by Kevin Meagher
Outlining his reluctance to back air strikes against Isil in Syria, Jeremy Corbyn wrote in the Morning Star the other day, that:
“Amid all the debate and emotion expended over Syria last week, there remains a terrible sense of déjà vu pervading this most difficult of problems. It is the sense of a government – and a nation – repeating previous errors by committing to air strikes without a comprehensive, long-term strategy involving regional powers and allies…
[I]n the absence of a proper strategy informed by better on-the-ground knowledge and intelligence, there is a real danger that any military intervention goes the same way of Iraq, Afghanistan post-2006, and Libya.”
Actually, these aren’t Jeremy Corbyn’s words; it’s an excerpt from a piece by Conservative MP John Baron, a former soldier and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, writing in the Mail on Sunday.
The subterfuge is merely to highlight that fact there are real reasons to proceed cautiously in joining US-led efforts to bomb Isil strongholds in Syria and these reservations stretch across British politics.
Indeed, there’s a decent argument to made that the case for military action will only prevail when we are prepared to wage war on the ground, winning and holding territory (as Baron eloquently and persuasively argues). There is also a potent argument that David Cameron’s faith in the Free Syrian Army as the instrument to achieve this aim is seriously misplaced, as Jeremy Corbyn has pointed out.
Yet, even when Corbyn is right, as he is in pointing out that bombing is no panacea, he has no bigger argument to make. Where is the moral outrage about the fascistic, throat-slitting, mass-murdering rapist psychopaths of Islamic State? Or, indeed, the moral imperative in vanquishing them?