A long time ago, the first job of the left was to fight fascism. And by “fight” I mean
actually fight: The republican struggle in the Spanish Civil War was regarded as the left’s finest hour; a generation of European socialists was born because of the support of the Soviet Union in the defeat of Hitler in the Second World War.
But today much of the European left can’t even recognise fascism when it appears, and certainly isn’t willing to fight it.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn went on ITV today and was asked for a statement on the terror attacks in Paris, which are about as clear an example of undiluted religious fascism as there can possibly be. Yet Corbyn still isn’t in favour of actually waging war on ISIS/Islamic State, according to ITV:
Does the bombing change it? Probably not. The idea surely has to be surely a political settlement in Syria, but it’s very difficult to achieve.
… I’m not saying sit round the table with IS, I’m saying bring about a political settlement in Syria, which will help then to bring some kind of unity government, technical government in Syria.
Presumably he is talking about finding a way to remove Assad and create a slightly less crazy national unity government in Syria that will somehow unite everyone against ISIL. Good luck with that. It didn’t work very well in Iraq, Afghanistan or Egypt.
And it’s not as if ISIS is going to obey a ceasefire while it waits for those talks to conclude.
In the meantime, there’s a massive gang of bandits for whom rape, slavery and suicide are not merely occasional tactics but the basis of their way of life. They have declared war against us. Their barbarism is beyond doubt. They surely are fascists. These people need to be killed. (It’s not a pleasant thing to say, but what are the other possible solutions for these mass murderers?)
Yet the left is still unwilling to say that these are the fascists we need to fight.
The reason I am picking on Corbyn is that his latest statement is the third in a string that seems to suggest that maybe we ought to be nicer to the religious fascists who want to kill us.
His first was, of course, his unfortunate choice of words when he said the take-out of Osama Bin Laden was “a tragedy”:
This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.
You can parse that phrase and have a debate about what, exactly, he was really trying to say but the fact is, it’s jarring to hear. Bin Laden dedicated his life to killing as many people in the West as possible. He was pretty good at it, too! So the appropriate emotional reaction to his death is unalloyed joy. Yet for Corbyn, the suggestion seems to be that Bin Laden was the real victim here and it would have been better if only we’d been a bit nicer to him.
OK, so maybe the Bin Laden thing was a one-off. It would be great if we could capture these guys and put them on trial. But that’s a luxury that we don’t have with ISIS. They don’t live near Southwark Crown Court. They live in the deserts of Iraq and Syria, where there is no rule of law, because that’s the way ISIS likes it.
It appears Mohammed Emwazi has been held to account for his callous and brutal crimes. However, it would have been far better for us all if he had been held to account in a court of law.
Again, the suggestion here is that somehow we are the ones in the wrong, that our moral failings are the ones in question here. Emwazi killed at least seven people and perhaps as many as 28 on video. Killing Emwazi, as an act of war, probably prevented him from killing even more people. There is nothing immoral about it. It saves lives. If you want to stop psychotic serial-killer religious fascists, it’s not going to be pretty.
That brings us back to today’s statement, in which Corbyn can’t quite bring himself to show solidarity with the French military’s anti-ISIS bombing campaign, which is intended to degrade or stop their murderous progress.
“Does the bombing change it?” he said.
Well, in the case of Jihadi John, changes were made!
The most ironic thing, for people with a sense of history, is that Prime Minister David Cameron is now the one occupying the most robust anti-fascist position. He said today of the French bombing campaign:
I support the action in Syria. We are part of the enablers of that. It is happening anyway. The question is should we go further and join that action. I have always said that we should.
Cameron is being held back by a House of Commons that doesn’t yet seem to think that ISIS warrants actual action. Regardless, history will not look kindly on people who quibbled and sought compromise with the Islamic State, in pretty much the same way that it hasn’t looked kindly on the people who thought that Hitler could be talked around to our way of thinking.
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