It says so much about the current parlous state of political discourse that the response to Jeremy Corbyn pointing out that British policies at home and abroad have contributed to the current terrorist threat wasn’t reasoned debate by wild accusations of treason, which have only served to make him seem more credible, given that a majority of Britons agree with him.

The problem is that, whether through stupidity or mendacity, explanation has been confused with justification (although Corbyn must take some of the blame for this), and people fail to understand that such an explanation isn’t necessarily the sole cause, nor does understanding of past mistakes automatically grant the ability to resolve the situation or avoid future ones.

It is clear that past policies have allowed terrorists a fig-leaf of apparent justification for their actions, making it easier for them to recruit patsies and harder for moderate Muslims to oppose their warped ideology. The justification is apparent because many people suffer injustice and harm without responding with hatred and violence, and because the targets of their supposed vengeance seldom have any justifiable connection with the causes.

Indeed, in the wake of the Manchester attack, it is particularly easy to refute the assumption that any justification flows from the explanation. Outrage at events in Syria might, arguably, justify an attack on politicians or soldiers. The further away from such potentially-legitimate targets you get, the shakier the justification and by the time you deliberately target a concert with many children in attendance, it’s clear that any rational argument has vanished. That the interference in the Middle East has created the perfect conditions for terrorists to thrive and recruit in no way offers any justification for such an attack.

It must also be borne in mind that such explanations do not mean that other explanations do not also apply. While there may be misguided idealists and angry victims tempted into the terrorists’ ranks, such organisations seldom appear solely because of the reasons that allow them to recruit. At the heart of ISIS, you will find men driven by the agenda of spreading Wahhabism and attaining power and its trappings for themselves. That the actions of the West have assisted them in their goal doesn’t in any way change the fact that they are driven by such aims. But, it has to be understood that rather than a handful of radicals of limited means, the blunders of Britain, America, Europe and Russia have enabled them to grow exponentially.

By understanding where things went wrong, we can attempt to avoid repeating those mistakes. That Corbyn wouldn’t, he says, send Britain into foolish military adventures is a good thing. But, just because he wouldn’t continue down the same path doesn’t mean he knows which path we will take. If he becomes Prime Minister, he will have to deal with the situation as it exists, the result of those blunders, and I doubt he has either the sense or the will to do so, and I fear he may make entirely new blunders that worsen the situation further.

We know where we went wrong and only a fool will continue to pursue a policy of failure. But, knowing what the answer is to resolve the situation is a whole other thing – and I do not believe Corbyn can do it. Rather than attack him for sharing the beliefs of many Britons, beliefs that come from an understanding that the government has made mistakes, the Tories would do better to question his ability to handle the situation. Unfortunately, if they mishandle it, we get Corbyn, who isn’t up to the job, and if they show him for what he is, they will return to power and commit us to following the same path of failure. That we will continue to suffer attacks seems certain for years to come.


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