Syria: perhaps the time has come to think outside the box and start rooting for making real peace, not chasing excuses for war.

Its no surprise that Tony Blair is at the front of the queue backing military intervention. I remember his earnest entreaty to go to war in Iraq. I was seduced by him then, with that naive belief that good and decent men were leading the country, or at least decent and good enough that when it came to war they would only do it if really, knowing all they did about the situation they couldn't share with us, it would only be done as a last resort and according to the highest principles.

More than a decade later and the 1 million people who didn't have my optimism were proved right. A war fought on hubris, rhetoric and to meet the needs of the military-industrial complex.

And I can't help but remember all the talk about 'weapons of mass destruction'. We had 'intelligence' that was incontestable, rock solid, that Saddam had those weapons and would use them. We were fed false intelligence, even to the point of duping the US Secretary of State Colin Powell to present it to the UN. It unleashed the might of the US and Britain in a way which has taken a decade to recover from, which has unleashed enduring resentment and destabilised the whole region and deepened the alienation and distrust between politicians and the general public, and between Muslims and the West.

Now the pressure is for another barrage, another salvo of weapons fired on a second rate country already blasted to rubble by a ruthless civil war. And on the basis of uncertain intelligence, a supposition based on circumstantial evidence, that this was the work of the Assad government. This despite chemical weapons made in Saudi Arabia having been found in Turkey in rebel hands, and every reason to believe that groups which eat the living hearts of their enemies and post that on YouTube could conceivably be capable of such an act in an attempt to precipitate the West giving them yet more arms. And we shouldn't rule out 'black ops'. So many hawks in the region and in the US, are so keen to get the big guys embroiled in the civil war that it might just be conceivable that someone outside the main protagonists in the civil war are behind this. Certainly, we are far from having real certainty about who did this despite William Hague touring the airways asserting that he can see no other possible culprit. It is circumstantial at best, and it really sound as though the politicians are trying to find excuses, as they did over Iraq, to wade in and make war.

If we do go to war, if we do start firing hard and fast, the politicians will tell us we are making a difference. Well, yes, I guess we will be, but the difficulty is to know what difference exactly we will be making, in an area so tense, so confused, so confusing, so muddled with by other much more powerful and resourceful nations that the whole think is likely to be as disastrous as Iraq still is.One impact that is certain, is it will bereave mothers, children, fathers, cousins, cutting down yet more innocent civilians for no apparent reason than as a 'punishment' intended to be for the national leaders. I know they will aim at key installations, but these are manned by civilians as well as the military, and mostly foot soldiers not the people making decisions who will be hidden well away in their cosy bunkers, just like our leaders are,  far from harms way.

Of course there is an immense pressure to 'do something', and when you are in charge of a vastly wealthy country with a nice big army you can be seduced by your own hubris into thinking you have some sort of destiny to solve the problems of any country that takes your fancy, just so long as they are less powerful, less wealthy and not tied into our current national interest, i.e. they buy tons of military hardware from us, like Bahrain does. I hope and pray that this time we keep our noses out of this trough, and do our best to cut off the blood of conflict  - arms and money. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel are the big players in the region, lets call them to book, stop selling the hardware of war to them so they can't sell it to others, etc. etc. Thats not a hard headed, well thought through suggestion, but perhaps the time has come to think outside the box and start rooting for making real peace, not chasing excuses for war.


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