Going to war?

Today Parliament will debate military action in the Middle East. I set out my thoughts on this in the House and to the Foreign Secretary recently (and posted my views as a blog).

During the consultations prior to today’s debate I made clear I would vote against any military action in Syria. The legality of any such intervention is not straightforward, and the efficacy of intervening in such a trouble country in a way which might also help Mr Assad does not persuade me to support such action. I am pleased to learn from informed sources that we will not be asked today to approve bombing in Syria. I could see many ways in which bombing Syria could make things worse. The lack of clarity over the West’s current attitude to Assad’s role in the country, and the lack of an effective democratic opposition on the ground is bad enough.

The case of Iraq is different, as the Iraqi government has asked for our help. It is a democratic government and it clearly has serious problems trying to regain authority over its people and territory. I will listen carefully to the case made. The government will need to explain what can be achieved by bombardment from the air. More importantly it will need to explain how the war will be won on the ground, how innocent civilians caught up in the conflict will be protected as best they can, and what the political strategy will be. I find it difficult to believe UK military intervention can make much difference to all this, making it difficult for me to vote for the proposal. War is only worth fighting – if your own country is not under direct invasion- if you can see how you can win and how you can then win the peace to create a better future.

Mr Cameron is right that we should not be frozen by past failures. We also need to learn the lessons of our past interventions. Could arming the Kurds lead to an independent Kurdish state? How will the Shia interests accommodate the Sunni population’s legitimate demands? Did the last Iraq war destabilise the country too much?

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101 Comments

  1. lojolondon
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Good points made, John – I would oppose intervention on the basis that the bombing is already happening, countries like France were first to intervene as a distraction from their ghastly internal problems. I believe that our required contribution will be mainly token unity and a show of support, and I think we should stand aloof from that.
    PS Once again I have to say thanks for keeping us (and the world) out of bombing Syria, the chemical attacks have almost all been proven to be faked, and can you imagine how much easier ISIS would have had it without Assad? Again this demonstrates how crucial is the preservation of our democracy, the importance of MP’s representing their voter’s wishes and not obeying the whips, and our exit from the EU.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      lojo,

      To his credit, the local MP in Cambridge, Julian Huppert, wrote to the BBC on my behalf attaching the link which proves at least one instance of a chemical attack that the BBC broadcast as genuine, was indeed a fake. To date, he hasn’t received a reply.

      The BBC is funded by the public, but clearly isn’t accountable to them, which makes me wonder precisely who are they accountable to?

      Tad

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 28, 2014 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Indeed, the BBC are simply not accountable to anyone other than (ultimately) the government who appoints the trustees (alas people like Lord Patten).

        They appear to take their instructions from the EU, Green Peace, the Guardian, some magic money tree economists, “thinkers” in the mode of Polly Toynebee and anyone who wants yet more tax for everyone else, yet more daft regulations and ever more government.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    My view is you should only intervene if you are fairly certain it will make thing better in the long term and certain you will win the war and can win the subsequent peace. Even if you are convinced of these things you should only then intervene with all the force, resources and determination you have. Not half heartedly with a few bombs form height.

    A few bombs are very unlikely to do anything but help recruitment, incubate terrorism and instability. This is surely the effect of all the Blair & Cameron wars recent wars in that area. Libya as much as anywhere.

    We should surely keep out of it at this stage and almost certainly keep clear completely.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Good points LL, but Blair and Cameron are just sock puppets.

      Tad

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      What is shown by the dreadfully large majority for this pointless bombing is the large proportion of MP’s who just seek a career and to keep in with the party leadership (right or more frequently wrong). They have very little interest in representing their constituents or in thinking for themselves.

      Congratulations to the very tiny few who sensibly voted against it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Just 43 against how can the rest be to keen, have they learned nothing. Perhaps the most pathetic aspect was the government’s defence of this counter productive bombing on the absurd grounds that a few nutters are beheading people on video and gouging eyes out.

      Fine deal with these few nutters somehow if you can, bombing other will achieve nothing and cause damage.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Simon Jenkins has it exactly right on Any Questions just now. There is no coherent strategy behind this bombing at all and yet nearly every MP votes for it. This even after the history of all the recent disastrous wars.

      Not a moral war but a war of cosmetics – just six bombers to make a silly gesture by exploding a few hundred or thousand people or so. What indeed is the plan there is no plan?

  3. formula57
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Your views are correct, in my opinion and I hope very much that you are listened to by the government.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Unlikely they will listen, it seems to me the bombing will almost certainly go ahead and expand further.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Our interference in the Middle East has only made things worse. Iraq/Afghanistan now Syria. Plus interfering in Libya. It’s all been a disaster. Thousands have died or been maimed. Islamic terrorism has increased as a result. What’s the point? Let them sort it out.

  5. Gary
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Get out of other people’s countries.

    You want oil and gas? Get it the honest way, make things other people want, sell them and buy oil.

    Stop this medievil mercantilism!

  6. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    You might also ask why the UK is always at the forefront in supplying troops and hardware in these operations with consequent cost. Are Germany going to bomb Iraq or contribute to the cost ? If not why ? Is Italy ? Is China ? Is Russia ? Is India ? Is Japan ? Why make ourselves the target for terrorists when so much of the world does nothing ? Mr Cameron seems to have the same thirst for military action as Tony Blair.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      You’re right Roy, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s called hanging onto the coat tails of his master and hoping to curry favour.

      We can trace this mess all the way back to Washington and the Pentagon and the imperialist expansionists therein. I get wound up by this, because my kids are of a fighting age, and I won’t much like it if they lost their lives just because Cameron wanted to suck-up to the big corporations that presently run the US and are hell-bent of making more money regardless.

      Tad

  7. Ian wragg
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    As the party that decimated the military I would be inclined to stop posturing
    We left the last Iraq conflict beaten and a laughing stock as Brown wouldn’t fund decent equipment and now we’re in a worse position. Where’s Germany the so called leader of Europe. No doubt profiteering from arms production.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Ian wragg ,

      Only 10% ?

      Can you imagine the cries from the opposition bench if Labour had of been in office and tried to get away with such vandalism ?

      I wonder how much the dismantling of Black Watch contributed to the Scottish dissatisfaction with Westminster .

      No matter , what you said will be the Conservative Party’s epitaph :-

      “the party that decimated the military” .

      Who would have thunk it !

