Syria: the case for military action

John Rentoul

SYRIA GAS 2649987b 300x187 Syria: the case for military actionIn all the expression of known views about Syria (mostly “I was opposed to the Iraq war”), few seem to have addressed what seems to be the main argument of Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Their argument is not, as it was last time (June), that we should try to tip the balance in the Syrian civil war against the regime. This time, it is merely that the use of chemical weapons cannot go unpunished. Assad should know that further use will have consequences and, if possible, the US and its allies should try to disrupt his chemical weapons capabilities.

Is that a good idea? I don’t know, but it is hard, as Ed Miliband discovered yesterday, to say, “Chemical weapons? Not our problem.”

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  • Kay

    Don’t we punish the guilty only after a considered view of the evidence? We’ve been bitten by sexed up dossiers before and expect better this time.

  • aardvark10

    Quite correct Kay. There are serious questions to be answered, and the lasting legacy of the conduct of Blair and Campbell is that we should never again rush into any conflict without compelling evidence. There seems to be little consideration of why Assad would resort to chemical weapon attacks on civilians when he was winning the war anyway. It is very disappointing that Cameron feels he is still heir to Blair.

  • greggf

    “…..what seems to be the main argument of Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.”

    It seems Russia’s labeling of the west as “a monkey with a grenade” has rankled Obama….er, and the others!

  • newfriendofed

    One of the many who do not seem to have noticed this ‘main argument’ is J. R. himself in his last (over hasty?) post.

  • greggf

    “In all the expression of known views about Syria…..”

    A conclusion that the West are not very good at chess seems clear!

  • mightymark

    Rushed into Iraq? Hardly – Sadaam had about 10 years to comply with UN resolutions.

    And why do you think Cameron thinks he is Blair’s heir? Does any politician who supports any kind of military action anyhere, any time from now till doomsday automatically become “Blair’s heir”. Why restrict is to war, maybe any politician proposing fundamental change to the NHS becomes “Bevan’s heir.

    Or how about this one – any politician who opposes military action until the very last minute becomes “Neville Chamberlain’s heir”!

  • JohnJustice

    For the first time I agree with you aardvark on something i.e. that there seems to be no point in Assad resorting to a chemical attack at this time, particularly with UN inspectors in the vicinity. As with any crime the first question is who benefits from it. In this case the obvious answer is that it is the rebels who stand to gain since it draws the west into the conflict. The evidence to be presented by Obama and Cameron may well prove us wrong on this point but it is certainly worth considering in the rush to military action (as Mightymark points out below there no such rush in the case of Iraq nor was there any consideration such as this).

  • Pacificweather

    The only mistake Neville Chamberlain made was not to wait long enough to get the USA involved for an invasion in 1940-1. Would have saved all that Dunkerque nonsense and messing about in North Africa.

  • Pacificweather

    Good move by Mr Milliband.

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