We reproduce here a number of statements by the voices of reason that are trying to prevent a murderous bombing of Syria in which more civilians will die and the possibility of escalation into an all out war, including a nuclear war, cannot be dismissed.
Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War statement on Syria
The following statement has been issued by Conscience: Taxes for peace not war against the possibility of further military action in Syria.
‘Conscience condemns the likely chemical attacks on the Syrian people in Douma. After seven years of ongoing war and military interventions, the entire country is in shambles. The conflict has left more than 350,000 people dead in Syria, half of the country is displaced and millions have become refugees.
Any decision of the British government to join Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron to further escalate military action in Syria will only lead to more deaths and prolong and intensify the crisis. It could also lead to increased political tensions between the super powers in the East and the West who are playing proxy wars in the region for their geopolitical interests and it will put us all into the situation where we are facing another Cold War.
We believe that those who have a conscientious objection to war should not be forced to pay for military preparations and actions through their taxes. We want this Government to stop using our taxes on wasteful military expenditure and instead use it to bring an end to conflicts through non-military peace building initiatives.
Military intervention is a failed approach and the only realistic political solution in Syria is through a diplomatic, non-military approach. Conscience will continue to campaign for peaceful, non-military alternatives to resolve violent conflicts and bring an end to the horrors of war.
Conscience: Taxes For Peace Not War maintains that we want the right to opt out of paying for the military actions and to make sure that that portion of our taxes be used for initiatives that build peace
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader
“Further UK military intervention in Syria’s appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict.
“The government appears to be waiting for instructions from President Donald Trump on how to proceed. But the US administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals.
“Even US defence secretary James Mattis has said we “don’t have evidence” and warned further military action could “escalate out of control”.
“Ministers should take their proposals, such as they are, to parliament. And Britain should press for an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.
“Rather than further military action, what is urgently needed is a coordinated international drive to achieve a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement under UN auspices. The humanitarian priority must be to halt the killing on all sides.
“The need to restart genuine negotiations for peace and an inclusive political settlement of the Syrian conflict, including the withdrawal of all foreign forces, could not be more urgent. We must do everything we can, no matter how challenging, to bring that about.”
Stop the War coalition
Dear Prime Minister,
There can be no justification for chemical weapon attacks, or for the despicable bombing which targets civilians of the sort that we saw in Douma. But further military intervention is not the solution and can only extend the appalling suffering of the people of Syria. It also risks spreading the war across the Middle East and raises the frightening possibility of direct confrontation between nuclear armed powers.
It is quite wrong to argue that these attacks are the price of non-intervention. In fact, foreign military intervention from all sides, including from our own government, has only served to deepen and prolong the war in Syria. Britain voted to join the US in bombing Syria in 2015 and was involved in covert operations before that. Its interventions have killed many people, fuelled the cycle of violence and done nothing to bring peace.
Rather than backing the gung-ho foreign policy of the most inflammatory and xenophobic US President in history, the British government should be seeking political and diplomatic solutions to the tragic situation in Syria, and to avoid anything that can escalate further the conflict in the region.
Lindsey German & Murad Qureshi
Stop the War Coalition
Look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars: Simon Jenkins for The Guardian
“It’s hard to believe the west’s leaders are letting this escalate. Have we learned nothing from history?
“What on earth are we doing? I have not heard a single expert on Syria explain how dropping missiles on that country will advance the cause of peace or lead its dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to back down. It will merely destroy buildings and probably kill people. It is pure populism, reflected in the hot-and-cold rhetoric of Trump’s increasingly whimsical tweets. Heaven forbid that British policy should now, as it appears, be hanging on their every word.
“We can accept that the chemical attack on a Damascus suburb was probably by war-hardened Syrian airmen, though rebellions do kill their own to win sympathy. But Britain too has killed civilians in this theatre. No, we don’t poison our own people, but we somehow claim the right to blow other country’s civilians to bits. Theresa May says that the chemical attack “cannot go unchallenged”, but that is a politician’s love of intransitive verbs. Who is to be the agency and under what authority? The time to punish the Syrian leadership is when the war is over. Outside intervention will make no difference to the conflict, except to postpone its end. That is doubly cruel.”