James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - I cannot imagine voting for any kind of military action (From This Is Wiltshire)
James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - I cannot imagine voting for any kind of military action
12:13pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in Latest News
There is no solution to the appalling catastrophe unfolding in front of our eyes in Syria. All we can hope for is the least bad of the options available to us.
There are those who argue that “It’s got nothing to do with us. Why should we police the world?” They are not only ignoring a humanitarian crisis and war crimes not seen, quite possibly, since the Second World War; they are also foolishly presuming that ‘our interests’ amount to little more than repelling boarders at the coastline.
Not only do we have a moral duty to prevent a brutal Hitler-esque dictator murdering people on a racist basis; but we must also be acutely aware of the forces behind Assad and his regime.
It’s a cauldron of Sunni versus Shia; of Al-Qaeda sensing an opportunity; of Hamas and Hezbollah advancing campaigns against Israel; of a potentially nuclear-armed Iran and a selfishly-motivated Russia looming over the chaos like great black pariahs; of neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan on the brink of collapse, not least because of the refugee crisis; and let’s not forget Egypt in civil war just round the Med, and most other Arab countries in a state of tension. Good men doing nothing allows evil to flourish. Doing nothing also risks catastrophic consequences for our own peace and security.
Yet military action – even if that amounted to no more than a pre-emptive and punitive rocket strike against carefully selected targets – risks inflaming the conflict, and making us the enemy.
Who knows what the result would be and what do we want to achieve? If we simply want the end of the Assad regime as punishment for his vile crimes, then what do we want to replace it with; and how? Is there not at least a risk of even greater chaos in an Assad-free Syria than there is at present?
We must find a way of bringing all of the interested parties, including Russia, to the negotiating table. We must bring every kind of diplomatic and trade pressure to bear on those who want war. We may have to threaten military action.
These are matters well beyond most of us to follow without access to the most secret of intelligence. Yet they are matters so grave that it is unthinkable that we should dodge our responsibilities.
I will, of course, listen carefully to the arguments on both sides; but at this stage want to make it plain to my constituents that I can imagine no circumstances under which I would vote for military action of any kind.