Military action in Syria denied by shameful UK

August 30, 2013 1:00 am

syria-chemical-weaponsAlmost exactly a year and six months ago I wrote an article outlining why I believed we should stage military intervention in Syria. Much of what I wrote was based on the views and opinions of Marie Colvin, a highly respected Sunday Times journalist. Shortly after writing her piece, which urged that the UK take immediate action in Syria, Marie was killed in the relentless bombing of Homs by Assad’s regime.

Today, I watched with eager anticipation the debate in the House of Commons and I truly believed that finally Marie would be granted her last request. David Cameron trounced Ed Miliband in what could only be described as a patient, well presented and logical demonstration of politics by the Tory leader. Miliband, who was pedantically calling for minor amendments to Cameron’s proposal, at one point listed three important factors which the Attorney General had stated needed to be satisfied before military intervention could be considered. Cameron, to great laughter, then stood up reading the next line of the Attorney General’s statement which read that he considered all three of those factors had been met.

It would have seemed, to an impartial observer, that parliament was going to vote military action should be a viable option providing that the various terms were met and that the UN inspectors found strong evidence against Assad. However, shockingly, in a vote of 285 to 272, the British MPs voted against any possible future military action against the Syrian regime to deter the use of chemical weapons.

syria-massacre

I was dumbfounded. Britain has not taken the stance of appeasement since before the Second World War when Hitler was continuously appeased by the League of Nations to the point in which he had conquered half of Europe. Assad’s regime has now killed well over 100,000 of Syria’s citizens with at least 14 counts of chemical weapons being used. Aside from the fact that he has committed genocide on a mass scale, chemical weapons have been internationally banned since 1925 – almost 100 years. There is very little, perhaps apart from a nuclear bomb, which can be considered worse than using nerve agent on innocent civilians. The line of dead toddlers displayed in a long row shows the brutality of this horrific weapon and the regime that wields it.

Since when did the “red line” become so manoeuvrable? What kind of moral virtue do we now project as a country? After the catastrophe of the build-up to the Iraq war and the false information and bad intelligence that was presented to us, Britain is of course nervous about committing itself to another war where claims about weapons of mass destruction are being made without definitive proof. However, I can’t help but find it ironic that an unjust war was started by a Labour government in Iraq and yet now, when military intervention could hardly be considered more just and necessary; it is Labour who seeks to prevent it.

I feel extremely sorry for David Cameron. He clearly believes that military intervention in Syria is the right thing to do and he fought passionately to ensure that it would become a strong possibility. It must be a tough pill to swallow to have to back down in the face of what, in some cases, could be called political manipulation from the Labour party. Whilst this is a loss for Cameron, at the very least, he should sleep easier knowing that he did what he could to help Britain maintain some sense of moral justice.

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Personally, I feel highly ashamed of my country. That we should ignore Syria’s hour of need when some of the worst atrocities known to man are being committed on innocent women and children and that we stand idly by using technicalities to distract us from the outrageous truth of genocide, makes me no longer proud to state that I am a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Our moral influence in the world is now at an end. We have failed ourselves, we have failed the UN, we have failed our allies and above all we have failed Syria. In isolation, we shall now stand in shame and remember that through our own failure to act, we condoned mass murder, genocide and the use of chemical weapons.

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