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To Bomb or Not?

From Mick Piggott

Monday, 30 November 2015

If aerial bombing in Syria by Coalition forces could be guaranteed to wipe out Isis, without what is euphemistically termed 'collateral damage' (ie the deaths of innocents), then speaking for myself, it could be argued that it would be a necessary evil to which we in the UK could commit ourselves.

According to residents of what would be 'our' primary target in Syria, Raqqa, when that city is bombed, Isis jihadis flee to their network of underground tunnels, leaving the civilian population to die. On that account alone, attempting to bomb Isis would be an expensive waste of time at best, and monstrously, inhumanely immoral at worst.

Our Tory Defence Secretary claims that modern 'precision' technology provides us with the means to carry out carefully targeted bombing that will leave the innocent unharmed and only destroy Isis. 'Twould be lovely if it were true.

I have just read, in Dispatches, the magazine of that wonderful organisation MSF (Medicines Sans Frontieres - Doctors Without Borders) about the bombing and destruction of their hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The bombing was carried out by Coalition forces. Thirty people were killed: 10 patients, three of them children, 13 MSF staff and seven yet to be identified.

If 'we' bomb the Isis-held areas of Syria, many civilians will die - probably the majority of the deaths will be of innocent people. It is not possible to bomb and spare the innocent. It cannot be done.

For this reason, if for no other, Jeremy Corbyn is right to oppose this wicked plan and I fully support him in his stand on this issue.

However, I disagree that Labour MPs should be whipped to vote against the bombing. A free vote should be allowed, so that we, the electorate, can see which of them wants to bomb and who opposes it.

Most of the media is desperate to drive a wedge between Corbyn and the Labour Party as a whole. Corbyn was elected leader by a huge majority of Labour members and supporters. We deserve to know which of the Labour MPs the British people elected represent the membership and supporters of the party as a whole.

From David Tut

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

As an undecided in this terrible situation in Syria, I have just heard one of the best speeches I have ever heard in the House of Commons and that speech came from Hillary Benn and I have to say that the local labour party in Hebden Bridge take note of such a good honest speech and take a good look at the present labour leader and ask themselves is he the right man to lead them in the future because I fear that although he has his own good strong views, and good for him, he is not the man I could ever vote for and someone like Benn is someone I could!

From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 3 December 2015

So called "good" speeches will not protect the innocent men, women and children about to face UK bombs. Anyone who believes we can bomb terrorists like Isis without killing the local population has to be very naive indeed.

David Cameron never had a plan for post bombing of Libya, that country is now a basket case. He has no plan for post bombing of Syria.

Hilary Benn and his colleagues are making the same mistakes as Blair did in Iraq. They appear to have learned nothing from that disaster. It radicalised people and led to the creation of Isis.

I am ashamed to be in the same party as the Labour MPs who voted for Cameron's War.

From Michael Murray Elder

Thursday, 3 December 2015

I am not a sabre rattler but if hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent French had not been killed in the liberation of France what would the shape of Europe be today? The choice of action or inaction is never easy and I am glad I don't have to make it.

From Terry Leach

Friday, 4 December 2015

Hilary Benn's speech made in the House of Commons during the Syria air strikes debate was very moving. Stirring emotions and memories of what was. The world has changed and now we face groups of terrorists, not just Daesh in Syria, but all over the world. As he said these terrorists threaten our way of life and will do anything to promote their cause. There is no doubt in the minds of the vast majority of people in the UK that these evil people need to be stopped. The question is, and should have been How!  

The comparison he made with the fight against Franco and co. is not like for like. These fascists were leading countries with identifiable armies and we rightly joined in the fight to remove them to make way for democracy. But these terrorists have no country, they cannot be readily identified. So how can we attack them using aerial strikes? We can target known facilities, and buildings, but do we know that the leaders are still there. I think not. They will be leading from a different location or country because they have no boundaries. So the fear is that we will be destroying homes and lives of the people of Syria. This could lead to more radicalisation.

But if we are successful in defeating Daesh, what then? In Syria Daesh saw an opportunity to establish themselves in an already divided country. The division in Syria will remain after the defeat of Daesh, with Russia supporting Assad and the US and West supporting the rebels who are fighting Assad. Does everyone go home and leave the Syrians to sort out their own issues? The worry is that this situation could escalate into something that could be an even greater threat than terrorism.

It is agreed that we need to end terrorism, but I and half the population of the UK, do not think bombing is the answer.

