Corbyn was elected by a “newly young” Labour party membership – not by the Parliamentary Labour Party – unsurprisingly he thinks he has a mandate for juvenile policies – not liking bad stuff, bad stuff like war and killing people and poverty and inequality, and …. Not even square one in real-world politics. Mercifully, he has let go the madness of imposing his whip on the PLP on any vote. He may be bonkers, but not totally insane it seems. David Blunkett, Hillary Benn, and other wiser (Labour) voices are turning up on the radio.
So what is the vote about?
Syria is a mess, the Islamist Scumbags (IS) are holed-up there and in Iraq (another fine mess) – and anywhere they can evade regular law and order. They need to be dealt with using lethal force where necessary – ie wherever they refuse to surrender their murderous terrorism to due legal process.
There is a long-standing festering mess – with pockets (jewels) of normal civilised life struggling to exist amongst it. That mess is The Middle-East Problem – Israel-Palestine and Turkey(*) – post Sykes-Picot, post-Balfour, etc, etc, etc. The “Arab Spring” took the lid off the dictatorial governance under which most of it existed in various meta-stable states. Our earlier more recent forays into Afghanistan and Iraq were done with partial motives and doubtful justifications, without any obvious relation to any middle-east planning – let’s get Saddam and Bin-Laden. In fact the “Blair-Bush” angle – trying to do “the right thing” but with dishonest attempts to justify with simple pretexts (WMD’s) has left a taint on any new resolve to even attempt to do the right thing. Blair’s subsequent moribund attempt at Middle-East Peace Envoy simply added to that smell. (* Yes, Turkey is a temporary buffer but they’re also a part of that problem – they were the incumbents before Sykes-Picot – it’s EU and NATO-allies relationships simply complicate the problem.) Like any mess – there are cultural, religious, tribal geo-political resource angles at every turn with repressions, inequalities and grievances ten-a-penny. (See previous – motivations of terrorism – and recent engineering conservatism – and add today inequality as a motivator of terrorism – and an interesting (must read) first-hand take.)
It’s a mess. Our mess.
The vote is NOT about “Bombing Syrians”. The vote is NOT – as a facebook friend put it – about:
“… the question of whether or not the UK
opts to kill a bunch of innocent civilians.
Ah, democracy. Got to love it.”
The vote must simply be about parliament permitting “Military Action” as part of addressing immediate murderous threats (to any fellow humans). That military action is best decided by military leaders with politically agreed targets, objectives and rules-of-engagement. Air-strikes, boots-on-the-ground, policing, intelligence, training, advising, whatever it takes – with credible in-theatre coordinated control. Cock-ups will happen – hospitals and innocents may be hit, accidentally – so that in-theatre control must be coordinated and involve local interests and knowledge to minimise “collateral damage”. In general adding Brits to the coalition can only reduce the risks to “wedding parties” and “hospitals”. Those nation states immediately bordering Syria and Iraq are a key part of that cooperation and coordination of aims and actions. Turkey again, but all the usual suspects, including Israel, obviously.
But, we do NOT need a full end-game / master-plan for the middle-east solution. Just the vision that we need one. So we do not need long debate for the specific vote either, just enough to clarify what’s being voted for and the fact there is a lot more to do beyond immediate military action. And we do NOT need a meddling vote that attempts to prescribe or proscribe specific military actions – just “military action”. Military action with a resolve that whatever we do must be part of an ongoing planning and active campaign to solve it.
A coordinated, collaborative Local, European, Allied, UN resolve.
And, in order to not simply repeat recent history (example from The Loose Canon), this “peace campaign” needs to be credibly established too. This is not an either/or vote.
[Post Note : Like many, having mentioned the Blair-Bush taint of the earlier “WMD” pretext above, I saw Cameron’s claim of 70,000 friendly “moderate” Syrian forces as another hostage to fortune that would come back to bite us in the bum. But …. it seems that isn’t so far fetched after all. See BobFromBrockley’s well-referenced Blog here.]