Moral Obligations……

31 Aug

The debate in the media over our ‘moral obligation’ to intervene in the Syrian conflict continues on a daily basis whilst the fighting carries on unabated.  However, in my opinion the term ‘moral obligation’ is in its self unhelpful and a rhetorical ‘Red Herring’.  First of all it suggests that we are obliged to act and, second, it suggests that any action taken is done on the grounds of morality when neither is true.  If any country made foreign policy decisions on the basis of a moral obligation there would be hundreds of wars being fought right now and, to take the argument as an absolute, does Iran have a moral obligation to intervene in the illegal detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay or the illegal settlement of Israelis in occupied Palestinian territory?  Unfortunately, we have to face the facts; the US, UK and their allies are not the world police and have caused suffering to hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in their previous moral crusades into Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which were undertaken in highly dubious circumstances.  Morality is not a part of the equation when deciding foreign policy, neither is obligation.  ‘It is in our strategic and financial interests to intervene’ doesn’t have the same ring to it but when you hear a politician talking about our ‘moral obligation’, that is what they are really saying……

On the subject of morality, the US Attorney General, Eric E. Holder Jnr, announced that no one would be prosecuted in relation to the death of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 or another in Iraq in 2003.  Both victims were being held in secret CIA detention facilities and were subjected to the ‘harsh interrogation techniques’ considered by most human rights lawyers to be torture.  This is yet another disappointing result after President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay and ‘end the use of torture without exception’; both empty promises.  However, in an ironic twist, former CIA officer, John C. Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed the identity of CIA operatives to journalists.  Doubtless, they feel they have a ‘moral obligation’ to prosecute Mr. Kiriakou along side Gary Mckinnon and Julian Assange……

Meanwhile, as the Paralympic games kicks off politicians are practically queuing up to put a positive spin on disability as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, prepares to cut welfare spending by a further £10 billion, causing yet more distress to the disabled victims of Atos Healthcare.  French IT giant, Atos, who were exposed in an undercover investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches program rigging the outcome of the Work Capability Assessments to fit the DWP’s quota, have £3.1 billion worth of government contracts and are facing accusations of bad practice from welfare charities, the Citizens Advice Bureau and individuals at the receiving end of their decisions.  Cancer sufferer, Cecelia Burns, sadly passed away on Monday having been declared fit for work by Atos HCP’s in February.  Sadly, this is not an isolated case.  Atos are one of the sponsors of the Paralympics; a luxury they can easily afford, unlike their victims who could not even afford a ticket……

‘Perhaps it’s time the government re-assessed its moral obligations’……

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