Book review – “My Turn” by Doug Henwood

by Daniel on December 2, 2015

Below, I review, in usual rather semi-detached style, the book by friend-of-the-blog Doug Henwood on Hillary Clinton’s candidature for President. A capsule summary might be: he’s against it. I’ve posted the cover image below because it’s so fantastic.

The meaning of the image is discussed in the book

The meaning of the image is discussed in the book

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Here’s the terrorist-sympathising MP John Baron:

Any successful strategy to destroy Isis hinges on there being a component of ground troops. Here the government makes the assumption that there are 70,000 Syrian moderates willing to take the fight to the organisation. While on our visit [Baron was part of a fact-finding mission to Middle-East capitals last month], we were reminded that, after nearly five years of conflict, there are precious few “moderates” in Syria. They do not form a coherent group; and, as the Americans found to their cost, they tend to be as liable to fight each other as they are to fight the extremists. The government has forgotten the lessons of Libya, where the anti-Gaddafi forces splintered into a thousand militias the moment the common enemy was defeated. A fresh civil war has been a result. Syria would be similar, but on a grand scale.

In any case, a feature of the Syrian civil war has been the speed at which new groups and organisations can spring from the shadows and stake their claim to support, legitimacy and territory. It is a bold assumption that the government’s strategy would prevent this, and the risks should be obvious that military intervention would merely clear the field for the next wave of extremists. We are all encouraged by the Vienna talks, but we are a long way off any lasting political solution.

The prime minister’s strategy is also notable for being heavy on emotion. We all sympathise with the French after the terrible attacks in Paris, and are mindful that such outrages could easily happen here, but we serve no purpose by allowing our thinking to be cloyed. When emotions run high, people tend to make mistakes. If parliament votes to intervene in Syria, it should not be in “solidarity” with our French partners – they know our sympathies are with them in any case.

Read the whole thing.

Similar tired old lefty stuff from old Trot Matthew Parris, sounding smug at the Times:

‘If not now, when?” asked the prime minister this week: a question that has surely preceded some of the silliest decisions in history. It could have been asked before Iraq. It could have been asked before Afghanistan or Libya, or Suez. It was probably asked before the Charge of the Light Brigade. There is no right time for an unwise decision.

To a hushed House of Commons David Cameron brought the news that he had consulted his conscience. Politicians love interviewing their consciences; they reliably receive a supportive response. Tony Blair and his conscience got on famously: one of the longest-running romances of modern times. Let us have a little less about conscience and a little more about judgment.

Now must come a sentence I never expected to compose. Jeremy Corbyn is right.

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