This letter concerns an upcoming second vote on Syrian airstrikes in Parliament, which would grant the Cameron government wider scope in participating in the anti-ISIS coalition, and was sent via WriteToThem.
Parliament is once again set to debate whether to participate further in airstrikes in Syria, against ISIS, against the Free Syrian Army, against the Assad regime – it’s just not clear. With the recent downing of a Russian jet by Turkey – a severe international war crime – the timing of this debate couldn’t be worse. We face the advent of a second Cold War and a more destabilized world than the one I was born into, and now we look set for another lengthy and costly war.
I am writing to you today after seeing your initial comments on your website, where you promised to listen to any and all arguments before making up your mind. I’d like to send you a brief argument against voting for the measure.
The first and clearest reason for voting against further airstrikes is that the consequences will be devastating for the people of Syria and for the people of the UK. For the people of Syria, who are being bombarded from all sides, dropping even more munitions is unlikely to promote stability, and since the government cannot tell us who are friends and who are enemies, we may just end up killing all sides and hoping the conflict goes away. The result? Another wholly failed state like Iraq or Libya, which incidentally were both subject to bombing by Western powers. Can you see a pattern emerging here?
Then there is the issue of civilian casualties, which as a moral person I am sure you take an uncompromising stand on – the U.S. alone has killed well over 600 innocent civilians in its bombing campaigns so far, and that’s just Syria alone. France has committed similar atrocities since the Paris attacks, and Putin’s hands are dripping with the blood of innocents. If we joined the fight, who is to say how many more children will die by our hands?
The second issue with further airstrikes is that they feed directly into the wishes of ISIS militants. ISIS, as you are aware, relies on a narrative of the West that views it as a predatory, aggressive and violent region, which has its own interests at heart and is willing to kill anybody who gets in its way. By committing atrocities through airstrikes, we are playing into the hands of ISIS and reinforcing their message. This may lead to further recruitment and may lead to blowback in places like London. Consider: The only nations that have so far been directly attacked by ISIS are those that have participated in airstrikes or military aggression in Syria. By miring ourselves in this fruitless conflict, we are announcing to ISIS that we stand ready to assist them in their vile ideological struggle for Islam’s soul.
In short, at a time of great diplomatic sensitivity between Russia and NATO, as well as the wholly unjustified loss of civilian life that would result from airstrikes, I urge you not to approve British bombs falling on Syria. We have neither the international mandate (making our airstrikes an act of aggression against a country that never attacked us), nor the means or intentions of properly avoiding civilian casualties, and our involvement will only destabilize the Middle East further. The promised results of bombing Syria are far outweighed by the devastating consequences it will inflict, and failed states that were bombed by us under the pretence of a humanitarian intervention suggest that the consequences will be devastating indeed.
If you approve this measure, you could be signing a Syrian child’s death warrant.
Thank you again for considering all sides before making a judgement.
Craig Tracey, Conservative MP: Reply time unclear – MP publishes responses on his website with no date. MP eventually voted in favour of war.