The Millitary Should Only Ever Be Used After a Referendum.

cards_warisnothealthy_detail“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong… no Vietcong ever called me ‘Nigger'” – Muhammed Ali

Catholics and Protestants still continue to fight in Ireland, divisons sewn by religion are driven with a supernatural force many cannot understand. Alike to this conflict is the dissagreement between the two major factions within Islam, the Shia and Sunni Muslims. In Syria the most extreme forms are fighting each other and, for reasons even my old LBC (a London talk-radio station) collegue Iain Dale is at a loss to fathom, it looks like the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron wants to follow Obama’s lead and draw us into it. Earlier last week the US announced it was to get involved on the side of the rebels.

“the White House announced on Thursday .. America would provide ‘military support’ for the Supreme Military Council (SMC) after tests confirmed that Bashar al-Assad’s regime had killed up to 150 people with sarin, the lethal chemical weapon.”

These plans to support rebels fighting against the current administration would effectively place us on the side of Sunni Muslims fighting and killing Shia. Generally ‘the West’ has avoided ‘taking sides’ in such an overt manner.

Without question the developing situation is worse than Iraq or Afganistan because, as well as apparently picking a favourite corner in an argument which stretches back for the best part of 1,500 years, we’re also lining up against Russia, who support the current Syrian President, Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Vladmir Putin is not mincing his words:

“One does not need to support people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support? Is it them you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”

From The Independent 16/06/13

Oh, yeah, and Iran is sending 4,000 troops to line up with the Shia in support of Assad and therefore against the US and UK. In other words, this could well be the start of a long-anticipated war with Iran.

“they will not talk of the waging of war (which implies a will), but of the outbreak of war – as if it were a sort of boil.”

– GK Chesterton

There is a theory that both the UK and the US’s economies and Governments have become dependent upon war. Building weapons and paying millitary staff is a workable solution to mass unemployment and, to a certain extent, can help an economy if damage to its own territories and property is limited. The term Military Industrial Complex comes into play here. As far as I can see that really is the driving force behind our war mongering so-called leaders.

It looks like it could be another massive fuck up, coming down the tube, so what’s new?

Well, the difference is that nowadays we live in an age where we the people have access to the internet, a place where ideas can spread like a wild fire in a dry forrest. I’ve written this piece with one in mind, I’m asking you to help spread it: democratic Governments should not be able to declare war without a referendum. As one human being to another, I implore you to pass on this meme with every fiber of your being. It’s totally logical, easily understood and offers a spanner we can throw into the heart of the filthy war machine we’re all trapped in by birth, blood and geography*.

This stupid cycle of death and destruction has to stop. I can’t be the only one who is sick of being ‘represented’ by Governments which want to spend our money on bullets and bombs addressed to the families of people who live in nations I know little about and can’t even place on a map. I hate the fact they add tax to the cups of coffee I drink in a cafe with my Mum, nail another few coins off me to cover the petrol I used on the way there and then try to grasp even more cash from the paycheque I earn when I go in to work that day. It makes me sick to think that this system you and I allow to exist then goes on to load people who wanted to defend it into boats and planes bound for foreign lands only for them to come back with missing limbs and crippling mental health issues.

It’s not good enough to just shrug your shoulders and say, “well, that’s what they signed up for”. They’re supposed to be there to defend us, it’s time for us to return the favour. If we advocated this one idea, that it needs a referendum and not the consent of lying thieving politicians to wage war, the whole rotten deal would have to change. The people of the UK and US are not cowards, we have a long history of fighting and bloodshed behind us. Such an idea wouldn’t mean we’d never defend outselves, it just means in instances like Iraq, Afganistan and now possibly Syria and perhaps Iran, they’d have to make the case to us first.

I honestly believe we are in the middle of a huge global awakening thanks, in part, to the internet. You have a worldwide communications system right at your fingertips. You have the power to help spread this one idea, by hook or by crook. You can tweet it, copy this article, re-write it in your own words, improve it, Facebook it, send it out, repost it, whatever you want. Just nail that idea into the four corners of the net and maybe by the time you and I die it’ll be on the political agenda and in the minds of those who come after us.

