherings of protestors, revellers and photo op’s feature the two-fingered salute that signifies ‘Peace’. All this amounts to little more than pissing into the wind. Meanwhile religion offers an afterlife ‘kingdom of heaven’ to all who follow their tenets. What about ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’? Just another slogan to entice the gullible?

How refreshing and what a privilege to have been a delegate at ‘A Time for Peace” with Prem Rawat in Dublin. The clarity and focus of his presentation leaves me in no doubt that this man knows exactly what peace is and how to open human beings to the possibility of actually achieving it in their own lives.


“ When people are at peace the world will be at peace”.  Prem Rawat




Broken Icon


BBC’s ‘From our own Correspondent’, hosted by Kate Adie, featured an article from a cameraman travelling in Syria. His piece highlighted the surreal contrasts he observed in the country. The civil war juxtaposed with the friendliness of its people. He attended the funeral of a young Syrian Airman and questioned a mourner on what seemed an irreconcilable contradiction. The mourner’s response, “It’s religion”, referring to the schism between Sunnis and Shia Muslims.

I know this story as I live in a society that has been rent by religion. It begs the question ‘What is the function of religion in any society?’ Religion preaches unity, peace, and brotherhood, though sisterhood doesn’t seem to get the time of day. The popularity of religion would therefore guarantee that we should live in peace. Do we? They claim that there is only one God. Unfortunately each claims a monopoly on that one God. That One God is their God. War is in defence of belief in that God, hence war can be perceived as holy war sanctioned by God. Democracy may get a mention but God is usually hanging in the wings should the need arise.

A quick scan of the planets woes can be attributed to religion, the great divider. As sited, Syrian society is in freefall to sectarianism; Israel, the chosen people, inflict the might of there arsenal on anyone doubts it; Catholicism has inflicted pain and fear into children abused by the clergy, ignored by the Vatican; Christianity is fragmented by interpretation of scripture, a common factor of religious strife.

The religious zealots worldwide, the Zionists, the Tea Party, Opus Dei, Taliban, and the many fundamentalists, whose rightness is voiced by mouth foaming, tub thumping, book wavers, are a danger to world peace. They inspire Muslim to fight Hindu, Christian to fight Muslim, Muslim to fight Jew, Buddhists to fight Muslims, Christian to fight Christian, Muslim to fight Muslim, Hindu to fight Hindu.  They have a penchant for dressing in a strange garb designed to set them apart from us mere mortals. And what have they to offer. a promise of some imaginary paradise in an afterlife. Proof? None. Emails, snail mail, phone messages, or other from the dearly departed? None. Meanwhile we the faithful are expected to squander this precious life that is a gift that we can verify on a daily basis.

Do they have TRUTH to offer? In truth, no!