How do you defeat an evil ideology?


History shows us the pen is often mightier than the sword. Sometimes the way to defeat an evil ideology is just to demonstrate the better lives people lead with your beliefs. It is difficult to bomb  an ideology out of people, and it cannot be done successfully by force without taking over all the affected territories and completely rebuilding their political and educational systems. Today many people wish us to have a ready answer to how the West can defeat the Islamic State.

I assume  no-one seriously believes that you could or should try to attack  one of the world’s great religions, which have always shown considerable resilience and inner strength when challenged by armies. The problem with Islamic fundamentalism as a political movement is it seeks to ally itself with a great religion. Islam   is supported by many millions living in various countries around the world and in most of its manifestations is part of peace loving communities.

Let us consider the most recent case of success in eliminating an ideology that fathered mass deaths and executions, a belief which kept many people in poverty and tyranny. I am thinking of communism in eastern Europe. Here too there were many communists around the world who accepted much of the doctrine, but who did not support the eclipse of liberties or the savage butchery of political opponents reported from the dark days of the Soviet Union. There were many well intentioned communists who had no responsibility for the mass killings or starvations in some communist states.

The West wisely did not attack with military force  the political centre of the ideology, the Soviet Union. Indeed, we had to ally with the Soviets to help defeat Nazi Germany. When there were democratic revolts in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia the West concluded it would be too dangerous and counter productive to go to their rescue. Yet 40 years after the  widespread adoption of communism  in Eastern Europe, the communist empire collapsed in a  series of spontaneous and internal democratic revolts. These were facilitated by a political establishment at the top of the Soviet Union who had reached the conclusion that their system was falling far too far behind the west in  technology, weaponry and living standards.

The reasons we won the Cold war were several. The first was we did spend enough on our own defences so the communist empire would not attack us. The second was the Soviets had increasing trouble preventing their citizens seeing the superior technology, living standards and freedoms of the West and asking why they could not have something similar. The third was the West continued to research, write, make films and produce broadcasts that demonstrated the superiority of a free enterprise democratic system. The best of these broadcasts or films were not seeking to make a political point. They were not propaganda. Just showing our lifestyles and political approaches, warts and all, was statement enough for those in the Soviet empire thinking about what would be their best future. When the Berlin Wall came down, one of  the main demands of the easterners was to be able to buy and enjoy the many western brands and products they had seen somehow despite the censorship of their media.

Today we need to develop a new  relationship with post Soviet Russia, which I will talk about in another post. Meanwhile the way forward with IS is for us to show there are better ways of living at peace and in prosperity, and to leave the main politics of the problem to the people living in the affected region. We should be there for those who want and seek our help and advice, but we should not think we can remodel the Middle East and eliminate  radical politics by dropping bombs on people.

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  1. Gary
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    You highlight how absurd it is to attempt to bomb an ideology out of people. It is absurd because it is a lie, it actually has nothing to do with ideology,. They want to steal the oil, but can’t say it.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid that we do not have the bravery of most leading politicians to stand up to the barbaric acts, beliefs and actions that are happening in the UK, let alone the rest of the world. The legacy parties have supported division and separation supporting multiculturalism and legislated to stop freedom of speech by various equality laws imposed on the British.
      The only control is on the indigenous population and a failure by politicians to even acknowledge that we have serious problems. Whether it be teaching in our schools, unlawful grooming, FGM, bombing in our capital City and killing of a soldier on our streets. Who’s even suggesting we have a problem let alone what action they should take?
      We should not be meddling in foreign lands when we can’t even get the basic rights and principles in our own Country. The silence is deafening.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    How do you defeat an evil ideology?
    For a moment I assumed we were back on the topic of the EU.

    By “The world’s great religions” I assume you mean “The World’s large religions”.

    We may have “demonstrated the superiority of a free enterprise democratic system” but if so so why is Cameron and the EU following an anti-democratic, endless daft market interventions and distortions, quack green energy, state over individual, every higher taxes, every larger government, back door socialism through endless taxation and vast over regulation?

    The “ever big government” malignant left has clearly won. The Tory party is now clearly part of this freedom destroying, parasitic & destructive interventionism at every turn movement.

    On the Islamic State I agree fully with your points but you leader Dave Cameron it seems does not. In his “Our generational struggle against a poisonous ideology” in the Sunday Telegraph today.

    Talking about struggles against a poisonous ideology, how is he getting on negotiating his list of virtually no powers that he wants back from the EU?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Also to cheer us up today we have in the Sunday Times:

      The true scale of Britain’s “underclass” has been revealed by a government initiative that has uncovered 500,000 problem families, estimated to be costing the taxpayer more than £30bn a year.

      So £60,000 per family it seems, probably not including half the incidental costs either one suspects. About £1000 per worker PA and that is just for these families? Yet still the government has policies to encourage & augment them further in place.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Yet still the government has policies to encourage & augment them further in place? Can’t argue with that. What is the government including a future Labour government doing about this. Benefit cuts? This will work will it, not just make the problem worse? Benefits are the easy option and this is the problem. Like sending people to prison at massive cost is seen as the way to tackle illiterate drug addicts as most of them are.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          Clearly a large incentive to work is needed. And help for those who have genuine mental and health problems.

          Sending people to prison clearly works too as all the figures tend to show. The lefty loons “BBC thinkers” tend to look at the high re-offending rates for ex-prisoners. But as usual for lefties this is a totally daft irrational approach. The main benefit is that it strongly deters very many from ever committing any offence in the first place.

          That first strong deterrent is the main benefit. Once people are habitually into the system the deterrent of a second/third … prison sentence is clearly rather less of a deterrent, but at least it stops them habitually robbing, raping, murdering, mugging, selling drugs, dragging others into crime and attacking the public while they are in jail. It also adds further to that deterrent effect.

