The Matthew Parris column in the Times yesterday – yup, Rupert’s Times – was headed, The Bombs-Away Brigade are on Autopilot. Its kicker ran thus: “Amazingly, Corbyn is right. The hawks just want to join a scrap with their mates and haven’t a clue what happens afterwards”.
“If not now, when?” asked the prime minister this week: a question that has surely preceded some of the silliest decisions in history. It could have been asked before Iraq. It could have been asked before Afghanistan or Libya, or Suez. It was probably asked before the Charge of the Light Brigade. There is no right time for an unwise decision.
To a hushed House of Commons David Cameron brought the news that he had consulted his conscience. Politicians love interviewing their consciences; they reliably receive a supportive response.
The case for vapourising yet more Syrians? “Not right to leave the job to our friends.” Hmm.
- Bombing Syria is what Isis want. It advances a key strategy for them of eroding all middle ground to force western Muslims to choose between The True Faith, as represented by their brothers and sisters of the Caliphate, and kuffar cowards who rain death from the skies but daren’t put boots on the ground.
- There’s neither a clear objective nor an exit strategy.
- Innocent Syrians, including children and babies, will be killed in our name.
- Syria is the sixth Muslim country the USA has bombed under Obama alone.
- France or the USA, acting alone, have the capacity to lay the whole of Syria to waste. What unique contribution can the RAF make? When bullies lay into a prone victim they don’t like their pals standing back. They want blood on all hands for reasons that have nothing to do with needing the extra muscle.
Right now it looks bleak for Corbyn but remember this. Few of the PLP are dyed in the wool hawks on this matter. Many are wavering, not least because they are no better – and often worse – informed than you or me. They’re nervous. If they vote to bomb Syria and it happens and turns out an Iraq scale disaster then it may blight their precious careers. Yes, the stakes are somewhat higher for long suffering Syrians facing yet more death from the skies but right now it’s our leaders I’m speaking of and you I’m speaking to. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings so what are you doing to stop this?
You ask, what can you do? Whatever you can, however little. Emailing your MP and signing this petition don’t sound much but right now small things can add up to a big difference. Westminster’s many undecided, like balls on a pyramid, can be pushed either way. If you fear yet another crime in your name, why not do a little pushing of your own?
PS a friend just sent me the second youtube clip I’ve seen this week of Tony Benn defying his own leadership on war in the middle east. (And yes, that is a forty-something Jeremy Corbyn sat behind him.) In this one he draws on direct experience, which few of us – current Westminster bombing crew included – have, of incendiarised death from above. His son should be ashamed of himself.