Use of the US and UK’s military should always require the consent of the people. It should always require a referendum.

Nick Margerrison (my twitter is here)

NOTE: Comments VERY welcome. It’s kind of obvious I think we should keep out of Syria,these blogs provide counter arguments to my current point of view:

LEFT FOOT FORWARD: Three left wing arguments against intervention in Syria, and why they are wrong:

“you wouldn’t walk by calmly if you saw a person being beaten to a pulp on a British street, nor should you turn away when people are being mowed into trenches by machine guns. The fact that the victims are foreigners should not come into it if you are an internationalist.”

The most inane of the arguments is reprinted above. If anyone comes at you with this direct them to the World Health Organisation’s list of causes of death by rate. If you really care about helping people live longer happier live why not crack on with dealing with any one of the top ten causes of death? Violence is in at number 14. The total number of deaths caused by war is even further down the list. The quickest way to get it even further down, is to stop funding it.

Advocates of the above point of view are locked into the sort of militaristic paradigm you might get if the Military Industrial Complex theory is true. Food for thought.

From Conservative Home: On Syria Cameron should be the heir to Blair:

Mr Cameron and Mr Blair should share a platform and make the case together for the liberation of Syria.

I kid you not, that is genuinely how this article ends. I read it while a little tired and for a while considered it might even be a parody.

*It’s also proving very difficult for me to source this idea. I initially thought I’d picked it up from “The Raelian Movement”, a brilliantly eccentric, French, UFO religion. However on further inspection it appears that’s not the case. Did I invent it? I’m not sure, I’m sure someone said it to me once and I stored it in my little brain… comments section, come to my aid!

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here:

13 Comments on "The Millitary Should Only Ever Be Used After a Referendum."

  1. The United States hasn’t formally declared war in more than 70 years. As an interim step to your excellent proposal, I’d like to see a Constitutional amendment that forbids other authorization to use military force short of a formal declaration of war (with a named enemy).

    • Daniel Gill | Jun 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

      we need Japan’s article 9.
      Look up Japan’s article 9, there is an organization that promotes it as a policy to follow for any country anywhere in the world. Consider how good it has been for the protection and peace, reputation of Japan. I have pledged for article 9. Everyone here should support it.

      I’m also related to General Douglas MacArthur who was instrumental in creating that, in hopes for world peace, so it was also in honour of his legacy

      • BuzzCoastin | Jun 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

        Article 9 is a US imposed war settlement
        MacArthur was castrating the Japanese war machine
        to protect the US military
        it’s not a law that grew out of a Japanese concern

        and they do have a military, but not a military-industrial complex
        and they are still occupied by US troops
        about 100K troops and 50 military bases
        Japan is far from demilitarized
        and Uncle Homeland has a quick reach into China thanks to that

        • Daniel Gill | Jun 24, 2013 at 11:54 am |

          Yet it is Japan with the good reputation and not the U.S.

          Enough said.

          I don’t see terrorists threatening them

          • BuzzCoastin | Jun 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

            come to Asia sometime
            no love lost for Japan
            their activities from WW2 still haunt them
            you wont find any Japanese products in Korea
            except the ones owned by occupying aMerkins
            lucky for them the Chinese don’t tend to hold grudges

  2. CdrGalactic | Jun 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm |


  3. Alan Morse Davies | Jun 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

    Banks love war, it’s very very good for business and has been for centuries.

    Syria’s factions don’t break down into the simplicity of Sunni vs Shia. Assad is Shia but from the Alawite tribal minority. There are also Christians.

    I agree with the thrust of what you’re saying and I think Syria is possibly the worst country to attempt to intervene in that I’ve seen in my life so far (47).

    Mike is right in that the U.S. has largely engineered its way into wars by manipulating public opinion without actually declaring war. After 911, would a referendum have prevented the Iraq war?

