Leader Update: Military Strikes in Syria

Loz Kaye's picture

The last few weeks has seen a deluge of news for our kind of politics - more mass surveillance revelations, the smashing of Guardian laptops, and not least the Manning sentencing. I couldn't help reflecting that Manning has been locked up longer than I have been Leader of the UK Pirate Party.

That Manning could get decades in prison for wanting to speak out, to blow the whistle, shows we are not ready to face the consequences of what we have done in the Middle East.

That is why I am so concerned by the threat of new military involvement, now in Syria. I know we value discussion, weighing evidence, and debate. But also the public expect us to be clear when we are faced with major decisions as a country. That's why I think we must be clear in saying no to unilateral military action. 

That is to me the logical conclusion from our party principles and all we have said to date, it is the only response that I can give to the many questions and comments I have had over the last few weeks - questions that we need to ask of our elected representatives too.

We have no moral authority. We have no legal or international credibility. We seem more interested in working around the United Nations than working through it. But worst of all there is no credible plan that will actually help bring peace closer, or a Syrian state free from dictatorship. Quite the reverse, we will destabilise Syria, and the region further.

William Hague says that doing nothing is not an option,- that is not an argument for doing just anything. The government's own progress report on the Strategic Defence Review put it like this: "The crisis in Syria demonstrates the risk of escalating military activities that can cross borders".  What we must do is to de-escalate tension, not ramp it up. We must take the difficult road of getting the UN to function, otherwise it is useless. We must seek a way that solutions for the Middle East come from the Middle East.

These are not easy choices. But unless we are consistent in opposing all dictatorship and all dodgy regimes, then all we have left is doing what the Americans tell us. I still hope Cameron, Hague and Miliband can make a different choice, the right choice. But if they don't, we need to be ready to speak out.

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