      • Bob
        Posted September 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        @ADS
        Please stop calling them the “Conservative Party”, it’s just inappropriate.

        • APL
          Posted September 28, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          “Please stop calling them the “Conservative Party”, it’s just inappropriate.”

          And offensive to Conservatives.

  8. Antisthenes
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    UK history is littered with foreign interventions by the military, by politicians and by NGOs many of which we have no reason to be proud of. Some of course have been unambiguously the right thing to do recent examples are Kuwait and the Falklands and of course there have been some in the past that were necessary but not the majority. On the whole though we have been far to enthusiastic in becoming involved in conflicts and interventions that we had no right be involved in. So now it is time to weigh more carefully the consequences of engaging in foreign interventions and should set the benchmark for doing so as being when it is unimpeachably in the national interest and the consequences are quantifiable.

    The current problems in the Middle East and elsewhere do not appear to pass these tests however if they do Western leaders have not yet made a convincing case. The current line for the reasons for intervention appears to be predicated on the usual propaganda and that is to avert terrorist threats and to get rid of the nasty people. Well we have been down that road so many times now with far from satisfactory results that perhaps now is the time for the West and the UK in particular take a non interventionist position and let the other peoples get on with sorting their own problems out. Western imposed values have over the centuries done far more harm the good so now perhaps we should let other people design their own without Western influence and if our values are better than theirs then they will overtime adopt them.

    • Alan
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think Kuwait was unambiguously the right thing to do: it resulted in the rise of Al Qaeda and the need to fight a second war with Iraq.

      I can understand that at the time it seemed reasonable to use US and its allies’ force to establish a new way of running the world, but with the advantage of hindsight it clearly did not work.

      You can argue that Lady Thatcher and Sir John Major caused that problem, that Mr Blair tried to solve it, and failed, and now Mr Cameron is trying to deal with another problem arising from the previous interventions.

      That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to intervene, but it does mean it’s probably wrong to expect a neat and satisfactory outcome.

    • Tom William
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      We were also told by certain smug politicians, while the defence budget was cut, that the huge amount spent on Foreign Aid is helping to protect the UK from terrorism.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    We should stay out of it. Either go in on the ground and exterminate completely with extreme prejudice or leave it to others in the region.

    This half baked, me too solution will not help. I do not support training Iraqi or Syrian forces either as eventually their gratitude will wane and they too will send crackpots to blow us up after availing themselves of our hospitality.

    Globalisation, you can keep it thanks.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      NS,

      Blair said ‘globalisation was inevitable’. I think that was a dead giveaway as to his true beliefs and intentions.

      Tad

  10. Amanda
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    No, no, no, not again !!!!!!

    We would do better to fix the problems in our own country. Why are people with British passports, from a particular religion, murdering in the Middle East – what sanctions and punishments are we imposing on them? And, how are we stopping ‘people holding British passports, of a particular religion’, from doing this in future; and creating terrorism here. That is what we need to fix.

    I will not support this. (Have we got any military left anyway???)

    • bigneil
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Yes, we are sending in the microlight squadron.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Too true

      I would much prefer to see a debate about how to legally and acceptably remove the (in most cases granted) citizenship of these misguided religious chauvinists.

      They have forgone the right to return, we should assist them in continuing to live in the area that was previously a “caliphate”

      • APL
        Posted September 28, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Amanda: “Why are people with British passports, from a particular religion, murdering in the Middle East ”

        Why are they murdering in London? Is more to the point, I’d say.

        Narrow Shoulders: “we should assist them in continuing to live in the area that was previously a “caliphate”

        The “assistance” should be restricted to one, one way ‘coach’ ticket to the nearest Mediterranean airfield / port of the ‘caliphate’.

    • Hysteria
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – defence of the homeland may sometimes require intervention overseas – but it will ALWAYS need a focus at home.

      A nation is defined by three things, which require relentless focus – Borders; Language; Culture – we have already lost too much of all of these to afford to spend treasure in the ME.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    “Did the last Iraq war destabilise the country too much ?”

    That’s putting it mildly. We tend to mess things up in the middle east. Our past record is awful.

    Why oh why do we still behave like an imperial power ?

  12. Alan
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    In my view the central plank of our defence policy is to rely upon the USA to deal with serious threats to ourselves and to World order. We, and the rest of the EU, simply do not spend enough on defence to defend ourselves against any serious attacker without American assistance. A consequence of this is that it is prudent, although not essential, to assist the USA when it asks for help. The Americans do not really need our help of course; they can provide all the necessary military power themselves. But it is sensible to provide the minimum level of assistance that the Americans regard as acceptable.

    So I would advise MPs to support Mr Cameron in providing military assistance to the USA.

    Whether Mr Obama has made the right decision is another matter, of course. I will delay my views on this until I have the advantage of hindsight, which may enable me to pretend that I have a greater understanding of international affairs than the President of the United States.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      US might has also worked against us on occasion, Alan.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        And refusal to join in did the French no harm in their relations with the Americans.

    • sjb
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your point about our over reliance on the US. Perhaps we may yet see Churchill’s vision (see below) in our lifetime.

      “[We] should make a gesture of practical and constructive guidance by declaring ourselves in favour of the immediate creation of a European Army under a unified command, and in which we should all bear a worthy and honourable part [emphasis added].” – Winston Churchill, 11 August, 1950

  13. Sandra Cox
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    A YouGov poll today says 57% of the public for and 24% against bombing Iraq.

    Is this another YouGov poll to influence the vote in the way the YouGov poll threw Cameron into panic over the Scottish referendum and encouraged/allowed him to take irrational action?

    This situation is obviously more serious than the break up of the UK, and with Cameron (jokingly, mic still on) saying he would like to sue the polling companies, I do hope that the vote today will be based on a solid case rather than another poll.

    The UK is already under invasion – by illegal immigrants from Muslim countries, courtesy of the EU, and our European partners. We have no idea who is in the country – Cameron has done next to nothing to secure our own borders, or discourage the rise of fanatics operating here.

    By this afternoon, MPs could be putting us on a war footing, and we have already been warned of the impact that could have here. If so, surely any sane country would be ensuring its borders are secure. The folly of the government turning a blind eye is treacherous at any time, let alone in the perilous times we find ourselves.

    Those in charge of our borders should be brought to book, along with those who continue to allow the EU and the UN and other malign influences to control our country.

