Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


The memory of Iraq influences everybody in Britain and the No vote in parliament probably reflects the public opinion. If it were not for that legacy, how would military intervention in Syria seem? The strongest reason for attack is surely that the use of chemical weapons has to be challenged. If it is, then the challengers will feel emotionally satisfied because they have done the right thing. What practical effect will it have? That depends on what the USA actually does, It might possibly fire a few missiles into a desert area and kill nobody. That would just tell al-Assad what he already knows – that the USA has the capability. If they do more than that, they will surely kill a lot more people and add to the existing death toll. That is one good reason for not firing off missiles.

If they fire and kill, then how will al-Assad respond? The west has allowed ‘conventional’ conflict to continue for years and only got seriously angry when chemical weapons were used. So al-Assad might well think “I will stop using chemical weapons and go on trying to suppress the revolt by old-fashioned methods.” Does the US then continue with missile attacks? Or he may extend their use dramatically, hoping that by the time US forces arrive in Syria there won’t be much opposition left to form a new government.

All such thinking suffers from lack of knowledge. The public are unaware how accurate UK and US intelligence sources are. We are at the mercy of the media. Our local MP’s get bags of mail urging them to vote one way or another so they are not much better off. Knowing what I know now, which is very limited, I would have urged my MP to vote NO. The obvious dangers outweigh the very uncertain benefits. I also think that the NO vote we got is very much better than a YES vote with a tiny majority would have been.

In more general terms, I have doubts about the current determination of the west to export democracy. The US does this quite aggressively and groups suffering under an oppresive  regime may come to think that if they stir up a significant revolt the US will sooner or later support them. If their expectations turned out to be false, whose fault would that be?

We shall never know who was right an who was wrong because something will happen and there will be no way of finding out if the other way would have been better.

One Response to “SYRIA”

  1. really enjoyed this article, so agree that the vote by the House of Commons is reflecting the general public census

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