Clem Sunter

God's messy war

2013-05-31 13:30

Clem Sunter

Three developments suggest that God's messy war has no end in sight and could get worse. Firstly, the Boston bombings indicate that self-radicalisation - a term to denote an individual's conversion from religious zealotry to acts of violence - is on the increase. From an intelligence point of view, this turn of events is potentially very dangerous as it is almost impossible to pick up the signs of a specific individual taking the leap from abstract idea to ghastly deed; and the measures required to reduce the probability of this scenario become extremely costly in terms of money and denial of freedoms which are the foundation of democracy. The butchering of a soldier in civvies in broad daylight in Woolwich in London and impromptu statements by one of his attackers holding a bloody knife and cleaver have increased the urgency of new tactics to counter this trend; as has the incident of a soldier in uniform being almost killed in Paris by being stabbed in the neck.

Secondly, the public acknowledgement by President Obama of the use of drones to kill the leadership of terrorist movements in countries like Pakistan and Yemen indicates how much the game of war has changed. Some three thousand people have been killed, including around 10% of that number being innocent civilians who are described as collateral damage. As I said in a previous column, conventional forces such as armies, navies and airforces become redundant in such a war. It's all about a model aeroplane being directed by a computer boffin sitting in an office in some unknown location in America. With the withdrawal of British and American troops from Afghanistan in 2014, this will become the principal tactic of the West in the overseas fight against terrorism in the years to come. Clinical and remote and maybe joined by robots in time.

Thirdly, the civil war in Syria between rival groups of the same religious faith has just escalated to a new level with the announcement by the Russians that they are supplying the latest anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian government forces.  The war there is already threatening to engulf neighbouring states like Turkey, Lebanon and Israel; and the declared willingness of Britain and France to arm the rebels can only lead to a greater intensity of the battle inside Syria itself. Iraq is also a warzone again between rival religious factions.

There are a host of reasons why wars in history have broken out ranging from emperors wanting to expand their sway in Roman times, the crusades, the historical rivalry between European and other nations and the sheer hatred between different ethnic groups causing genocide in different parts of the world. Then there are the revolutions around ideology or precipitated by the more materialistic ambitions of grabbing power and becoming the next elite in a particular country. The killing will continue as it is in the basic DNA of mankind to compete and fight with intervals of peace breaking out when exhaustion sets in. Religion seems to be the latest excuse to fight but it is the hardest one to quell. Toleration is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to matters of God.

Send your comments to Clem

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

- News24


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Wednesday Cape Town - 16:09 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Borcherds Quarry Road Interchange
  • Wednesday Brackenfell - 16:08 PM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    STATIONARY VEHICLE in the centre lane before the Old Oak Road exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.