    • Sandra Cox
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      …. following on from previous post, I should have also added:

      John, as you appear to be asking for our views etc on the debate, for what it’s worth, and looking purely on the basics – our troops, our money, our risk, and self preservation – I’d like to know exactly which countries are in the coalition, particularly our EU partners.

      Let’s face it, the EU has been responsible for changing the demographics of Europe, but now appears to have gone silent – particularly Germany who seems to want all the power and financial advantages, with none of the responsibility of committing troops or funding.

      I am not happy about being parochial at a time like this, particularly in view of our PM’s UN speech emphasising justice and democracy for the Middle East, but I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of certain UK politicians, and others, thinking that a few Western countries should take on the job and expense of policing the world.

      My first concern is just how any UK government is going to bring democracy to England. Once that’s been settled, we can all decide how to spread it further!!

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Quite right and we cannot do that properly until we are out of Europe. That should be the government’s priority. If the government implemented common grass roots sense in all things they could be voted in tomorrow with no effort but instead I feel many will be listening to what Nigel Farage has to say as often he is the only one talking any sense.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      “A YouGov poll today says 57% of the public for and 24% against bombing Iraq.”

      My feeling is that these little wars tend to be popular with the general public for about 6-9 months – tops. After that, people just see the waste and the mess which has been created, raise their hands with a sigh, badmouth Westminster and get on with their lives. As for 24-hour news channels, it won’t even take them 6 months to switch from their ‘something must be done’ mode to their ‘how did we get in this mess’ mode. ISIS must know, of course, that the appetite of the Western public for these interventions is strictly limited. All they have to do is sit it out, watch the Western leaders get egg on their faces and gain sympathy with Muslims as the pictures of bombed civilians go round the world.

      Who are the friends and allies of ISIS? The Turks, Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis who have been aiding ISIS in bringing down Bashar Assad and trying to weaken the Shia states of Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, have lately awakened to their idiocy and are cutting off aid to ISIS.

      Lebanon’s army, Syria’s army, Hezbollah and Iran have been fighting ISIS with Russian assistance. Putin himself warned the West of the absurdity of our attacking Assad last year, arguing that we would be allying ourselves with the same terrorists who brought down the twin towers. Was he not right?

      Will anyone at Westminster ask what exactly a promise to get out of Iraq means if a year or two later we are back in these country? Why can’t we leave the countries of this region to settle their little disputes without our help? Or as Sarah Palin pithily put it, “Let Allah sort it out.”

  14. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Whilst I hold the same attitude I did broadly one year ago – that of opposition to further involvement – just notionally I think you’re correct in limiting any scope of UK involvement solely to the sovereign territory of Iraq. The counter-claims elsewhere about ‘following ISIS into Syria’ making the UK proposals oddly complicated are not properly thought-through. UK forces will free up the resources deployed by other participants to carry through engaging targets on non-Iraqi territory. Presumably ‘we’ will not be participating alone?

    What I’d like to see from this afternoon’s debate is a fairly clear set of terms of reference as to who it is we will be targeting, how the Treasury will support the operation (robbing the Royal Navy for a notionally non-vital overseas task does not strengthen British strategic capability or influence – this operation will need to be funded properly and for its full term. HM Treasury has a poor recent record in appreciating the necessities of these things….). Under which strictures can or will we expand the operation? What is the clear – *clear* – exit strategy? (If none, we shouldn’t be getting involved in the first instance – the first individual to quote the crossing of bridges when we come to them should be ceremonially dunked in the Thames…) Do we have an assurance that the allied participants will continue to support operations for the duration that UK Forces will be thus deployed?

    Last year’s intervention would have linked the UK to Obama’s proposed measures for involvement. This stated:-

    …’Authorization for use of United States Armed Forces.

    (a) Authorization. – The President is authorised to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to-

    (1) prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors), within, to or from Syria, of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons; or
    (2)protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/01/world/middleeast/syria-resolution.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

    Last year the President was seeking in effect an ‘anything – anywhere’ mandate. Even without the mandate of the UK Parliament, the US could have widened the scope of the conflict into different nations and different theatres and the UK would have been dragged into the new commitments by alliance association obligation. There needs to be a UK-specific tripwire set up to ensure that at the very least Parliament is notified at the earliest juncture of the possibility if the geographical scope of the involvement might expand or escalate. Such additional commitments will need additional consideration and proper scrutiny – and funding. It would be interesting to see if the authorization the President won to initiate combat several weeks ago has subsequently evolved significantly?

    Finally, I’m not really too concerned if it seems to be rudely rubbing noses in it but a clear question has to be asked of the nature of Libya these days. The collapse of that nation is an ongoing catastrophe and Parliament has to ask itself whether its decision to carry out air operations three years ago contributed to that collapse. If there was a follow-up plan for Libyan stability, I’d say it’s reasonable to highlight that it has demonstrably failed?

  15. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Brief follow-up – sorry…

    …’We cannot standby, we cannot look on as they murder thousands of people displace a million people in Iraq, take western hostages and execute them in the most horrific way. We cannot stand by, we have to respond ot that challenge and I am sure MPs will rise that challenge today.’…

    Philip Hammond, speaking in recent hours.

    …’http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11120391/Britain-prepares-for-airstrikes-in-Iraq-live.html

    …’We cannot standby’….

    But Angela Merckel can?

    Germany – a significantly influential nation – will not touch these overseas tasks with the proverbial bargepole – very likely for extremely good reasons. Why ‘us’ (yet again) and not ‘them’ (yet again)? One of those elephants in the room that needs to stretch its legs properly in public at last. Hopefully it will do so in Westminster today?

    • formula57
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      As an aside, re. Germany, one extremely good reason for its reticence is the very poor state of its armed forces, now the subject of debate within Germany. It is reported only 24 of 56 transport aircraft are fit to fly, fighter planes are under half strength, half the navy’s helicopter fleet is grounded, only 16 of 83 transport helicopters are flight-ready, and only 70 of 180 armoured vehicles and 7 of 11 ships are in a fighting condition. This of course shows Mr. Putin is wrong again: Warsaw in 24 hours? – more likely it would be Hamburg (if not Brest).

      • Sandra Cox
        Posted September 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        How convenient! So, the Germans can’t supply hardware etc, but they could supply funding. If Putin did decide Hamburg, I wonder who Germany would be turning to for support.

