To Speak, or Not, of War
In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, UK government officials and the press refer to the incident as a “terrorist attack” while those killed and injured are “victims”, who, according to at least one source, were “murdered.”
They fail to employ the language of war even when that is exactly what Manchester represents, an act of war.
ISIL may not have F-16s or Hornets but they or their adherents can apparently manage to get through defenses with devastating results.
The suicide bomber is a 21st-century version of a WWII buzz bomb designed to exact the maximum, indiscriminate toll.
Those killed and injured in Manchester are battlefield casualties though leaders and the press are loath to admit it.
To do so is a tacit admission that the war, in this case in Syria and Iraq, is no longer confined to a faraway offensive operation.
It is now a defensive operation, as well.
In fact, Prime Minister May has British troops deployed on the home front this very day.
Words such as “terror”, “victims” and “murderers” disassociate and distance us from the reality of war.
In the approximately 1,000 days since Operation Inherent Resolve began, there have been 21,647 coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
Airwars, a UK based monitoring group, estimates that a minimum of 3,530 civilians, many of them children, have been killed in Syria and Iraq during that time.
That’s the equivalent of about one “Manchester” a week of civilian deaths there.
It makes no difference at all whether or not that fact has an effect on us; we can choose to care or not.
What matters very much is how it effects or influences those who view our presence there as an unjustified assault.
As we now know, in the UK, the US, and elsewhere, there are some who are propelled to enlist as soldiers of the caliphate because of our actions abroad, citizenship is no bar to becoming an enemy in our midst.
When imprecise or incorrect words and rhetoric cloud our thinking we are unable to objectively view the situation or make strategic decisions.
We have chosen to be at war, there and here, and we should be very clear about it.
It is to be doubted that ISIL will soon be destroyed or their enlistments diminished if the attendant collateral damage is a Syrian or Iraqi “weekly Manchester” of death and destruction.
The hearts of the faithful will burn for revenge.