This week, the Tories and a few backbench Labour ‘moderate warmongers’ have attempted to portray a false dichotomy in the Commons debates on Syria, claiming that the choice has been between dropping bombs for ‘humanitarian’ reasons or doing nothing at all.
This is of course entirely false.
The media, backing up the claims of Establishment politicians, have similarly claimed that Jeremy Corbyn has never backed any form of military action.
This is also entirely false.
Parliamentary records show that Jeremy Corbyn has backed military action for genuinely humanitarian purposes on at least three occasions – and, as a respecter of international law, the action has been carried out by UN forces:
1994 – Rwanda
As the awful genocide unfolded in Rwanda and the UN decided to drastically reduce its peace-keeping force, Corbyn joined only 83 other MPs in calling on the UN to increase its presence on the ground to protect civilians:
1995 – ex-Yugoslavia
As the UN battled to contain the conflict amid the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, Corbyn was one of only twenty-two MPs to call on the US to abandon a possible lifting of an arms embargo because it would force the UN to withdraw, leaving civilian lives in even greater danger:
1998 – East Timor
The south-east Asian island of East Timor suffered over 100,000 civilian casualties during its occupation by Indonesia for 25 years from 1975-1999. As the troubled island prepared for a referendum on its future, Jeremy Corbyn was one of only eighty-eight MPs to sign an EDM calling for a UN peace-keeping force to oversee the ballot:
Later that year, the UN did indeed move in to do so and by the autumn had set up a transitional administration to help East Timor navigate its way to independence.
Those are genuine humanitarian interventions.
By contrast, Twitter user Adam Sweeney pointed out the less than flawless humanitarian logic of Theresa May’s decision to help the US drop bombs on Syria, in a tweet whose own logic was so compelling that it has so far had a staggering more than 146,000 retweets:
Once again, the Establishment and its media supporters are pushing one story while reality dictates another.
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