The Syrian Airstrikes: a question of human rights and international responsibilities?
It’s easy to become quickly angered at the decision the Commons made on the 3 December. It’s fair to say everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks they’re right: Jeremy Corbyn and many of his Labour supporters sit firmly against action in the Middle East whilst Cameron and the majority of his party stand strongly behind the action of bombing. However you may take a moment to reflect and take both sides of the argument into consideration.
The jets will be dropping bombs in Syria but this isn’t something that we’ve only started doing in the past few weeks. The air strikes have been going on for months in Iraq and Britain is not the first country to start bombing Syria. USA, Russia, China, France and Turkey as well as others are all taking direct action in coordinated air strikes on Syrian ISIS strongholds. It’s important in these situations to show strength as a nation on a global front. If we say we stand with the rest of the world but fail to offer assistance when required to, that could be fatal for our international relations our alliances would break down. Should ISIS attack us it may be comforting to know we have the backing of other countries.
It may seem childish to attack on the basis of not ‘appearing weak’ however there are many aspects to consider on an issue such as consequential as this in a wider context. It’s important to remember that war is never pleasant. Difficult decisions are the name of the game during conflict and to sit tight and pretend as if nothing is going on, waiting for attacks on home soil could easily be interpreted as a foolish mistake. The fact of war is that innocent blood will be spilt, however minimising it is crucial. Acting fast and effectively to lower the death toll inflicted by IS in Syria is something that we have the power to control. ISIS take more and more civilian lives every day and all the while we sit around keeping our hands and conscience clean more and more innocent people die, it’s not fair to say that a few lives being lost short term is better than tens of thousands in the years to come? One thing to consider, if ISIS was to attack England in the same way that happened in Paris would there be the same opposition to launching jets and bombing them now?
Whatever the case, loss of innocent lives is unacceptable. It could be argued that while we think ourselves better than ISIS, if we give in to them and begin bombing their civilians we are no better than the people we claim to be in war against. Yet with our lavish lifestyles, clean water and free healthcare it’s not really a fair comparison. As the far more economically and politically developed country it’s our responsibility to take the diplomatic stance in the situation, not bomb them to oblivion. From the perspective of the civilians in Syria are we not the terrorists? Surely bombing Syria will only turn more people towards IS. Is this not the very living definition of the statement “One man’s terrorist, another man’s freedom fighter.” It’s critical we consider the amount of lives that will be lost in Syria from bombing with the greater cost of lives from not acting out in response to their acts of war and further threats to the world.
Something that leaves me bewildered is how countries such as England, France and America boast of an extremely effective military, with trillions spent on budgeting, yet we fail to use this manpower for effective conflict resolution on the ground, which might be more precise and save civilian lives. Clearly the situation in Syria is deeply serious and the British government would rather not restart another Afghanistan campaign which went on far longer than we ever supposed.
Whatever your view on the decision to bomb, there is no doubt that there would be upset. Perhaps the ‘easier’ option would have been to have not done anything. Cameron and his party had no simple decision to make and whilst many of us pretend to know everything there is about the situation there are thousands of years of political experience in the Commons and they, more than any other, carry the burden of their decision; to pass the bill in the knowledge that people will die as a result in the name of protecting those on home soil and preventing ISIS further acts of terrorism in the West and in the East.
Nick Meek, Year 13
Do you think the bombing campaign is justified? Email your views to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org