I always thought myself a decent judge of character, but it would appear that I’ve been spectacularly wrong. Or perhaps chronically misinformed by some of those who I once would have been happy to pass the time of day with. Being so stupid I’ve had to spend an unnecessarily long time over the last few weeks peering with incredulity at the missives of some of my ‘friends’ on Facebook as they take to the screen to denounce the refugee crisis.
Not, as many sane thinkers might point out, that the causes of the Exodus might actually emanate from us here in Dear Old Blighty. Sadly not, their fingers have blurred for a much less noble reason. They propose that refugees should be turned away from our country because they might be harboring a loathsome cargo and their argument largely goes as follows:
‘So, lots of these refugees started off in Syria, yes? And that’s where ISIS is, yes? And ISIS hate us, yes? And ISIS have said that they will send Jihadists to the UK, yes? To blow themselves up and stab us in the street, yes? And there’s a bunch of refugees walking towards us many of whom are young men and look pretty athletic…just saying…’
Ergo, there must be at least a bunch of Jihadists among them.
And that’s why we shouldn’t allow any of them in. Because there are terrorists in among them. Logical, surely? Probably fact even, sad but necessary; one Jihadist is one too many, so back they all must go…common good you understand…terrible shame but there you go…
The premise that Jihadists would walk to the UK from Syria is preposterous
There is usually then a plaintive short paragraph in which they decry racism in all its forms (which makes me think they doth protest too much) and then make certain that they ensconce their argument in patriotic terms usually by mentioning Lee Rigby.
And I despise them for it.
I do so for two reasons. Firstly because they lack courage to say what they believe and secondly because of what they believe. The premise that Jihadists would walk to the UK from Syria is preposterous and gives support to my long held belief that many people slept through geography at school.
Do you know how far it is to Syria? It’s a long way, let me tell you. It would take weeks to walk there, and is beset on all sides with hardship and risk. Plus, the tight scrutiny under which the refugees are moving can hardly be believed, probably without parallel. If it’s not a border guard or newly called up militia conscript, it’s a journo and their photographer, and if you’re lucky then this one isn’t kicking you as you trudge past.
The ubiquitous cameras plus the endless processing at points of entry and egress in the myriad former Yugoslav and Eastern Bloc states (who know a thing or two about scrutinizing) to which they are subjected, must make each and every one of them some of the most heavily watched humans on Earth. Notable politicians would die for half the face-time.
And that’s just to get to Austria. The UK is a whole new ball game: try to get in through normal refugee channels without being fingerprinted, probed, coded, photographed, interviewed, processed and thermally scanned. A similar layer of security, plus a daunting nautical journey, protects North America and Australia, despite the talking points of the Trump campaign. It can’t be done, and the Jihadists would be stupid to try.
With billions of dollars in oil revenue, some of the world’s leading IT guys on their books, and a logistical set up to at least match any Middle Eastern military, they have at their disposal more options than just a size 9 flip-flop
And they are not stupid. This is the first asymmetric warfare based insurgency to go conventional and make it work in hundreds of years. ISIS is a high tech, media savvy, multi-billion dollar organization that is operating on a global platform against the most sophisticated counter-insurgency operations on the planet, and they are not losing. They aren’t exactly winning either, but bearing in mind the last time anyone tried this sort of move was the Tet Offensive and the fact that they are still in the game, makes them pretty much the most successful bandit operation since Robin Hood.
Mossad, the CIA, MI6, GSG9, The FSB, not to mention the Syrian Secret Police have all tried – and failed – to infiltrate and shut them down, and these guys aren’t used to not getting their way. The finest Military insertion units that our mega buck armies and navies have to offer have had a go too, with limited success at best. ISIS are no mugs, of that we can be sure.
The training that the Jihadists undertake is brutal. They select the best for insertion training and then subject them to months of rigorous specialist training. Many of the ISIS top brass are the remnants of Iraq’s Republican Guard, who you can discount at your peril, because they know how to pick and train a tough operator. They have survived twelve years of being on the run from the best fighting forces and surveillance drones that money can buy and it’s made them good. Very, very good.