  16. Peter
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Don’t the Kurd’s deserve their own state? They seem to be the only reliable, flourishing, competent, trustworthy element in this whole mess.

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I see that the outgoing head of the civil service has predicted another five years of UK government spending cuts – and he said making the cuts would be “even harder”.
    Sir Bob Kerslake said one of the difficulties was that “easier” savings had already been made. The need for cuts would be hard to explain to public sector staff.
    He said the civil service had “excelled” during his time in charge.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29373230

    What real cuts so far? What complaisant clap trap. Surely it is quite easy to explain that it is simply not fair that the state sector is remunerated at 50% more than the private sector and yet it produces remarkable little of any real value as output.

    They have pensions often 5 times the size of the private sector ones (mugged by Brown and now Osborne), they take more sick days, retire earlier and work fewer hours. It sounds quite easy to explain to me. Much easier than explaining it to the 80% private sector but he does not even consider that it seems.

    Lots of very easy cuts could be made, whole departments that are a net negative, most of the EU, the EURO prop up loans, HS2, green grants for silly energy production methods, counter productive wars, absurdly complex, time wasting tax systems, OTT bank controls restricting lending, over regulation of buildings and planning, daft employment tribunal laws …… Whole departments dedicated to fleecing the public with fines, licence fees, motorist mugging tricks or blocking the roads with environmental areas and half bakes bus and bike lanes. Daft tram systems, the idiotic new vastly expensive fake Route Master/ Boris buses, the subsidies for electric car nonsense, endless pointless enquiries with huge fees to lawyers (but rarely acted on). Perhaps the daftest most inefficient rubbish collection/recycling service in the World.

    The list is endless, so much fat that could be cut with no loss to the public “services” at all.

    Meanwhile pot holes every where, an appalling NHS, poor schools ….. and over the top taxes, fines, regulations and licence fees everywhere.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right…

      It’s always been council and governmental policy to cut the most visible services that will effect most people. Even if those are the most venerable people…

      What happened to “The bonfire of Quangos” ?

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      So despite over a thousand more silly windmills, the total electricity generated has fallen by 22% due to a 1.6 mph drop in mean wind speed.
      Says it all really. We are running to stand still whilst the BRIC countries sally forth.
      What is the government doing John to assist in the liquid salt reactors which are cheaper, safer and more economical than PWR and are a UK design.
      No doubt they will finish up i9n China and we will buy back our own technology at 100 times the price.
      Still that’s what we expect with pigmies in charge.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the appallingly wasteful and incompetent record at MOD procurement (aircraft carriers with no aircraft and the likes).

  18. John E
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    We are not being asked to bomb in Syria because we do not have the means to do so. The U.S. has been able to deploy aerial assets that can operate without first attacking and degrading the Syrian air defences. Our old Tornados aren’t in that league..

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      John E ,

      It occurred to me the other day how our establishment loves to revel in Britain’s second world war military prowess and technology .

      There is a romantic attachment to Spitfires and the Rolls Royce Merlin engine .

      For sure Merlin’s sound good but they are a 1930’s design with too many small fasteners , external oil ways , poorly flowing cylinder heads and intake manifolds with poor fuel distribution requiring the engine to be run pig rich .

      The best thing about them is Stanley Hooker’s two-stage supercharger .

      It is almost as if Britain’s incredible contribution to the Jet-Age which far surpassed everything Britain had achieve before has been erased from history .

  19. Timaction
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I agree with your comments Mr Redwood. It would seem that your leader is always looking for an excuse to get involved in wars.
    What are this Country’s objectives? How can they be achieved? What is in our national interest, that’s the people, not the politicians or the USA’s interests? Will our politicians actions cause more problems than it solves by bombing indiscriminately? It may be precision bombing but it doesn’t discriminate who’s in those buildings.
    Why is it our problem and not those adjoining states who are at most risk?
    Why don’t the other Arab states take the lead? Who’s funding this group and are they playing both ends against the middle?
    I’m told we can’t win this war without boots on the ground. As that’s off limits for the UK/USA who’s boots will do this job before we even contemplate any war or action?
    I personally am not convinced we should involve ourselves with killing people until we are 100% certain what we’re doing and why. Its seems to me its ok to kill ISIS on the ground regardless of their home nationalities yet our Government bulks at taking away their passports! Madness.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      You can just see the BBC reporting protest marches against British soldiers killing British Jihadis .

      They’ve got human rights too .

  20. Bob
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    When the coalition troops were hastily withdrawn from Iraq in for domestic political purposes we were assured that the local defence forces were adequately trained to maintain security.

    Like so many of David Cameron’s assurances it turned out to be false.

    Still, how convenient that he calls for a debate in the House to coincide with the ukip conference. That should drown out some of the common sense ideas emanating from Doncaster.

    Still, the outcome of the Commons vote has already been decided by the three wise monkey’s who will be using the three line whip to maintain compliance from their MPs. Some democracy!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Interesting point Bob. Cameron must be really scared stiff of UKIP to choose today of all days for his debate, so the UKIP message is drowned out. A consummate manipulative con-man at work! A real expert at his trade!

      Only, to those of us who can see it, it makes us even less likely to vote Tory whilst they continue to have leaders like him.

      I consider myself a natural conservative. Traditionally, that has meant espousing the ideals of honesty and virtue. Somewhere, the Tories lost their way and I feel I have little in common with the Tory leadership these days, or the ladder-climbing lackeys who creep around them.

      Tad

  21. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    President Obama is right in what he says.Whether we should join in is another issue. Do you consider invasion something which is by physical force or the insidious infiltration of IS connections in Europe?

  22. John Wrake
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Please vote against U.K. participation in bombing. We have had enough of gesture politics.

    John Wrake.

  23. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    John,

    Once we deployed military aircraft to the region, we all knew we would at some point end up getting involved.

    Is it just me or, do Western leaders have a thing about following President Obama? Do they all compete to be his best buddy? Had France not steped in to help the USA, would Mr Cameron et al still be so keen to get involved? Is Mr Cameron worried that Mr Hollande will be deemed to be Saint Barrack of Obey Me’s best friend?

    It must be difficult for you to vote on this matter John knowing how divided the people of tghis country are in relation to getting involved in yet another conflict in foreign lands. When you vote yes this afternoon, I can tell you that you are not representive of my views.