          Very many individuals are often committing hundreds of offence each year (detected and not detected). Clearly keeping one such person in prison is very good value for the public. The state sector however would rather save the money and waste it on other paper pushers.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            Hang an flog em’ nonsense and what we would expect of you.
            Prison on is meant to strike fear in people’s minds and keep them from breaking the law not motivate them to go and live in it as a preferred way of life!
            According to many inmates , prison offers a better way of life. It offers free lodging and boarding and is a far easier option than dealing with real life outside jail. Some highly motivated prison inmates even makes a promise to commit an offence again soon so that she may be returned to prison. If a prison sentence is something prison inmates actually prefer to their real life, then there is something tragically amiss. Perhaps inequality and depravation are where much of this crime is born and prison is a sort of crime university. 63 per cent of kids whose fathers are violent criminals go on to commit violent crimes, so we know where to find them at an early stage and at £165,000 to keep a teenager in jail for a year, it’s in the government’s financial best interests to invest more in prevention. Jail is not a deterrent for young people, as the jails are full! the government spent five times more on sending teenagers to jail and keeping them there than on preventive projects.
            You just come out with it don’t you?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            It may not deter many who have been in jail several times, but is certainly deters many who have never been in jail. It also stops many committing a burglary or two mugging twice a week while they are in jail. It is worth is for that alone.

            And if, as you say, it is more comfortable for them in jail than out then it is a win/win. They get more comforts and we get fewer mugging, rapes, murders, drug pushers and burglaries.

            Win/win why do you have a problem with this?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Also there is no reason why jails should cost £165,000 per person PA, (if that is the figure) that is just the state sector taking the piss out of the tax payer as usual.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 18, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            63 %0f criminals children go to jail so no deterrent there then. A huge proportion of those in jail have drug or alcohol problems and will go back unless this is tackled. The 165 k will be the whole cost including building prisons. What do you propose? camps?
            You are arguing that prison works all evidence shows this is not true, but you are not interested in evidence and facts as we have seen with your bikes produce more pollution than cars. Theory which you have now stooped answering why they do, but slyly try to tell they do. What is that all about?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink


            I am against capital punishment other than in very exceptional cicumstances such as wars.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

            Have a look at what I wrote. Did I mention capital punishment? No.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            @ Bazman, yes you did:

            “Hang an flog em’ nonsense” = capital punishment!

            Perhaps it was you who did not read it?

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Ah! So I did. Still hang em’ and flog em’ pedantic nonsense and even more so following a Prison and Probation Ombudsman report for England and Wales in July.
            Would you say the billion spent on problem families is win win? maybe we could just put them in prison to make it so?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic–I agree Cameron’s list is risible. I remember reading it and thinking, When does it start, that cannot be it, surely? Of course the deluded fool won’t get 10% of even that and that’s if he’s lucky. Much more likely, they may decide to throw us a bone to keep things as they are another few years, with it becoming ever more difficult all the time to force change.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        A fig leaf or two will be found if needed.

    • David Price
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      We don’t have a “free enterprise democratic system”, we have a corporatist system which is why there is “endless daft market interventions and distortions, quack green energy, state over individual, every higher taxes, every larger government, back door socialism” yada yada.

      You have to either face up to it and try and change things, or accept the situation with protest or not and get on the best you can. There is a third category of individual though who has more choice and they decide to cut and run.

      You don’t defeat any ideology by simply running away then make pronouncements on it from the sidelines, you have to engage with the issue and try to address it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Indeed we have intervention in almost everything from conception to death.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          Intervention is often needed: For example children sharing sweets can be seen as early communist ideas forming and should be immediately put into their place by the placing of the idea of barter and purchase of the said sweets before they form socialist ideals that could undermine the very foundations of the capitalist democratic system itself. The sweets where made by companies for profit and brought by others. Children are quite self centred so fortunately this so far has not happened, but we need to be vigilant especially with the teaching profession attracting left Guardian types with no idea of the real world or jellied snake production targets and their fluctuating price in world markets.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Intervention is indeed needed sometimes perhaps 10% of the current levels is needed.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink


            You might like to try joining us in the 21st century. Your juvenile view of free markets shows a total lack of understanding.

            You are currently using a free market blog, via a browser and a search engine that are all provided by private enterprise. Remind me how much you paid? Oh, thats right nothing. In a capitalist system lots of things are free, lots of things are donated, lots of transactions seek to help people with no thought of reward. The women and men who run free market businesses are ordinary working men and women that have the same empathy, charity and support for the weak and helpless, the same sense of community and social spirit. Many many free enterprise business owners volunteer and donate their own personal time, money and expertise to help their fellow citizen.

            Where I was bought up, in an inner London council estate, my dad and all 9 of his brothers where self employed. They ALWAYS taught us to share as kids.

            If it was early communism in your example what would actually happen is a government Kommissar would come around confiscate ALL the sweets, give some to his girlfriend and his boss then devise a roster where each child took it in turn to queue up for a day for a lick of the community sweet.

