Apparently we’re war-weary. We’ve been drained of all our passion and excitement for killing foreigners thanks to 12 years of conflict in Afghanistan and then Iraq and then Libya. What other reason could there be for the vast majority of Britons being against another war, this time with Syria? It can only be the weariness of a people normally up for a right good bombing.
With the phrase “war-weary” politicians and the media alike are attempting to reflect back to us a simplistic version of a complex issue. The chances are that there are many reasons why people don’t want a war with Syria and not everyone will share the exact same rationale. These reasons spring to mind for example (not an exhaustive list):
- Some people are against all wars.
- Others think action against Assad will extend the civil war in Syria and extend the suffering of the people there.
- Some fear action will kick start a larger conflict in the Middle East drawing in other countries.
By focusing instead on the idea of war-weariness our political class is misunderstanding this situation. But they’re also trying to whitewash a significant issue in this whole crisis. They keep talking about learning the lessons of Iraq. It’s not like the people jumped for joy at the prospect of war there and have since grown weary – they didn’t want it in the first instance. The lessons of Iraq are about listening to people. By listening to people I mean actually listening to what they say rather than listening and then interpreting something different.
If only the bullshit would end – you can see at the bottom of this post that the phrase “war-weary” has jumped the atlantic. The world now looks towards the USA where Congress will vote on whether to take action or not. Their executive branch of government has spent the last week setting its stall out for a military attack, including an astonishing press conference in London today where John Kerry suddenly gave Assad an ultimatum of one week to hand over all his chemical weapons. The world now looks to the legislative branch of the US government to stand up and be counted. If they do not vote for action then president Obama may launch strikes anyway. They may well yack away for hours on end, then vote and then be ignored.
That’s liberal democracy folks.