30 Aug 2013

Against War in Syria

This is defining moment in British politics, not since Suez have we seen such a change. What a triumph for democracy, that the voice of the British people has been heard, and respected by Parliament. The Green Party welcomes parliament’s decision not to take us into an ill-considered and potentially world-destabilising war. However, while we are no longer set to engage in war with Syria, there are no certainties about American involvement, or the fate of the region as a whole.

News coming out of Syria is disturbing, and it is clear that the civilian population are suffering horrifically due to the conflict there. We are right to be concerned about this and right to want to respond. Chemical weapons used against the population are not acceptable, and proper investigation is required, along with an appropriate response – one that tackles the problems rather than adding to them. The Syrian situation is complex, in terms of politics in that country and international involvement in those politics. You cannot resolve such vast problems with a few missiles, no matter how carefully you target them. We should have stepped up to the issue of Syria a long time ago, but without international agreement on a way forward, the danger is that any intervention will only make things worse.

There have already been protests in Stroud, organised by Stroud Against the Cuts, and attempting to persuade Tory MP Neil Carmichael to vote against violence. We gather that he voted in support of the Syria motion, despite strong local feeling against war.

Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor (Green) said: "I've joined this demo by Stroud Against the Cuts because I am appalled that our Government is considering military action. Yes we must condemn the deplorable chemical attacks on civilians, but the case for military action against Syria has not been established. There is no evidence that military action will reduce suffering - indeed even a short, sharp attack risks escalation - possibly of more chemical weapon use.  Have we not learnt from our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

War is expensive. We cannot afford to meet our own welfare needs, the government claims, and yet we can afford the colossal expense of entering a conflict? If we go to war, we condemn people to death. We condemn people to life-destroying injury, to terror and trauma. What Syria needs is peace. We need to keep up the pressure on the British government to seek solutions at an international level and maintain world peace rather than risking this conflict growing out of all control. Syria can only be helped with international co-operation, and we ask the British government to be part of that solution.

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