            I think you will find it is also socialism and communism that is in love with tractor production targets and beetroot harvests. Try looking up what Lenin had to do/say in 1921 at the 10th Soviet Congress

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

            You need to think how much all this free enterprise uses free itself such as infrastructure and education. Many believe they should not have to pay for this and if you look at where the Internet structures came from that all these sites use you will find it was developed and paid for by governments. How much have they put into the infrastructure used to access these sites and how much towards the protection of their sites infrastructure from marauding gangs and ironically copyright protection.
            Nothing to say about communism for the rich which what you say is happening here. A nation of have nots and have yachts. Tighter than Scrooge many of them.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            “…paid for by governments”…
            You need to ask yourself where “government” gets its money from Baz.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink


            Oh dear the Internet another subject on which you know zero. 1) Governments don’t have money or infrastructure they take it from the private sector and the workers

            2) The internet has NO structure it is the ultimate free enterprise system. No government pays for it or provides for it
            3) Private companies patrol the world wide web and provide security

            You are just a bitter and jealous socialist who cant work out that just because 4 people have yachts the 4.6 million UK small business owners who generate the wealth of the country are free marketers.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            Know nothing neo libtard nonsense.
            What this crazed neoliberalism overlooks is that without the state and its baleful agencies these corporations couldn’t exist, never mind thrive. It’s the state, for example, that provides the courts and the legal system that protects their intellectual property, the roads and infrastructure on which their self-driving cars travel and so on.
            The internet was built not by private enterprise but by the US government which funded the Arpanet and then the “internetworking” project that built the network on which we – and Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft et al – all now depend.
            Today, several large corporations provide the routers and cable that make up the Internet backbone. These companies are upstream Internet Service Providers (ISPs). That means that anyone who wants to access the Internet must ultimately work with these companies. Many individual consumers and businesses subscribe to ISPs that aren’t part of the Internet backbone. These ISPs negotiate with the upstream ISPs for Internet access. Cable and DSL companies are examples of smaller ISPs. Such companies are concerned with what the industry calls the last mile — the distance between the end consumer and Internet connectivity.

  3. Mark B
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;

    ” . . . how the West can defeat the Islamic State.”

    Errr ! Hold on right there ! What do you mean by the; “West” ?

    The ISIS is in the Middle East and, most Islamic Terrorists there or in North Africa. Yes, we too have a few idiots, but is our problem. We will deal with ours, and they will deal with theirs. Simple !

    No one is suggesting we attack anyone. In fact, it is us that are under attack.

    Communism is not dead. Most of it has gone either underground or allowed itself to become more mainstream. I know many Marxists and Socialists who run their own business and exploit their workforce to the max.

    The West wisely did not attack with military force the political centre of the ideology, the Soviet Union.

    Not true. We sided against the Bolsheviks by helping the White Russians.

    We sold most of Eastern Europe out at Yalta. The Soviet Union wanted a Buffer Zone and obliged them. We agreed to the rewriting of both Polish and German borders. Something that does not get much of a mention.

    The trouble with some people today, and it especially applies to politicians, is they cannot come to terms with facts and events that do not fit their view. They deal with, on the most part, with civilized human beings and, feel that all people are the same. They show both horror and bemusement when, individuals carryout unspeakable acts upon their fellow man, and seeks to make excuses, not for the perpetrator but, the reasons such acts are carried out.
    They fail to take into consideration, the nature of the society they live in and all that it entails.

    People it seems, are not the same the world over, and the sooner we make that admission, the sooner we can be better prepared.

    Reply We are not naïve – we understand there are evil people who do not respond to reason and despise toleration. The issue before is can any conceivable UK military intervention defeat IS and consign it to history – I think not – and would any UK military intervention do more harm than good, as some of our other ME military interventions have been disappointing in their outcomes.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      We have nothing significant left to intervene with after your dopey boss and his ……side kick destroyed everything and gave the money in aid. How is that working by the way. Give billions in aid to make then world safer.
      Deluded tosser who will be out of a job in less than 9 months.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


        Whilst I know what you mean, I think it fair to say DC will not be out of a job. He has a very comfortable majority, unlike some less fortunate souls in his party, who have done much good work, for little reward.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Local problems require local solutions.

      We are happy to let the Scots talk about and even decide the future of our current Union yet, woe betide anyone, eh, Mr Redwood MP, who so much as dares enter into what they see as ‘their‘ debate.

      So on that score, we should let other countries sort out their problems themselves. But saying that, we should not be shy in offering help if required, so long as the UN agrees.

  4. Excalibur
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Without wishing to be rude or abrasive, John, most of your arguments viz a viz IS are flawed. Using the ide0logical defeat of the Soviet Union is a poor parallel. Some 700 of the IS fighters are believed to be from the UK. They have been well exposed to our lifestyle, democratic system, and the benefits of free enterprise. They have rejected them in favour of religious extremism and terror, a level of barbarism and savagery barely imaginable. No one wants a military assault on Islam. That would be folly as well as unwinnable. But just as a cancer must be cut out before it consumes the whole body, so IS must be deterred before it consumes us. The bolstering of our defences to this end is essential.

    • outsider
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      You are right Excalibur. While I agree fundamentally with the foreign policy Mr Redwood puts forward, the comparison with Communism is too convenient. The better comparison of IS is with fascism and particularly the Nazis, who were bent on endless military aggression and conquest and who massacred people purely because of who they were (ie their cultural or religious heritage).
      Our traditional imperial policy of pragmatic accommodation, now decried as appeasement, could not work against such a mad, fanatical ideology.
      And of course even the Cold War with Communism was not cold for the many millions of people killed in the proxy wars across Asia, Africa and South America.
      One of the first priorities must be to crack down relentlessly on this inhuman and aggressive ideology at home, where, as you point out, it has already recruited a British army fighting across the Middle East.

    • Tom William
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Of the 700, how many have a criminal record or were drop-outs? Not all, of course, but I suspect a substantial number. It might be a start to make it hard/impossible for them to be converted by extremists while in prison.

    • Excalibur
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      David Cameron’s article in today’s Telegraph will get all the publicity, of course. But there is a far more pertinent article there by one Sean Thomas who says “If we don’t attack Isil (IS). they will attack us.” It is worth the read.

  5. alan jutson,
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The solution to IS and other extremists is really in the hands of the millions of muslims themselves.

    Extremists of ant religion need to be disowned by the peaceful majority who practice that religion, loud and clear.

    But what do we hear !


    Time for the silent majority to speak up and act.

