Thinking – and the events which drive it – in the Middle East are moving at breath-taking speed. This time last week, I outlined my immediate post-Paris thoughts. I laid out many of the complexities and worries about either doing something in Syria, or indeed not doing it. Those concerns remain, and always will do. The downing of a Russian warplane over Turkey is a good example of the chaos and unpredictability of war. But despite all that, my thinking has hardened into an absolute determination to destroy Daesh wherever they may be.
We must never forget the 30 British people killed, including two locals (from Biddestone) by Daesh on the beach in Tunisia, the 224 Russians blown out of the sky at Sharm-el-Sheikh, the 130 killed and many more injured in Paris. Now we have a lock-down in Brussels lasting several days as a result of a real and imminent threat to public security. London might be next, and we have to do something about it (I was pleased that the Prime Minister is, for instance, removing obstacles for getting troops on the streets to augment the police if necessary). That fact was recognised in a unanimous UN Security Council resolution (including Russia and China whose planes and soldiers are already deployed in Syria).
David Cameron has in the meantime brought out his Strategic Security and Defence Review, which outlines a significant strengthening in our ability to deal with military terrorist and cyber threats at home and abroad. It has been widely welcomed as addressing the very real crisis we now face. And today, the Prime Minister will be laying out his detailed answers to the concerns many of us have raised – about the purpose in striking Daesh in Syria, about the aftermath and the strategic goals.
For me it is very simple. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and ignore the appalling outrages which this evil organisation are perpetrating on an almost daily basis. We can no longer leave it to America, France, Russia, and China to deal with it. We have to make our contribution (which is not inconsiderable). We cannot stand by and watch as yet more innocent civilians are slaughtered. We must destroy for good the evil which is Daesh; and we must not shrink from doing so.
So I will be voting next week with the Government to authorise strikes against Daesh wherever they may be. Now is the time to act. We must not allow the habitual pacifists and nay-sayers to make us shrink from it. The children of the innocents would give us no thanks for doing so.