On the 11th November, yesterday, an angry man said: “you have to fight fire with fire“. That would be news to the fire brigade. Anyone who has done their workplace e-learning about fire will know you put out fires by breaking the fire triangle: starve it of fuel, heat or oxygen.
To starve a conflict of heat, you do so by fairer distribution of resources, by not imposing cultural imperialism, by combating corruption, by not unfairly stripping countries of their resources and by not funding proxy wars.
To starve a conflict of fuel you do so by not retaliating, by not escalating, by not creating widows and orphans, by not training civilians to be militia, by not providing the arms for proxy wars.
To starve a conflict of oxygen, you go for the oxygen of publicity and stop copy-cat behaviour and slow expansion. But the media do like to show what bombs work best and where to put them, how to decapitate, how to drive a vehicle through a crowd.
No, you don’t fight fire with fire. You usually use cold water. Hopefully that angry man will remember that, this Remembrance Sunday, when the rest of us are trying to remember: