Aye. I don’t like the idea of using military force in general and think it should generally be treated as a last resort as opposed to an early option.
If we have the ability to beyond any doubt identify a terrorist, a chemical weapons facility or something similar that is posing a threat to civilians and diplomatic solutions haven’t worked, then I can see a moral argument for acting IF we can forensically take it out with more or less no risk of collateral damage. (It’s something where I’d actually prefer special forces on the ground over dropping bombs in many cases as you have the opportunity to visually ID things first and abort if you find out your drone imagery didn’t tell the whole picture)
May and her colleagues want to get to a place where Syrian refugees feel safe going back to their home country (maybe not for the same reasons as me, but that’s not relevant here). Great. Have they considered whether the act of dropping more bombs on Assad’s territory is likely to do that or not? When this was first mooted last week had a list of strategic targets already been worked up, the implications of taking them out considered and so on? Given the haste with which politicians were speaking, I doubt it. By now, there’s probably a more considered plan being formed, which may go some way to explaining why everyone’s rolling back from their gung-ho positions.
Where I have big problems with our approach as a nation since I became aware of these things is that the UK never seems prepared to concern ourselves with consequences; in my adulthood, we’ve left gaping power vacuums in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan amongst other places and it’s almost always ended up making things even worse for the people who live there than they were before we got involved. In the meantime, we’ve not get involved over ethnic cleansing in India, Pakistan, Burma, South Sudan and the Central African Republic over the last decade where huge human rights violations have been taking place and very similar arguments for intervening hold up. And that’s without even thinking about how North Korea treats it’s own citizens, the West Bank, Zimbabwe and many other places in the world where interventionism could theoretically be justified.
Making the decision to act is easy. Working out how to act in a considered way that actually improves the overall situation not just in Syria but in geo-politics as well is the actual problem though, not simply whether we should do something.