Compulsory Amnesia

Do not be mindful of the past. This is the demand of the times. Forget all that happened before the week before last. It is all ancient history.

Does anyone remember the NATO intervention in Libya? Ancient times. Does anyone remember the war on Assad; the claims about chemical weapons, mass killings, barrel bombs? All wiped from the mind.

Never mind the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Never mind the decade of sanctions which preceded it. Those No Fly Zones. Never mind anything that happened before 1959 or 1923. Never mind history and what it teaches us.

History starts today, or on 7 January 2015, or 7 July 2005, or 11 September 2001. History begins and ends on days like these, marked out for their remarkable violence and horror.

The uncivilised tribes who succumbed to poisonous mustard gas dropped from British biplanes remain a footnote, lost in our collective memory. Shock and Awe but a postscript.

Blessed are the peacemakers. With their F-35 Lightning II. An incredible feat of engineering: stealth technology, vertical take off and landing, unmatched manoeuvrability. And a price tag of staggering proportions.

We are a peaceful people. We only want peace. We are not like the barbarians bent on our destruction. Our advanced weaponry is only for bombing the uncivilised back to the stone age. Our chemical lasers will only melt the wretched. Our drones are only for assassinating the wicked.

Ask no questions. Seek no answers. Recall only this week’s headlines. Do not speak of ancient history: of last month, last July, of a vote in the House of Commons the year before last, of dubious partnerships with fighters we are now fighting. Ask no questions, think no thoughts. Be quiet now. Forget.

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