Are these the UK’s real motivations for wanting to help the US attack Syria?

If anything effectively underlines the self serving interests at play and the paucity of thinking about the effects and consequences of military action in Syria, it is summed up by the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond.  These are some of his thoughts about not being alongside the Americans in combat for the first time in 30 years:

I’m disappointed and if I’m honest I’m slightly apprehensive because we have a very close working relationship with the Americans.

It is a difficult time for our Armed Forces – having prepared to go into this action  – to then be stood down and have to watch while the U.S acts alone or perhaps the US acts with France.

What exactly was the real reason for wanting to participate in an attack?  Listening to Hammond you would be forgiven for thinking it was a combination of wanting to suck up to the Americans by following them into a poorly defined and questionable military assault, ensuring our armed forces didn’t feel left out as the missiles flew, and wanting to retain our position as Washington’s wingman instead of giving our back seat to France.  So much for our sole focus being on the Syrian people.

These are extraordinary and disturbing comments by Hammond.

Seeing the Defence Secretary speak in such terms and not even mention the Syrian people, and our government’s supposed humanitarian concern for them, completely vindicates the rejection of the motion to permit in principle our forces to participate in any attack.  It reinforces our observation that no thought had been given to the effects of such an attack and the almost certainly negative and damaging outcomes.  Instead there was just a spiteful and childlike appetite for not wanting to miss a scrap.  Pathetic.

8 Responses to “Are these the UK’s real motivations for wanting to help the US attack Syria?”


  1. 1 cosmic 31/08/2013 at 4:28 pm

    In the absence of any more convincing justification for taking part in this action, which has not been forthcoming, it would appear that the motivation was entirely shallow and frivolous.

  2. 2 Derek Buxton 31/08/2013 at 4:38 pm

    I do not think our politicians have the slightest understanding of the situation in Syria. It would be very difficult to sort out who has what agenda I suspect. Action as envisaged could unite the syrians….against us. Apart from which, we have reduced our Forces to below what would be required and weaponry is in short supply I would imagine. Another war, we cannot at this stage afford. Get our Country right, then we can think in wider terms, not before.

  3. 3 Adam West 31/08/2013 at 4:42 pm

    It would seem that doing whatever the US does is automatically ‘the right thing to do’ regardless of how ill thought out the actions might be.

    “It is a difficult time for our Armed Forces – having prepared to go into this action …”

    I wonder when preparations began. Hammond admitting this surely needs discussing in Parliament. The motion the government proposed said that military action would require a further motion to be passed. What Hammond has said here makes that a questionable promise.

    Puts a new perspective on HMS Tireless surfacing near Gibraltar too.

  4. 4 Adam West 31/08/2013 at 5:11 pm

    From an article by MJS at the economist blog: “But if Mr Cameron got some things wrong, at least he was trying to do the right thing: support Britain’s most important ally in an effort to show an evil dictator that he cannot continue to use the vilest weapons against his own people with utter impunity.”

    The highest priority is to be seen supporting the US rather than stopping a dictator from using vile weapons.

  5. 5 theboilingfrog 31/08/2013 at 6:56 pm

    The same man who, on Thursday’s Newsnight, thought Saddam Hussein was in charge of Syria…(circa 30 mins in)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b039npss/Newsnight_29_08_2013/

  6. 6 Robert 31/08/2013 at 7:45 pm

    Who would be so stupid as to trust Obama’s judgement?

  7. 7 xmfclick 31/08/2013 at 10:09 pm

    The blogs and Twitter are currently linking to a report datelined August 29th by Dale Gavlak, an experienced Middle East reporter of 20 years’ standing who has written for the BBC, Associated Press and NPR …

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/

    SUMMARY: The chemical weapons “attack” by Assad was actually an accident on the part of a group of rebels who had been supplied with the weapons, but no training, by Saudi Arabia. The curious rebels didn’t know what the weapons were, and started investigating them in a tunnel used as an arms dump. Some of the weapons fired, killing about 12 of the rebels instantly, then there was an explosion leading to a larger release of gas and more widespread deaths.

    *If* the report turns out to be accurate it would cast a huge shadow over the “intelligence” on which Cameron’s Commons performance was based (i.e. “The rebels don’t have chem weapons, so it must have been Assad”). I think it unlikely that the UK’s spooks would have been unaware of Saudi intentions, much less the CIA (who would have supplied Saudi with the weapons).

  8. 8 qed 01/09/2013 at 12:09 pm

    A letter from Congressman Scott Rigell has reminded Obama of the law:

    “We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

    “While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”
    http://rigell.house.gov/uploadedfiles/8.28.13_letter_to_potus_with_signatories.pdf

    Obama may be concerned about the threat of impeachment if he acts contrary to the War Powers Resolution and without authorization from a Republican controlled House of Representatives.

    The powers of the President were explained by Obama in an interview with the Boston Globe in 2007:

    “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
    http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/CandidateQA/ObamaQA/


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