    • outsider
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      You are right Alan but our Muslim families need help. There is a great deal of violent intimidation of ordinary Muslims and their families by fanatics and these families are getting next to no support from the authorities.

      • alan jutson,
        Posted August 18, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink


        If you are right perhaps that is where we need to start then.

        Problem is unless we know what the problem is and people speak up we do not know.

        We keep on being told that the vast majority of muslims do not like what is going on, but by remaining silent they allow it to continue and grow.

  6. Alte Fritz
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The collapse of the Soviet bloc began, we are told, with a wish at the top to reform a failing system. I do not know what feelings were in Russia but elsewhere at the bottom there was the feeling that the nightmare was over. In the Islamic world the nightmare has just begun. The horror seems such that relief would be to escape to th west rather than reform at home.

  7. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Did we not defeat the Barbary pirates by destroying them and their bases of operation, and did it not work? And, by the way, how did we defeat Nazi Germany? Would your ‘leave them alone’ philosophy have worked then, would we have been left alone by doing so; appeasement and tolerance didn’t exactly work then did it? And we didn’t simply arm ourselves against the Soviet Union, and make propaganda; we fought secretly and semi-secretly and by proxy. That is all we could do, it was too big and powerful to attack otherwise and we only just got away with it, it was only US industrial and military power which led to the fall of the Soviet Union and some hard bargaining to go with it.

    Somehow I can’t see any of these Islamists dreaming of buying western jeans and changing their lifestyles. And how many decades or centuries do you think we should wait? How big are you prepared to let the IS get, can you imagine the position if they got hold of more modern weaponry, rocketry say? Should we sit by if that happened? What if they were to gain some sway in Turkey, for example? And how many more people do you think should be allowed to be butchered in and around Iraq, maybe in Jordan or Israel while you allow time for them to ‘see the light’? They may be not as far away from the end of your street as you may think. The communists who you say had no responsibility for mass killings in the Soviet Union nevertheless did as much as they could to undermine our way of life and bring about their beliefs here. They betrayed valuable secrets to the enemy and prolonged the struggle.

    Some philosophies and practices are so evil they cannot be reasoned with, they must be put down. It is a myth and a conceit that everyone wishes to be like us. And as for Russia, we should stop vilifying them and sanctioning them for doing what the US has done in the past and been praised for, we will need them on our side again. They have been fighting on their borders for decades and been given scant credit. They have been attacked by our mainstream media, the BBC in particular, which is more likely now to give succour to our enemies who make threats against us than to attack or ridicule them.

    Reply We fought and defeated German militarism in 1914-18 at huge cost in lives, only to see it re-emerge in the 1930s because we mishandled the peace and the post war reconstruction. Even a huge victory at enormous cost does not necessarily defeat evil for very long, unless you win the battle for hearts and minds as well, as we did in western Europe in 1945.

    • zorro
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed, and who is continuing to covertly foment trouble amongst the Muslim minority communities in Russia and China. Not too difficult to see in geopolitical terms in whose interest that would be…


    • BobE
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The Germans are trying for a third time to create a common Europe, run by them. Will Britain have to stop them again.
      (Why does Germany always have to prod Russia??. Viz Ukrane)

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: You are wrong. We did not defeat German militarism, we defeated the Germans in 1918 and they did not surrender unconditionally.
      The Germans began almost immediately to prepare for the next war and used all sorts of covert organisations and companies to achieve their aims. Hans von Seekt was the principal architect of German military revival during the 1920s, the most important of which was the maintenance of the superb general staff ethos and training, albeit secretly conducted. What is more, secret arrangements were made and contracts agreed with the Russians to carry out training and military/aviation research at bases such as Lipetsk at that time.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    How do you defeat an evil ideology?

    Step one. Stop the teaching of any religion in every school in England.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Thanks would be a very good start. Let the parent do it in their own time, if they really must.

      It is quite often just a form of indoctrination or even child abuse, even extending to bodily mutilation in many cases. People are not born Christians, Muslin, Buddhist, Jews or any other religion.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Sorry “That” would be a good start ….

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Jews are born Jews, just as one can be born English.

    • Bill
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I think that would be exactly the wrong thing to do. It is by gaining a knowledge of a religion that you know whether you want to follow it or not. There is a religion (I cannot remember which one) that insists on washing the bodies of the dead in the urine of a bull. Once you know this, the religion becomes less attractive.

      Any proper presentation of religion in school ought to describe to students the best and the worst of the religion – the acts of charity, the music, art, architecture, comfort, and then, on the reverse, the dark side.

      A school can counterbalance both the warped material pushed out by propagandist websites and the after hours religious cramming to which some children are subjected.

    • outsider
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      You may be right Old Albion but do you not think it would be a good idea if all school children were to learn about and debate the proposition: “Love your enemy; bless those that curse you”.

  9. David Price
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I agree with the thrust of your argument and especially your final paragraph though I believe you omit an important aspect. We are in danger of offering more opportunities to people outside our society, some who live in our country, than those within it.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    You certainly can not use force to persuade against an ideology, indeed force will persuade disgruntled youthes looking for an excuse to explain why they do not have everything they want to enlist in the said ideology.

    However force may not be the answer but continued citizenship for the disgruntled and unfettered ability to commute to and from the affected areas will do nothing to help. Anyone who goes to the area in a non official capacity (including aid workers) should not be allowed to rrturn.

    • Tom William
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Like the two young men from Brighton who bought “Islam for Dummies” and other similar books and then set off for Syria to fight.

  11. Kenneth
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with your post, John.

    I cannot understand why the Prime Minister warns that the IS threat will be brought to our streets when we have a border.

    Surely we can stop anyone who is a potential threat from entering the country.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      There is no political will to stop anyone at our borders. Our masters in Brussels have seen to that.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


        Once again I a writing to you to clarify things. Sorry !

