On bombing Syria

I wrote to my MP, Keir Starmer, as follows:

As a constituent and former soldier, I urge you strongly not to vote in favour of bombing Syria. Mr Cameron proposes no strategy at all beyond a vague “standing shoulder to shoulder” with France and an assertion that bombing ISIS in Syria will “degrade” its resources.

In truth, we can do nothing to affect ISIS in this way, other than to play directly into their hands as “crusaders” against the “bold defenders of pure Islam”. It would be far more in the UK’s interests to admit that (a) we should never have allowed Blair to take us into Iraq, (b) that we have been largely responsible, with our allies, for the mess that has overtaken Iraq and Libya and (c) that we shall no longer intervene militarily. We should then do our best to seek a negotiated settlement in Syria and spend at least part of the monies saved by not using military force in seeking to help on a humanitarian basis. Please do not listen to those in your party who assert that bombing will provide a “safe haven” within Syria—it simply won’t, noble as that aim may be.

Step back, use diplomacy, use brainpower and realpolitik. Force is not only going to hurt innocent civilians, no matter what the PM, Mr Hammond and Mr Fallon may say, but it will also blow back and injure Britain’s best interests by stoking the fires of radicalisation and recruitment for Da’esh.

We had already announced that he wasn’t going to vote in favour of Cameron’s proposal, but I need to say this to him anyway.

Alas, folly and cowardice prevailed.

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