Someone sent me an email from Corbyn asking my views on the bombing of Syria. I couldn’t make it to the demo in town this lunchtime, so I replied as my contribution to the debate.
Why oppose the bombings? Each of the arguments against is enough on its own. Five is surely utterly conclusive? From memory (silly me, forgot to copy) these were my points:
- Some say bomb to show solidarity with allies (Hollande). Surely we can show our solidarity by other, less horrific means. Please suggest some
- Some say bomb so as not to “outsource our security” (Cameron). What does he suppose selling our vital utilities -such as nuclear power stations- to state-owned French and Chinese companies consist of? There is no security in bombing Syria. It is very obviously going to be counterproductive, as it will kill civilians and play straight into the hands of Da’esh who are licking their lips at the prospect. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/27/bomb-isis-west-learned-nothign-from-war-terror-defeat-muslim-world-equal-partner It is also likelier to make London a target.
- Some say bomb in order to have status at the table when the Vienna talks bring negotiations; this is Crispin Blunt MP Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Unh? Is that an argument? When and if those talks occur (Insha’llah) we can lend our constitutional and legal expertise with love, surely.
- Some say bomb because we have better bombs (Cameron). This is a logic that fails the test. It is jumping the crucial question – should we bomb at all? It is rather a justification for the “do something” brigade, because bombing is easier than the much harder work of dealing with Da’esh – cutting off their financial support (stop buying black market oil – you see the problem!); and cut their supply routes (sealing the border of Turkey for instance to Iraq and Syria – ditto re problems).
- Syria is a blood-soaked vipers’ nest of confusion and chaos, where nuclear equipped powers (Russia, France) are involved on different sides! What logic suggests that without an agreed co-ordination it would be wise to weigh in? None that I have heard so far.
We are without an agreed goal for the bombing, without an exit strategy (again!), without convincing arguments for bombing. How then does one justify bombing?
The UN mandates military intervention under Duty to Protect as a last resort. This protects no one, and no other resort has been tried.
To bomb without a clear policy and strategy is surely a war crime?