        Whilst I am no lover the the EU, I will not be so quick to apportion blame for things they may not be entirely responsible for. Remember, our Politicians negotiated and signed those agreements in the full knowledge of what may happen. We can stop non-EU immigration if we so wish. The problem is, those who’s power it is, do not wish to, and that is nt the fault of the EU.

        There are circumstances in which we can prevent EU Citizens entering the country. We stopped certain Dutch politicians (citation needed) in the past. We can prevent EU citizens if they represent a danger to the public good. A very loose term that can be exploited when needed. Just ask the French.

        So they can do things, they just do not want to because ultimately, there is bugger all we can do.

        We do not live in a democracy, and the sooner we realize this, the better.

        • ian wragg
          Posted August 18, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          You obviously live on a different planet. Most of the immigration into southern Europe finishes up in the UK. Travel documents are issued and then they make their merry way here. What happened to asylum being granted in the first country landed.
          (unexamined case deleted ed)
          Why are the 35 container refugees not being shipped back to Zeebrugge after medical treatment.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth–We had one of the best borders anywhere but we have thrown it away

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    JR: “Meanwhile the way forward with IS is for us to show there are better ways of living at peace and in prosperity, and to leave the main politics of the problem to the people living in the affected region.”
    In other words allow them to kill anyone who will not convert to their version of Islam in their goal of creating a caliphate. When they have achieved their initial power grab to where will they turn next? This is not a limited “political” struggle but something far bigger and more threatening than you portray. Do you really believe that such fanatics are interested in any kind of political solutions other than their murderous violence or total surrender to them?

  13. Anonymous
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Religion is not a *political* ideology so those who kill most and breed most win. Those whose only weapon is reason die. The first tactical mistake is to think of this as political.

    Now that we have imported All of the World’s Conflicts it is of vital interest to us. We have – yet again – a PM stating that we must fight another war abroad to prevent atrocity at home.

    Billions already spent on these wars. Hundreds of lives lost. Then add to that the cost of crime and rioting in the UK.

    Are these costs ever deducted from the ‘profit’s when they tell us what an economic boon our immigration policy has been ?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      “Religion is not a *political* ideology so those who kill most and breed most win. Those whose only weapon is reason die.”

      Politics is the science of reason. How are those made completely unreasonable because of religious extremism to be reasoned with ?

  14. DBC Reed
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    A very sensible commentary from Mr Redwood.
    Would have thought that the Iraqis don’t need films so much as to remember how things were before sectarian differences reduced things to rubble : how well they were doing in their transformation into a western democratic-ish state, where religion was downplayed.
    The triumphalist rhetoric about winning the Cold War is countered by the realisation that an enemy’s enemy is not necessarily a friend. The Americans were very foolish indeed to back Islamic tribesmen in Afghanistan by supplying Stinger missiles to down Russian helicopters.This released the Islamic genie from the bottle which will not be put back. We would have been better leaving the Soviets to build a lot of infrastructure for hydro electric generation there and tapping into the mineral reserves which are rumoured to exist. We have exchanged the problem of a very cautious Soviet bloc for out of control jihadists. It would have been better to have shown the Afghans that a bit of secularisation industrialisation and land reform even under Communist control would have done more for the people than theocratic medievalism.
    Mind you , a lot of the attraction of Islam might be that it addresses fears among men about the equal rights and freedoms for women in western countries. The suicidal impulse among so many young Islamic men needs some explanation .

  15. agricola
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The pen is only mightier than the sword for those who are literate and choose to read. The writings of Enoch Powell , historically an underestimated prediction, have proved accurate. However the scramble to make political capital out of them fogged their message, preventing reasonable people to devise a solution.

    How you deal with a problem like IS is related to your beliefs. Here I draw a line between IS, the majority of followers of Islam worldwide and what most people of Syria and Iraq aspire to in their lives. It is not Islam as defined by IS , the Taliban or any of their offshoot terrorist organisations throughout the World.

    You can defeat long term their warped ideology with words and example, but when they are running around in tanks randomly killing and terrorising those they do not like then shock and awe directed at them is the only answer. Your soothing words may separate them from the peace loving majority of Muslims but not when their husbands are being decapitated. IS will not walk away in the face of argument, they have to be eliminated to the point where what is left faces up to reality.

    The problem of dealing with the Soviet Union post WW2 was that they had atomic weapons and the means of delivering them. They knew we were in the same position. We were avoiding mutual annihilation. We had the sense in those days to let the Soviet Union rot from within. I suspect that post Soviet Russia for the majority within it’s remit is not that different to Czarist times. I accept that there are a lot of oligarchs around the western world but has there been an explosion in living standards for the majority of the population.

    We dealt with Nazi Germany through force of arms after appeasing them at a time when limited military action might have called a halt to Hitler’s ambitions. You might draw a parallel between now and then re the parlous state our armed forces had been allowed to shrink to. Had we not dealt with Hitler then you and I might be speaking German. It would have taken a long time for the pen to acquire it’s might.

    IS is not interested in the way we live in peace and prosperity. What we understand by this is total anathema to them. IS represents bestiality and mayhem to the area in which they operate. By no stretch of the imagination are they anything but evil. I equate them with the SS who ran the concentration camps, or the Khmer Rouge. Until they are eliminated to the point of being ineffective there is no possibility for peace loving Muslims of whatever faction to thrive. I ask you, would Hitler have listened to our advice in 1941. The longer you hang back and wait for someone else’s miracle in solving the IS problem the stronger they will get , and the greater the action necessary to deal with them.

