Anyone reading the BBC news site this morning might think Labour, the party which led us into Iraq, had saved the day. Via BBC News – MPs debate Syria after ministers drop quick vote on action:
MPs are set to debate military action in Syria in principle only, after the government dropped plans for a speedy vote on British intervention.
A Commons motion to be debated later states that a final vote on action should be held only after UN inspectors report on an alleged chemical attack.
Labour had threatened to withdraw its support for the government’s plans.
In truth, the Opposition are there to oppose: they frequently do not support the Government’s plans. The Government changes course in response to Opposition action when it appears sufficient numbers of their own MPs will join the Opposition to inflict a defeat.
It appears yesterday’s ring-around by the Whips revealed such a prospect.
Of course the use of chemical weapons is a “moral obscenity” but isn’t snipers shooting children? Syria isn’t merely a tyranny oppressing a subjugated people: Syria suffers a full-blown civil war. Far more caution is required in international relations.
Amongst the most infantile of the arguments being advanced by the advocates of war is the concept of “humanitarian intervention”. I thank God I have not had to care for those killed and seriously injured in battle. One close to me who has is absolutely clear that the use of armed force is never “humanitarian”.
What is needed is a ceasefire, however imperfect it may be, and a peace conference. That is what the Government should work towards, not war as punishment. Punishment must be meted out by courts against individuals, not nations against nations.