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.