Corbyn on terrorism

26 May

This from the Independent today:

Jeremy Corbyn is to take the hugely controversial step of blaming Britain’s foreign wars for terror attacks such as the Manchester suicide bombing.

The Labour leader will claim a link between “wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home” …

He will stress his assessment is shared by intelligence and security services and “in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children”.

Why is this statement of the blindingly obvious such a ‘hugely controversial step’? Because we draw conclusions on the causes of salafist terror without troubling to join the dots on a quarter century of western aggression in the middle east, even to the extent of weaponising jihadism against regional leaders insufficiently prepared to subordinate Arab interests to those of Wall Street. Still less do we trouble to acquaint ourselves with a full century of ‘our’ meddling and black ops, ever since the end of WW1 synchronised the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with the transformed importance of oil.

Labourites who groan in despair at the impact on voters of  ‘another own-goal’ are seeing this in too small a way. First ask the question, is it true?  Only then ask, is it electorally damaging?  Because if the answer to both is ‘yes’, the implications are more serious than whatever happens on June 8 – for all this may be the most significant election since 1945.


See the FB exchange below. Emotions rise in the wake of terrorist atrocity. (Atrocity within our borders, that is, or those of other imperialist nations collectively known as the west or global north. Death rained on far off and poorer lands, in our name and funded by our taxes, barely registers at home.) In that emotive climate, reason flies out the window and cynical politicians play to it. We who seek to understand terrorism are lambasted as its defenders. Says Patrick Cockburn in the second Independent piece linked above:

… the Conservative Security Minister Ben Wallace claimed that Corbyn’s timing was “appalling”. He said that “we have to be unequivocal, that no amount of excuses, no amount of twisted reasoning about a foreign policy here, a foreign policy there, can be an excuse. The reality is, these people hate our values.

Of course, this is the old political gambit, often deployed by politicians and journalists, of deliberately mistaking explanation for justification … (emphasis added)

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