  16. William Long
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    This and your previous post clearly need to be considered in close conjunction .
    There are two aspects to the conflict with Islam; one is right here in the UK and it is perhaps most worrying that here, where it should be most easy for Islamists to see the merits of Western values, many seem quite content to live parallel lives in the urban jungles. So while I agree with you that the advantages enjoyed in the West were a major factor in the fall of the USSR I think that the strength of the Islamic Fundamentalists is at a much earlier stage in its development and it will be some time before its subjects see through it and realise the horror it is causing them so we have to be ready to manage the problem for some time to come.
    The other aspect is the problem of the Middle East and it seems clear that no real progress can be made there until we take the time to work out what are long term strategic interests are and how best we can achieve them. Let us hope that the comparative silence from Western leaders is a sign that this might be what they are doing even though this is the holiday month. The easy option is to drop bombs and the temptation to win points by doing in the name of protecting innocents is immense, but if it is done it must be clear that it is for purely limited purposes; you are absolutely right that we can never defeat the Islamists on a worldwide scale on the battlefield and we should not try to do so. But Islam is made up of many different nations all with their own domestic agendas. Many of them must be as horrified as we are by IS and what it is doing in Iraq and where it might be going next, so there must be potential allies on the other side and we should talk to them, even if they have been perceived as enemies in the past. This never stopped us when dealing with former colonial rebels. Above all, someone who must share our interests is Russia and we should certainly be talking to her while recognising that her strategic aims may not exactly coincide with ours, though the latter point could well be true with our allies the USA as well.

  17. bluedog
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Dr JR says with regard to ideological re-indoctrination, ‘it cannot be done successfully by force without taking over all the affected territories and completely rebuilding their political and educational systems.’

    Yet that is precisely what we did with Germany and Japan after 1945.

    Our commitment to religious freedom leaves us totally emasculated when it comes to dealing with a certain religion, which is in effect a malignant political ideology. Until the religion in question is deconstructed and directly challenged for being the criminal manifesto that is, we are wasting our time. The situation is greatly complicated by the presence within the Judeo-Christian West of significant numbers of adherents to this particular faith.

    It does not take a great deal of imagination to realise that the political leader who stands up to deliver a detailed denunciation of this religion is writing himself, or herself, a suicide note. Look at what has happened in the Netherlands to those who have had the courage to try.

    Notwithstanding this, it does seem that the Prime Minister has started to understand the risks that he and the political class now face within the United Kingdom. The solution to the problem is obvious, but logistically very difficult to undertake, and extremely controversial in terms of human rights and the political traditions of the UK.

  18. John E
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    This is best approached as a policing operation to help the Iraqi government deal with a bunch of murderous psychopaths, rather than some grand ideological struggle.

    • Tom William
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right. There are already major Sunni tribes in Iraq turning against IS, and now Al Maliki has gone there is a good chance that the Iraqi armed forces will make significant progress, aided by US, British and French weaponry.

      It is far too soon for David Cameron to write about IS “controlling” large areas of northern Iraq.

  19. English Pensioner
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I was always taught that in any discussions, one should try to understand the other side’s point of view, even if one didn’t agree with them.
    I think this is the problem with any discussions we hold with the Russians, we don’t try to understand their point of view.
    Could I suggest that the Russians view the EU as a potential enemy that wants to take over more and more countries. The EU has already expanded to include those countries in the old east bloc and started to talk to Ukraine, part of the old USSR, which I suspect, to them, was the last straw. Remember, Russia was invaded by the Germans, and before then by Napoleon, and has good reasons to fear what the EU might want to do.
    Our diplomats need to understand this fear, even if they believe it to be totally irrational. I firmly believe that the EU was indirectly responsible for the current situation in Ukraine, it had been funding the opposition and offering trade agreements which the Russians probably saw as a determined attempt to get them into the EU’s sphere of influence.
    Until we get Russia on side, we will never be able to deal with ISIS. It is now beginning to look as if Russia was correct over Syria in supporting the existing regime. Assad may be a nasty bit of work, but judging by subsequent events, he was the lesser of the various evils.
    Britain (and the EU) need to have a thorough look at our foreign policy; the present situation seems to be that the foreign Office responds (rather slowly) to events, rather than trying to get ahead of them

  20. Antisthenes
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    History is yet again repeating itself did not Christians from the middle ages up to not that many centuries ago go through the same process as we see Islam going through today. The Middle East and parts of North Africa today is very little different from the traumas, fundamentalism and atrocities perpetrated by different religious factions on one another in the past. Then and now there was conflict in the Middle East where Christians ranged against Muslims and in Europe Christians against Christians.

    Eventually the enlightenment stopped the worst excesses of that period but it was a slow and protracted in doing so. Islam is still awaiting Martin Luthers and enlightenment scholars and until such time as they come to the fore the worst ideologies of that religion will continue to expand. Coupled with which Western nations have large numbers of adherents of the Muslim faith living in them and the fear must be that militant Islam will attract many of them especially the young. If we wait for your solution it may be that time and demography is not on our side and we may regret not taking a more firm and affirmative action now.

    • sjb
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Islam is still awaiting Martin Luthers […]

      Oy vey!

  21. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The important thing to do is to ridicule the evil ideology incessantly; it is not only evil but completely unscientific and stupid. And if we must drop bombs on people, we should attack the ideology AT SOURCE, that is the relevant religious and political leaders in Saudi Arabia, including the Umela.
    Reply Let us not add yet another country to our list of countries to attack.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      The problem with ridiculing (an ed) ‘evil ideology’ in public in this country is that you may end up in a rather uncomfortable room with a thin vinyl mattress on the floor and rather too much time on your hands to ponder your next move.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      (unchecked ref left out ed)
      It instructive that the most effective single act of counter terrorism that there has been was Reagan’s bombing of Gaddafi’s palace, in response to attacks on America servicemen throughout Europe.

      If we only help to defeat the ISIS soldiers, we are not tacking the evil ideology, only its foot soldiers, who have been conned into believing that a land of milk and honey (not to mention many virgins) awaits Jihadists and suicide bombers who enter paradise.