    I fear mission creep and can see us getting sucked further and further into a situation where there are never going to be any winners.

    Reply I did notvote Yes

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Thank you John, I withdraw my comment!

      Did any of the three main parties whip their MPs?

      Good luck at the conference this week…..I think it will be a tough one now, given the breaking news.

      Reply. Yes it was a 3 line whip

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        John,

        Is the whip system, especially in relation to matters of conscience, compatible with the concept of true democracy?

        Does the whip system undermines the connection between the public and their representitives in Parliament?

        If the case for something was strong, would the whip system even be needed? Making the call for war a whipped vote, does that in itself undermine the case for war?

        Given that the party leader has so much power in relation to helping people get promoted within parliament, does this distortion also further breaks the bond and trust between the electorate and politicians? It seems to me that most “rebels” are towards the end of their working lives and unlikely to hold a high position in government again. Do you feel that ambitious MPs are more likely to go along with the party leader and whip’s demands just to get on?

        Reply Rebels are evenly spread by age group/longevity in the Commons etc. Some of us landed on the backbenches by resigning on a matter of principle. I support a party system and to have parties you do need to have recommended ways of voting and some likelihood that in most cases a government can win its business. Otherwise manifesto promises cannot be implemented.

        • Cliff. Wokingham
          Posted September 29, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          John,

          Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply to me during this very busy time for you.

          Do you agree that, if a party has a political ideology which it’s members by definition support, that so long as the leadership put forward policies which conform to that political ideoloy, then the members of that party will support those policies and thus, will not require whipping to support those policies?

          In the last couple of decades, it strikes me that party leaders abandoned their party’s core beliefs and ideology to pursue the center ground; few Labour supporters really backed Mr Blair’s direction for his government and many traditional Conservatives, like myself, are unhappy with the direction Mr Cameron is taking the Conservative Party and we all know how LibDem supporters feel about Mr Clegg’s leadership and direction of travel. If this is a correct analysis of the current state of party politics in our country, is it any wonder that people are leaving the mainstream parties in their droves?

          Reply Having a coherent government with policies that make sense and relate to each other does require that government to advise its supporters how it would like them to vote. This has been a rebellious Parliament, showing that MPs can still exercise their own judgements.

    • Bob
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      “Reply I did not vote Yes”

      Did you abstain again John?

  24. Richard
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Our Middle East interventions have mainly been unsuccessful and made the situation worse.

    We supported the Taliban to remove the Russians only to find ourselves fighting the Taliban a few years later. A 10 year conflict which started with the words “we do not expect to fire a single shot” and one which tragically will be found to have been useless as Afghanistan returns to its Islamic culture and government.

    We bombed Libya to remove Ghaddafi but this has made the country far worse turning it into an ungovernable and failing state.

    We invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and now as a result we are expected to deal with IS, a conflict, like Afghanistan, which could last for years.

    We should stop aiding any group and let the Middle East sort its own problems out and allow them to define their own borders.

    We should not be forcing our definition of democracy upon them but allow them to institute the type of government they want. Islam and democracy are mutually exclusive.

    If different sects of the Islam religion are unable to live together then it makes complete sense to make sure they each have their own state.

    Hopefully this can lead eventually to a more peaceful region.

    I do not understand what comes over our leaders when they are in government and makes them feel they must intervene in these sectarian conflicts :
    Is it the media pressure of “We must do something” ?
    Is it to provide a legacy for themselves ?
    Or is it all about oil ?

    If the government wishes to make our country safer then it should start by controlling immigration and removing illegal immigrants.

  25. oldtimer
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The US approach of building an alliance with neighbouring states to combat ISIL is surely the right diplomatic approach as was the success in of the locals, Iran and the USA in persuading Maliki to step down so that a more broadly based Iraqi government could be formed.

    Any UK military participation will be but as a small cog in a much larger enterprise. The case for doing so will rest not so much on the size of the contribution as on the fact of doing so as members of a wider alliance. Possibly it will provide some unique if largely invisible assets through the activities of Special Forces in providing tactical targetting services to the airforce.

  26. cosmic
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    In Syria it’s being proposed that we bomb the people which a year ago it was being proposed we should bomb the Assad regime to help.

    In Iraq, if the recognised government has asked for specific help, I suppose it’s reasonable to give it. I have some misgivings as to whether bombing is the answer, rather than the Iraq regime sorting its ideas out.

    In general, I agree with your stance, but that’s against a background of doubt as to whether we have much of a clue as to what’s actually happening in these countries, and our history of military adventures in the ME, which it’s hard to argue has done any good.

  27. Vanessa
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I would also vote “no” if I had a vote. I do not think any of this has been thought through thoroughly and there is no thought for the results and what we do when we stop bombing, or what Isis will do if we fail to kill all of them which is highly likely.

    There is also the issue of cost. As Richard North says on his eureferendum.com website life is cheap in these countries. We are sending in vastly expensive armoury which will blow up buildings and people, none of which is viewed as valuable in the country. Therefore we are paying a vast amount of money to take out “trinkets” in effect.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Personally I would vote for the government motion as shown on TV yesterday.

    There are many parts of the world where people are being oppressed and slaughtered, and we cannot possibly intervene everywhere. We neither have adequate resources to do that, and nor do we always know what consequences might ensue.

    In this specific case I believe that there are two reasons why we should intervene to the best of our ability. The first and less compelling reason is that the UK has incurred a moral responsibility to intervene now through its previous interventions to further and defend its interests stretching back over a century. The second and conclusive reason is that we are seeing the emergence of a new state bent upon world domination in the name of Islam, and it must be nipped in the bud. This is not the first time that such action has been necessary, and it probably won’t be the last.

    As for the question of withdrawing UK citizenship and passports from those who can be shown to have given their allegiance to the new Islamic state, they could hardly complain that removal of their UK citizenship had left them stateless. I would make no distinction between those who are natural born citizens and those who have acquired citizenship through naturalisation, but it would be necessary to follow due process and prove that they had transferred their allegiance to the Islamic state.

  29. DaveM
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Good post. However, I’m wary of any coalition that is led by Obama.

    1. The Americans messed up massively in 1991, and back then they had a strong leader with Thatcher to urge them on. I know all the background from 1980 onwards so understand why the yanks called a halt, but it was the wrong thing to to and the negotiations afterwards (if indeed there were any) were so inadequate they led eventually to the mess we have now.

