The Law of Unintended Consequences
I hope readers of this bulletin will forgive me if, for once, I forsake the affairs of Staunton and climb onto the world stage. As I write, parliament will shortly be debating whether to send the RAF to join the half dozen countries currently bombing Syria.
I was victim of bombing myself in the last war. Experience shows us that in the First World War and in the Blitz, shelling and bombing destroys a great deal of property but does little to weaken the resolve of the enemy, or to reduce their ability to resist. I am no lily-livered pacifist but for me the case is not well made.
We read that IS have abandoned their external compounds and moved in with the civilian population, often in underground bunkers. Missiles are better directed these days but this will surely present a difficult target. More civilians killed will lead to more resentment, more houses flattened will swell the ranks of refugees tramping through the Balkans. Deploying Western troops in other parts of the Middle East has proved an expensive mistake, but at some stage troops will have to retake the territory. The Kurds have proved themselves most effective in this role, but they have made an enemy of their powerful neighbour, Turkey. If the forces in the air are aimed roughly in one direction, the same cannot be said for the forces on the ground. At the end of the day both Iraq and Syria may have to be subdivided into smaller countries.
Are our MP’s vouchsafed more information than is available to the general public? If so, they have not made very good use of it these last few years. It seems likely that they will vote for air strikes; we can only hope they know what they are doing.