The crime ISIS committed in the capital of
is as bad as any crime can get. We shudder at the cold brutality. The
complete and absolute lack of any kind of humanity. What they did was a long
way beyond disgusting. It was plain evil. Germany
And of course the crime has dominated the news. How could it not? And of course we have recoiled in instinctive horror. How could we not?
But is probably important to take a step back. To take a couple of breaths. To look at the horror with a measured eye. And once we do so, things get a little uncomfortable.
We don’t question such an event filling every corner of the news. It is huge. Of course it is. But we need to be clear about why it is so huge. The reason isn’t all that hard to find. Twelve completely innocent people were murdered in the coldest of cold blood. Why? For being white and Christian and European and Western. For being in the most liberal and tolerant city in the world. For being unwitting pawns in a ghastly game. These are all compelling reasons. But of course the biggest reason is easy to nail down. For these are people who are just like us. We go to Christmas markets. We are innocent Europeans who do no more than go about our daily business. We don’t deserve to be executed in the name of Jihad.
Had exactly the same atrocity been committed in the midst of the rubble of
it wouldn’t have dominated the news.
Had it happened in a market in a town in Aleppo, Northern Nigeria
none of us have ever heard of, well, I guess it might not have made the news at
Some victims are just more newsworthy than other victims. White Christian Europeans are at the top of the newsworthy league table whilst Black African Muslims are way down at the bottom. Should we beat ourselves up about this? Not really. Human nature is human nature. It won’t change. We are the creatures of evolution and cannot be blamed for being so.
Next I guess we have to take a look at the 'Why?'. Obviously every politician who finds themselves in front of the cameras will spout the well worn party line. This is a wicked, senseless, cowardly attack on our way of life. This is an act of mindless cruelty.
But it isn’t of course and it is a shame our politicians are so incapable of being honest about the motives of
They are not so very hard to find. Germany
is a problem for ISIS. The Jihadis rely on painting a
very particular picture of us to their potential recruits. We are the wicked
unbelievers who cheer the TV when American bombs rain down on Muslim civilians.
We are the 'Kuffar' who want to see Muslims exterminated like cockroaches. So
when Germany stepped up to the plate and showed such compassion and love to the
victims of Assad’s war, it made things kind of hard for the bad lads with the
long beards. Facebook was full of images of welcoming, smiling Germans handing
out teddy bears to traumatised Syrian kids. This was a narrative they needed to
change and to change quickly. They needed to make the German people be more like
the British people and the American people. Angry and fearful and xenophobic and
ready to vote for people promising drone strikes and carpet bombing and no
Burkhas. The German people have been far too in touch with the better angels of
their nature. ISIS need to bring out the
worst in us. They need us to strike back with our cluster bombs. They need us
to flatten Muslim schools and to disrespect Muslim women. In order for their people to learn to
love ISIS, they need to be taught to hate us.
They need to provoke us into doing things to make us hated. Nice, kind German
people holding up ‘Refugees Welcome’ signs are the worst kind of nightmare for ISIS. Angry looking Germans marching to old Nazi tunes
are absolutely perfect.
And the worst of it is the way our leaders dutifully dance to their tune. We never learn and we never will. The tabloids will bay for blood and the politicians will duly deliver it. We are so miserably predictable.
But we can take another step back and here is where it becomes very uncomfortable indeed. What exactly did
ISIS say when they claimed responsibility for the attack?
They said it was the work of one of their 'soldiers'. Yes. A 'soldier'. ISIS see this as a military operation with a clear goal.
The mission was to brutally kill civilians in the heart of a German city? Why?
To break the will and morale of the German people. To make the German people
stop showing love and start demanding revenge. ISIS
need us to be as bad as they say we are. They have a clear strategy. They are quite
deliberately using maximum horror to make the German population change the
way they are behaving. To break the policy of the German government.
Is this the first time such a strategy has been used? Of course it isn’t. And now an awfully uncomfortable truth edges out from the very deepest of shadows. It is a truth about as welcome as a despised uncle at a wedding.
Between 13 and 15 February 1945 the British Government ordered ‘Operation Thunderclap’. Hundreds of British bombers dropped 2500 tonnes of high explosive and 1500 tonnes of incendiary bombs on the German city of
We killed between 25,000 and 35,000 people. We will never know the exact number
as many of the dead were quite literally melted in the firestorm we unleashed.
It is worth noting that the death toll on day one of Dresden was 40,000. More, but not so very
much more. Hiroshima
We knew full well there were barely any soldiers to be found in
. We knew full
well the streets were packed with desperate refugees running from the wholesale
murder and rape being committed by the Red Army. We knew full well there was no
strategic gain to be made by setting Dresden
So why did we commit such an act of utter horror? Simple. It was a calculated act of brutality disegned to break the will of the German people. Here is what the Commander in Chief of Bomber Command had to say.
“I mention this because, for a long time, the Government, for excellent reasons, has preferred the world to think that we still held some scruples and attacked only what the humanitarians are pleased to call Military Targets. I can assure you, gentlemen, that we tolerate no scruples.”
And my word, were we ever true to his words. We proved we could keep up with the Jones’s when it came to cold murderous brutality. And we did indeed break the will of the German people. Three months later we won and Trafalgar Square was one big party. No wonder
ISIS are using our playbook. Thank
goodness they cannot begin to really imitate what we did to Hamburg
and . On
Monday night they killed 12. On that shameful night in 1945 we killed more than
30,000. We burned them alive. We melted them. Dresden
Of course we don’t want to look at this. And of course we don’t want to dwell on the crimes we have committed in the past. But we cannot escape the fact that the mass civilian killing we once indulged in paved the way to our greatest victory.
are obviously happy enough to study the history we choose to sweep under the
carpet. They are using our playbook. Let’s hope they never get the same result.
Way back then we had a popular saying. We said 'The only good German is a dead German.' And it was deemed perfectly OK to say this. It was very politically correct indeed. And in February 1945 we made the words come true. Big time. I guess ISIS are saying much the same thing now. And on Monday night they also made their words come true. Just not on the same scale.