I’ve just read an article in the newspaper quoting Defence Secretary Philip Hammond who seems to be lamenting the fact that he doesn’t have any win-able wars to send us into any more. He claims that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in the public developing an ‘irrational fear’ of long conflicts. What I don’t get is what’s so irrational about it.
Okay, so Britain didn’t quite go bankrupt after raising defence spending to record levels to protect us from a terror threat which every intelligence agency in the country agrees is significantly higher now than it was before we marched into nations that had never attacked our shores. And there’s not actual proof that the weapons of mass destruction which our soldiers were sent to look for were ever there. There wasn’t any trace of them being there when the troops were getting shot dead. Still at least we brought peace and stability to the Middle East, stopped suicide bombings in Iraq, eliminated the foothold of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and made allies of the more liberal nations of the Middle East, such as Syria. Didn’t we?
Well whatever, it’s not like we could have protected our property and saved the lives of young soldiers by using the Territorial Army to build flood defences instead of fighting in a country that has been invaded countless times without ever having been defeated. And there’s no way we could have spent the war money on building social housing instead, reducing homelessness and unemployment, and increasing our domestic output and economic growth throughout the most difficult period in world finance for decades, perhaps even training our police with what was left over so that they could tell the difference between a man holding a phone and a man holding a gun. Maybe you’re right Mr Hammond. Maybe we are all just ‘war’ phobic and irrational.
Or maybe you should get your priorities right.