Ed Miliband’s decision to oppose military action against Syria is an action of statesmanship of which Britons will be proud

The breaking news that Miliband has decided that Labour will tomorrow vote against the Government’s motion for an almost immediate attack on Syria will not only be greeted with heartfelt relief across most of the country, it will also be recognised as an act of courage and statesmanship that shows his mettle as a leader.   The pressures for conformity with the joint US-UK establishment at a climactic moment like this on the potential edge of war cannot be overstated.   It singles out Ed Miliband as a man of inner strength and integrity who can take the gritty decisions when they are most needed, and this is undoubtedly one of those times.   We have already seen him take on Murdoch over BSkyB and stop the biggest concentration of media power in UK history in its tracks, and then almost single-handedly block the press counter-attack against Leveson which would have left newspapers as unaccountable as ever.   The hardest thing for a Leader of the Opposition to do, bereft of any executive authority, is to challenge the prevailing structure of power and change it or even overturn it.   No other Opposition Leader has succeeded in this as well as Ed Miliband.

And his decision over Syria is unquestionably right, on all counts.   The Government’s pell-mell rush to war at the instigation of the US makes a nonsense of sending in UN inspectors and then unceremoniously dumping their mission by starting military action before they’ve had a chance to undertake a proper investigation and then report.   We rushed into war a decade ago on the basis of false assurances of Saddam’s WMD, and if there’s one lesson we should have learnt it’s that we should never go to war again without an inviolable case to warrant such action.   Nor in terms of international law is there a case for action against Syria.   The two bases for war under the UN Charter either is a Security Council resolution authorising military action, which is not forthcoming given the Russian and Chinese vetoes, or Article 51 which permits “self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the UN”.   But the alleged chemical attack on civilians in eastern Damascus last week is clearly not an attack on another State.

Then there is the question that if the killing of 100,000 persons in Syria by the Assad military machine over the last 2 years was not a reason for intervention, why is the killing of a further 1,000 persons, albeit by chemical weapons as opposed to conventional munitions, a cause for intervention now?   And what will intervention actually achieve?   The Syrian military are organised on a far bigger and stronger scale than Libya, and they are still powerfully backed and reinforced by Russia, and covertly by Iran.   It is all very well to rush to war in a surge of moral outrage, it is quite another to spell out clearly what are the war objectives and how exactly they are to be achieved.   Does the West even have the power to deter further gas attacks, or will the West itself once again, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, ground down in an unwinnable conflict which only serves to illustrate its own impotence?

13 thoughts on “Ed Miliband’s decision to oppose military action against Syria is an action of statesmanship of which Britons will be proud

  1. Can Miliband tell a fake video or three when he sees one?

    Where does that 100,000 figure come from, along with the alleged perpetrators? Not exactly independent is it?

    The west is behind the gas attack hoaxes. Don’t be silly.

  2. Well done Ed. You have shown you have some balls after all. Tony Bliar sided with Bush even though they knew Saddam had no WMD’s at all. It was all about oil. Good to see Ed show he has a bit of a spine.

  3. Well Ed I think Knew the lefties would stand up and state we are stepping down, I doubt this is Ed idea alone, plus of course Labour does have Iraq to remember.

    Ok I will back him on this, sadly I think the USA will act on it’s own with France and the UK will join in a little later on.

    But you know something we are getting close and closer to one day pushing it to a limit and Russia will not step back from.

  4. This is such a welcome indication, I am so proud of Ed Milliband for his courage and determination in opposing the rush to war. We need to be seeking ways of HELPING those poor people and bombing them and their communities is not the way to help.
    A UN multi national peace mission would be a constructive way forward in my view… at least we would have no more blood on our hands and we would not be mourning in the streets as planeloads of our troops are brought home in boxes.!

  5. ‘Then there is the question that if the killing of 100,000 persons in Syria by the Assad military machine over the last 2 years was not a reason for intervention, why is the killing of a further 1,000 persons, albeit by chemical weapons as opposed to conventional munitions, a cause for intervention now?’

    I get the point you are making but not sure it was all the ‘Assad military machine’. On this I have to agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski as much as I hate him and his politics, Its a ‘Civil War’. Both sides Kill Each Other And Anyone In Between’

    By the Way how about a comment on the UN Carla De Ponte’s Statement on the previous Gas Attack????

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22424188

    Or How about a comment on the Britam Email????

    http://www.cyberwarnews.info/reports/a-look-into-the-britam-defence-data-leak-files/

    I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

  6. I can understand, when walking home one night, you cross the road to avoid 2 drunk men having a fight outside a pub. It’s their problem if they can’t hold their drink.

    But if a child is being punched and kicked, or having acid thrown in its face, surely not intervening is cowardice.

    And then to claim to be a party that cares for the weak and vulnerable, well that’s hippocracy.

  7. A breathing space. We need to make protests to the French and American governments. It should be made clear to the US that no attack flights will be permitted from the UK or from Cyprus.

  8. @rob The Cripple

    I heard an interesting comment the other day on RT by an old Ragan official, Dr Paul Craig Roberts. He said that the so called ‘Red line’ was Putin’s and the Chinese. He put it that if Syria is lost then that would expose the Caucasus to the same kind of attention. Of course the Chinese have their own problems with militant Islam. So, like the Americans they may have no more interest in the plight of the Syrians than the Americans, Syria acting as a buffer state to salafist revolution, like the Iran Iraq war was a buffer to Iranian Revolution. Interesting really that RT only played it once and then on later news rounds shortened the interview and excluded those remarks. Maybe too close to the truth.

    If however, it is a sort of moral stand on the basis of international law, then I am not so concerned that Russia and China will get involved but If Dr Roberts concerns are true, that would make the situation far more unpredictable.

    Then of course we have the Mutual defense pack between Syria and Iran. Where is that going? Down to the bottom of the the strait of hormuz I wonder?

  9. After changing his mind more times than my wife in a dress shop, Ed Milliband has decided to come out on the side of the 2/3rds.of the British public who are opposed to military intervention. The day after a formal request was received from the UN, Syria agreed to allow inspectors in. Despite this the USA put pressure on the UN to abandon the inspection on the grounds that the evidence would have disappeared although Sarin can be detected for weeks or even years.Assad knows that if he loses he and his followers will be slaughtered so he has nothing to lose.

  10. Well I’m amazed that Ed did what he did and pleasantly surprised.
    However, I think he is still the wrong man for the job of Labour leader and would still prefer Micheal Meacher for that job. I also wish that Liam Byrne would be dropped from the opposition cabinet!
    Re: this standing up to the Cons, why can’t Ed do it more often? He’s had the whole of the summer to do so much against them but has been as quiet as a mouse. At least yesterday and today he roared like a lion.

  11. The difference between the 100k killed by conventional weapons and the 1k killed by chemical weapons seems to be that chemical weapons pose a potential threat to Western militaries that conventional weapons do not. No country like Syria can conceivably pose a conventional military threat to any Western nation – chemical weapons, however, aren’t so easily dismissed. So, it’s not about the civilians, it’s about realpolitik. The taboo against chemical weapon usage is a taboo against a deadly weapon that powerful militaries cannot easily repel.

  12. I am chuffed that Ed stood up the bully boy Tories,
    now he should use the same grit to attack this
    cruel and evil government and it’s class war against
    workers and disabled people.He has to fight for the
    NHS and social security system.Roll on the next
    election!

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