If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Syrian vote reflects public disdain for war
2:11pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Salisbury Letters
I FIND it disappointing that the name of our MP John Glen was absent from those who voted against potential military action in Syria.
Never before have I known a single subject to exercise, so widely and passionately, the thoughts of the "man in the pub".
And each and every conclusion to debates and conversations I have recently participated in, or overheard, is that we should not get involved because there are, per Donald Rumsfeld, “too many unknown unknowns” as to what the outcome of any (limited or even escalated) strike might be; the Government has not made a coherent substantive case for British participation in any military action.
When so many former senior military officers are questioning the proposed intervention, shouldn’t politicians listen?
Some MPs voting against the PM’s motion seem to have taken the time and effort to consult their constituents, and have then voted for or against the motion accordingly (democracy in action).
I have no idea if Mr Glen conducted such an exercise before casting his vote but I am not aware of any; nothing on his website as far as I can see even mentions the subject.
My own (extremely limited and unscientific) observations suggest that the constituents of Salisbury are not committed to (even potential) intervention in Syria. Perhaps, therefore, Mr Glen will be prepared to indicate the scope of his own research that caused him to enter the ‘aye’ lobby last Thursday on behalf of his electorate?
DENNIS GORDON, Salisbury
FOLLOWING a few days of a war hungry press, the Government’s defeat in the House of Commons was a great success for democracy and as much a large reflection of the public disdain for going to war against Syria.
To this end I hope some public confidence can be restored in national politics. However, it is not that simple.
People in Syria are still being murdered by the Assad regime. Had there been a clear mandate for what type of action and end result the Government had wanted to achieve then there can be little doubt that the Labour vote would have gone in favour of action despite the fears of repeating history and there being no supporting UN Security Council mandate.
While as the dust settles it can be clear that no, we will not be waging war this time round, there is still much for us to do as a nation in the international community to help bring about a negotiated settlement for peace and stability to the area.
This is my personal opinion.
CLLR TOM CORBIN, Salisbury Bemerton Ward
SALISBURY Quakers are greatly concerned by the crisis in Syria and would like to express their support for the following statements released on behalf of Quakers in Britain and signed by Paul Parker, recording clerk, Friends House, London:
“Quakers in Britain are appalled by the suffering and loss of life on all sides in Syria.
We understand - and share - the wish of the international community to take some form of action to reduce the bloodshed, but we strongly urge those who are tempted to respond militarily to think again.
“Air strikes will kill people just as surely as chemical attacks. All weapons must seem equally abhorrent if it is your family that is being killed. Punishment for use of specific kinds of weapon is no justification for further acts of war or for supplying yet more weapons.
“New participants in a war will breed new hatreds. Experience of other conflicts shows that supposedly simple or ‘surgical’ military interventions usually become messy and hard to end. We are convinced that even when some kind of victory is claimed, the deep harm done by violence always outweighs the supposed benefits.
“We beg those in power to work with diligence through the United Nations and all diplomatic channels to bring peace nearer. We challenge them to use their resources and imaginations creatively.
Please don’t fall into the old trap of thinking that taking any action is bound to be better than doing nothing.
“We will pray for peace in the region, and continue to voice our deep opposition to war.”
“We acknowledge the difficulty of deciding on an appropriate response to the atrocious situation in Syria at the present time, and have been upholding decision-makers as they struggle to find a right way forward. We are pleased to see this moderate and peaceful outcome, and thank MPs for their care in making this difficult choice.”
Helen Drewery, general secretary of Quaker Peace & Social Witness, said: “Quakers see war as wrong because we value every human being so highly that killing them cannot be right.
We need to use the nonviolent tools we have – we need to respect them, learn to use them better and not see them as weak alternatives.
As the threat of military intervention is averted, at least for now, it’s important that we all redouble our efforts to find peaceful resolutions to this situation, support humanitarian aid to the region, and encourage dialogue.” August 30.
ALEX RAWS Clerk, Salisbury Quaker Meeting
Comments are closed on this article.