Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force.
Arguably the best in the world, certainly with some of the most skilled pilots.
An ariel threat has played an integral role in warfare since the First World War. Although tactics have changed a little since then, we don’t see so many dog fights anymore, the role of the airforce in military tactics has never diminished.
This is an RAF Typhoon. It’s a pretty impressive piece of kit.
It can travel at the speed of sound, that’s 1381 miles per hour, costs more than £120m and has 13 missiles on board. Nice.
Among those 13 missiles are eight air-to-surface missiles and those are what we are talking about today.
The RAF target ISIS HQs, bunkers, vehicle bases and other sites of significance in the war on terror in the Middle East. The attacks appear fairly straight forward. Fly overhead, press a button, blow members of the world’s most feared terrorist organisation to pieces in seconds.
We can see all this happening, in front of our very eyes, because the Ministry of Defence upload videos, recorded in flight of ISIS targets being bombed, to their YouTube channel.
Here’s their most recent one.
The videos don’t get that many views, a few thousand, but are picked up by the press and therefore touted around our social media feeds.
My question is in the morality of publishing these videos in the first place.
Is it the role of the RAF to provide the public, often via tabloid news outlets, with these images?
My limited knowledge of military operations in the Middle East restricts my view slightly but, on the whole, I think that many of us would agree that the work done by the armed forces is outstanding. Their job is unenviable and one that many people simply would not be able to do.
But these videos, are they necessary? Do we need to see this?
It is, of course, all part of a spin campaign to convince the public ‘at home’ that the war on ISIS is being won. I’m not entirely convinced by that. The battle may well be made easier by jets that drop bombs in this fashion, but the war of ideologies cannot be solved in this manner.
Video content such as this goes back a long way.
Check out this crazy bombing run from the Second World War.
That footage is far more dramatic and intense that anything the MoD publish on their official channel, the inclusion of audio being the main contributor to that.
Today we scold ISIS for releasing stomach turning and gruesome videos of poor souls being murdered so, while the videos published by the MoD are nowhere near at the same level in terms of graphic content, why do ‘we’ publish videos that also portray the killing of people.
Is there no value in taking the higher ground?
I think the answer that would probably be ‘No, it would be too costly in terms of spin’.