    2. I was “on the ground” when the announcement was made in April 2003 that we had won. I remember that day well because we had a huge fight in a suburb south of Basrah and the announcement came over the headset!!! How we laughed.

    3. Disbanding the Iraqi forces and the Ba’ath Party was a decision which was met with disbelief by our troops – the Iraqi forces were largely secular and very patriotic, membership of the Ba’ath Party was a pre-requisite to getting any kind of employment (from doctors to teachers to taxi drivers) and the country’s political infrastructure was based around it. And all this has led to today’s situation.

    However, I agree with DC that past failures should not deter us from doing what is right now. If anyone has seen first hand what these cowardly so-called Islamist nutters do to innocent people in the name of Allah, they would surely agree that, wherever it is in the world, you cannot stand by and watch. And the bottom line is that Arab forces can’t be trusted to do the job properly. I could go on for hours about the state of Arab armed forces but I won’t. I only hope that our politicians allow western forces to finish the job properly this time. And I’m afraid that means “boots on the ground” and an independent Kurdistan. It also means encouraging the revival of Iraqi secular nationalism with a powerful leader. But none of this can be done without getting rid of IS/ISIS/ISIL as a credible force.

    And finally – real power to police and security forces at home, locked borders, and a refusal to kowtow to EU rules on immigration and yoooman rights.

  30. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Why all the excitement about ISIS beheading people? Beheadings are NORMAL in Saudi. Why no fuss about THAT? It’s cos they got oil.

    So why don’t we just wait till ISIS has overrun some oil fields? Then their beheaddings will be OK, at which point we can stop spending money fighting them.

    Problem solved.

    • APL
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      “So why don’t we just wait till ISIS has overrun some oil fields?”

      Why don’t we just invest in Thorium salt reactor technology – to the extent that we could be completely self sufficient in energy, then we could have an actual foreign policy that is not at the beck and call of foreign powers.

      We’ve enough Thorium in the fly ash produced by conventional coal fired power stations to run half a dozen Thorium salt reactors for a century or so.

      • Gary
        Posted September 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Thorium cannot secure the demand for petrodollars, that was an oil pact secured by a cartel to perpetuate dollar reserve. Without which, America collapses.

        Our politicians, with a few exceptions, don’t have the wit to factor this in. Or they do, but don’t care, they have expenses to tend to.

  31. Eddie Hill
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I tend to agree.

    I think a further worthwhile question is: “Why is this our problem?”

    “To preserve us from Islamic terrorism” isn’t a credible answer when we’ve already got so many Muslims living here and holding British passports.

    The question of civilian casualties is also moot because we would be bombing civilians anyway. ISIL fighters do not wear uniforms, they all go home to sleep at night or, as I heard on Radio 4 yesterday, they base themselves in appartment blocks with civilians living on the floors above them.

    Trying to hit them whilst avoiding non-combatants is going to be impossible, and since they use collateral damage for propoganda purposes, it’s difficult to see what we have to gain from trying to bomb them.

  32. Atlas
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    John, I agree with the points you raise. If any further intervention merely stirs up the wasps nest without eradicating the problem then we intervene at our peril.

  33. 1an
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Has wet&mad have his drome kit set up at number 11. I can see him flying around ME at the weekend. George to Dave, I can see a light on over there I will let them have it the full payload, Dave, nice one George lets have drink on that. Next day man walk into the office, there been a mistake someone blew up the wrong house last night. Dave and George look at each other and say to the man, we got work to do and shuffle down the hallway. Dave, you done it again got us into trouble, George, they don’t know it was us, we will try again this weekend.

  34. M Browne
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I favour doing nothing. Why do we always have to ‘do something’. The countries in the region, should be sorting this out, not the UK.
    Our political leaders always seem to be more interested in fixing things that are none of their business, rather than fixing things at home. They just love being on the world stage, making speeches and attending UN summits, so much more interesting than fixing the West Lothian question or the economy or the NHS or the public workers and their grotesquely generous pensions. I voted Conservative at the last election, but I’m wondering what to do next time. UKIP, English Democrats ? I’ve said this before, but I wish that I could vote for Frau Merkel for Prime Minister.

  35. Mark
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I was very pleased to read the news that the airforces of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrein and the UAE joined in the US attacks on ISIS in Syria. It is entirely clear that this is an evil organisation whose intent for evil spreads far beyond Syria and Iraq, and it needs to be met with a global coalition to oppose it.

    The change of allegiance of the Algerian extremists Caliphate Soldiers who beheaded French tourist Hervé Gourdel earlier this month from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, to back Islamic State shows that the threat is not confined to those countries. Al Qaeda affiliates and other Islamic extremists in several other countries are also considering switching allegiance.

    The UK’s military role can only be a small one, simply because we lack forces on adequate scale for anything more, thanks to our defence cuts. But our diplomatic role in encouraging as broad an international coalition as possible against this scourge should be paramount. We should seek to include Commonwealth countries such as Kenya and Nigeria who are threatened by the spread of this extreme ideology, along with Russians, Turks, Chinese….

    Since Syria is currently the headquarters of ISIS, and its principle source of revenues, it is just as important to strike there as in Iraq.

    A different problem is encouraging a proper future for Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, the new PM Haider Al-Abadi is said to be far more conciliatory than al-Maliki, his Shia predecessor, towards the Sunni and Kurdish minorities: he has the benefit of a British education. However, there is no guarantee that this will work to create a viable state, and alternative contingencies need to be considered if it is seen to be failing. Syria is even more of a mess, with several extremist groups who thankfully we did not back with force, vying for elements of power. To bash Bashar Assad as if there was only one side guilty of atrocity fails to recognise the reality. Look to Egypt, where the military have at last manage to coil the Arab Spring back into the box for now. It may not be pretty, but it seems like the best solution for the people of Egypt and their neighbours.

  36. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I agree,totally.
    The end of the war(s) in 1945, 1947 never were quite the end. For our armed forces fighting somewhere sometime(s) in several countries at the same time has continued.

  37. APL
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Cameron and his cronies were restrained from attacking Syria under the false pretence that Assad had used chemical weapons.

    Now the West is attempting to bomb Syria under the pretext of pursuing ISIS in Syria.

    How convenient.

