Wonderful force multipier employed by Stop The War

What are this sorry lot upto?

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Out numbered two to one by their collection of placards this does not look all that impressive.

But wait… Who are they waving the placards at? Parliament? No. They are waving them at this lot:

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And all these guys:

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See?

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Clever huh? What they have done is found the spot outside parliament where the news crews set up so they can broad cast pieces with Parliament in the background. The placards should easily get in the frame.

In the white gazeebo are Kay Burley and Dermot Murnaghan, they’ll be broadcasting live on Sky News, so there will be no time to edit out the placards.

Nice work socialists! You guys have been doing this a while obviously.

But wait! Seven people, some little placards and a Unite flag. They will look tiny in the back of a long shot and will be easily obscured by Kay’s lovely red locks. You, sirs, need a bigger banner!

But wait! It appears they have brought one!

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Now that is truly truly clever.

Arms in Iraq

Robert Tyler is keeping an eye on the Middle East for the Backbencher:

About this time last year the US, UK and French governments were looking into the possibility of offering support to rebel groups in Syria. I made my opposition very clear on this Blog and many others. My opposition was on the basis that we did not know who we would be arming and I made the claim, as did many others, that weapons or support would only play to the favour of Al Qaeda or other Islamist groups in the country.

The events of last week have clearly shown that my fears were not unfounded. Last week ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), one of the largest rebel groups in Syria, captured Mosul, Iraq’s Second City. They forced people from their homes and began to attack the ‘legitimate’ government of Iraq. They’ve captured Turkish Diplomats and have begun to institute Sharia Law in the area.

Not only have they done that but they have also ceased a large number of weapons from the Iraqi army, many of them US made. This now means that ISIS has access to some of the most advanced weaponry being used in the Middle East today.

This has made two things clear: The first being that had we given the so called ‘Good Rebels’ weapons last year they would have ended up in the hands of the Islamists.

This consensus at this blog, as we made clear on James Snell’s contrarian thread, was not to intervene in Syria. According to Tyler we were proved right.

Tyler goes on to anticipate a further threat to the Kurds, and although I don’t feel qualified to give an opinion on that prediction, it makes for a tense read. Read the whole thing.

Can Obama already be impeached over Syria?

The question mark in the title implies a genuine question. I would like to hear from commentators about whether an impeachment proceeding could technically (if not actually) succeed based on the state of play today as at 0830.

First, because it may be relevant and because it adds to the mischief, the more certain case that Obama may be about to put himself in an impeachable position. The case is best given by Obama himself and by his Vice President in the Daily Caller:

Vice President Joe Biden, who voted for the Iraq War, agreed with Obama.

“The president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war… unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007.

Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, suggested presidential war-making was an impeachable offense.

Well, that’s pretty clear. If Obama looses his vote for war in Syria, as Cameron did, but unlike Cameron he proceeds to war, then this would be impeachable, according to his own Vice-President. Interesting.

Just as an aside, the Caller reminds us that Obama did not seek Congress’ approval for Libya, but he appears to have gotten away with that already.

The question I had was over statements like this one:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That’s right, the President’s oath to protect the constitution. I’ve often wondered what “protecting the constitution” means. I think for it to mean anything it must include protecting a particular interpretation of the words. If Obama is relying on a stretched definition of “self defense” (notably, a word his speech did not include) then he is stretching the constitution, not protecting it. This is what he did say:

I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorisation

I accept its probably difficult to actually get support for impeachment, but technically, would a failure to fulfill the oath of the office, by making assertions such as the one above, constitute an impeachable offence? What is the correct procedural recourse of congress, and the people, if a president does stretch the constitution?

A Defence of War

Much debate has gone on among people who self-identify as libertarians about the correct response to the horror in Syria. I made my position clear, and have done so for a while, that military intervention – if properly deployed and policed – would be a far better alternative than gutless international censure or inaction. Despite the defeat of the Government’s plans for intervention (as well as the Opposition’s amendment), I persist in this view.

When I criticise “Randian selfishness” in my piece for Trending Central (syndicated from my earlier column in The Libertarian), I mean the cult of personal obsession which is apparent in many on the nominal ‘Right’. This is where people appear value the contents of their wallets more than the lives of Syrian civilians. Sadly, this is often allied with petty nationalism or even casual racism – whereby Arabs killing other Arabs is seen as not warranting the cost of a single British Pound.

