Good point well argued

** For many months the civil war in Syria has raged.  This blog has barely mentioned it because it was remote and none of our business.  There was certainly no strategic interest for the UK in involving itself in that vicious religious conflict.  So we make no apology for our saturation focus on Syria in recent days, which has been forced on us by the desire of our ‘servants’ to insert themselves directly into the war on the side of the rebels, despite the overwhelming opposition of the general public.

We have no idea if the photo below is of a genuine Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy, or if it’s just someone playing dress up.  But members of the armed forces both in the US and the UK could be forgiven for feeling such a sentiment (via @NewsNinja2012).  It’s a good point, well argued.

Meanwhile, back in the political bubble, pressure is already building for putting last week’s motion before the House of Commons again, EU style.  It seems until the lobby fodder votes ‘the right way’ Cameron and Hague are not going to let this go.  It’s a reputational and authority affirmation matter now.  And it seems no politician’s legacy is complete without a little war with their name beside it noted for all time in the history books.

It seems the apparent reason for resurrecting this obscene rush to visit violence on the Syrian regime, to the benefit of Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups in the country, is the supposedly breaking news coming out of Washington, reported by the Telegraph, that:

…the US has evidence that Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas in the devastating chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 people last month, John Kerry, the US secretary of state announced, as he pressed the administration case for air strikes.

This is being presented as some kind of game-changer.  But it’s nothing of the sort.  It is merely a demonstration of the government’s ignorance and refusal to listen.  It was not because of a lack of evidence of a chemical attack that the public stood opposed to attacking Syria and MPs voted down the government in the Commons, but the fact that the proposed military action had no defined outcome and the effects and consequences of such an attack on the Syrian people (and indeed the UK military and general public) are unknown.

John Kerry’s emotive announcement is a call to Congress to vote for military action to punish al-Assad.  That is not a humanitarian objective.  It is not even a strategic military objective.  It is nothing more than a desire to beat up on Syria because the western powers have been offended by the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

For Kerry to then go on and attempt, in the way he did, to link the appetite to attack Syria with protecting the national security of the US is ludicrously fatuous.  If anything, the proposed attack has the potential to aid Al Qaeda, which does genuinely represent a threat to America and the UK.  Even the famously disengaged American masses (when it comes to foreign policy and the wider world) seem to be grasping this fact and don’t want their armed forces sent on a needless military adventure.

And so the political class continue to play their games regardless of the wishes of the public, who are supposedly served by this belligerent and dangerous collection of busybodies.  This is what is commonly and airily described by the establishment as ‘democracy’.  Does it feel democratic to you?

12 Responses to “Good point well argued”


  1. 2 Kippers for Breakfast 02/09/2013 at 8:16 am

    You’ve let rip with a series of great posts, AM. Wonderful to see you back on track after all the UKIP stuff. The role you’re performing here cannot be underestimated. It’s blogs like this that make it difficult for MPs to pretend they know nothing of what’s actually happening in the world as opposed to the carefully-controlled bollocks the dinosaur media would have us believe.

    And if that scumbag Cameron manages to force another vote that goes his way I’ll never vote Conservative again.

  2. 3 Pogle's Woodsman 02/09/2013 at 9:15 am

    I had personal alarm bells ringing on Saturday night when I heard the suggested nature of the mandate Obama was seeking.

    (yes, I have voices in my head too but on this occasion the bells were louder)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/world/middleeast/syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/01/world/middleeast/syria-resolution.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

    The proposal would empower Mr. Obama to order military action to “prevent or deter the use or proliferation” of chemical or biological weapons “within, to or from Syria” and to “protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.”

    That’s an ‘anything, anywhere’ mandate. It may indeed permit him to use an unmanned drone to destroy a truck thought to be carrying sarin somewhere in the Syrian Kurdish regions.

    It also mandates him to attack attrition replacement equipment earmarked for Syrian Government forces sitting in a dispersal pen outside Moscow.

    No, I’m not suggesting Obama is intent on attacking Russia, but the wording of the mandate would bring that into legitimate Rules of Engagement. And if the UK were to join this little World Police adventure it would be shackling itself to the consequences of any action flowing from that mandate.

    It is, to all intents and purposes a blank cheque in scope and timescale.

    And it’s not as if the British pro-attack lobby have considered that – I am sure it will be impossible to get them to acknowledge the point.

    That’s what I call an ‘oh, dear’ moment.

    Also notionally, Syria provides Putin’s only reliable Naval port and anchorage in the entire region – outside the straits of Bosphorus. Are people aware that if Assad stands to be weakened, Putin is thence given no alternative but to intervene and escalate, even if he didn’t want to?

  3. 4 Autonomous Mind 02/09/2013 at 9:37 am

    Thanks Kippers. For the avoidance of doubt, I will return to the UKIP theme as and when necessary. Pressure needs to be brought to bear to ensure that party steps up and performs hugely better when it comes to matters EU. Like it or not, UKIP has a major platform and should be using it effectively. As I have argued, it is failing badly.

    For now, Syria and what it tells us about the system that passes for democracy in this country has to be a major focus.

  4. 5 Autonomous Mind 02/09/2013 at 9:40 am

    Good work Pogle’s. Either the political elite is walking around with their thumbs up their bums and their brains in neutral, or there is an even more disturbing agenda at play here. At the moment connecting the dots is tricky.

