By Ray Fleming
There’s a nasty stench in Westminster reminiscent of the run-up to the Iraq war. It will be recalled that in 2003 the UN weapons inspectors asked for more time to finish their search for Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction but were rebuffed by the United States and Britain. The war went ahead but no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. In Syria today UN inspectors have just begun to try to establish the facts about the chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week; yesterday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked the US and its supporters to delay any decision about military action until his inspectors have reported on their work, a matter of a few days. However, like Tony Blair, David Cameron seems determined to take action ahead of the facts. Yesterday morning he chaired a meeting of the National Security Council and afterwards informed the nation by Twitter that it had “agreed unanimously the use of weapons of mass destruction by Assad was unacceptable -- and the world should stand by that.” Does he know something that the rest of the world does not yet know as a fact?
Why the hurry to recall parliament today for a short debate on Syria and the chemical weapons? Parliament resumes anyway on Monday and could have provided the two or three days needed for substantive and searching debate.
What’s the rush?