People like this do exist, and my use of the term does not necessarily denote the most fervent of the lady’s disciples. Instead I intend to describe the attitude of callousness over the fate of the Middle East, simply for narrow financial reasons. This apparent national attitude of not caring for the freedom of people across the world is deeply worrying to me; as I believe that we should do what we can to oppose the enemies of freedom around the world. It is clear that Bashar al-Assad is a great enemy of liberty, and so must be opposed.

I also despise the liberal use of platitudinous rhetoric by isolationists, such as the absurd suggestion that everyone who thinks it might be a good idea to remove evil, murdering despots has to fight on the front line to be given any credibility. The utterances: “armchair general” and “why don’t you go and fight it yourself?” (sometimes accompanied by an “eh?” for emphasis) are both marks of the IT literate moron.

Often, the excuse for not acting is a desire to see “proof” of Syrian government involvement in chemical weapon strikes. This is pure procrastination. Not only is there pretty conclusive proof of the matter, courtesy of the JIC’s report, this is nicely corroborated by the intercepted phone calls which US agents say ‘prove’ that Assad’s cronies perpetrated this monstrous deed.

However, even if this is not enough, we have a hell of a lot of evidence to suggest that the Assad has played a not insignificant role in killing many thousands during the actual war. To me, the chemical weapons are a side show: they only demonstrate the baseness of Assad and his cabal, and the levels to which their underlings stoop in their defence of this barbaric enemy of freedom and democracy.

The debate itself was curious. Despite Cameron’s watered-down motion, and the skill and care which went into his own case, he still lost. A fragile coalition behaved like a single party with a huge majority. His overconfidence in pulling the House back from the recess, and the weakness of the Prime Minister’s message – with endless caveats and considerations – did not win it for him.

For, as I had predicted, Cameron lost the vote. By a tiny number of MPs, but lose the vote he did. His more vulnerable Members, perhaps cowed by the spectacle of Ukip encroaching on the popular isolationist positions, did not vote for his motion. We just cannot expect the British people to care about the outside world anymore: that is the UKIP effect.

According to Trending Central, within minutes of the defeat, senior Tories began briefing with words to the effect of: “Ed Miliband will forever be remembered as the politician that effectively allowed Assad to continue slaughtering the Syrian people”. I happen to agree.

Politicians in general did not come out of this debate looking anything other than selfish, duplicitous and petty. Nigel Farage’s pathetic milking of the terrible result did not show him to be a statesman. It only confirmed the true decrepitude of his morality, and the childish nature of his politics.

Cameron did not come out looking good either. It is a rum state of affairs where a sitting Prime Minister can claim to care about the children of Syria, and then just back down when threatened by a forth-party joker. If this motion had passed, or Cameron had used Royal Prerogative, I’d have written here about his brave pursuit of principle and freedom over temporary popularity. Now, however, he just looks weak.

Ed Miliband had his amendment rejected too, and was by no means the victor of the debate. But a reductionist and confrontational media needed to portray his feeble actions as a success to shape their narrative the next morning. He will get much undeserved praise from those who think themselves “anti-war” over the next few weeks.

In summary, then: British Parliamentary democracy has shown itself to be self-absorbed and un-internationalist. I sincerely hope that France and the US are not affected by the terrible failings of Britain. Go it alone, I say, and bring vile monster Assad to Justice: The International Criminal Court or a bullet to the brain. I’m really not that fussed.

Stop War demonstration on Syria – TOMORROW

Pavel, a regular from the meetup, will be attending a Stop War demonstration this Saturday 31st. Still you ask? I did to, Pavel writes:

Yes, still – 272 MPs voted for the operation

Quite. Buried in the polling news is the fact that 47% of the people agree with a pro-inteventionist agenda. The number of people with no opinion exceeds the margin of victory. Events may still force a further vote.

It cannot hurt to show your face and demonstrate that you are not a “war mongering republican”, but you may prefer (as I do) to simply write a letter to the people that matter:

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It’s not over.

Make sure your opinion is heard. Conservative MPs are more likely to respect your opinion than the reams of predictable letters they receive from “the left”. Your unique stance may sway them.

Write Now
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The Express polling in full:

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