We are strictly impartial in this exciting Syrian conflict

We are strictly impartial in this exciting Syrian conflict, by Rod Liddle.

Let me take this opportunity to join with our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in commending President Trump’s swift and decisive military action against the Syrian government as being ‘appropriate’ — one of my favourite words and one which I like to use every day, regardless of whether it is appropriate to do so.

The important thing was not of course the destruction of a few Syrian planes and, collaterally, a few Syrian children. The crucial point is that this moderate and judicious use of expensive missiles ‘sends out a message’ to President Assad. And the message is very simple. We will no longer tolerate Syrian children being killed by hugely unpleasant chemical weapons such as sarin or chlorine gas. We may think of the Syrians as pitiful specimens who do not amount to much, but in fact they are actually human beings. And as human beings, they have the right to be killed by nice clean high–ordnance, weaponry such as those fabulous Tomahawk cruise missiles that Mr Trump dispatched and which did, indeed, kill a few lucky children living near the airbase. Assad must learn that it is barbaric to kill children with nerve gas, but civilised and even kindly to kill them with high explosives. …

We are strictly impartial in this exciting contest. For sure, we have some sympathies with the secular, liberal Syrian opposition — but that is a total of seven people, despite what William Hague might think. The rest of the combatants — the ragtaggle alliance of jihadi maniacs, al Qaeda, Isis and those Nusra savages versus the unpleasantly totalitarian Assad regime — well, we’re unable to make a call on that one. We’re straight down the middle. We don’t much like any of them. …

There are more messages those Tomahawks sent out. To the Russians, for example: we would rather have you as an enemy than a friend. A message reinforced by Boris Johnson’s principled decision to cancel his trip to Moscow and thus take us back in time, as far as relations between our two countries are concerned, to about 1961.

We are somehow far more comfortable hating the Russians than we are in facing the maniacal wrath of an entire religion. Even while we pretend to ourselves that it is not an entire religion but just a few extremists who have got Mohammed all wrong, us being Koranic experts and thus qualified to adjudicate on such matters, which we do even while the trucks plough into westerners in Westminster, Nice and Stockholm, and while the bombs detonate in Paris and London and Moscow and Brussels. We would prefer to give succour to people who want us all dead right now for reasons of ideology than appease Putin, with his mild homophobia (as opposed to their somewhat vigorous homophobia) and his worries about what Nato is doing on his back doorstep. Oh, and his undoubted ruthlessness and aggression, sure. And his cold pragmatism.

hat-tip Stephen Neil