It’s important to examine Dan Jarvis’ case for voting for bombing, because he is going endlessly to be cited as the persuasive Labour case. I have to say I am not convinced.
1. He assumes that the RAF is superior to other air forces in precision bombing and can therefore reliably strike against Daesh’s command and control points within Raqqa. He implies but does not state that this can be done without harm to civilians – this seems implausible especially because he does not state how the RAF is going to know with certainty where those C&C points in Raqqa are – reliable intelligence sources? Really?
2. He blusters about ground forces – he is clearly sceptical about Cameron’s figure of 70,000 but ‘It reminds me of the dilemma I faced when commanding Afghan soldiers whose knowledge was invaluable but whose competencies were questionable in other areas. Sometimes you have to work with what you have’.
a – like Afghanistan was a huge success
b- the ground forces in Syria include a lot of Al Qaeda whose argument with Daesh is real but impenetrable.
He acknowledges that Cameron has a lot of explaining to do but thinks it can be deferred until after the bombing starts.
3. He continually poses a false dichotomy between action – ie bombing plus other avenues like chasing money, diplomatic efforts and so on- and inaction – those avenues without bombing. Clearly this is untrue; he also assumes, without much evidence, that Cameron will pursue those other avenues in the face of the fact that doing so effectively would mean taking a tough line with our allies.
4. He talks as if Daesh were the only ‘new fascists’ in the game – this is trasnparently untrue and renders everything he says about Atlee and WW2 a piece of rhetorical nonsense.
5. He argues that bombing Daesh will make Britain’s streets safer. My own view is that since Daesh and other groupes long ago moved from revenge to provocation in their deployment of terror is that this is as much nonsense as the assumption by anti-war forces that not bombing will make British streets safer.
I fear that Jarvis is groping for reasons that will enable him to vote in a way that positions him as the candidate to replace Corbyn as leader; I am not accusing him of entire insincerity but, since he acknowledges that he is voting on the basis of a thin margin of reasons, I fear his judgement in the matter,
After reading his arguments I still think joining in an incoherent, not especially competent and immoral bombing campaign with allies who are not actually pursuing the same goals is both stupid and wrong.