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Same old same old…

It's not just 'okay' to talk about ‘the war’ - it's crucial that we understand what's going on..

Sunday, October 8, 2023
7 mins

‘Lest We Forget’

Scotland may be dragged into another major European war and none of us has even been asked about it.

Some estimates suggest that there may be up to 10,000 war memorials across Scotland. 

It seems impossible to ascertain precise figures but it is generally accepted that over 150,000 Scots died in World War I. Over 50,000 Scots died in World War II. These numbers include both military personnel and civilians. 

For some, Scottish independence is a constitutional given with profound historical roots - that in itself is sufficient cause to campaign for the return of all economic and legal responsibilities. 

For others who perhaps accept that mediaeval treaties and declarations are not accorded the respect they once commanded, independence is the means to other ends: the eradication of poverty; the proper stewardship of land and resources; the right to decide the will of the Scottish people on a whole range of important issues, the gravest of which is the decision to wage war on another nation.

Right now, war threatens to engulf Europe yet again and Scots have no say in whether or not our children will be called upon to participate, as part of the UK Armed Forces.

This site is anti-war. We are not ‘pacifist’. (There are crucial differences but this is not the proper place to explore the nuances.) We believe that conflict is sometimes inevitable and that the concept of ‘a just war’ is a matter for legitimate debate. But we also believe that no such decision should be left in the hands of governments who cannot - for whatever reason - be honest with the citizenry about the need for war.

When we ask for detail we are given meaningless abstraction and sloganising (‘the war for democracy’, ‘standing up for freedom’ etc) or troubling silence which will be familiar to citizens who remember being subjected to casus belli via UK broadcasters on many occasions previously. Time and again, within living memory, UK forces have been sent to participate in major wars for reasons which were, at best, opaque and at worst, plain, provable/proven lies. 

The truth about the current situation in Ukraine has been obscured amidst a propaganda exercise of unprecedented intensity during which any narrative contradicting that supplied by the British state via a compliant mainstream-media is suppressed. The censorship of opposition to war extends to the blanket-banning of any news outlets presenting the ‘opposition’ viewpoint. 

In the current situation, for example, the best-known international broadcaster representing a Russian point of view (Russia Today - ‘RT’) is not available via British terrestrial channels. The great difference between the situation now and, say, the build-up to NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, or the invasion of Iraq in 2003, is that state propaganda must now vie with the phenomenal rise in social media activity. People can access real-time coverage of conflict via their mobile phones. Credible, professional alternative media sources have a growing presence on the ground, enabling first-hand testimony. And despite the desperate measures used to discredit such journalism with the crude use of so-called ‘fact-checkers’ (which are themselves established and funded by the same organisations who own the mainstream media outlets broadcasting the original lies/distortions) the salient facts behind major developments/incidents are becoming easier for citizens to confirm as a result of their own research and judgement. Simply being told by a NATO or UK/US government spokesperson that something ‘happened’ or ‘didn’t happen’ is no longer, for many, good enough. 

It is not for us to solve the situation in Ukraine. But we can at least try to establish and understand the truth of what has happened and is ongoing. All the better to make informed decisions as and when the UK Government starts to soften up the public to expect, or even encourage, ‘boots on the ground’ in Ukraine, Poland, or anywhere else for that matter. 

In the meantime, we are reminded of slogans from decades ago which captured popular sentiment in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK and further abroad: ‘Stop The War’ and ‘Not In My Name’. We believe that those phrases most accurately represent popular feelings across the country right now. Ukrainian flags have all-but disappeared from windows and flagpoles and battlefield developments are not being reported, either daily or accurately. Incidents such as the dam destruction, arms-cache explosion and pipeline sabotage are either misrepresented or ignored. Demonisation of President Putin continues. Precise casualty figures (particularly, the ratios of Russian/Ukrainian fatalities, estimated by some to be approximately 7:1 respectively) are being avoided.

Western powers should be supporting voices for peace in Russia and Ukraine, not backing their own governments' war effort. The West's talk of total victory is deranged and has nothing to do with any concern for the Ukrainian people, only with geopolitical interests. Continuing conflict in Ukraine is a tragedy for all involved. Millions of ordinary citizens have been displaced from their homes and thousands are already dead or permanently disfigured both physically and mentally. Children in and near conflict zones have become easy targets for child-sex traffickers. The psychological effect on a whole generation of displaced and traumatised people is incalculable. The war has also had a devastating impact on the global economy, driving up food and energy prices.

The only way to end this war is through negotiation. That cannot happen whilst the Western powers continue to pour weapons and money into what has become one of the most corrupt nations on the planet. It cannot happen when every overture from Russia is rejected out of hand and not even reported to Western audiences. It cannot happen when huge anti-war demonstrations in European capitals are simply memory-holed - if they ‘didn’t even happen’ then there’s no public outcry to talk about.

Our ‘War In Europe’ discussion board features a variety of links, some with a specifically Scottish slant on what’s happening. These are provided to initiate discussion, not illustrate an editorial view - our view is simple enough: the war must be stopped if escalation is to be avoided. It benefits no-one but arms manufacturers and those poised to secure vast reconstruction programmes. Taxpayers’ money will end up in the bank accounts of major shareholders. The same old same old…

We do not accept that raising our tiny voice will make no difference. There are too many examples of collective action yielding results, too many proverbs and parables, memorable one-liners and stirring speeches asserting the power of the individual - they can’t all be mere rhetoric. They represent an underlying truth about human nature which no propaganda, however intense or effective, can ever obscure. That is, human beings are co-operative creatures, essentially decent and kind to one another if left to themselves. We can only be made to hurt one another if we succumb to fear and suspicion generated by others with motives for creating conflict. We have seen it happen so many times, even in living memory, and always with the same result i.e. ‘ordinary’ citizens having their lives wrecked for the benefit of entitled elites.

‘A bayonet is a weapon with a working man at either end.’ John Maclean.

The first of the links on the War In Europe page is an interview with US General Douglas McGregor: ‘I think we’ve reached a point in this conflict and crisis that is probably more dangerous than it has ever been certainly since 22 February (2022) and perhaps the most dangerous point since the Cuban missile crisis.’

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