Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Liberal Democrat members of parliament have the opportunity to restore some of our credibility by voting unanimously against military intervention in Syria. If that is too much to hope for then at the very least the leadership should remove the three-line whip and allow, indeed encourage, our MPs to vote according to their reasoned conclusions after hearing the debate.
Eschewing military intervention does not mean the UK should stand idly by. There is plenty of opportunity to try to restrict the access of both sides (or the many sides) to weaponry and ammunition, from which, one suspects, the British arms industry has already benefited considerably. Diplomatic efforts can also be made to bring pressure to bear via the United Nations, through the General Assembly as well as the Security Council. However, even with UN approval it is hard to see how military intervention by "the West" can do anything other than make a bad situation worse.
With or without UN approval, military intervention by the US with the UK (and France?) acting as acolytes is most likely to generate Muslim resentment and possibly provoke retaliatory terrorist attacks.
PS (29th August, 2013) It appears that Ed Miliband and the Labour Party have forced Cameron to backtrack and at least wait for the report of the UN Inspectors. Good for them, but, as I understand it, the Inspectors will report on whether or not chemical weapons have been used, but not on who used them, so that may not be much help