Thursday, August 29, 2013

What are we being asked to support in Syria?

Yesterday an email was sent over Nick Clegg's name to all Liberal Democrat members - something to be commended in itself.

In it Nick assures us that "this is not Iraq":
This is not about boots on the ground. This is not about regime change.
If that is what is not being proposed, what is it that is being proposed?

Nick says:
Deterring the use of chemical weapons to protect innocent people from being murdered in future by brutal dictators.
He also talks of "proportionate, targeted military action".

Having read this I am still not at all clear about what is being proposed. Who or what will be targeted? Assad's government machine? The Syrian army? Its chemical weapons?

And how realistic is it talk of "proportionate, targeted military action"? We have seen numerous civilian casualties in Afghanistan, for instance.

You may say that it is impossible to announce this in advance, but I wish I felt confident that this was the reason.

And even if the government has a clear idea of what military action it wishes to take against Syria, it is harder to believe that it has a clear picture of what happens next.

The desire to intervene prevent suffering is natural and hard to resist, but without that picture of what comes next I am afraid this may well be Iraq.


John Minard said...

true, it's the old "trust us with your blank cheque - we know a doctor, scenario"!

Pete said...

Unlikely I know, but if it turns out to be the rebels who used gas - would Clegg, Cameron et al still go for missile strikes against them?
But to answer the question, what we are (were) being asked to support is of course the US. And their objective? "...what is in the best interests of the United States." (National Security Council spokeswoman) . Gassed Syrian children - less so.