Simon Reevell's Notes From Westminster

Issue 639

THIS week there has been discussion in Parliament about the possibility of British military intervention in Iraq.

The scenes of mass murder as the group called ISIS spreads its tentacles towards Baghdad has opened this debate both in the UK and in the USA.

There have been calls for intervention but the reality is that the circumstances of the 2003 invasion mean that the UK is unlikely to do so.

The official inquiry into the events of 2003 has still not published its findings. This is a disgrace.

In particular, details of correspondence between Mr Blair and President Bush are said to be controversial. If they reveal, as many believe, that Mr Blair committed the UK to supporting President Bush come what may and did so months before he told Parliament what was happening, they are damning to say the least.

The spectre of Mr Blair was present when Parliament debated intervention in Syria last year.

The Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians including children and the proposal was that there should be missile strikes to demonstrate that the world would not stand by whilst children are gassed. A majority of MPs voted against the proposal.

One of the arguments against action was that it was difficult to trust the intelligence material that was said to demonstrate that mass murder had occurred.

This time the intelligence was correct but memories of Mr Blair’s ‘dodgy dossier’ of evidence against Iraq cast too long a shadow.

In the year since the Syria debate, thousands more have been killed and maimed in that country. Mr Blair’s legacy is that suffering and the suffering now occurring in Iraq.

Groups like ISIS know that the West will be slow to act against them because of the events of 2003. In a recent article Mr Blair said that groups like ISIS should be dealt with forcibly. He seems to fail to understand that it was his behaviour that has destroyed for a generation any appetite to take action abroad, however terrible and tragic the events that are unfolding.

I voted in favour of intervention in Syria, as did the Prime Minister. Although we lost the vote, I was pleased that at least we now have a Government that respects Parliament and a Prime Minister that puts parliamentary democracy above doing cosy deals with American Presidents.

With very best wishes,



Simon

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