Friday, 30 August 2013

It is all Blair's Fault

I recently saw this tweet from Piers Morgan on my Twitter timeline:

"Cameron got punished for what Blair did. Simple as that #Iraq" (

Ok, you got me. I follow Piers Morgan on Twitter. I am not his biggest fan and I do think he is the most awful interviewer, incredibly arrogant and full of himself but, with all that in mind, his views are, at the very least, thought-provoking. Sometimes I even find myself agreeing with him - gun control, for example. Here I am not so sure. I agree that, to an extent, there is a sense that the British public and British MPs are (rightly) more wary about intervention in Syria after Iraq (and Afghanistan) than they would be if British troops had remained on home soil. The implication, however, is quite clear - that without Iraq, British MPs would have voted for the motion that was brought before the house yesterday. That is an altogether different point, and one I am not so sure about. (See, thought-provoking.) 

My stance on Syria is simple. There is nothing we can do. We are condemned to listen to George Galloway rant about how Israel supplied the chemical weapons to the rebels via Al Qaeda; to listen to our MPs try and score political points out of such a tragedy; and, ultimately, we are condemned to sit idly by as Assad, with the help of the Russians and Chinese, brutally murders his civilians until there are no more Syrians left for him to kill and he deems the job done. On the one hand, I understand the arguments against intervention and there are, of course, some MPs with a genuine opposition to intervention (then there is George Galloway). On the other, do we not have some moral responsibility to act, if we can? Perhaps the crucial point is exactly that: that, with the best will in the world, we cannot improve the situation and, as I say, we are condemned to watch on in horror. Diplomacy has failed and will continue to fail, whilst intervention seems only to mean that Syria's children are killed by our bullets as well as Assad's.

With that sobering thought firmly in your minds, let's return to the question at hand: Do we think British MPs would have voted for yesterday's motion had we not intervened in Iraq? I think Piers has a point, especially considering how close the final vote was, but it's not as clear cut as he is suggesting (or perhaps is forced to suggest with only 140 characters to play with).

I leave it as an open question - feel free to comment a response.