Okay, so this post is a bit of a drive-by, but it's probably worth noting what does and doesn't feature in Jim Murphy's impassioned plea for throbbing British military stiffness and a pounding for ISIS.
It does contain:
- Much back-patting for the author's selfless refusal of lucrative book offers;
- A frank admission that the 2013 Syria bombing proposals were largely cosmetic, followed by anguished sobs of regret over voting against them;
- A flat declaration that the 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation are so far in the past as to be irrelevant to decisions that we might make today;
- Nudge-nudges about how the author takes the situation much more seriously than other MPs do;
- Gratuitous scare-quotes around the word "anti-war" in relation to other MPs;
- Open admissions that "military action alone won't work";
- Bizarre chin-stroking about Britain's "period of unresolved purpose" between 1956 and 1968, a time in which British soldiers were engaged in Cyprus, Kenya, Borneo and Yemen, amongst other countries*,
- An assertion that "conscientious objection" is unacceptable, and
- A bit of rah-rah about how the decision to bomb Syria will test our national greatness, or something.
It's quite a sight, to see a once-prominent politician sobbing in regret because he didn't resign over a proposed bombing campaign that even he recognises was mainly a cosmetic gesture, while simultaneously dicking off the catastrophically destructive war that he actually did vote for.
Nonetheless, let's note what doesn't appear in Jim's article:
- A single, solitary claim that fighting ISIS will help anyone, in either Syria or Iraq.
I'm unsure how to take this, really. Is it absent-mindedness, or an over-enthusiastic sub-editor, or just rampant vainglory?
Whatever's going on, I think it's worth noting that for Murphy, the question To Bomb, Or Not To Bomb really is all about us, and that the countries we're proposing to bombard don't even rate a moment's consideration.
*Cheers to assorted readers for pointing out some of the sillier arguments in Murphy's piece. You know who you are.