    The U.S. political system has largely been bought and neither party really serves the people. CitiBank’s investment opportunity brochure distributed in India describes the U.S. as a plutocracy (and that’s presented as a good thing).

    If you can buy media, you can change public opinion.

    If you want the U.S. to stop going to war, remove the profit incentive for war, remove people with vested interests from the government, remove lobbyists, remove campaign contributions, remove all the advertising that needs all this cash and nationalize your central bank. I’m guessing you know that the Fed is a private company.

    Then reform the U.S. media, difficult, freedom of speech and all that. Endless superficial speculation and knee-jerk reactions have replaced inquisitive, fact-based, detailed and nuanced journalism.

    Then elect a third political party into power, not Democrat or Republican and hopefully not funded by corporations. Task them with taking the cash out of politics.

    Try to ensure that the third party doesn’t have endemic cognitive dissonance [god=profit=success=suck it losers] [capitalism=freedom=jesus].

    Then try to re-educate large parts of your population into not thinking that different ideas and different races are somehow satanic.

    Good luck with your referendum, it was charming in a way because you still think you live in a functioning democracy. I agree with your intent, I disagree with your tactics.

    You’re trying to treat the symptom but you’re not addressing the cause.

    If both political parties are bought then choice is dictated by marketing.

    Do you want the blue toothbrush or the red toothbrush?

    What if there is a choice which isn’t a toothbrush?

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jun 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

    when I was just a lad
    my career military father explained to me
    the connection between war and the aMerkin economy
    ya can’t have one without the other

    you want to git rid of war?
    get rid of money
    it’s the main cause of all wars

  5. “Good luck with your referendum, it was charming in a way because you still think you live in a functioning democracy. I agree with your intent, I disagree with your tactics.”

    I think that nails it, to my mind. But it suggests an excellent way of raising awareness.

    Remember before the Iraq war, and all those millions of people who went on marches, only for their respective ‘leaders’ to effectively say that they didn’t value their opinion? Well, imagine an almighty social media campaign – theoretically, it should be much easier to get much higher numbers involved (less physical effort, for a start). Reach a certain critical mass, and enough people will start to say, ‘hang on, the will of the people is clearly being ignored, again.’ What happens next, if anything, is anyone’s guess, but I’m suspecting that the conditions are important. It needs to be obvious even to people who don’t think about these sort of things just how bad the situation has become, and then no amount of PR will change their mind.

    disclaimer: I resolutely do not use FB, twitter or anything like that, so my idea may suck balls on a practical scale that an outsider would not understand* – feel free to take the idea and turn it into something practical.

    *aside from the obvious idealism.

    • Alan Morse Davies | Jun 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

      There are different ways to contact and organize people other than marches, I agree. I have used FaceBook and Twitter but don’t any more. They are full of information, mostly trivial but lacking in real dialogue.

      FaceBook in particular is set up in a way that encourages people that agree with each other to congregate who then treat disagreement as a form of attack.

      Twitter is set up in a way that excludes complex arguments. If you can’t say it in 140 characters then you can’t say it. It’s a fantasy of Haiku truthiness, the idea that all thought and debate can be reduced to a fixed number of words and still maintain their meaning. Writing a Haiku is really difficult, sending a tweet is not. The Twitter founders are optimists I guess (as am I). Doh!

      A constant flood of superficial and ephemeral information creates the illusion of connectedness whilst reducing attention span. Without any real critical thinking or effective debate, a stream of information is just a stream.

      I know I’m off on a bit of a rant here but the reason people train to specialize in something is so that they can be really good at it. Social media has “democratized” opinion, experts no longer required. All opinions equally valid, an elimination of elitism is one way to look at it, a massive increase in the stupidity of our dialogue is another way.

      When did we stop celebrating smart people when we still celebrate strong people?

      It’s OK to accept that someone is physically stronger than you but less OK now to accept that they are physically smarter than you. What makes smart worse than strong? Why can’t we treat smart people like boxers? One can beat the shit out of you, the other can think the shit out of you, we are different in our perception of them how?

      To get back to your original point, you’re suggesting that requiring less effort from people will bring greater numbers, yes it will. Is it just numbers? How strong is that opposition if you can show it with a single keypress? Does that matter?

      I don’t know, maybe you’re right, maybe it is just numbers and we are starting to live in this world of “the constant now”. Maybe history and consequence are outmoded concepts because being informed requires too much effort.

      Unstructured, sorry, came up with a good catchphrase though.

      • Apologies for the long paragraph, my computer isn’t letting me express this paragraphically – I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written. It concerns me a bit, too, and that is one of the reasons I stay away from the sites I suggested as if they are an infectious plague – maybe they are. But I wonder if they are the shoots of something that may actually grow into something very useful in terms of mass communication if only they are fed right and the environmental conditions are favourable. To use an analogy (albeit a bad one), I often think of all the lifeforms on the Earth as like cells in a brain. Maybe said brain is fully conscious, and this is what it feels like to the individual cells. Or maybe said brain is gradually gaining consciousness / waking up / language probably doesn’t express it properly, and again, this is what it feels like at cell level – but if this is somewhere close to it, can you imagine what it’ll feel like when it is fully awake? So I only suggested those tools for lack of a better idea, maybe there are better tools, maybe they need to be brought into being once it is realised they are inadequate for the task at hand. Because no matter how many people click the buttons on facebook or twitter, it will be very easy for the powers that be to dismiss it for the very reasons you’ve mentioned, and for for those who don’t think critically to be taken in by those dismissals. It might, however, just switch a few more people on, and by switching more people on, a more effective way forward may grow out of it. Evolution is a process, after all, and can’t be hurried. To understand something fully, you have to see the results, etc.

  6. Ron Chandler | Jun 24, 2013 at 9:07 am |

    Executive Intelligence Review Magazine’s Lawrence Freeman believes that regime change has always been on the minds of the West, but that the scope of the war effort is much wider than a confrontation with Syria.
    “The reality is that President Obama and Tony Blair… have been very intent on regime change in Syria, and their target is broader than Syria. The target is confrontation – a game of ‘chicken’ with Russia and China to back down and submit to US-NATO policy control over the region and globally.”
    Freeman also makes a connection between the Middle Eastern strategy of Western powers and the collapse of the European banking system, seeing a direct correlation with the escalation of tensions in the region:
    “It’s not unrelated to the fact that the European financial system is in a state of collapse – as we’ve seen in Spain and Greece and are now seeing in Cyprus. As this system collapses, which comes out of the City of London financial empire crowd, you’re going to see more and more creeping towards actual escalation of war as a way of dealing with the collapse of their financial system.” … “the people behind this financial system want to neutralise the Russians and the Chinese, so they are no longer an obstacle… it’s much bigger than [removing] Assad.”
    Can’t say it any better than Lawrence: the British economy has been trashed by the thieving City of London: Wall Street and many euro-zombie banks too. This hideous war on Syria has nothing to do with Sunni-Shiite: it is an attempt to prop up a failed criminal cabal by military adventurism. So far, failure: continued risk-taking in the Golan by fool Israelis could tip it into WW III. This is serious, folks.

  7. gustave courbet | Jun 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm |

    While the idealists in me likes the idea of referendum based military intervention, I see too many ways that such a democratic mechanism could be easily undermined. There is the obvious potential for vote fraud which has grown ever more real with the wide scale application of electronic voting. The more pernicious danger is propaganda. The history of the US since WWI has shown innumerable highly effective propaganda coups in which the American people have happily gone against their interests, including our most recent wars. Not to be a buzzkill, but the Military industrial intelligence complex is so pervasive and lucrative that it is every where. It will take generations to extricate our culture from it. That said, I like the ideas of Webster Tarpley on shifting military industry to things like infrastructure development, high-speed rail, and space exploration. Money still gets made by the rich and we don’t have to kill the poor.

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