Image via Wikicommons.
On Friday September 26th the prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning, announced that the Danish government has decided to send seven F16 fighter jets to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) together with the United States. It had been originally announced about a month ago that the Danish government would send a Hercules transport plane with the purpose of humanitarian aid, but was quickly changed to include F16 fighter jets and 55 soldiers in a combative collaboration. There are no plans yet to send foot soldiers. We took to the streets of inner Copenhagen to hear what the average citizens think of little old Denmark going to war yet again.
Brian, 37, Restaurant Consultant
VICE: The decision was announced on Friday that Denmark is sending fighter jets to Iraq, how do you feel about it?
Brian: It doesn’t really matter, how many jets are we sending even, four? [It’s seven] Yeah yeah, it really doesn’t matter, they’re only a little drop compared to how many Americans will go. I think it sucks, because I mean how much oil is even there anymore, do we need to fight them?
Well this is specifically targetting IS.
Oh yeah, the non-existent state. We’re fighting an idea here. We lost to drugs and we lost the war on terror and now we’re fighting ideas. That’s fucking brilliant.
So in a nutshell, you think the idea sucks?
Yes, it sucks, but there’s nothing we as a public can do about it, and our contribution really isn’t making a difference anyway. If we go, meh, if we don’t go, meh, the outcome will be the same.
Tahit, 20, Nurse
What do you think about the decision for Denmark to send fighter jets into Iraq?
I think it’s quite shitty, I’m not a big fan. I thought with the new government and everything that something would change, but it hasn’t. I’m not a big fan at all.
What’s your main concern?
Civilian death in Iraq, absolutely. I’m not very fond of the military in general so I think it’s a pretty stupid idea.
Do you think Denmark will become a target for terrorism?
No, not really. Well it might, but that’s not my biggest concern at all. I’m quite concerned that a lot of people will die unnecessarily. So yeah, that’s my opinion. I don’t think it’s a good idea at all, it sucks, and I’m not a fan.
Lyna, 28, Midwife
What do you think about Denmark getting involved with the conflict with ISIS?
Lyna: The last time we helped, we didn’t really help at all. So I think Denmark only wants to help if they get something out of it. Why won’t they help in Syria? They won’t do anything and people are dying all the time. I have mixed emotions because I’m Danish but I’m Muslim too, and I don’t like the way that Denmark interferes with other countries. Denmark feels threatened – if they don’t back up the US then we won’t get help when we need it one day.
Have you been following ISIS? As a Muslim how do you feel about them?
I don’t think they’re real Muslims. Muslims would never do those things. They are twisted in their heads, ISIS. Other people in Denmark think all Muslims think the same, we don't.
Do you feel any prejudice against you as a Danish Muslim?
I feel like people want me to be exactly like a Danish person who isn’t Muslim. I do everything to support Denmark as a country and the people, but still I feel it’s not enough. I feel like I’m seen as a threat because they don’t understand why I feel more true to myself as a Muslim.
So you converted?
Yes, I’m Danish and was born to Christian parents and grew up going to Sunday school and everything, and when I got older and started to do my own research I found the teachings of Islam, and I’ve converted about 9 years ago. I just related more to those teachings than to Christianity. I met my husband later and now we have children who are also Muslim but he wasn’t the reason for my conversion.
Katrine, 33, Acupuncturist
How do you feel about the announcement that Denmark is sending F16s to combat IS?
I think it’s quite difficult because as a basic attitude towards war, I’m against it. I don’t like violent interference, but on the other hand this seems so massive and it seems so well coordinated in the sense that there are lots of states that are going in the same direction and supporting each other in this, so that certainly speaks for it. I don’t really know how we should otherwise deal with it. I think it’s important that there is a local presence there to deal with it [i.e. Kurdistan] to loosen up the imperialistic style of the West.
Do you support the collaboration between Denmark and the US?
It seems that Denmark sort of just follows the US sort of headlessly. There are quite a few speculations that you can do concerning the former prime minister and why he became head of NATO and all of that. That sort of has a bad taste to it. I can’t say that I’m against it but it doesn’t seem like something that is really up for debate, if they go, we follow and I don’t think that’s necessarily right.
If it had been put to a public vote would you have voted?
I wouldn’t have been less torn than I am now that’s for sure, but I feel that we could really help the people who are being violated by the IS, so I probably would say yes. I would be very torn though.
James, 50, Designer
Denmark sending F16s in to help the US combat IS - good idea or bad idea?
I don’t think violence is the solution. Responding to a negative vibration with a negative response is a downward spiral. I understand that Denmark wishes to play with the United States but I question how much the Danish people actually back that up. I’m not the most political person.
What do you think can be done, instead of violence, to stop IS?
Here I have some unusual viewpoints. I believe that the way to change the world is not to go and actually try to change the world outside of yourself but instead to change yourself.
Like that Michael Jackson song “The Man In the Mirror”?
Yeah, exactly, it’s connected to an idea of a multidimensional model of reality, which isn’t something that most people buy into. But that’s just my viewpoint.