Tuesday 17 November 2015

Buggins turn to bomb?

David Cameron has promised to come up with a strategy for bombing in Syria. This is a peculiar idea in itself: a strategy for defeating IS makes sense - so does a strategy to bring peace to the Middle East - but a strategy to explain the importance of bombing sounds like putting the cart before the horse.

There may, after all, be an overwhelming argument for bombing in Syria, but there are three reasons (at least) why it makes sense to stay sceptical.  My test of the present effectiveness of the House of Commons as an institution is about how long it manages to stay sceptical, and to think clearly. We have never depended on the independence of our MPs as much as we do now.

Here are my three reasons to keep an open mind about Cameron's bombing plans:

1. He is actually planning to intervene on a different side.  Despite the rhetoric of going back to the Commons for a second time to ask for permission to bomb, the commentators seem willing to forget that - last time - the idea was actually to bomb on behalf of the other side. The plan then was to bomb Assad's government forces. Now the plan is to bomb their enemies. Who will it be next time? Has anyone ever actually thought through this conflict clearly?

2.  He says our allies are asking us to intervene. This might be an argument, but it isn't a sufficient one - it is the argument which convinced Tony Blair to intervene in Iraq on a disastrous project. In fact, I suspect this would remain Cameron's argument even if the bombing was counter-productive, was known to be counter-productive, and would never be anything else,

3. We need to act; this is action - it isn't a convincing argument. Yet that is the one that Cameron wielded today. It makes no sense by itself, and when a prime minister falls back on that kind of logic, you begin to wonder if any thinking is going on at all.

It may be that the conclusion is that we should intervene in Syria, but the fact that our allies are asking us to do so is not an argument. It is just evidence that Cameron has caught Tony Blair-Disease: an inability to distinguish between British interests and what our most powerful ally happens to want at any one time.

What would be a strategy to defeat IS and to build peace in the middle east? Is the UK government up to the task of thinking for itself? Is there a strategy that, rather than buggins turn to bomb, might stand some chance of making a difference? I think we should be told.

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1 comment:

Oh, la, la encore non said...

Love the Noel Coward's song.

Can you imagine the conference call to our allies :

Hi there, this is David, welcome to Saudi, Qatar and Turkey,

We are going to bomb in Syria, yes, I know that you guys Saudi & Qatar are funding ISIS and selling your Wahhabi and Salafist brand of Islam in our Mosque that is giving false ideology to young people with no hope, stake, dream or future in our society and yours. Ok, you Turkey are playing a dangerous game with the PKK, but Kurd problem is yours.

I know that if these people felt valued and had sense of belonging instead of being accused of all the ills on earth, with a decent job for their education, and maybe a sex life, they would not walk into the arms of this cult of death that is ISIS, a brand that is expanding these days.

The French President has found Military Viagra, those French are very excitable you know.
Please don’t be scarred, it will be business as usual soon, please don’t stop sending your money on our shores. What you are hearing is George scratching furiously at the door, screaming “ the deficit, the deficit”, he is asking me to remind you to buy more military stuff, we won’t put “ made in the UK “ on it anymore.

Can’t find who said that in Iraq the USA played poker while Iran played chess. We don’t need to “ bring Peace to the Middle East “, they have had enough of the west bringing peace while keeping fascist regimes that subjugate the majority of the population while we can get oil in our cars. Out there, there is a war between Shia and Sunnis for power and resources, bombing them in the name of civilisation does not seem to be logic. They bloody need economic help that goes to the vast majority of young people not the minority rotten to the core that is funding the cult death.

Oh, and where is the former Peace envoy to the Middle East ? Clutching his rosary beads while whispering – the intel was wrong ?