I don't very often comment on National issues, but every now and again I throw in my tuppence worth. Syria is a huge issue and has many similarities to the Iraq issue, and the war in Iraq was one of the reasons I chose to leave my employment in the MoD - largely because of my objection to being lied to by Tony Blair.
As the debate in parliament happens today I hope there are a few things that MPs consider:
1. Tony Blair is saying that if we do nothing we will be encouraging extremism. It is a stupid argument - all the evidence from elsewhere does show that extremism could be a consequence of taking action. Blair has learned nothing from his past failures.
2. It would be wrong to talk about "red lines" in relation to the use of chemical weapons and then to do nothing. That would show weakness and encourage further such scandals.
3. We need to learn from the dodgy dossier. There must be a genuine evidence based approach to any response. We must be certain that chemical weapons were used. One of the impacts of Blair's lies in the run up to the Iraq War is that the public no longer have confidence in Government decisions to go to war (part of the reason why it was right to recall parliament).
4. Whilst I believe we can be confident of the UN producing an accurate report on the use of chemical weapons, the world has to accept that in terms of authorising further action, the personal interests of Russia and China mean that there will never be a resolution to support military action - this has nothing to do with the huge issues of right and wrong, it is to do with self-interest. It is for this reason that serious questions have to be asked of the UN.
5. The middle east is not like the UK, it is awash with tribalism and border issues - getting rid of one regime and replacing it with another will open up previous historic problems - it is this that extremists exploit.
6. Isn't now a time for the Arab League to step up to the mark? They know the issues, it is Arabs who are being harmed and killed by the actions of the Syrian Government and we are supposed to have friends in the Arab League that we can influence.
There are all sorts of conflicting arguments in here - but that is the nature of the beast. This is not a simple cut and dried issue and MPs must get under that complexity as they debate today.