    • Gary
      Posted September 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. Yet, at most, 43 out of nearly 700 politicians spotted the obvious. Either the rest are stupid, or bought, or don’t care.

      How many times do they have to be duped before they spot a pattern?

  38. bigneil
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Marvellous in these times of austerity how money can be found when its anything to do with another country – -I see the Indian satellite we paid for with “foreign aid” has successfully gone into orbit round Mars.

  39. BranE
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Ask yourselves whether the total failures of our past interventions have made you feel ‘safer’. Would not Private Rigby and the 50+ innocent bomb victims of 7/7 not still be alive if Blair and Bush had not taken us into Iraq and Afghanistan on a lie? Who on earth imagines that this new half-baked adventure is going to change anything for the better?

  40. Tad Davison
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Just listening to the Commons debate, and there was an interesting intervention to the speech given by Labour’s Pat McFadden. The person asked, what is the link between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003? The BBC News Channel quickly cut to the House of Lords before the viewer was given the answer. Make of that what you will, but there are some who still maintain we needed to go to war in Iraq to stop the proliferation of terrorists headed by Bin Laden.

    Interesting then, that even the FBI said that Bin Laden was never indicted for 9/11 because there was insufficient evidence he was involved.

    Snow, snow, more and more snow.

    Tad

  41. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood’s views seem to be the same as those of Mr Farage, namely that before we do anything, there should be a plan, whether our aircraft would attack targets in Iraq or Syria. Mr Cameron is right to say that past mistakes should not render us inactive, but, at the very least, they impose on government a duty to think more carefully and honestly than ever.

  42. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Listening to the pro air strike contributors in this debate is persuading me, as Mc Faddon said, we are already involved due to the violence shown already How can we not at least attempt to stop beheading murder and rape?

    George Galloway shouts about past wars but we have moved forward and in comparison these murderers have not.To dwell on the past and use it as an excuse for inaction is not helpful. Omission is just as cruel as intervention.

  43. julian
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    They have already killed our citizens so we have grounds on that basis anyway.
    On the wider question I believe we should oppose evil regimes whenever possible*. These murderers have appropriated territory and even an unholy alliance with Iran and Assad and even Saudi Arabia to put down their tyranny is worthwhile.

    *It is not possible to deal with North Korea yet.

  44. ian
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Australian go right over the top with new terror laws, check it out, I will have to cross them off of my retirement list, another white country gone, I will have to look to new Zealand or buff up my Spanish and go south.

  45. ian
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    AS they go to war on a letter sent in the post and the UK GDP go up with every bomb they drop I was thinking does GDP go up if I do not have sex with the wife and they put me down as using a hooker, I can see GDP going to the moon. DEBT to GDP 25% in two years. How many more ways can they fined to put GDP up to make everything look alright for the investors. Just think of some think and include it on the books DEBT to GDP 2%.

  46. Shieldsman
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    What does Cameron hope to achieve? Cameron is determined to lumber the British taxpayer with the cost of million Pound sophisticated weaponry.
    Using targeted strategic weapons only destroys Iraq’s infrastrucure and perhaps a few ISIL fighters. It is costly and ineffective.
    Jihadists drive around in pick-up trucks, use Kalashnikov AK-47’s and hand held RP’s. It requires old style aircraft and weaponry or Helicopter gunships coordinated from the ground.
    I have just read that the USAF is deploying 300 airmen and 12 A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft to Iraq next month.
    Boots on the ground are the only way to defeat ISIS.

  47. fedupsouthener
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with you John. I don’t know how much difference we would make anyway and innocent people get hurt with these kind of operations. We would be far better off staying out for the moment and spending the money enforcing the borders of our own country to stop any infiltration from these people. More money must be spent in at all our borders including Calais to stop the entry of illegal immigrants and keep our people safe at home. One only has to look at the situation at the moment with the Latvian who has been convicted of murder in his own country and been investigated for the sexual crime against a 14 year old and now has possible connections to the missing girl. We don’t know who is coming over the borders from Syria into Turkey but we can bet many will try to get to the UK and this will include those unfortunate enough to find themselves refugees but also those who wish us harm.

    If we bomb now then the British hostage doesn’t stand a chance, but then he may not anyway. We can only hope.

  48. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    One has lost count of the number of orders placed over the years by various Arab states for British military hardware.
    Ergo – with all that ‘gubbins’ at their disposal – why cannot those Arab states deal with this problem ?
    Moreover – this being their ‘back yard’ AND those they oppose being of ‘their kind’ – Blighty and the West more generally should be pressing them to sort out their own region.

  49. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    If it is the case as I understand matters that 40 countries are involved (and rising) it would be odd for us not to be involved and such inaction might even be seen as a sign of support for the wrong people. And there is no need to call our effort, not this time anyway, a War. Six planes from Cyprus does not qualify for that.

  50. dilman
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    And where are the Saudis in all this mess? We supply them with lotsa luverly weapons, they behead their own citizens without a murmur from the West and we are happy to use their oil. But assisting fellow Arabs against bloodthirsty fanatics? Nothing.

  51. forthurst
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    “[ISIL is making millions selling oil to the Assad regime.]” David Cameron in the HoC.

    I believe that to be a barefaced lie. Furthermore, the US has been bombing oil extraction and processing infastructure in Syria with the excuse of denying ISIL of its income from pirated oil. This then indicates that the neocons have already got their mission creep, ie destroying Syrian assets on the excuse they are currently controlled by ISIL. As is well known, the oil has been distributed at markdown prices (ie 25-50% market) via Turkey and if the US were sincere about simply denying ISIL its income it would order Turkey to seal its border to prevent transit of oil or take action if it did not comply.

  52. Iain Gill
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    A 20% discount on house prices for the under 40’s? Oh how the over 40 renters laughed…
    The Conservative party has just announced itself into opposition after the election.
    Are the Eton clowns running the party REALLY this stupid?
    Nice to see the magic money tree is as alive and well at Conservative party HQ as it is over at Labour HQ.
    If the Government stopped manipulating house prices ever upwards they would be affordable for many more people. If the Government stopped eroding savings many who actually earnt the value of a house would be able to afford one.
    I give up the Conservative party deserves a hammering and 5 years of the idiots of the labour front bench in charge is probably the fastest route to getting the political class recharged and some common sense in the Conservative front bench.
    Just resign John you are wasting your time, a total and utter waste of time.

