Monthly Archives: August 2013

Or Not…

Well. Did I speak to soon or has the House of Commons voting against action in Syria come as a genuine surprise? I think the latter but either way, it’s a great disappointment. If you were happy with this outcome know that such humanitarian luminaries as Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al Assad for that matter, support your position. It would be imprudent to get to carried away with what the UK’s lack of a role in whatever action does now take place would mean, as any interventionist campaign was going to limited in the first place, but I still believe this was the wrong decision.

Labour, under the worthless guidance of their leader Ed Miliband voted en masse against the military option. Perhaps I have a set of hate-tinted glasses on for this man by now but discussions with folk about his role in this passage have concluded very unfavourably for him. While it’s parliament’s job to reflect the will of the people, and opinion was not weighing in favourably on this issue, I would argue that on Syria broader public opinion is lamentably misaligned. As Philip Hammond phrased it, Iraq has poisoned the well.

There were and are lessons to be taken away from the last ten years of the UK’s military activity, primarily that we shouldn’t get into the wrong conflicts in the wrong manner. What we shouldn’t have told ourselves was that we should avoid all conflict because we can only get into the wrong conflicts in the wrong manner. To throw some platitudes at you, conflict can’t always be avoided and sometimes force does need to be met with force. Clearly Ed, Labour and a handful of Tories and Lib Dems disagree.

Painfully short-sighted, and although that’s an accusation easily levelled against someone of my position who wants intervention, I think my accusation carries more weight. As mentioned in the previous article, the Syrian crisis has been raging for over two years, utterly unchecked by diplomacy or any hint of concern for the well-being of the Syrian people. As things are going, this is a fight that won’t end until Assad kills everyone he needs to kill and likely many thousands more. His father taught him well.

Despite the brewing talk of intervention in the last week, there cannot possibly be a legitimate argument to say the West is warmongering or hasty. Our lack of action to this point is proof of that, as much as so many Syrians enduring prolonged, inhuman suffering. Before this conflict ends it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see parliament brought back to the question of intervention, with the added weight of more needless dead and the guilt of not having acted emphatically sooner. Whatever the US and France do at this point is likely only round one.

As mentioned, the lack of UK involvement won’t shake the very foundations of hope for the average Syrian and I doubt Assad is cracking open the champagne but it’s a sad indictment of the political cynicism in this country that we couldn’t get behind a limited campaign in pursuit of a worthy aim. Too good an opportunity for Miliband to ignore, as indeed Cameron has suffered an embarrassment after more than a little bold rhetoric. To quote No.10 and Foreign Office sources, “Miliband is a fucking cunt and a copper-bottomed shit.”

After leading the charge against Cameron’s intent, the man even had the gall to remind the government that it had a duty not to wash its hands of Syria. In case you’ve already forgotten that quote, “Miliband is a fucking cunt and a copper-bottomed shit.” Certain individuals like Simon Jenkins have indicated their belief that the suggested form of intervention, limited air strikes, serves only to massage the egos of the politicians who order them. They aren’t effective apparently. A hideous and reductive perspective.

Right now Assad continues his war against his own people, while essentially the world does precisely f@*k all and I’m sick to death of it. Something is better than nothing, looking at what nothing achieves, and if something starts with limited air strikes then the massaged ego of a few politicians is absolutely acceptable collateral.  With regards to war, we’re simply making a cowardly value judgement in favour of the collateral of inaction.

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Again the Eve of Conflict

It’s looking more than likely that the USA, UK and France will once again be shipping out forces to fight a battle far removed from home. The Assad regime of Syria seems to have finally pushed too hard, with the chemical gassing of a Damascus neighbourhood resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of other casualties. Not the first hint of this civil war crossing into more vicious territory, and it was already more than vicious enough. As governments and militaries are this very moment drawing up plans, prompted further by the Arab League’s recognition of Assad’s clear and unacceptable crimes, the British public are already beginning to react.

The tone does not seem overly favourable to the idea of intervention. A quick flick through the comments section of any media site will prove this. Whether it’s outrage over another Middle Eastern intervention before we’ve even brushed off the sand from the last three, the fact that living standards don’t seem to be faltering enough for the government to drop probably millions of pounds worth of munitions in the coming weeks or more overt brands of cynicism (oil, power conspiracies, interests etc.), you could even say there’s a fair dose of pre-emptive anger. Whether you’re Obama, Cameron, Hollande or associated foreign secretary, you can guarantee this action isn’t being taken lightly.

How could it be? It’s been over two years since Assad’s forces started shooting his own people for peacefully protesting for more democratic controls, sparking the backlash against his government that quickly devolved into a civil war, no matter how cautious global commentators were in labelling it so. Throughout this time over 100,000 people have died in Syria, despite the repeated and impotent protestations of the international community. When the red line was drawn a few months ago over the use of chemical weapons, we even had to considerably thicken that line to the tune of blatant and callous use before we would act.

I’m no hawk. Not that you need to be to view things like the mismanagement of Afghanistan, the outright disaster of Iraq and the as yet unresolved troubles of Libya as stark indictments of Western government attitudes towards intervention and more importantly, reconstruction. But it still sickens to me read comments that are simply heartless to the plight of the Syrian people, and I hope beyond hope that this now almost unavoidable intervention will somehow get it right. I can’t even suggest what the character of that would realistically look like, given that this conflict is now beyond protracted and deeply convoluted.

Here’s what I’d say to the average dick who thinks the Syrians should just sort their own mess out. They were trying to and more or less just received indiscriminate gunfire for their troubles. Would you riot and rebel if the Cameron government let blood on the Mall like this because we wanted to have more freedoms? Too f@*king right you would, and you’d be crying across the Channel and the Atlantic for help all the while. This isn’t even the most pertinent point though. For nine out of ten Syrians, this was never their fight to lose and regardless their country is now largely reduced to rubble and graveyards because of a sick, megalomaniacal despot in Assad.

I don’t much care if the Syrian opposition has added their own share of controversy to this mess, as it seems as perfectly clear who landed the first and most overtly unjust blow, as who is responsible for continuing and escalating the conflict. There is no such thing as rulers. Leaders like Obama, Cameron and Hollande are all on borrowed time, graciously lent to them by democratic peoples. The moment Syria didn’t want the Assad regime was the moment he should have gone, not that they ever had a tenable mechanism with which to remove him. He never had any legitimacy to lead his people in the first place, inheriting all that he had from his father.

Not our problem? That’s a perspective for spineless hypocrites in my opinion. Like any instance where the world has twiddled its thumbs while thousands upon thousands of innocent people have perished in a war completely beyond their control, Syria deserves help. Whether you like it not or it’s around the corner, just maybe remember your objections the next time you go to peacefully vote out Cameron because you didn’t like him. I support the intent. Just pray it isn’t another failure.

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