Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Syria: No rush to war

Joan Ryan has asked for her constituents views on today's Commons vote on military action against Islamic State in Syria. Here is the substance of my response to her:

1.  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iraq again, Syria. The recent Western track-record does not encourage confidence in the judgement, or even truthfulness, of our MoD-intellgence-military complex. The situation is visibly worse than pre-911 and much (not all) of the worsening is due to Western military action.

2.  No military action is defensible except in pursuit of a clear and defensible STRATEGY. I see no sign of such a strategy and it may be that no such strategy is possible. Intervention without a strategy is no more than revenge or macho posturing and is more likely to cost lives than save them.

3.  There is one partial exception to this analysis. The Kurdish forces are disciplined and effective and the Kurds are trying to build communities based on mutual tolerance and democracy. Their attempts may fail but they seem to be the only communities even trying to go in the right direction. I think we should support their efforts and this may require limited military action in Syria as it has in Northern Iraq.

It would be good to have a solution to the region's problems which are both serious and contagious. But I have yet to hear one. To kill civilians without a reasonable hope of a good outcome is simply outrageous.

Since I wrote this Joan Ryan has announced her support for airstrikes against ISIL in Syria.