  22. Bazman
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    The problem is with this is that Russia is a white European country Eastern views run deep, for sure, but we are all reading the same scrip. Putin and his cronies may well sing Russian songs, but they look to the west and its products as well as a bolt hole for their loot, whilst trying to squeeze our oil and gas supplies. They easily take on board western products and views, but in many cases have similar products of their own, sometimes better as in the case of ice cream. European Ice cream is to this standard too and we don’t get this. Communism was built on many people if not believing the ideology went along with it as they had to to live we all do. How many saw the banking system as a crock? Quite a few, even me. Islamists do not see it like that.
    If you think this will work with ISIS and other fanatical organisations you are wrong. Without a shred of proof the ISIS gains are because of the military knowledge of Chechen rebels. They don’t want to talk, negotiate, or live like us they just want to kill us. Only Stalin a psychopath and master of the double bluff just had them all deported to Siberia in an act of genocide with modern Russian government carrying out war crimes. The average Russian has two schools of thought on this, they should be all killed or all left alone depending on the situation. My wife has a soviet view that if they all like Chechnya so much they should go and live there. The deportation school of thought. All sound familiar? That is my point.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Not a view you will hear amongst the comrades of the Guardian and the chattering classes.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Just as it is “difficult to bomb an ideology out of a people” so it is difficult to bomb an ideology into a people. In reality both are impossible though that, it appears, is the approach adopted by the IS through its policy of massacre and beheadings of those who refuse to convert to its brand of Islam. The IS displays the characteristics that have been observed in extreme Christian movements of the past, some state sponsored/supported as Oxford`s Martyrs Memorial reminds us.

    Responsibility for the defeat of the IS ideology rests with the Islamic world not with those outside it. Because the IS practises extreme violence it will require extreme force as well as the power of the idea of religious tolerance to prevail. That will only come about on the ground in Syria and in Iraq and if achieved by the people who live there.

    The Middle East role that should be adopted by the UK is limited. It has a role, with others, in providing humanitarian aid. It has a role, in Iraq, in encouraging and supporting a new political settlement under its new PM. That role is incompatible with supplying arms to the Kurds; if any arms are to be supplied, it should be to the new Iraqi government.

    In Syria the UK needs to rethink its stance. If reports are to be believed, the IS has shipped much of the heavy weaponry (tanks and artillery) it captured in Iraq back to Syria to fight the Assad regime. There it is safe from US air attack (as I understand the situation) unlike in Iraq. That leaves the UK and the USA and other western countries with an awkward decision to make about the Assad regime. Answers on a postcard please!

    • Tom William
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      As the country of Iraq was created less than 100 years ago, and the Kurds were geographically united but prevented having their own country for political (and oil) reasons, and as many new countries Have emerged/been created in the last 25 years, I can think of no people more deserving of their independence than the Kurds.

      Unity among the opposing factions may be difficult but the prize of international recognition might cause it.

      • oldtimer
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        What you say about the history of the Kurds may be true but that is not a reason for the UK government to promote or support the cause of a Kurdish state – unless you want to add to the mayhem.

  24. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure you can compare political and religious ideology.
    Broadly speaking communism was defeated because the people in the East looked over the border and wanted a BMW instead of an FSO or Trabant.

    The militant followers of IS have seen the western way of life and rejected it . Almost e verything about our way of life they actively despise as being un-islamic. Although they are happy to enjoy the freedom to drive western pick up trucks and drink coka cola when it suits.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      If that was the main reason for the collapse of the USSR then you need to think about the results of poverty and falling living standards in the UK and the rest of Europe as an increasingly rich elite engage in their own version of communism for the few and telling the rest they need to work harder.

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted August 18, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        That is nonsense Mr Karl Marx… ‘Poverty’ in the Uk is not being able to afford holidays or a big tv set.
        ‘Telling the rest they need to work harder’.Good one I nearly fell of my chair laughing.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          By that thinking then Russians are not very poor then. Everything was pretty much avalible in the Soviet times, not to our levels of course, but there were things to buy and plenty to eat for the average Russian citizen. No of them were starving looking at how fat many were and are. How poor do you think they were in Soviet times and how poor are they are now?
          Many of the middle classes in this country believe they are poor would you agree with them? Existing on less than 60k in London!

      • Ted Monbiot
        Posted August 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        You say Baz, “an increasingly rich elite engage in their own version of communism…”
        I think you have defined current attempts by the EU to bring about European socialism.
        As in many other previous examples of marxist/socialist government the people get poorer, freedom reduces, the size and power of the State increases and the new leaders become very rich.

  25. Eddie Hill
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m no expert but I think there are massive differences between religious zeal and political ideology, and you can’t treat them the same way.

    Some 30 years ago, a wise old colleague of mine said that the Soviet Union was not our enemy, Islam was. How right he has proven to be!

    Again, I’m no expert, but I believe the theory goes that governments draw their legitimacy from the people, and when they lack legitimacy, they invariably fail.

    Religious leaders draw their legitimacy from their omnipotent gods, and unfortunately, you can’t really argue with that, if enough people believe it!

    As a lifelong, evangelical atheist, I utterly loathe and detest all religions, perhaps for that very reason, but I particularly detest the deference that believers demand, and continue to be shown, despite their beliefs being completely stupid.

    The only way to challenge the legitimacy of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups is to demonstrate that their religion is false, and in today’s world of liberalism, tolerance and cultural relativism, good luck with that!

    As an example of what you are up against, a senior Iranian cleric said a while ago that earthquakes were caused by young people dressing immodestly. Given that Iran is one of the most geologically unstable parts of the planet, its young people must be very immodest indeed.

