Despite assertions by our PM that “Decisions have not been taken” it seems apparent that the USA and the UK are gearing up to undertake some form of military action against the legitimate regime currently in partial power in Syria. To what end other than letting Bashar al-Assad know that Britain thinks it has the moral right to police the world?
Military planners usually ask two questions: What are our objectives and Can we reasonably achieve those objectives?
The objective will supposedly be air strikes limited to command structures in order to ensure that chemical weapons are not used again. If this is successful, and the adventure stops there something may have been achieved.
But is this all that will be achieved? No one can ever be certain where military action will lead to, but it is foolish to think that everything will go to plan. The civilian death toll will undoubtedly increase, ‘pin-point accuracy’ is a publicist’s myth. Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, all have witnessed bombing with pin point accuracy which has murdered innocent civilians.
At best nothing else will change in the short run other than that the carnage will continue with the Islamist rebels, who are as murderous as the Assad regime, emboldened by Western support. Once involved we will inevitably find ourselves arming those rebels. What overwhelming reason can there be for going to war in order to aid our sworn enemies?
If this happens and the Assad regime eventually falls the power vacuum will be filled, not by liberal, democracy loving secular Muslims, but by Islamic fanatics who have already proven themselves energetic in their sectarian slaughter of Shiite and Alawite Muslims and who will be certain to continue their already murderous persecution of Syria’s Christians. The intention of the religious cleansing of Syria is high on their priorities. We will have helped create another Middle East hell-hole run by people who truly loathe us.
At home our political class, for they are a self-perpetuating class withdrawn from the rest of us, will fall into yet greater disrepute. According to YouGov:
74% of people are opposed to sending troops to Syria.
61% of people are opposed to rocket attacks on Syria.
50% of people are opposed to getting involved at all.
But we know that what we want is of little matter. Approximately a million people marched in the UK against our involvement in the Iraq war. Blair ignored us and proceeded to war on the basis of the ‘dodgy dossier’. It would appear that Cameron, the self confessed ‘heir to Blair’ is determined to follow in his hero’s footsteps and have his own war.
As of early 2012 British armed forces numbered 176,810 regulars; the Royal Navy 35,430 (including Marines) the Army 101,300 (with plans to reduce it to 82,000) and the RAF 40,090. In 1937 the Scotland England game at Hampden Park, Glasgow, saw an attendance of 149,547, Scotland won 3 – 1. Pretty soon the British armed forces will outnumbered by the crowd at a Saturday afternoon football match. The Ministry of Defence is struggling with significant cuts to budget and increasing redundancies. Equipment is worn, experienced long service NCO’s have been made redundant in order to reduce pension payments, no wonder morale is low. Yet some politicians want to get it involved in further action in the Middle East.
One British military planner is reported as having said a few months ago ‘We can come up with 23 scenarios for how we get into Syria, but we don’t see how we then get out again.’
What is the national interest in being involved in another country’s civil war? We are constantly told that there is a humanitarian crisis in Syria, true enough. When political leaders see launching cruise missiles at a country as a proper response to a humanitarian crisis you know they have lost the plot. The pity is we are led by politicians and not by statesmen.