Syria – put the dogs of war back in the kennel

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.

18 Responses to “Syria – put the dogs of war back in the kennel”

  1. 1 Rolf Norfolk 26/08/2013 at 5:43 pm

    I agree. But I also suspect that we’ve been surreptitiously directly involved for a long time. Remember those SAS men who were caught near a farm south of Tripoli, before the Libyan uprising? Something like that going on in Syria too, I’d wager.

  2. 2 Captain Ranty 26/08/2013 at 5:47 pm

    I think it’s a done deal. The dogs are loose and anxious to bite. And bite they will.

    The Afghan fuckarama is drawing to a close, so moving the men of Violence to within striking distance is a piece of cake.

    The US are already claiming that (because of Asshats delays in letting in the inspectors) all evidence has been destroyed. Mighty convenient, that.

    Our ‘special relationship’ all but guarantees our participation. Deep joy. Cue yet another 6m cameras, to ‘protect us from terrorism’.

    Watch closely, as the precious few freedoms we had left, start to disappear.

    Marvellous. Just fucking marvellous.


  3. 3 graham wood 26/08/2013 at 5:50 pm

    I agree with the thrust of this post, and especially : “Getting entwined in Syria with a military intervention is not in Britain’s interest.”

    Of course there is deep concern in the UK about the use by some group of chemical weapons, but to jump to conclusions via speculation as to who or what group was involved would at this stage be very rash indeed.

    However, Obama has publicly declared a policy of a “red line”. Therefore at the appropriate juncture, let us see whether further facts will emerge – and leave it to him to honour his policy pledge. It appears that the involvement of so many warring factions in this civil war make it impossible to identify who are the “bad” and who are the “good” guys, and the reality is probably all shades of black to grey. Not our national interest or our business Mr Hague.

  4. 4 Tcheuchter 26/08/2013 at 6:14 pm

    (h/t Mme Szamuely @

    We, France & latterly the USA have caused quite enough trouble in that area since 1918. Our further interference will not improve matters I am thinking.

  5. 5 Bill 26/08/2013 at 6:20 pm

    Perhaps I’m a little left field on this but it appears to me Hague and to a lesser extent the Cameroid are desperate to keep the military occupied overseas for some reason.

  6. 6 Restoring Britain 26/08/2013 at 6:43 pm

    Given the general level of inneptitude that our political class offer by way of crisis management, this has the potential to spill well beyond the borders of Syria, bugger the world financial markets and send the oil prices into a spiral. Cue more panic at the pumps by a population that cannot tolerate one iota of variation in the lifestyle they expect

  7. 7 Daniel1979 26/08/2013 at 9:15 pm

    Any action will surely be illegal and will cost many lives both over there and with our troops. It seems we have learned nothing in recent years in regards to mid-east interference. Agree with the comments that there is a hidden hand directing events, all is not as is reported on the BBC/MSM.

  8. 8 Edward Spalton 27/08/2013 at 6:37 am

    Most of us of a certain age were conscious of NATO as a very successful defensive alliance which did superbly well in the last part of its mission ” to keep the French in, the Germans down and the Russians out”. A very politically shaky Western Europe was kept out of the Russian sphere of influence and all except the extreme Left could see that the sort of government we had was preferable to that behind the Iron Curtain.

    Then, Blair and Clinton abandoned the defensive basis of the NATO charter and made it into a go-anywhere-bash-anybody ” Humanitarian Interventions R Us” outfit.
    It has been well documented in the German press and elsewhere ( but not in Britain’s media) that the Western powers schooled the Muslim forces in Yugoslavia in the arts of setting up telegenic “evidence” of atrocities which never occurred. The pictures were always available at the critical moment. The Muslim forces ( Bosnian and Albanian) went a bit further and would inflict serious casualties on their own populations, blaming the carnage. On the demon Serbs.
    So it is interesting that Carla del Ponte, who prosecuted many of the Balkan war crimes trials, has an article in the Independent staying that the rebel forces in Syria have stocks of chemical weapons and may have used them.

  9. 9 Autonomous Mind 27/08/2013 at 9:33 am

    Thanks for that Edward. I recall her making similar comments recently that were drowned out as the media pushed the official ‘rebels are good, Bashar is bad’ meme.

  10. 10 theboilingfrog 27/08/2013 at 10:49 am

    My thoughts exactly AM. Cameron’s lack of judgement is striking, it’s almost like he’s treating the whole issue like a Playstation game – chuck a couple of cruise missiles about and everything will be sorted.

