And so, once more, society demands that you forget all that passed before the latest reboot of our narrative. Wipe clean your memory; reset your cache. Whatever you observed in the past is no longer of any consequence. Only the discourse of today need trouble you. Acquiesce to the demands of the moment, where history, however recent, is and will always be irrelevant.
From our perspective, what happened fives years ago is ancient history, let alone the Cold War, two world wars and European colonialism: those were an epoch ago, close to the dawn of time, where the Battle of Hastings, the Roman Conquests and the construction of the Pyramids all blur together as a hazy recollection of our pre-existence, before our birth.
Today’s narrative is of the eternal conflict with ISIS, the empire of hate, which threatens our very existence. Al-Qaida, once but a database of useful mujahideen, has returned to obscurity and vanished from our conversations for good. Though none of us had even heard of ISIS prior to the summer of 2014, in three years it has become the enduring adversary of our era. A global supremacist superpower that would subjugate the whole world to its whim, striking at will against the weak and defenceless everywhere, for no apparent reason, other than to draw far-superior military powers into the theatres of war.
Ours in not to question the reason things are this way. They attack us because they hate our way of life. And because their supremacist ideology demands that the whole world be remade in their image. Do not work through the logical inconsistencies that accidentally spring to your mind in the heat of the moment, as you ponder a nascent State seemingly intent on aborting its own ascent, by waging war on the powerful rather than making alliances with them. Ours in not to question the reason things are this way.
And so it is that we must forget all of those debates on the Today programme on Radio 4 throughout 2011 and 2012 about arming and training rebel groups intent on bringing down the evil Assad regime in Syria. And so it is that we must forget which armed groups we defended with our eight month assault on Libya, with its 26,000 sorties striking 6,000 targets. All of that was over five years ago now: all ancient history and of no consequence to the moment. We have nothing to learn from history, ancient or modern, for history starts tonight.
So pay no heed to Jemery Corbyn, or the former head of MI5, or Boris Johnson. Idiots: all of them. Know that our financial, military and material support for militant extremists overseas is irrelevant to any discussions about domestic threats today. Ignore Hillary Clinton when she said that the people we are fighting today, we funded twenty years ago. Those were different times in the distant past, in those dark unenlightened days when the Pet Shop Boys and New Order were considered high culture.
There is — let me say this clearly — absolutely no link between our support of violent militant extremist groups overseas and the scourge of terrorism at home. Absolutely none. And all the newspapers owned by billionaires with conflicting business interests will back me up on this. As I’m sure we can all agree, pacifists and peacemakers are a threat to our national security and must be stopped at whatever cost.
And on and on it goes like this, common sense thrown on the bonfire of political expediency, for short and long term gains. Because, in truth, we need all of this conflict, for without it we are nothing. If we had to negotiate fair access to the resources we depend on for survival, we would become just another tin-pot republic of little consequence in the world, with pot-holed roads, failing schools and crumbling infrastructure. Do you want that for yourself? Do you?
Of course there is a link between our foreign policy and terrorism, but it is not as set out by Jeremy Corbyn, for the direction of travel is the reverse: our actions are always a response to the fanaticism of those who hate us. We are the resistance to the terrorist scourge. They are the cause and we the response.
Isn’t it so? Aren’t our interventions overseas consistently justified as a response to terror? A century ago, British military intervention in Somaliland was justified as a battle against the fanaticism of “The Mad Mullah”. Wherever we sought to win ground for the Empire, a rabid army of zealots were never far away, from Mesopotamia to Sudan to Afghanistan. Why change such a narrative when so few read history and even fewer still draw on the parallels of the past?
But it is all more serious than cause and effect. The link between foreign policy and extremism is couched as a vicious circle of revenge and counter action. If only the chain reaction could be broken, say commentators on the Left, there would be peace everywhere, and this affliction would leave us. But in truth it is not cause and effect: terrorism is not mere blowback. The link is palpable.
In Libya and Syria it was our documented foreign policy to give arms and logistical support to violent rebel groups in their fight against Gaddafi and Assad. We have long been actively financing, arming and supporting violent jihadi groups abroad when it has been in our nation’s interests. It is why the Turkish government protests so much: because its NATO allies are providing weapons to a fighting force in northern Syria it classes as a terrorist organisation, which threatens its own integrity.
Our support for terrorist groups fighting proxy wars abroad is unambiguous. After the fact we might admit that those moderate rebels were anything but. Or more likely we will tell the Select Committee that we mistakenly failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist component so prominent in the rebellion. But it amounts to the same thing. We give weapons and funding and logistical support to all kinds of groups that represent the exact same ideas we condemn at home for our domestic audience.
In public, we castigate the purveyors of extremist ideologies, while in private we sign export licences for billions of pounds of arms sales to the wellsprings of those very ideas. The link between our foreign policy and extremism is pretty well assured, even if it is not what is meant by most people.
In grand cathedrals, the people grieve. ‘Blessed are they who mourn,’ the archbishop intones, ‘for they shall be comforted.’
But the people are not led by the words of the hefty tome on the lectern. When Jesus ascended the mount to address his followers, insist the gatekeepers of respectable thought, his words were not intended as practical guidance.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,’ is the kind of lefty-liberal political-correctness that got us in this situation in the first place, say the foremost politicians of the establishment.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers?’ They shall be called a threat to our national security.
‘Blessed are they who are persecuted?’ They deserve to be persecuted, because they adhere to an abhorrent creed, which all good people everywhere agree can only be defeated with British values at home and cruise missiles abroad.
‘Blessed are the meek.’ For they will be put in their place by billionaire media moguls and millionaire politicians, who shall inherit the earth, by whatever means necessary.
This is the age of double-speak, when unspeakable violence and killing is condemned at home, but commended abroad in pursuit of a lasting peace. Do not ponder what is being said. Do not read between the lines. Do not ask questions or demand answers. Do not demand coherent arguments. Do not listen to the one who speaks sense, or the one who uses reason.
Forget all that passed before. Reboot the narrative you have imbibed; entomb all you thought you knew. Wipe clean your memory; reset your cache. Whatever you observed in the past is no longer of any consequence. Only the discourse of today need trouble you. So acquiesce to the demands of the moment.