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Friday, August 30, 2013

Rejoice! Britain's Parliament finally turns against the neocons and serial warmongers

This new piece of mine appears over at OpEdge, on the RT website.

The MP’s vote against military intervention in Syria marked a wonderful day for democracy in Britain, because at long last, the Parliament listened to public opinion and voted accordingly, casting a huge blow to the powerful British neo-con clique.

In the great anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front there's a wonderful scene when Paul, on leave from the front, returns to his old school where his warmongering teacher and arch-hypocrite Kantorek is still urging his pupils to enlist, despite not volunteering himself. To Kantorek's horror Paul launches an anti-war tirade, and turns on his old teacher. 'He tells you go out and die, but it’s easier to say go out and die than it is to do it and it’s easier to say it than to watch it happen'.

I thought of that powerful scene this morning when I heard the news that the British Parliament had voted against military action against Syria.

You can read the whole of the piece here.

And if you've come to this site via the RT website, you can follow me on Twitter @NeilClark66


Anonymous said...

Dear Neil,

I am rejoicing with you. Yesterday was a great day for British democracy - democracy full stop. For a very long time you have been opposing and exposing neocon warmonger machinations and lies. While I am especially grateful for your struggle to reveal the truth about the wars in the Balkans, it is obvious that Bosnia and Kosovo were only parts of a greater malignant scheme which can be stated succinctly thus: The wholehearted support for some of the nastiest islamist/salafist cutthroats in order to destroy any country that rejects a colonial status under Pax Neoconservativa. These include Afghan mujahideen, Izetbegovic's islamists, Albanian UCK organ thieves, Iraqi and Libyan jihadists, Chechen and Dagestani salafist terrorists and the liver-eating Al Nusra "rebels" in Syria. Of course, the list is only partial.

Thank you for your courage and know you are not alone. Paddy Ashdown's bitter rant this morning and the desperate press releases on HJS site are proof that you were right all along. Keep fighting!

Undergroundman said...

There are reasons for pessimism as regards the idea Britain is really going to stay out of involvement in the Syrian conflict. Paddy Ashdown seems to think Ed Miliband is an opportunist who has betrayed Labour's internationalist heritage. But it is not accurate.

Cameron's determination to recall Parliament and use the sort of 'public diplomacy' used by Tony Blair ensured there would be no British military involvement on Syria based on the government's motion. So he acheived far more than Milband in preventing war.

If Cameron had accepted the sort of approach favoured by Miliband then it is quite possible that British military involvement based upon the case against Assad for having allegedly used chemical eapons on August 21 may well have gone ahead should the UN inspectors have found some evidence.

With news of President Obama now playing for time and putting the matter of US military involvement to Congress, a combination of Cameron and Hague's blundering and bluster and Miiband's opportunism could well mean that if Congress votes for it another vote could be sought in Parliament.

Milband was not against military action in principle but judged the public mood and that of Parliament better. If Obama now starts building up the 'compelling evidence' he has referred to and that was stated as the second condition Labour tabled in its amendment, then another vote could happen.

This, unfortunately, is not out of the question as Liam Fox indicated. The spin machine is in full motion now trying to portray the imperative for a missile strike against Assad's regime and military assets. Moreover, there is a new emerging consensus about the value of the delay to making the case firmer.

This is John Reid's position, as reported in the Huffington Post,

Lord Reid, defence secretary under Tony Blair, said Labour leader Ed Miliband was right to force a delay, insisting it would "maximise the legitimacy" of the use of force.

He told Today: "I can't speak for Ed or for the party officially but I do think that his decision was a wise one and I do think that the Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to heed Ed Miliband's call to await the UN inspectors report was also a right one and a wise one.

"I say that especially because we are less than a week or so away from their conclusion, it's not a matter of months or years, and because waiting maximises the legitimacy of the use of force if it proves to be necessary.

"It also increases the prospect of greater international support for any action whereas jumping the gun, taking military action before the United Nations inspectors have had a chance to report, over a matter of 10 days, not 10 years or 10 months, jumping the gun on that would diminish both of those chances of legitimacy and support"

Undergroundman said...

Moreover, there is a distinct possibility of a second vote. The Spectator columnist Isabel Hardman has argued it may well happen. The idea Miliband was truly defying Washington is a 'triumph of hope over experience'

'If Congress does not debate and vote on action until 9 September, there is time for the UN weapons inspectors to report and the UN Security Council to vote. This assumes Congress does approve action (and Obama said he was confident he would get the support, hopefully based on better intelligence than that which led Cameron to be equally confident at the start of this week). But if all of those conditions are met, would the Labour party support action? If they would – and it would be foolish for Cameron to return to the Commons without absolute certainty of Miliband’s support – then the Commons could plausibly see another vote on whether the UK should be involved in the international response to the chemical attacks.

It is worth noting the wording of Ed Miliband’s point of order in the Commons on Thursday night once the defeat had been announced:

‘On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There having been no motion passed by this House tonight, will the Prime Minister confirm to the House that, given the will of the House that has been expressed tonight, he will not use the royal prerogative to order the UK to be part of military action before there has been another vote in the House of Commons?’

Cameron won’t return to Parliament unless he is sure of victory on this issue. But Miliband hasn’t ruled out another vote either'

Cameron is going to be hell bent on getting his way and forcing intervention on Britain whether it likes it or not.I am deeply pessimistic. The vote may have been a reprieve only. This is a crisis far worse than even Iraq given the region being a powder keg this military strike could be throwing a match into it.

Neil Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

Anonymous- many thanks for your kind words. Thursday's vote was big setback for the neocon war machine, that's why they're so angry. As you say, it all began in the Balkans with the destruction of Yugoslavia.

Karl- great to hear from you. Am alive to the danger of a second vote- very important that we- the 92% keep the pressure on. Miliband being attacked by the neocons and 'liberal interventionists', who will try all they can to get the vote reversed.

David Hilton said...

I recently put a petition on the government site to the effect that the British government except in cases of self defence when attacked by an external force, the government must ask the permission of the people before taking any and all military action against another nation.
Guess what, it has not been put up on site, its been buried; now that`s Democracy, by the standards of the ruling elite anyway.

Neil Clark said...

Hi David,
That's interesting, and disturbing. Need to look into that further.