Here’s my article for The Sun published on 4 November 2015 regarding military intervention in Syria and why Britain needs to act
It was a disappointing trudge to work yesterday morning. The media had opened with and was being dominated by news that a vote in Syria will now not be forthcoming after the release of a Foreign Affairs Committee report suggesting that a political solution is the best way forward to a problem rooted in military action.
Apparently, we must now accept our current mad position of pursuing IS to a dotted line in the sand – recognised only by us – barely half heartedly committing as a proud Nation to destroying this abhorrent cult displacing millions of the worlds poorest people in the Middle East and a potential threat to our country.
It is bad enough that we find ourselves in an intellectually indefensible position. However, we must not underestimate what this says to World about Britain in 2015 and our impotency to act on a global stage.
This is what bombing in Syria actually means: we have unique targeting capabilities that the US, Australia and France want in this fight. In dynamic targeting, the more options you have to prosecute the target, the more likely you are to achieve the effect you are after. If all you have are a couple of F-16s on station and a high value individual presents himself, your options are limited to the payload that aircraft is carrying, probably leading to an inappropriate weapon to target match, and either collateral damage or a target miss. If you have the additional option of Tornado’s on station with Brimstone, this is clearly the better option, increasing the chances of a much more appropriate and successful strike. Coupled with a complete disregard of the border by all other regional players, and accepting that a Military solution can only be a part of a full-spectrum response from Britain, this quest from our Allies is tough to oppose.
Yet, this informed debate has been drowned out. Despite the stoic efforts of people like Tobias Ellwood and the Ministerial Team at the MOD, the debate has been allowed to be dominated by those who give the impression that bombing Syria means carpet bombing with no strategy, targeting or indigenous force support. This impression is, as those who promote it, entirely ill-informed and 20 years out of date.
Think for a moment how this looks to our closest allies. The American military has been soaked in British blood, and us in theirs, in the international fight against terrorism since 2001. They have made serious mistakes, and so have we, but our commitment to the principle of aggressively targeting Terror and those who deal in it has not been questioned. There is an unspeakable bond between the International Western Task Forces who target the most evil people in the world on a nightly basis. They understand people don’t want to know how they do it, and they often bear the scars for the rest of their life, but please do not underestimate what this means to them to protect their country and their fellow citizens.
We have not given this debate justice as a Parliament. There are critical, world defining issues at stake here. Remember little Aylan washed up in the summer? What happened to that desire to put a stop to the core problem of his death? It caused complete disgust and an outpouring of support – and rightfully so. But what has happened to that wave of humanity that suddenly gripped the nation? Do we now not have the stomach to follow that through? Is that what Britain has become in 2015?
Russian involvement has complicated the issue, undoubtedly. Military action alone will never solve this crisis, clearly. But to think that Military Force has no role to play inside Syria is desperately naive, and on the wrong side of world opinion.
Britain is not about hand-wringing on the sidelines. It’s not about fear of failure from a previous generation of decision makers. It is not about being found wanting when the answers are too difficult, or the challenge too great. It’s about standing firm against evil, about protecting those who cannot protect themselves against groups like IS – critically, in the National Interest. It makes those of us who have had the privilege, proud to fight so hard for our Nation, values and way of life. That this can be so easily derailed simply because we have become obsessed with mistakes of recent years is fundamentally disappointing. Yes, pursue political and diplomatic channels when they are available. Yet I see no embassy belonging to IS on the streets of London. Sometimes, as unpalatable as it may be, using military methods available to us can