Andrew Bingham MP
20 Broad Walk
23rd September 2014.
Dear Mr Bingham,
Back in 2003, I was among the millions who marched against the Iraq War. We were ignored and chaos ensued. It was the worst foreign policy decision of my lifetime. Estimates vary - principally because the invaders did not deem counting dead Iraqis as necessary - but at least 500,000 were killed. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse in the region.
There is something quite staggering about the aftermath of that debacle. One of the principal architects was the then PM, Tony Blair. The fact that he is the current ‘Middle East Peace Envoy’ beggars belief. If anything shows just how out of touch our political elite are, it is encapsulated in the appointment of a man who has done nothing to promote peace and everything to promote disharmony and war.
The US troops were finally pulled out of Iraq three years ago. Now, thanks to their reaction to the egregious IS jihadists, the US are bombing again. Sadly, the government of which you are a member, are considering joining in, not just in Iraq, but also in the horrific mess that is Syria. I would urge you to consider the following serious questions.
How will bombing bring peace? For several years the US have launched drone attacks on Al Qaida suspects across Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. For every confirmed ‘kill’ of a terrorist there are sometimes hundreds of innocent ‘collaterals’ who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The drone attacks have been a superb recruiting agent for Al Qaida and their ilk. A look at the current chaos in Libya shows just how counter-productive such action can be.
What can we reasonably expect to be the outcome of a bombing campaign - and what are the dangers of it all going horribly wrong?
Where do we stand legally? It is quite clear that the UN Security Council would not support such action.
IS are an abomination who have taken a course of action guaranteed to provoke the west into action. The beheading of the hostages quite rightly caused outrage. Saudi Arabia has been beheading roughly 20 people a month, some for the most spurious of reasons to our eyes. Without any western outrage. The answer to IS is to attack their funding and their funders. Saudi (again) has been identified as a principal backer of this group. Cut off their weapons and supplies, work with local forces to improve their effectiveness and massively increase aid to the poor sods who are the principal victims in this affair - the refugees and innocents in the way. Support Turkey and Jordan as they deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees. Above all, do not help their recruitment campaigns by providing them with thousands of vengeful young men.
The Iraq War has produced a terrible situation. We should do all we can not to exacerbate the problems in the region. Bombing is not the answer.
Please do not support the siren songs of the armchair generals. C.E. Montague was a war hero in the First World War. In 1922 he said “War hath no fury like a non-combatant.”
Millions of us were right to oppose the Iraq War. We also opposed the proposed Syrian intervention as you did last year. Please use your position to oppose this latest call to arms.