One thing is for sure, said David Cameron, a week or so ago.
There will be “no boots on the ground” in the almighty mess that is taking place in Syria and Iraq. I get the feeling that he should have added the words ‘not yet’ to his comment.
Cameron now says that he has not ruled out air strikes against the islamic state fighters and we’re getting very near semantics here. No boots on the ground but plenty of planes in the air and presumably ships in the sea.
It wasn’t just the madness of the 2003 invasion of Iraq that has ultimately led to the current chaos in the middle east but Bush and Blair’s rush to war was a huge factor in accelerating the whole shambles unfolding before us.
Prime Ministers like wars on their watch, although at least Harold Wilson kept us out of Vietnam.
Thatcher had her Falklands War, Major his gulf war (shared with Thatcher) and Blair the disastrous invasions of Iraq and then Afghanistan. And Cameron now wants his.
A few years ago, Cameron was feted as a hero in Libya after Colonel Gaddafi was deposed and but for Ed Miliband we’d have been heavily involved in Syria a year ago. Now he is edging to British military involvement with a group of psychopaths who make Al-Queda as feared the Women’s Institute. And by the way, Libya is falling apart again.
We have heard it said many times that you can’t bomb your way to peace and it seems likely that this is what we will try to do once we declare war on islamic state. It usually goes like this: you have a massive opening bombing attack where you claim huge success and severe collateral damage to the enemy. Then you start blowing up a few schools and hospitals – by mistake of course – and then the whole mood, home and abroad changes. Scenes of dead and dying children never play well and they are a propaganda dream for islamic state, or whichever group of nutters we are bombing this week. And it will go on for ages. There may even be the odd terrorist outrage at home after which the forces of law and order find another Brazilian electrician to kill in cold blood.
Have I got an alternative strategy? Well, of course not. If I did, I’d be far more important than Obama and Cameron put together but seeing that they don’t even have a strategy to which there could be an alternative, it’s not looking good, is it? But you can see them talking to human rights abusers like Assad and the Saudis in order to create a grand coalition.
The genie is out of the bottle and we have condemned ourselves and our children to an unsure and potentially very unsafe future.
I shudder when I consider the weeks and months ahead.
Obama, Cameron and other world leaders can’t publicly admit they’re making it all up as they go along but that’s the reality.