There are a number of things in this article which some people might find unpleasant, if not outright offensive, but taking the lumps for writing things as I see them, and know them, is why I get paid those big bucks as a blogger. To a large extent, I’ll only be telling you what’s already happening around you and what is going to happen, though none of your politicians will ever admit to it. You’ve had the health warning, you read on at your own peril.
Last week’s article was a guest piece by Graeme, a regular contributing writer to the blog. The title of the piece, which I’d come up with, was “we’ll always have Paris”. It commented in a humorous way on the upcoming Paris climate conference, but unfortunately about twelve hours after its publication, the tragedy of terrorists murdering Parisians occurred.
A friend asked me if I was thinking of pulling it and republishing at a later date. The thought never occurred to me because once people in a democracy start responding to terrorist attacks by changing their lives to accommodate terror, then a small gang of unelected murderers are effectively running the country.
That’s why you have to think very carefully before you negotiate with terrorists – you’re handing over control to them.
Terrorism is always driven by some sort of demand but it comes in two broad types, which I’ll call negotiable terrorism and unconditional terrorism.
With negotiable terrorism, the particular demand, because it is basically realistic, is capable of being met dependant on the political climate. It usually occurs in break away provinces or countries who are under the colonial rule of a foreign power. An example of the former would be Northern Ireland and the latter the Vietnamese war. Cede a measure of independence to them, or get the hell out, and the terrorism stops. The military option, even after dragging on for years, has never worked.
The terrorists or insurgents, pick the name you like, always enjoy the popular support of their people. They have to, because where they don’t, as in for instance the Malayan insurgency, they will be defeated. Essentially, that was a Chinese communist power grab by an unrepresentative minority of the population, which is why it failed.
Unconditional terrorism is driven by demands which simply cannot be satisfied. They’re too extreme to be met and the terrorists are totally inflexible anyway. Classic examples of this kind of terrorist were the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, the Red Brigade in Italy and the Weathermen in America. Their demands were politically impossible, intricately bizarre and they enjoyed no popular support, which is why they all ended up dead or in prison.
The latest manifestation of unconditional terrorism is Islamic terrorism, and it has that same characteristic element of demanding the impossible to make it stop. There’s simply no way the western world is going to turn into a caliphate to oblige a handful of murderous loons. Since no accommodation can be made with Muslim terrorism, it ceases to be a political problem and becomes a military one.
The first duty of the leader of a country is to defend his people from attack. When push comes to shove, all else is secondary.
When dealing with unconditional terrorists, you’ll be faced with people unlawfully killing your citizens while at the same time taking ruthless advantage of that very same judicial framework to protect themselves from retribution. The only way out is to remove that protection in their case. Essentially, you’re taking away their legal rights. This will be met by howls of protest from grim-faced fellow travellers riding high on morally superior hobby horses.
Those protests can safely be ignored because of one thing – the vast majority of ordinary people couldn’t give a toss about the legal rights of terrorists who’re trying to kill them.
It’ll all be vaguely defined in some legal jargon, but in essence it means you can do anything you like. Stop and arrest with little or nothing in the way of probable cause, imprisonment without trial, internment, even torture and whatever else you need to do to contain the threat will be met with approval or at least indifference by the general populace, rather than any condemnation. France, by extending the current state of emergency to three months, is taking this step.
In parallel with the curtailing of their civil liberties, you have to get a lot more aggressive with the terrorists, even if that means employing methods that would be considered illegal in normal times. You get the message across to them that you are prepared to be even more ruthless than they are. There are no more hiding places, no rules and no mercy. Those days are gone, the gloves are off.
This approach works and I’ll give you a few examples of it.
In 1972, Israeli athletes competing at the Munich Olympics were taken hostage and murdered by Arab terrorists. In response, the Israeli government under the leadership of Golda Meir authorised an operation to assassinate anyone remotely connected with the terrorist attack. For literally years afterward, they ruthlessly hunted down and killed anyone who had in any way facilitated the atrocity. They took out a few foot soldiers but mainly hit the terrorist group’s top men. They decapitated it and only stopped when there was nobody significant left to kill.
In the years since, nobody has mounted an attack on an Israeli sports team.
At the height of the civil war in the Lebanon, four junior clerks from the Russian embassy in Beirut were kidnapped by Hezbollah. One of them was murdered to prove they meant business and the corpse left for the Russians to find. In response, the KGB kidnapped a nephew of one of the higher up leaders of Hezbollah.
They cut off his balls and had them delivered, together with an exhaustive list of all the names of the extended family members of the whole Hezbollah leadership. On a regular timeline, they cut off more pieces of him, and sent them back to other families as well. Within days, the three clerks were released unhurt and the KGB returned what was left of the body.
That happened in 1983. In the three decades since, no terrorist group has ever come anywhere near Russian embassy staff.
When Vladimir Putin, being an ex-KGB officer, said the people responsible for bringing down that Russian aircraft recently would be brought to justice, I’ve a fairly good idea of the style of justice that’s going to be dished out to the perpetrators and anyone around them. A point will have to be freshly made to a new generation of terrorists about what happens when you attack Russian civilians, and one sufficiently violent to last another three decades.
The reality is that we are at war.
In every war the first casualty, despite what you’ve been led to believe, is civil liberties, especially when you’re fighting a domestic enemy deeply embedded in your own country. War has a simplicity about it – you kill the enemy before they kill you. If you want to paralyse action by agonising over every kill, you’re going to lose that war. Mistakes will be made, it’s going to get messy at times, but the niceties of a liberal democracy have to get parked for the duration.
We in the west have a professional political class who think spin and media presentation will assuage people’s fears and somehow make it all go away, but it won’t. The longer they refuse to tackle it, the more it will escalate. They need to get their war faces on and get ahead of the game, because if they don’t and the body count continues to pile up, they’ll be replaced by populist leaders more in touch with the common person’s attitudes. If you can’t or don’t know how to defend us from our enemies, we’ll find people who can.
For better or for worse, all the well-groomed politicians doing nothing more than striking poses and ignoring what their electorates are thinking, will be replaced. Given a choice between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump being prepared to do the hard things necessary to look after your country’s interests in wartime, who would you trust more?
We’re going to have to acknowledge and finally deal with the foreign enemies behind terrorism. At first glance, you might think that’s ISIS but I’m thinking more about those forty countries which by Russian intelligence estimates are funnelling funds to it from the Arab world. That’s that same world which wants nothing to do with their fellow Muslim arab “refugees” streaming into our countries from Syria, supposedly.
We were obliged to ignore their furtive and disingenuous support of anti-western forces in the past because of a dependence on their oil, but with the advent of fracking technology and the resultant plunge in the price of oil, the OPEC cartel is dead and by threatening their one revenue stream with embargo, they’d soon jump into line.
We can win this war, but we’ll not do it using hearts, flowers and candlelight vigils and somehow expecting these savages to be shamed into stopping. Put quite simply, we’ll win by killing them and keeping on killing them until there’s none of them left.
It’s very effective and it’s all they understand anyway.
Related articles by Pointman: