I cannot recall a conflict so swamped by incoherence as the one in northern Iraq. The awfulness of Isis has given the something-must-be-done-even-if-it’s-stupid lobby an ostensibly crushing moral ascendancy. The right takes comfort in faux belligerence: David Cameron’s party conference speech frothed with “evil people, pure and simple”; it dripped with killed children, raped women, genocides and beheadings. He declared that “some people seem to think we can opt out of this. We can’t. There is no walk-on-by option.”
He then walked on by. He suggested that a bit of bombing would do the trick while conceding that “troops on the frontline” would be “Iraqis, Kurds and Syrians fighting for the safe and democratic future they deserve”. None would be British. The adjectives were apocalyptic, the response cosmetic.Too damn right.