Precisely because it is such a frequently used criticism of religious faith, the argument that war is a product of religion is worth considering. After all, we have recently had some horrific imagery from the Middle East that seems to suggest that religion is a bad thing. Nevertheless a number of points strike me.
Of course, there is no military solution to climate change. You can't resolve it with bombs and bullets. You can only solve it by ending our usage of fossil fuels, and protecting the public from the climate change impacts already in the pipeline. That is a rather different security challenge to the one usually faced by the military. But it also makes fossil fuels and the firms lobbying for them Public Enemy Number One.
Sexual violence is a specifically reprehensible form of violence, and includes rape and any other attack of a sexual nature perpetuated against both males and females. Its repercussions can be iniquitous, and may include acute and physical repercussions for survivors and witnesses. Human trafficking can also lead to sexual violence, and I will be discussing the issue of 'modern slavery' in this article. I will also highlight the brutal effects of sexual violence in conflict.
Take a look at the media coverage of the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region. News of the sexual harassment of women in the "Arab uprising", brutal attacks, imprisonments and virginity tests of female protestors dominated the screens. Yet women played a significant role in these events. For them, the uprising was part of a long history of resistance to suppression and a lack of freedom in their countries. The fact is that women were fighting and have proved their existence despite the counter revolutionary and anti-women treatment that they were receiving.
We can, with our technology, our material and our enviable financial position, intervene on the right side. We can fight the aggressors, the fascists, and rescue Iraq from the scourge of Islamist violence. But this is only possible in coalition, in alliance. Leaving the Kurds to fight the Islamic State alone is immoral; abandoning Iraq is equally bad; and letting the United States shoulder the burdens of internationalism alone fails the very definition of the term.
It's a bicycle. The only thing I see under the stairs of one small home in the Gaza strip. A girl's small blue bicycle. A bit battered, had seen better days, but just a bicycle. Ahmad*, whose home it is, continues to point at it. I'm thoroughly bewildered. He stares at the bicycle. Then sits down heavily and starts speaking in slow, measured tones...
If we continue to feed this monster it will become much more problematic to defeat. Our leaders and the public who oppose military intervention now will only be repeating the mistakes we made in the 1930's by not stopping the Nazis before they became too powerful to stop quickly and effectively causing catastrophic loss of life totaling 60 million civilians and soldiers.
With the polls tightening and the bookmakers shortening their odds, there is now a very real chance that Scottish people will vote for independence in two weeks time... However, one of the most positive contributions has been the Scottish Government's commitment to a 'do no harm' arms exports policy in the event of a Yes vote.
For thousands of children in Syria, summer vacation is no longer about taking a break from their hectic school lives. On the contrary, with displacement and violence regularly interrupting normal classes, many children around the country used their summer break to visit school clubs and catch up on lost school days.
I'll tell you what I know about war in Ukraine, and life there. Some of you will scream "you are not there!" and that's right, I'm not in Ukraine but in France, and the war is not where I am but in Ukraine. However, as are all Ukrainians, I'm living this war too, even though I'm far away from it. It's like a long-distance relationship, and I know those very well.
When the history books come to be written, someone will doubtless compare the self-immolation of the Tunisian street-seller Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010, which sparked the wave of Arab uprisings, with the shot fired by the Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip that killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Each was a single act that no one could have foreseen would lead to the appalling carnage that followed. And each reshaped the world, destroying great political powers and sowing the seeds for future instability.
I do not want to sound cynical in suggesting that human life has a price. It is priceless as far as I am concerned. But this is a world that is not of my making. It operates according to rules that are sometimes quite absurd, and whether we agree or not, there is a societal consensus that human life, too, has a price.
It is clear that social media is now an indispensable part of the toolkit for anyone involved in modern conflict, but it also seems likely that its impact will help shape military tactics and decision making in the future. Political commentators occasionally refer to the 'CNN effect', where emotive TV pictures encourage governments to both enter and exit wars and humanitarian disasters.