It seems that an outbreak of sanity has occurred in the UK Parliament with its vote against military action in Syria.
Now, chemical weapons are horrible things (even if you are just as dead being killed by high explosive or shell fragments or blast or a bullet; it is difficult to see a moral difference) but I fail to see how attacking Syrian government forces can make life better for the average Syrian even if responsibilty for the use of such weapons were to be established beyond doubt.
Not to mention the wider implications. Pour oil on to a fire, why don’t you? Bombing yet another mainly Muslim country will only encourage those Muslims who have a grievance against the UK already.
[And don't forget there are many reasons for that grievance. I noted only yesterday that British forces were involved in killing locals in Iraq in the 1920s. This followed the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which laid the path for the eventual Jewish takeover of most of Palestine. Then there was the overthrow of Mossadeq in the early 1950s. The collusion with Israel over Suez in 1956, the Suez invasion itself. The illegal invasion, on totally spurious pretexts, of Iraq in 2003. This is just those instances of UK intervention which impact on the Middle East. (A term which is itself anglocentric.)]
Quite how adding in another external faction to what is a civil war in Syria would help in resolving the situation there is also beyond me.
Just because people say something must be one doesn’t mean you can do anything you like.
Mr Irresponsible (aka David Cameron) has once more shown himself up to be a blustering bully. I suspect his enthusiasm for miltary intervention in Syria is that he believes sending in the armed forces helped both Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair to be re-elected. (A belief in which he is probably mistaken.) What he hasn’t learned is that the Iraq invasion – or, more accurately, its aftermath – poisoned the opinion of most British people against the assertions of Government spokespeople and Prime Ministers over the reasons for using troops and weaponry.
Military action against Syria could be like stirring up a hornet’s nest with a stick. There is no telling what the consequences would be.
A better response to use of chemical weapons, or any atrocity, would be to make sure that anyone responsible for what are considered war crimes is held to account by the international community. This would mean instant arrest should they stray outside whatever jurisdiction is keeping them safe from it and then arraignment before an international court. This stricture ought of course to apply to anyone, from whatever country, not just those our politicians say they don’t like.
And as to the effects of chemical weapons it might be best to deluge Syria with kits containing antidotes to the chemicals likely to be used – which would render their deployment pointless.
It wouldn’t stop the killing though.
I’m afraid this has been a somewhat unfocused rant. I can’t see a quick way out of the present Syrian imbroglio, the two sides seem too far apart for that.
Civil wars tend to be intractable. Intervention in them needs to have a purpose beyond, “Something must be done.” I didn’t think any of our politicians – least of all Mr Irresponsible – had enough wisdom to see beyond such simplicities. Parliament has at least resolved not to do more harm.
For the moment anyway.