  5. 6 Pogle's Woodsman 02/09/2013 at 10:04 am

    …’or there is an even more disturbing agenda at play here. At the moment connecting the dots is tricky’…

    Certainly the right-of-centre lobby in british journalism seems to be speaking with a very strange enthusiasm for any attack on Syria. I am in no doubt in any respect a certain core of them have been directed to bang the drum. The intensity and coordination just lacks that spark of spontaneity. You’re right. Summat’s going on, and it’s not for the benefit of the plebs.

    I’m beginning to think Sir Andrew Murray will be rubbing shoulders with Lord Benedict Brogan of Narnia and Baron David Aaronovitch of Poodleshire come the New Year’s honours list.

  6. 7 cosmic 02/09/2013 at 10:36 am

    The part the Saudis have been playing in this muddle have been largely overlooked. Lots of money, lots of defence and other contracts to hand out, no friends of the secular regime in Syria, no friends of the other brand of Islam in Iran, probable supporters of AQ and others. Strategic in controlling large oil production so unwise to ignore.

    I suspect we have been dragged into this proxy war as a proxy for the Saudis, partly on what could be described as national interest and partly by more direct and individual incentives.

    There’s evidence that FCO interest in intervening in Syria has been going on for a couple of years.

    The Saudis are not a straightforward proposition, and neither is their proxy war, hence the sailor’s protest. It’s hard to explain that we want to be involved in this to keep the Saudis sweet even though what keeps them sweet may be hard to accommodate with a common sense view of what’s the national interest. i.e. they don’t do things for nothing and many would think the price too high.

    I’d say that the immediate prospect of involvement in Syria has gone away. It hinges on the intentions of the US anyway, because no British PM is going to go it alone and the US appears reluctant to do so.

    To warm up this, they’ll need to dream up a much better excuse.

    Unless it’s pushed through on a wave of emotion, it has to be explained why toppling Assad is such a good idea from any point of view, when the alternative is poorly defined, but probably a far less acceptable Islamic fundamentalist alternative. It comes back to the sailor’s point.

  7. 8 cosmic 02/09/2013 at 10:54 am

    Pogles wrote:

    “Certainly the right-of-centre lobby in british journalism seems to be speaking with a very strange enthusiasm for any attack on Syria. I am in no doubt in any respect a certain core of them have been directed to bang the drum.”

    There’s a lot of rallying round the stricken leader. This has hardly done the Conservative party any good. There are lots of claims that Cameron won a moral victory, or that he ought to have won otherwise our place in the world is diminished. Yeah. Farage has talked sense through all of this.

    From my point of view it’s a massive failure of judgement, on the part of Cameron, to suppose that there would be any appetite for another ME adventure after Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. These have been expensive and achieved nothing. He had to offer a pretty much guaranteed positive result in terms of achieving something acceptable in Syria or disarming a threat to the UK. This was what Blair did (fraudulently) with Iraq. Sending a signal to Assad doesn’t cut the mustard.

  8. 10 Adam West 02/09/2013 at 12:20 pm

    “It was not because of a lack of evidence of a chemical attack that the public stood opposed to attacking Syria and MPs voted down the government in the Commons, but the fact that the proposed military action had no defined outcome and the effects and consequences of such an attack on the Syrian people (and indeed the UK military and general public) are unknown.”

    I think it was a bit of both. The letter from the JIC was thin on evidence, mentioned previous gas attacks that did not merit such a high profile response and rested on the assumption that nobody else could have done it. Some MPs must surely be wary of being conned into yet another war by our security services and government.

    Something that I find odd is that the day after the vote John Kerry made his detailed claims about what had happened. If securing a Yes was wanted why didn’t our vote take place after that disclosure or have involved similar evidence? Cameron looks to have thought parliament could be bounced into approving action without him having to put any effort into it.

  9. 11 cosmic 02/09/2013 at 1:03 pm

    Adam West,

    “Cameron looks to have thought parliament could be bounced into approving action without him having to put any effort into it.”

    Definitely he thought he could bundle everyone along in emotion and without thinking, which was rather silly in view of the way other ME adventures are viewed.

    Isn’t it terrible that nerve gas has been used and children killed?

    Is Assad is a tyrant and a butcher?

    Aren’t we obliged to do something?

    How can any civilised person answer anything but yes to any of these?

    Well, it so happens that I have a cruise missile attack which I prepared before the programme………..

    However, there’s a question as to whether this represents miscalculating deviousness or points to the fact that Cameron’s thought processes are in fact utterly shallow.

  10. 12 angela ellis-jones 02/09/2013 at 2:26 pm

    ‘or there is an even more disturbing agenda at play here.At the moment,connecting the dots is tricky’.

    And the poor bloody taxpayer is expected to pay for it all,without asking too many awkward questions!

    I thought Andrew Roberts’s attempt to ‘bang the drum’ in MoS for 1/9 was absolutely pathetic.It was so obviously drum-banging,almost to the point of self-parody.I suppose he’s in the pay of the Yanks!But MoS redeemed itself by running a brilliant demolition of the case for intervention by Peter Hitchens on the next page.

    Will look forward to hearing anyone’s views on what this ‘more disturbing agenda is!


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