As I type this, the UK government has voted to extend the bombing campaign into Syria, supporting the French, Americans, and Russians who are already doing this. The supposed intention is to counter the efforts of IS, and attack their command centres, as well as destroying their infrastructure, and degrading their military capability. We are told that this will result in the citizens of the UK being safe from terrorist attacks, and that the world will be free of the scourge of IS.
Even the staunchest advocates of this escalation know that this is a ridiculous claim. No guerrilla army has ever been defeated by bombing alone. It is also clearly stated that there are over 70,000 ‘friendly fighters’ currently battling with IS in Syria, yet there are only 30,000 ‘volunteers’ in this terrorist army, that is apparently invincible, without the intervention by the air forces of the western allies. Tornado jets will be leaving East Anglia tonight, to make their mark by hitting their first ‘priority’ targets.
Is there anyone left that actually believes this nonsense? The sole objective of all of this is to try to remove President Assad, and replace him with a pro-western alternative. The Russians at least are fairly blatant in their support of Assad, openly admitting that they are attacking other anti-government factions, as well as IS. With Turkey as part of NATO, how long will it be before the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and the PKK fighters on the Syrian border are also targeted, as a sop to the Turks?
Then there is the financial cost of this folly. An RAF aircraft carries bombs and missiles. The bombs cost over £30,000 each, and the missiles almost £72,000. On the TV news earlier, an obscured RAF officer was interviewed talking about destroying JCB diggers, heavy trucks, and bulldozers, as they can be used to build defensive positions by IS. Are they really flying all that way, to drop £200,000 worth of ordnance on a bulldozer? I doubt that. Compare this expenditure with government cuts to the NHS, Old Peoples’ Services, Local Government Councils, and community projects. A few days of extensive bombing could pay for all of these.
Given the fluidity of this war, and the lack of real intelligence on the ground, how can they possibly expect, or even hope, to hit actual IS positions? And how can they claim to be able to destroy them without serious consequences for innocent civilians in those areas? IS will not be defeated by these actions. President Assad may lose his grip on a country further ravaged by war, but the vacuum left behind may leave everyone in a far worse situation. And as for the radicalisation of young men and women in the home countries, and more volunteers willing to travel to Syria to fight for the fundamentalists, that can only be increased by this policy.
Another foreign escapade that will come back to haunt the innocent, undoubtedly.