    Libya was relatively straight forward – Gaddafii had few allies, the rebels largely had a single purpose and there’s was an element of revenge by the British for Lockerbie and Yvonne Fletcher. By contrast, Assad has a number of powerful allies and the war is a cocktail of terrorists and sectarian conflicts particulaly a big bust up between Sunnis and Shias.

    The chemical attack is in my view an attempt to test the West’s resolve (red lines etc) by Iran and to drag us into the conflict.

    That Cameron is even thinking (I use the term loosely) of involvement, especially without Parliamentary approval, is a disgrace.

  11. 11 NeilMc 27/08/2013 at 12:03 pm

    See how important it was that you keep posting!

  12. 12 cosmic 27/08/2013 at 12:32 pm

    Most of us can see no good whatsoever coming from interfering in Syria and consider it would be a miracle if it didn’t cause huge problems.

    It’s pretty clear that Hague and Cameron are hell bent on another military adventure for some reason or other. It’s reasonable to doubt whether they have an understanding of what’s going on in Syria and in the region above the level of Biggles.

    It doesn’t exactly give the impression that the Tories are level headed people doing things with the interests of the UK foremost, and who really ought to be elected with a working majority next GE.

    They seem to be picking off groups of supporters one by one; pointless name calling, the Cast Iron Promise, gay marriage, HS2, windmills……..

  13. 13 Mark B 27/08/2013 at 8:48 pm

    We (the people) have learned lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Its just the Political Class and the bloody Establishment who are happy to revel in their sheer stupidity. And it is our blood, iron and gold that they are wasting in the process. For what ?

    If there is anything that the British people need to learn, it is the fact that under our present system of so called democracy, we effectively have no say over how our blood, iron and gold is used.

    The people need to wake up !

  14. 14 Adam West 27/08/2013 at 9:06 pm

    cosmic said: “It’s pretty clear that Hague and Cameron are hell bent on another military adventure for some reason or other.”

    15 years ago politicians probably thought that starting wars could lose them elections. Some might even have been maniacal enough to think winning wars could win them elections. The evidence since then is that public opposition to wars is ineffective and starting wars does not lose politicians sufficient credibility for them to be voted out.

    I don’t think Hague and Cameron can see reasons to go to war, it’s that they can’t see reasons not to. The public have few real means to restrain our representatives and they know it.

  15. 15 Vanessa 27/08/2013 at 9:21 pm

    A very good piece and I agree with all of it. Cameron and his little side-kicks seem to be playing “soldiers” and have no idea of the consequences of their actions (if they do send missiles). Nothing is thought through in government now. Do they want regime change / rebels in government / Asad deposed – WHAT ? Why are such little boys allowed to order us around ?

  16. 16 cosmic 28/08/2013 at 1:45 am

    Adam West said: “I don’t think Hague and Cameron can see reasons to go to war, it’s that they can’t see reasons not to. The public have few real means to restrain our representatives and they know it.”

    Nu Labour got away with Iraq because it was a first, they managed to whip up something of a war fever, it was hot on the heels of 9/11 and they were good at geting away with things. They had a massive majority and safe seats which will put up with anything. The Tories had been suckered into going along with it.

    Cameron and Hague are part of a shaky coalition. It seems unlikely that there will be anything other than a Labour government with a working majority next time. We’ve been there before with these interventions in the ME and have nothing to show for it. We’ve heard the lies before and Casmeron and Hague aren’t that clever.

    Add this to HS2, and all the rest of the things they do which are pointless and make people angry and you have the potential for an electoral defeat to be turned into a route. It’s certainly hard to see Syria being turned into a stable, West-aligned democracy by firing a few cruise missiles off.

    To be honest, I think Cameron and Hague are too wrapped up with posing as statesmen on the world stage and sucking up to the USA.

    But I’d agree that apart from the indirect and imperfect mechanism of elections there isn’t much to constrain them and they are doing their level best to shepherd Westminster into going along with this adventure.

  17. 17 harbinger 28/08/2013 at 10:15 am

    The current Syrian agenda has been running for some time…

    “Obama’s final preparations for war with Syria, using a dubious Syrian rebel report of the crossing of a «red line» in the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, have their origins early on in the Bush administration. Former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark was quoted as saying that in the weeks after the 9/11 attack, he was told by a general serving on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff that the United States was going to take out seven countries in five years. The general who told Clark cited a classified memorandum, which described «how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran». Although it is now twelve years later, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran are the only countries remaining on the target list which have not been completely taken over by the United States.”

  18. 18 Gerry 28/08/2013 at 1:56 pm

    The actions of politicians who are failing at home to try to distract attention from their limp domestic performance by trying to be tough abroad with both other peoples’ money and other peoples’ lives.

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