When seeing Concrete Willy Hague and Cast Iron Dave Cameron talking tough on Syria and angling for international intervention on the side of ‘rebels’ of the Free Syrian Army – and inevitably if unintentionally, Al Qaeda and a raft of their smaller terrorist client organisations – I am reminded of an episode of the West Wing and Toby Ziegler reviewing Will Bailey’s thoughts on foreign policy for a passage in President Bartlet’s forthcoming inauguration speech before he demands Bailey re-write it:
This language proposes a new doctrine for the use of force. That we use force whenever we see an injustice we want to correct. Like Mother Theresa with first-strike capabilities.
There is a time and a place for humanitarian military intervention, for acting like Mother Theresa with first-strike capability. Syria is not it.
Syria is not, despite the efforts of sections of the media to paint it as such, a genocide. It is not another Rwanda where a one-sided slaughter of one tribe is being conducted by another.
Syria is a brutal civil war being waged between the vicious regime of a devil we know and an assortment of equally vicious groups of devils that we don’t. Getting involved in this conflict would be a madness that will assure only one thing, that at some point in the future it will work out badly for the UK – be it through the loss of life of British servicemen in action, or innocent citizens in terrorist reprisals, or simply through the waste of yet more of our treasure on a campaign that is none of our business.
With remarkable and curiously convenient timing, the suspected chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus crosses the so called ‘red line’ and opens the door to Barack Obama, Cameron (who is exhibiting yet more hypocrisy) and Francois Hollande (who particularly seems to have a disturbing appetite for getting his guns out) to initiate missile strikes against the al-Assad regime… just as the Syrian military and Hezbollah militia are gaining the upper hand in the conflict. There is a nasty stench surrounding this.
For Hague to argue that there is ‘no other plausible explanation‘ than al-Assad’s forces being guilty of using chemical weapons, is ludicrously disinegenuous. Numerous Syrian army establishments have been over run during the conflict, there have been defections, and the media has rarely tired of saying that with the exception of Damascus and some other urban pockets, the whole country is under ‘rebel’ control. So surely the chance of al-Assad opponents capturing some of the country’s chemical stocks is fair to good. But it seems the political elite has an agenda and nothing will be allowed to get in their way.
There is a real risk that the kind of murderous assault by Hezbollah terrorists that has been previously reserved for Israelis and Jews, could soon be directed against British citizens should we take part in a strike against Syria. If you think the staggering brutality exhibited by the two cowardly Islamist murderers of Lee Rigby was shocking, wait until you witness the imaginative ways of terrifying and brutalising a population and killing defenceless people Hezbollah has in its playbook.
There is a wider political agenda being pursued here that goes well beyond removing al-Assad from the board. Getting entwined in Syria with a military intervention is not in Britain’s interest. Doing so without even having the issue debated and voted upon in the House of Commons underlines the death of democracy and accountability in this country. Cameron needs to pull us back from the brink. It’s time to put the dogs of war back in the kennel and stay out of matters that are none of our business. Send humanitarian aid, medicine, food and shelter to the region to help those forced to flee the fighting, but keep the missiles locked in their magazines.