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Empty promises: Cartoonist Steve Bell draws a parallel between David Cameron's claims and the promises that were made in order to draw the UK into a previous Middle East war.

Empty promises: Cartoonist Steve Bell draws a parallel between David Cameron’s claims and the (false) promises that drew the UK into a previous Middle East war.

They’re a bloodthirsty bunch, these Blairites and right-wingers and ‘moderates’ (perhaps This Writer was right to dub them ‘intolerants’)!

They say they want a free vote on air strikes in Syria, and it is clear that they want to support David Cameron’s plan of attack – because they believe in it, even though Cameron’s case is flimsy, or because they want to harm their own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn?

Or do they simply want to kill innocent children? I mention this because it will be an inevitable consequence, no matter what Cameron says about the accuracy of his eldritch Reapers, RAPTORs and Brimstones.

Perhaps some of them want to support Cameron simply because Corbyn has written to everybody in the Parliamentary Labour Party, providing his own reasoned argument for opposing the proposed air strikes, without telling them first. How petty. The letter reads:

“The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.

“We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.

“Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.

“I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

“In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.

“In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.

“For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.

“The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.

“I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.”

Here’s another – expert – view which supports Corbyn’s position. These are strong arguments.

Cameron’s demand that the UK should join the US and France (and Russia, and who knows who else in the crowded skies over Syria) has been met with derision on the social media. “How does adding our three planes make the situation any better?” asked one wit, playing on an early Tory decision to reduce UK air power significantly.

Cameron’s plan involves bombing Daesh (IS if you like) from the air, while supplying ‘moderate’ rebels in order to use them as ground troops. It’s a recipe for disaster because there is no guarantee that any such funded and equipped group will not rise up and become the next Daesh. Many have done it in the past, and if Cameron reckons there are 70,000 of these people – a figure he cannot prove – that’s plenty of possible future terrorists.

(He got this information from the same source that told the UK Saddam Hussein could bomb British bases within 45 minutes; take it with a pinch of salt.)

So Cameron’s plan – as This Blog has pointed out very recently – is to continue the cycle of international stupidity. Here it is:

cycle of hate

No Labour MP should be in favour of that! Or do they have shares in weapons-manufacturing firms?

Whichever way we cut it, it seems unlikely that ‘moderate’ Labour will be able to see far enough past its own petty interests to make a wise decision, if Cameron calls a vote.

One is moved to wonder how many dead innocents it will take to make them question their choice.

Perhaps it is up to us – the rank-and-file constituents – to make a better case. If you have a Labour MP, maybe it’s time to write them a short letter, urging them to follow the path of sanity and vote against Cameron’s pointless air strikes. You can mention the human cost, the cost to the UK economy, the fact that the plan perpetuates the cycle of terrorism and also, perhaps, the fact that Labour ‘moderates’ will be blamed when it all goes wrong.

Perhaps Daesh, or IS, is in less danger than the Parliamentary seats of these so-called ‘moderates’. Perhaps they should be given the opportunity to consider that possibility.

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