The crap or just plain unlucky ones are all dead, and the ones that are still operating are the battle-hardened remains of tough bunch – not an idiot among them, at least in a military sense. Those selected for Jihadist deployment to the West are ISIS’s top operatives and their most valuable assets. They are the Chosen Few, their Dirty Dozen, their SAS, their Navy SEAL, their Spetznaz, their Typhoon Fighter Jets, Their B52 and their ICBMs.
And that’s why they won’t make them walk to fucking England from Syria. With billions of dollars in oil revenue, some of the world’s leading IT guys on their books, and a logistical set up to at least match any Middle Eastern military, they have at their disposal more options than just a size 9 flip-flop to get their men into France, the UK, Denmark or wherever they decide to deploy.
The reason that these former friends want to stop the refugees coming here has nothing to do with hidden terrorists. It’s because they’re racists. And they haven’t even got the backbone to say so.
Don’t look to the roads for them, don’t look for them clinging to train loads of Disneyland returnees, don’t look for them in the back of the booze cruise lorries or coaches with year 9 students coming back from World War I history trips. Oh no. Look to the skies, look to the beaches perhaps, but mainly look to the airports. And I am sure that we are, because our Secret Services aren’t looking for Jihadists in a bunch of refugees walking through a corn field in Croatia or on a rocky beach in Greece. MI5 aren’t stupid, thank God, and their assets are limited and so they prioritize. And airports are top of the list.
If Jihadists are coming, and they are, then that’s where they would come. Complete with plastic surgery, ceramic Glocks and state of the art forged passports. First Class tickets. Trained professionals. Not up to their knees in cow shit begging for water off a Serbian peasant farmer. Come on, get real. The people who are walking here from Syria are doing so for one reason and one reason only: it’s their only choice. Well, that or stay at home and get blown up, gassed, starved, shot, stabbed, barrel bombed, beaten, raped or just old plain starved to death. I know what I’d choose and so would you.
So shut up about them being economic migrants. They’re not, they just want to get up in the morning a have a reasonable chance of not dying in some horrific manner before lunch.
No. It’s nothing to do with Jihadists that makes the refugee haters so anti. The reason that these former friends want to stop the refugees coming here has nothing to do with hidden terrorists. It’s because they’re racists. And they haven’t even got the backbone to say so.
I’m not sure which is the worst, being a racist or cooking up a feeble excuse to stop desperate foreign human beings from coming to our safe and prosperous (sort of) country. But I do know that I won’t stand for either of those points of view. Or perhaps I do know what’s the worst. It’s pretending to be noble when your malign purpose it obscured with patriotism and quasi-logic. I’ll never feel the same way that you might but as Voltaire said ‘I may not agree with you but I will fight to the death for your right to be a complete asshole.’ And if he didn’t say that he should have. Sort of thing he said.
Anyway, I think it’s worse to hate and yet not have the common garden decency to admit it. If you’re a racist and want to send your fellow man (and women and children and old people and all their hopes and dreams) back to Syria because you don’t like the look of them because that’s your opinion, then at least come out and say it. Don’t try to obfuscate. That’s cheap, and you’re not very good at it. I see you.
Col Kilgour in Apocalypse Now made an obvious comment when he’s said that Charlie don’t surf. Well, Jihadists don’t walk and that’s obvious too. And you’ve more chance of seeing Ho Chi Min ride the nose of a long board off Waikiki than see a Jihadist wander into the UK with a pitiful band of human misery, intent on detonation. To use that as an excuse to refuse entry to desperate people seeking a better life makes me want to vomit. And if I was half the man I was when I was a British Soldier, (yes, I’m no Islington iPad warrior) then I’d show some of those haters precisely what they should really be scared of: that is, those of us with the compassion and vision to see the refugees for what they are, the Jihadists for what they are, and these closet racists for what they are too.
Image by Freedom House