Noble Lies: Mission Creep in Syria as British Democracy is Undermined

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“They [the neocons] really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they’re conquering the world in the name of liberalism and democracy.” Shadia Drury

Lying and deception as tools of war have been used for centuries.  Sun Tzu in his The Art of War elaborates its utility in the context of war.  The book makes the reading list for the US army.  However, where a government lies and deceives its own people who put them in power, this is sabotaging democracy.  The manipulation of opinion, deception and the promulgation of great lies is often used by totalitarian, fascist regimes to maintain their power and pursue their agendas against the will of the people.

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Theresa May’s Neoconservative Cold War Against Islam and Muslims (1)

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“Irving Kristol came up with the solution that has become the cornerstone of neoconservative politics: use democracy to defeat liberty. Turn the people against their own liberty… if you can convince people that liberty undermines security, they will gladly renounce it.”[1]

 

The principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law have been “hijacked” and torn down by neoconservatives in government.

Theresa May, an “extremist” by her own criteria of “British values”, has outlined some truly shocking measures to “counter” the notoriously nebulous “extremism”.  Before delving into the McCarthy-May Measures speech, there are few overarching points to keep in my mind.

There is a fundamental flaw which runs straight through her speech.  The flaw is the underpinning conveyor-belt theory of radicalisation i.e. that one begins disaffected, starts practising Islam, becomes politicised and then blows things up.  The professoriate in the counter-extremism and terrorism field have slammed the theory as no longer maintaining any credibility. From sociologists to former CIA operations officer, the focus on ideology, or in this case “Islamism”, has been placed on its head, with it being characterised as incidental as opposed to pivotal.

The second point of note is moral supremacy afforded to liberalism, which has been posited as the zenith of societal values, yet it has been thoroughly shackled, gagged and torn up in pursuit of its preservation, as though it is too weak to stand up to scrutiny.

The final point to keep in mind is the issue of definition.  I am not one to labour this point, as I have addressed this in several blogs in detail (see here).  The issue is defining “Islamist extremism” and “extremism” itself.  The bottom line is, part of rule of law, an ascribed “British value”, is that the law being applied is just, and a law cannot be just if it references vaguely defined terms, especially where the impact is such that it effectively socially cripples one’s life. What are the boundaries of critique and vocal opposition? What is the fault line which demarcates traditional religious beliefs shared across the Abrahamic faiths for instance, and “extremism”? Simply stating they are clear is political-speak with no real meaning. Indeed, the social experiment in which the Muslim minority has been the guinea pig for the PREVENT Strategy has already evidenced miscarriages of justice.

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Human Rights and Justice: Understanding the Neoconservative Threat

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In my previous article, I highlighted how Moazzam Begg and his ordeal signalled the death knell of the counter terrorism and counter extremism agenda.  His presence, words and actions were and still are a thorn in the side of the neocon government’s intentions.

Que Alan Henning’s death. However saddening and condemnable it is, from a government point of view, frankly it’s the best thing that can happen for the neocons to continue the onwards march of the war on human rights, and continuation of the foreign policy agenda.  It is a means of accelerating the recuperation from the damage dealt by the release of Moazzam Begg.

Neoconservatism – a “Mode of thinking”

Murray has supported American policies like done attacks and waterboarding

Douglas Murray – supported American policies like drone attacks and waterboarding

Neoconservative policies are driving much of British politics today, but aside from a light mention of what neocons really stand for on this blog, the understanding of the intricate play of neoconservatism with the politics and the people requires a deeper analysis of the writings of the neocons and the sources from which they derive. I have already mentioned Douglas Murray, a man who does exert an influence over the current direction of UK’s frankly absurd policies. Murray in his book cites Leo Strauss,[1] and academics like Shadia Drury have described their thoughts as “Machiavellian”, abusing democracy to achieve their own ends.  For many, this serves little meaning in terms of everyday life.  In order to fully understand the implication of the neoconservative mind-set, one needs to delve further into the neocon “mode of thinking”.

The Henry Jackson Society, which is a key influence on UK domestic and foreign security policy, proudly imports (and exports) the American neoconservative “persuasion”.[2]  The focus on America is why Douglas Murray has passionately spoken in defence of American policies, for instance defending the use of US drone attacks and shockingly, even torture in the form of water-boarding. It is also why William Shawcross has defended Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq war and why Michael Gove pursued his “ideological” military-esque foray into the Muslim minority vis-à-vis Trojan Hoax, and why now the ground has been prepped for the neocons in Government to pull the plug on the Human Rights Act, to the disdain of various rights groups such as Liberty and Amnesty.

The “fathers of neoconservatism” are Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss. I will focus on Irving Kristol and other contemporary “leading lights” like David Brooks as it was Kristol  who brought out the writings of Strauss and wrote in defence and promotion of neocon “persuasions” (as opposed to principles) whilst contemporary neocon thinkers have built upon what has been written.

Neocons and the Acquisition of Power

The aim of the neocons is to firstly get into power, and once in power, stay there. They fundamentally do not believe in liberal “principles” as they do conservative ones.  This notion allows for the easy dispelling of other principles, such as the rule of law. As Kristol explains, there are moments when it is “wrong to do the right thing”,

“There are occasions where circumstances trump principles. Statesmanship consists not in being loyal to one’s avowed principles (that’s easy), but in recognizing the occasions one’s principles are being trumpeted by circumstances…”[3]

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