    Tragically, in the complete absence of reason, violence is probably the only alternative.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Eddie – I too am tired of the disproportionate democratic voice afforded to those whose only qualification is to be superstitious and, therefore, capable of being insulted for it.

      Religion is quite baseless and mad and yet it can hold enormous political sway. Yet Mr Cameron calls UKIP voters fruitcakes and loons for perfectly reasonable thought.

      There is only one conclusion to be draw from this:

      The Tories will treat you with open contempt if you are unlikely to resort to violence and mayhem.

  26. Richard
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    A start could be made by the government, the great and the good and the BBC not telling us daily that all cultures are equal and that multiculturalism is good for us.

    A recent government report recommending that “British values” are taught in schools says :

    “Pupils in British schools should study free speech, the rule of law, mutual tolerance and respect for equal rights. ”

    But many cultures do not believe in these principles and because we define ourselves as a multicultural society many people feel that they have every right to ignore these principles.

  27. ian
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    It all about oil and gas as usual for the west. Isis has all ready given the west and other country in the middle east a outline of the borders that it want, so i think it time for talks. This has been along time in planing just like Israel was by the British government and all other borders in the area. Isis has a lot support from saudi arabia israel syria to name but a few, all for there own reasons. As i understand the new state of isis is just another experiment in the way life should be by powerful people and country in the area. They do not want other religions to leave the area because this is part of the experiment. The idea is that all muslims in the area come under sharia law and all other religious people have their own courts of law and carry on as before. The killing has been low, nothing like shock&ore. The christian”s run for the hills out of fear and so would anyone. The problem is that saudi arabia is one of the only country in the world that teacher and practices sharia law but do not want muslim migrants from other country to go there, so we have a lot of muslims who cannot practice their religion as they see it. Some young British and European muslims like the idea and want to migrant to the new isis state to practice their religion in peace and not come under other country”s laws. So i think it time to get around a table and talk for the next 2 or 3 year to come to a settlement while west can keep the oil and gas flowing in the mean time. One should act out of fear like the usa and propaganda doe”s not help.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      We can start by making sure the ones whon have migrated to IS don’t come back to these shores but watch the lily livered politicians roll over on “umanrites” excuses. We don’t have “umanrites”.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that they hold British passports and unless they are deemed to be a class of citizen apart, then I would assume that they have as much right to return to the UK as you or me.

        • ian wragg
          Posted August 18, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Then the British passports should be withdrawn and they should be deported or jailed. What they are doing is treasonous and should be dealt with accordingly.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted August 18, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            I agree with your sentiments but as they are not fighting British troops at present or plotting to overthrow the monarchy here I cannot see how their actions in a foreign land could be classified as treason, any more than the volunteers who travelled to Spain in the 1930s to fight for the communists against Franco.

  28. Julian
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate the big picture regarding the UKs diplomatic stance towards the Middle East however this seems to be a one-off chance. The so called islamic state has an army which is prepared to go into open battle. This is an unusual chance to seriously undermine a large fundamentalist force unlike the fight against the taliban who use guerrilla tactics. It can done by arming the Kurds and provide intelligence support such as satellite and drone info.

    Reply The IS state entails holding sway over a large civilian community who may genuinely support them or go along with or only accept them out of fear or under duress. There is no single army out in a field waiting to be bombed to death by US planes. The forces of the IS like their predecessors will embed in civilian areas and make any opponent fight street by street to regain control with all the cost to lives, economic activity and physical assets that entails.

    • agricola
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      As you have not seen fit to publish my well argued comment I would say this.

      There is so much beauty in this world that an obscenity such as IS should not be allowed to defile it. It is not the first and sadly not the last but it has to be dealt with.

  29. Terry
    Posted August 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    How do you defeat an evil idealology?
    You deny it a home in which to fester and corrupt the young.

    However, strategic bombing would weaken the force quite dramatically.
    They have taken over numerous Oil Wells in Iraq and are using their output to fund their evil progress. A handful of laser guided bombs would reduce them to rubble killing all production. It would take them months or years to repair.
    Likewise their bases. There cannot be any anti-ISIS groups remaining in the towns that have fallen so they all could be given the carpet bombing treatment. Of course, properties would be wrecked but that would be the case anyway, if a ground assault had to be made. All of these targets could be softened up in order that the Iraqi army can move in and retake them with little resistance. Once the ISIS army has been dispersed a concerted effort must be made to hunt down, find and prosecute all of them for brutal ‘war’ crimes or for murder.

    However, all of these require to be sanctioned by the UN before initiation. Had the US and its allies waited for clear UN approval before engaging Saddam, the current crisis may have never ocurred.

    Reply In other words indiscriminate killing in any place IS has troops.I do not think that a good idea.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Laser guided pig’s trotters could do the trick without too much collateral damage.

    • outsider
      Posted August 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: It would be indescribably wicked, cruel and terrible. But we need to remember that the would-be “caliphate” is at a very early stage. If could only achieve control across Syria and Southern Iraq with very much greater death and suffering. And if that were achieved, the state of Jordan would soon be crushed and there would be a genocidal war against Israel. And then onwards…
      If America had been able to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima or Nagasaki immediately after Pearl Harbour, or even just before the Rape of Nanking, do you think that also would not have been a good idea?

  30. margaret
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    What may have a significant bearing is where ISIS are going to stop If the advancement means encroaching on meditteranean , EU and UK territories and being joined up with the existing fundamentalists in these areas , then we need to take more action .

  31. sm
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Probably no chance with the current set up. But importing the worlds problems en mass wont help.

    Its not as though warnings were not given to us and wilfully ignored and probably suppressed. Where else does that sound familiar?

    Start with the UK and start asserting sovereignty on borders, immigration,citizenship , rights of residency, and revocation of thereto of those with an incompatible, dangerously intolerant outlook.

    Exit the EU or any other body constraining us as needed.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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