Andrew Marr interviewed the Defense Secretary Michael Fallon on Sunday. Marr asked him what the outcome would be if they lose the vote to bomb Syria. Fallon’s reply is astounding:
“Well that would be hugely damaging – obviously – to Britain’s reputation across the world. It’s our allies who want us to come and help: France has asked us very directly to send the RAF to help alongside their aircraft. It would obviously damage our reputation internationally, and I honestly believe it would leave us less safe than we are at the moment.”
The fact that he said it at all is remarkable. The fact that this is the first thing that came out of his mouth when asked why we need to bomb Syria, is horrifying. Are more bombs to be dropped on Middle Eastern cities because British politicians are embarrassed to say “no” to French ones? Are innocent men, women and children to be blown apart on the alter of Britain’s reputation?
It is indicative of the imperial ideology among us that talk like this isn’t hash-tagged to death and slammed across newspaper pages. As though it were utterly normal to take bloody military action to defend one’s reputation, rather than being something Mafia bosses might do.
It is crumbs of comfort that the quote above includes, at least, an afterthought about national security. Marr challenges him on this, saying that some wonder if more ill-considered Western bombs in the Middle East will only create more terrorism, to which Fallon replies:
“Well its too late now, we’re already a target [ . . .] We’re attacking ISIL already in northern Iraq.”