If anyone thinks that there are easy answers to dealing with the problems of Syria and the Daesh group which lays claim to parts of Syria and other Countries then they are either ill-informed or stupid.
I can understand the thought processes going through the minds of compassionate MPs in all Parties. Exclude some jingoistic people who believe that military power is the answer to problems like these and an equally misguided group who believes that it is never the answer a large number of MPs will be considering a number of difficult questions as they decide how to vote next week.
But none of the questions will have an answer that is wholly satisfying. To deal with the problems of the Middle East requires a number of measures which crucially must work together. These are the questions that I would be asking:
1. What is an appropriate level of military intervention?
2. Is the action supported by international law and the UN?
3. How can we ensure that it is closely targeted to minimise civilian casualties.
4. Is it properly coordinated so that the planes and troops of allies will not be shot down?
5. Does it require ‘boots on the ground’
6. How will we deal with the problems to the civilian population who are already suffering terribly as part of the conflict?
7. How will we ensure that all the Countries affected will be able to choose for themselves a sustainable government after the election?
8. How will we ensure that the structures of Government will be maintained and improved post-conflict?
9. What will be our strategy for supporting these very fragile states by way of aid?
10. What will be our strategy of supporting them by way of trade?
If I was then voting next week I would come to these key conclusions:
1. Appropriate, targeted military action has been justified by the UN Security Council resolution moved by France last week.
2. There si sufficient good will between the anti Daesh forces to ensure a coordinated campaign.
3. That there must be military engagement because Daesh will never come voluntarily to the negotiating table.
4. That we do not yet have a full plan agreed with allies about a post conflict situation but that we have enough knowledge of what went wrong in Libya and Iraq to formulate one.
5. The announcement that half of our overseas aid will in future go to fragile states will help ensure that there is a strong foundation laid for peace.
You don’t need to be a mind reader to understand from this that I believe that military intervention is justifiable in Syria and that I would support such a motion. However I believe that we need to be starting now on the post conflict scenarios to prevent even more deaths after the dispute.
I do this with no joy. I am not a pacifist but I think that military intervention is always the last option and should never be taken as a solution in its own right.
What persuades me particularly in this case is the nature of Daesh. These are not rational human beings. They are scum. I can see no alternative to their eradication from the Earth if peace is to be brought to the good Moslems, the womenfolk, the Christians whom they have brutally and cruelly slaughtered in their tens of thousands.
Yes I know that many things happen with other despotic regimes in the Middle East. Today there were rumours that 50 people were to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. These were people who were not terrorists but just wanted some measure of the civil liberties that we expect today in the civilised world.
I therefore have some sympathy for the debate going on within the Labour Party. Some but not a lot. The debates raging across the media today betray a crucial weakness in the Party as presently constituted. There are times when the debates have to stop and the Country must unite in the face of a threat to humanity which is not a remote one somewhere over there but a threat to our own shores as we saw so clearly in the attacks on our European brothers and sisters in Paris two weeks ago today.
Corbyn cannot lead his own Party so how could he be expected to run a Country. Who would have thought that a civil war in the Middle East could lead to such a disgraceful civil war in a political party in the UK which once aspired to Government.
The time for talking is over. This Country should unite to ensure that we play a full part in the destruction of Daesh and their replacement with civil and civilian governments which truly reflect the ideals and aspirations of their people.