  53. English Pensioner
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I agree with the present proposals, Iraq has asked for help and it should be given where we can. Syria is a totally different matter; Assad may be a nasty piece of work, but his election as president was at least as fair as many others around the world whom we are happy to tolerate. Our intervention against another nasty dictator in Libya has hardly been a roaring success. The fact is that dictators throughout the Middle and Near East maintained reasonable calm for most ordinary people as long as they kept out of politics, and what has replaced them is largely chaos.
    The problems, of course go, back to the time that the British and French carved up the middle east by drawing lines on a map and creating countries which took no account of tribal, ethnic or religious boundaries. It’s a bit late now to do anything about it, but I would certainly favour the establishment of a proper Kurdish state if this could be achieved.
    My main concern, however, is that the government does not appear to have done much within this country to improve our security from insider attacks. To me, the scandal in Rotherham serves to illustrate how scared our authorities are to do something which might upset the Muslim population, and one fears that they could be looking the other way with regards to security issues just as they did with abuse.

  54. Richard1
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    A general called Jonathan Shaw made what sounded a sensible point on the radio today: IS is primarily about seizing control of the Muslim countries. So its mainly a problem for Saudi Arabia, Quatar, Jordan etc, rather than the UK / Europe / US. Given these countries have huge military resources (having bought it all from the West), they should sort it out first. Gen Shaw feels we have rushed into direct military action earlier than we would have done due to the murders of westerners and other IS atrocities.

  55. Bert Young
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    For centuries the Middle East has been in turmoil . The tribal factions behind the problem are at the roots of the problem and will not disappear because we drop a few bombs and missiles in the region . I am not a fan of the regime in Iran but I thought the words spoken by their leader at the United Nations were right “Let the people in the area sort it out themselves”. Outside intervention merely diverts the attention to those countries taking part ; we – unlike the USA , do not have the military whack or the longer term capability to participate no matter what our reaction is to the horrifying brutality of ISIS . We do not intervene in Pakistan , Saudi Arabia , Egypt or other countries where atrocious behaviour takes place , so why do we commit to the havoc in Iraq and , possibly later , Syria ? The extremes in Muslim culture and tradition are best left alone ; if they are introduced into this country , that is another matter and we would then have no choice but to deal with it here .

  56. Richard1
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    We should also take note of another display of the absurd inadequacy of Ed Miliband as a potential prime minister on this. Mr Miliband thinks air stikes are right – but only if the IS terrorists happen to be on the Iraqi side of the border. If they slip over to the Syrian side, perhaps when they see a British plane coming for them, the British plane must them leave them alone and ask the Americans or someone else to finish the job. In order to attack them in Syria Mr Miliband would want to see a UN Sec Council resolution first, which he surely knows will never happen.

    There are good reasons to be either for or against this action, but Mr Miliband’s fence sitting shows him (again) to be completely unfit to be prime minister. He is thinking of Labour party politics, not what’s right or wrong for the Country.

  57. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    In arming the Iraqi defence force we inadvertently armed ISIL ..who is to say that a)all Kurdish fighters are benign and b)the arms donated wont ever fall into the hands of enemy forces. The law of unintended consequences.
    Unfortunately Mr Cameron is a notoriously arrogant man with poor attention to detail so will not be troubled by these arguments.

    On balance it’s better to leave well alone but politicians just cannot resist to be seen to ‘do something’ as though they are modern day Margaret Thatcher’s liberating the Falkland again to rapturous applause from a grateful nation.

  58. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    What the region needs is a tough, perhaps brutal dictator to hold the warring factions apart and secure the peace. Although not a perfect solution it is the lesser of evils.

    Ooops our naïve and arrogant leaders swallowed a tissue of lies that a first grade student could have seen through, got rid of Saddam Hussein and made the middle East and our own backyard a much more dangerous and unstable place. Now the same people say we should go to war again.

  59. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    In conversation the other day it was said ISIL were like the Japanese in WW2. They were unbelievably cruel and would not give in, they wished to fight to the last man. ISIL are similar, they cannot be negotiated with, they must be confronted and totally defeated as the Japanese were; they stopped only when they were killed in large numbers. ISIL have said they are our enemies, that it is a religious fight and they intend to kill us if they get the chance. Just how much of this don’t people understand? Those who claim they are just misguided and we will make matters worse are foolish in the extreme and calculate to deceive – it will indeed get worse if we don’t stop them. Just wait until we find an armed group here at the end of some street in one of our cities, driving around in a pick-up truck!

    There is much big talk about ‘going to war’. Fake Earnest is right about the enemy but he talks too big, when we know that we are to contribute only 6 fighters. We cannot afford more, I don’t mean in money terms, I mean in numbers. I understand we only have one squadron of Tornados which I think is about 20. Pathetic. I suppose the Typhoons are kept here because they are all needed here and can’t be spared anywhere else.

    It’s a sad reflection of our decline and the irresponsible cuts he has made in our ability to defend ourselves. I wonder when we won’t have any response to air incursions by the Russians.

    We must doubt their effectiveness against men who are as tough and hard as you can get. They and their commanders are unlikely to be much affected by having a few buildings and command posts blown to bits. It’s the men who need to be killed and in large numbers. They are said to have 30,000 armed men and lots of equipment. Can our jets or anyone else’s strafe formations of them which there must be somewhere? Or is that not allowed – could it be against their human rights, would it be a war crime?

  60. waramess
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Serious questions need to be asked about this latest venture. The first is one you have already adress,ed and it is one of strategy.

    Is there one or are the international forces just out to bomb ISIS?

    Perhaps more importantly is the question of who is to pay for this? Are we charging the cost to oil rich Iraq or is this more Cameron largess with the UK taxpayer funds?

    Also there is the question of why we are responding to the request when there are those in the region to whom ISIS represents a far greater immediate threat? I read that Saudi for example have 700 Tornados but are commiting a mere five.

    On the face of it the forthcoming 2015 election would seem to have more to do with our great leaders support for Obama than humanitarian or defence of the realm issues.

  61. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    I always thought that you bombed the enemy infantry when your own infantry are advancing – in this case, while Iraqi army or Kurdish army troops are advancing. Do we have the necessary close communications with the Iraqi and Kurdish high commands to do this?

  62. Monty
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I tend to support the bombing of ISIS in Iraq, and in Syria. Dead jihadists can’t ever come home to England, can they.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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