The UK has experienced terrorism over many years and the solution did not come from bombing but from a political solution. I am not saying that it is possible to negotiate with these people, but with political determination from the rest of the world these terrorists can be defeated.

Jeremy Corbyn allowed Labour MP's a free vote which in its self shows a great commitment and strength to uphold democracy over his personal views.

From Maureen Brian

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A minor point of pedantry.

At the time when the International Brigades went to Spain they were there to support the elected government against an armed insurrection led by Franco.

From Pedro de Wit

Monday, 7 December 2015

To date, more than 170,000 people (mostly Christians and Shiites) were killed in Iraq by ISIS. There have also been thousands of civilian casualties in Syria and innocent people have been killed by ISIS all over Africa and Europe. To date there have been no reports of innocent people being killed by the British Army despite the fact that ISIS shelters in schools, hospitals and civilian areas.

It is very worrying to me that Jeremy Corbyn says that he followed his consience and came to the conclusion that military action is not the right way forward. Does he want the killings to continue till ISIS is ready to sit around the table? The only consolation here is that this man will never be the prime minister of this country.

From Mick Piggott

Friday, 11 December 2015

Pedro De Wet says there have been no reports of innocents being bombed by the British Army. No, not as such; but plenty by the RAF and/or other coalition forces - including the MSF hospital in Afghanistan - see my original item above. And if the planned bombing of Raqqa takes place (again, see above) there will be many more coalition-inflicted casualties. Isis/Isis stinks, but bombing, with the inevitable 'collateral damage' (deaths of innocents), the resulting rage and desire for revenge will create many more fanatics, as already happens ... Bombing is not the answer!

From Dave T

Saturday, 12 December 2015

So, Mr Corbyn gave a free vote because he is committed to democracy! What a shame his supporters don't share the same values. Democratically elected M P.'s. threatened because they voted against the party stance, sounds very democratic to me!

What bothers me the most is everyone saying that bombing is not the answer without offering an alternative resolution. It's all well and good to say that political pressure can be brought to bear Really!! Do you honestly believe that the sort of person and ideology we are dealing with will give a toss about other political viewpoints?

Sadly, yes I agree that there will no doubt be civilian casualties (as there is in every conflict), but seriously, please enlighten me "what other options are there"

I do also feel that any bombing campaign needs to be followed up by action on the ground to ensure the long term stability of the region.

What would people have done in WW2? Waited for Hitler to come rolling down BridgeGate and hand him a White Rose and give him a hug in the hope he would change his mind?
To do nothing is not an option.

From Pedro de Wit

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Mick, no-one says that bombing is the solution, it is only part of the solution. To get ISIS round the table and willing to make consessions you will have to get the upperhand. Bombing weakens supply lines and infrastructure and is a necessary evil in that sense. We won't defeat ISIS with bombing but like it did with Al-Quada and Saddam Hussein it will do damage to their organisation and make it harder for them to strike back.

I was born in a city that was bombed to pieces by the British in WW2. They targetted factories manufacturing communication equipment for the Nazis. These factories were located in the centre of the city. Innocent people got killed by bombs that missed their target but even the ones that were on target killed innocent people because local men were forced to work for the Nazis.

There was a loss of lives and enormous material damage but I never ever heard one bad word said about the British forces. In contrary, till this day people are very gratefull for the sacrifices that were made by British and Canadian forces to liberate them from the Nazis.

I know we shouldn't compare WW2 with the fight against ISIS but what it does show is that negotiations don't work if an enemy is not prepared to listen. European countries tried it with Hitler when he occupied Austria and Poland. By the time they worked out that striking back was the only language he understood the Nazis had overrun most of Europe.

From Dave G

Saturday, 12 December 2015

There are many problem areas around the world, such as Nigeria that being another place where fundamentalist Islamist terror gangs are causing problems, equally areas in Pakistan, Sudan, and the Israeli treatment of Palestinians is also reprehensible, I have not heard the Tories or Labour right suggesting we bomb there. I assume they are waiting on the phone call from the White House.I do not suppose they support what is going on in Nigeria any more than in Syria, but the Russians are not involved either.

The 66 shameful Labour MPs supporting the Tories can rightly be held to account by their local constituency parties, as most boundaries are changing there will be a contest in any event, although the sitting MP for the majoroty of the new area will be entitled to a nomination. As a democratic party the Labour Party members will decide their candidate. This will not be the only issue and some may have the support of their local parties (but I doubt it given the changes happening under Corbyn).
Bombing will add to the problem not present the solution.