Limited and Fastidious Intervention in Iraq and Syria

It is an odd war that is being fought in Syria and Iraq. It seems that the intervention of foreign powers in the war, albeit limited and fastidious, has one aim of wishing to expunge the soi disant Islamic State (which is neither Islamic nor a state) but other aims of supporting or toppling President Assad, depending on which intervention you are thinking about. There are other subsidiary aims – a home land for the Kurds, expansion of neighbouring states, political ideology and philosophical and religious dogma. War makes death; if you fight for principles those principles must be stronger than life and must support life.

And so, the bombers are like a man to double business bound, they stand in pause as where they should begin and and end up bombing to show that they are doing something, even though it may not achieve victory.

The casualties of the war are the innocent civilians, used as a shield by some and acquiring the status of collateral damage by others. No one counts the civilian causalities; counting dead people went out of fashion with the invasion of Iraq, a decade ago.

It seems to me that if you are to win a war, you must have a single simple objective, not a shopping list of half a dozen possible objectives. After all, war is a serious business and a simple business if it is to be won. The interventionists in the war in Iraq and Syria are making it too complicated and are unlikely to win the war; if they do win the war on their terms they will certainly lose the peace.

It is something that has often happened.

And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow?

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