British Blairite Owen Smith’s ISIS gaffe

Owen Smith and ISIS

There is ISIS terrorism now; to a very large extent because of the Iraq war started by George W Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair. Then, ISIS became worse because of the NATO governments’ covert regime change war in Syria; which in 2013 almost escalated into open war with the US, British and other NATO governments as allies of ISIS; until pressure by the peace movement made the British parliament stop these plans.

When Jeremy Corbyn was a candidate for the British Labour party leadership in 2015, the Blairite right wing of the party smeared Corbyn, associating him with ISIS terror.

So did then Conservative prime Minister David Cameron, after Corbyn had won the Labour leadership election.

Now, today, from daily The Morning Star in Britain, on Blairite Labour leadership Owen Smith:

Gaffe-prone Smith ridiculed over ‘Isis talks’

Thursday 18th August 2016

Labour leadership contender forced to backtrack on negotiating-with-terrorists comments

by Luke James, Parliamentary Reporter

OWEN SMITH was mired in controversy yesterday after suggesting that Isis should be invited to peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war.

The Labour leadership contender said that “all the actors” must be brought round the table to end the brutal conflict, including the notorious terror group.

Mr Smith rapidly rowed back on the comments, which he made during a televised hustings with Jeremy Corbyn, after being condemned by figures from the left and right of politics.

Asked by host Victoria Derbyshire whether Isis should be involved in negotiations, Mr Smith referred to his time as a special adviser to former Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy.

He said: “Ultimately all solutions to these sorts of international crises do come about through dialogue so eventually, if we are to try to solve this, all of the actors do need to be involved.

“But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating.” Asked the same question, Mr Corbyn said: “They are not going to be round the table. No.”

A spokesman for the Jeremy For Labour campaign said later that Mr Smith’s comments were “hasty and ill-considered.”

“Jeremy has always argued that there must be a negotiated political solution to the war in Syria and the wider Middle East, and that maintaining lines of communication during conflicts is essential,” said the spokesperson.

“But Isis cannot be part of those negotiations. Instead, its sources of funding and supplies must be cut off.”

Tory MP Johnny Mercer MP, a member of the defence select committee, said the comment “demonstrates his unfitness for leadership.

“His desperate attempts to out-Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn have led him to the view that barbaric murderers who behead journalists and lynch homosexuals are now the sort of people that we should negotiate with,” he added.

A spokesman for Mr Smith later sought to clarify his comments, saying he believed there could be no negotiation with Isis unless they “renounce violence, cease all acts of terror and commit themselves to a peaceful settlement.”

One Labour source told the International Business Times that Mr Smith makes “more gaffes than Frank Spencer.”

Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn and ISIS

Also from daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Smith’s parody of the left

Thursday 18th August 2016

ONCE again, Owen Smith’s campaign team has had to intervene to save its candidate from an ill-thought-out political position — his call to involve Islamic State (Isis) in peace negotiations.

Team Smith explained that he meant an Isis that agrees to “renounce violence, cease all acts of terror and commit themselves to a peaceful settlement,” which is really likely.

The problem is not, as Smith claimed, that the death cult is not interested in negotiating “at the moment.” It is that there is no basis to justify negotiations with this murderous bunch of cut-throats who set their face against the modern world and want to impose a present-day caricature of a caliphate that ended over 800 years ago.

Jeremy Corbyn was right to declare that there is no place for this terror group at the negotiating table. What aspects of Isis rule would Smith be prepared to debate with its apologists — public beheadings, sadistic ritual murder, child rape, slave markets for captured women, mutilation as punishment?

The only responses to Isis are to defeat it comprehensively and to prevail upon Western states not to act in a way that exacerbates resentment among Muslims and encourages a tiny minority to seek vengeance through this cult of violence and pseudo-religious obscurantism.

The only forces with a track record of inflicting military defeats on Isis have been the national armies of Iraq and Syria and the independent Kurdish forces in both countries. …

This is not the same as sending foreign air forces over Syria to bomb targets of their own choice without agreement from Damascus in an exercise that is illegal, provocative and, at the same time, militarily ineffective.

Corbyn voted against this Tory proposal, which owes more to imperial nostalgia for British military involvement in this region-wide conflict. Smith did likewise last December, as a shadow cabinet member who hadn’t yet joined his colleagues’ rolling campaign to undermine the party leader. However, Corbyn’s challenger contradicted this peace stance by declaring that he would order the use of nuclear weapons — condemning millions of people to death — because, “If you don’t, then you don’t have a nuclear deterrent.”

While Smith may believe that having nuclear weapons and threatening to use them adds up to a deterrent, it isn’t really. No British PM could unleash a nuclear holocaust without Washington’s permission and, even if that were possible, other countries doubt that nuclear-armed powers will deploy them.

The Argentinian junta didn’t let Britain’s nuclear deterrent stop it from trying to regain the Falklands/Malvinas by force any more than US nukes deterred Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait or Israel’s nuclear weaponry prevented Lebanese resistance forces from liberating much of their country from military occupation. …

Smith’s underlying problem, as ever, is to reformulate himself as a man of the left because a challenge from the right would, in present circumstances, be crushed. …

It was all very unconvincing, which explains perhaps why the vast majority of audience members identified as undecided at the start of yesterday’s debate lined up behind Corbyn supporters at the end.

