Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My London Evening Standard letter on Syria and intervention: responding to Sir Malcolm Rifkind's article

The letter below was published in the London Evening Standard on Tuesday 18 June 2013, in response to this article by former Defence Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP.

In the Nineties, the West used the notion of "civil war" based on ancient inter-ethnic enmity to justify not taking sides against the overwhelming aggressor in the former Yugoslavia. Our brave soldiers provided humanitarian aid to many who were soon slaughtered by the Bosnian Serbs. That our airstrikes ended the suffering almost overnight suggests that 200,000 civilians died needlessly. The Defence Secretary at the time was Sir Malcolm Rifkind, which is why his support for arming rebels in Syria should be taken very seriously.

Everything the anti-interventionists said would flow from military intervention in Syria has now happened without it. Brave political leadership is required to ensure the right, not merely the expedient, course of action is pursued. Syria is already worse than Bosnia. Let us hope it doesn't become this generation's Rwanda.

John Slinger, Labour Party activist and chair, Pragmatic Radicalism

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