If I had to vote on whether we take part in air strikes against ISIL in Iraq then at the moment I would definitely abstain. It is a decision that cannot be taken lightly so there have to be compelling arguments. Let's look at those arguments.
Firstly the attacks would be legal because the government has asked for them. I'm not sure about the justification of what make this legal because if Saddam Hussein had asked for air strikes against the Kurds then would this have been legal? The answer is clearly no. There is a lot more information that I need before I change my mind about abstaining.
Secondly this is a very big coalition. If the whole class shouts "fight" does it make it alright to fight.
Thirdly there will be no British combat forces on the ground, not now and not in the future. Does this mean that there are never any convincing arguments to use troops? What about all the compelling arguments that politicians have used in the recent past? What about all the compelling arguments put forward in the recent past by our military leaders? And they should know.
Fourthly this decision is good because it has to be voted on in the House of Commons. The trouble is that I remember the vote when we went to war in Iraq. That was the House of Commons too, and wait a minute, David Cameron is telling us that the decision has already been made.
Will this decision to take part in air strikes make the world a safer place? Well it didn't make it a safer place for one French tourist, Hervé Gourdel in Algeria. He was beheaded because of French military intervention against ISIS.
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