Corbyn, Smith and Trident

15 thoughts on “British Blairite Owen Smith’s ISIS gaffe

  1. Friday 19th August 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The media have been doing a hatchet job on all things Corbyn. SOLOMON HUGHES looks beyond the hype

    The best political reporters working for the top newspapers and magazines looked at the Corbyn phenomenon, and thought about their mission to understand and explain the world and come to the conclusion that Corbyn could only be supported by a deranged killer or, more generously, someone who has lost touch with reality.

    So the Guardian said Corbyn voters were best understood as being like members of the Charles Manson cult.

    Manson’s “family” was a gone-wrong commune in late ’60s California, which under their crazy guru’s lead murdered nine people in gory ways encouraged by home-made apocalyptic beliefs.

    Manson had a beard, so the parallel with Corbyn and his followers is almost exact.

    A more sympathetic approach to the Corbyn supporters from the press is that, while not being insane murderers, they are completely detached from reality.

    While London-based journalists know what’s going on, the Corbyn supporters live in a “bubble” where they only read what they want on Facebook or talk to each other at rallies. They don’t talk to their friends or workmates or family members or watch the news.

    The very size of the Corbyn rallies just shows how detached they are. Their refusal to read the amazingly convincing words of our great journalists must be the only reason they have not immediately agreed to drop Corbyn and repeatedly refused to support the recommended candidates. They could not possibly have read them and not been convinced.

    Only a boy in a bubble or girl in a cult could not agree.

    It’s quite alarming news — it looks like over half of Labour’s members, around 250,000 people — are set to vote for Corbyn.

    Labour may be struggling to win over swing voters, but polls suggest around 47 per cent of existing Labour voters back Corbyn (versus 25 per cent for Smith) so that’s around four million people.

    Manson’s “family” had only a couple of dozen members, so that’s a quite surprising gain for the murderous psychotic community.

    If this breakout of mass delusion seems unconvincing, maybe there is another reason. It’s barely said in the newspapers, but perhaps some people support Corbyn for rational reasons.

    The place to start — which almost nobody in journalism does — is the last Labour government. It isn’t just about “winning the next election,” but also “what for.”

    The last Labour government did some very good things. It introduced the minimum wage. It made big increases in social spending — hiring more nurses and teachers. It built or refurbished schools and hospitals and other social infrastructure that were in a bad way after the Thatcher-Major years. It refurbished many council houses under the “decency threshold.” It helped out a lot of poorer people through tax credits. The Education Maintenance Allowance helped a lot of young people stay in college.

    But there were also some very bad things. Labour set Atos on the disabled. It stuck asylum-seekers in dodgy prisons run by G4S. It gave scandal-hit firms like A4e hundreds of millions to “help” the unemployed. It introduced student fees.

    Labour started talking about the “end of council housing,” bringing council house building to a near dead stop — causing the housing crisis we now have.

    In a lot of cases the good things were done in bad ways. The schools and hospitals were refurbished, but only by being privatised through the PFI, which was a terrible, expensive mistake.

    NHS queues were shortened, but through privatising the NHS, as more and more operations were handed over to profit-driven companies.

    Worst of all, Labour ministers and MPs pushed Britain into the disastrous Iraq war, a murderous, incompetent conflict built on lies.

    In most cases, Corbyn, the Labour left and grassroots opposed all these gross, avoidable errors at the time, but were ignored and bullied into silence.

    The mainstream of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) majority got their way and in each case they were wrong. The “Labour” things the last Labour government did were mostly good. The “New” Labour things they did — war, privatisation, deregulation, backing the bankers — were mostly wrong.

    So Corbyn supporters, it is true, don’t want to win at any cost. They are not keen for a Labour government to win and then go into mad wars or wasteful privatisations or bullying the disabled or handing asylum-seekers to profit-making prisons.

    They want Labour to be involved in positive social change — which isn’t easy, doesn’t automatically get good press, might involve policies and people that are initially unpopular and might be resisted by the Labour right.

    The over-the-top reaction of the PLP to Corbyn’s victory shows that Labour really does need a shake-up.

    To some extent Owen Smith’s candidacy seeks to deal with these real issues. Smith’s policy pledges recognise the mistakes the last Labour governments made. They also address the sometimes hazy way Corbyn has codified policy. They are a good platform for Labour. Smith can make a good case for something a lot more positive than the last leadership election.

    But Corbyn supporters wonder if he — and especially some of his backers — are genuine. It’s a shame that there is a “trust” issue here, but the last Labour government undermined trust by using “spin” even when it came to issues like war.

    The continued attacks on members — suspending branches, accusing them of all kinds of terrible behaviour — makes it difficult for some to fully trust some of the big PLP figures now arguing for a vote against Corbyn.

    Smith’s claim that the last Labour government was naive about the way the Tories would use their NHS “reforms” as a Trojan horse to privatise the NHS looks unconvincing — Corbyn warned against them at the time. If the PLP were that “naive,” maybe they really need a Corbyn-style shake-up? This is why the idea that Corbyn is “genuine” weighs so strongly.

    When PLP complainers point to all Corbyn’s rebellions, many Labour members look at what he voted against and think he was right. The pressure to accept a more “moderate” but “electable” candidate also weighs less when it seems candidates like Smith don’t have the promised immediate access to good press and electoral popularity that is promised.

    So members backing Corbyn aren’t “mad.” They are trying to get a Labour Party that doesn’t do mad wars and crazy privatisations.
    It’s a struggle and involves conflict and opposition from the mainstream commentators.

    It might mean getting the policy right first and struggling with electability later. That might have big risks. But who said social change came easy?,-or-full-on-mad#.V7cnajWZ0dU


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