An MP who served in Afghanistan has said that politicians would think twice about sending troops to war if more had experienced its consequences first hand.
The recently elected Labour MP and former infantryman, Clive Lewis, criticised a push by the Government to start bombing militant groups in Syria, arguing that a diplomatic solution would be more likely to succeed.
In an interview with Parliament’s The House magazine, he said “I’m tired of it. As someone who, to be quite frank, has had my fill on my short tour of Afghanistan of death and mayhem, I sometimes think if we had a few more MPs in there seeing the direct consequences of their lust for war, maybe they’d think twice about it”
The Independent reports:
Mr Lewis argued that a guerrilla force like Isis would require the deployment of ground troops to effectively defeat and that airstrikes would be futile.
He endorsed new leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to the situation in Syria and said the UK should be working with regional allies like Iran and Turkey to strangle the militant group and cut its supply lines.
“Bombing hasn’t been thought through. If we’re talking about no fly zones and safe havens for refugees, how are we going to stop Isis from infiltrating no fly zones? That to my mind means boots on the ground,” he said.
“Most military experts say you cannot comprehensively defeat Isis, an asymmetrical guerrilla force, from the air. It needs boots on the ground. So has this been thought through?
“Let’s go for the diplomatic options first and exhaust them rather than this knee-jerk reaction that we see in this House time after time, which is ‘we’ve got a problem in the Middle East, bomb it’,” he said.
Iraq’s ambassador to Britain Faik Nerweyi made similar comments about the militant group last year, telling a meeting in Parliament that foreign military would have difficulty beating the because they were “integrated” into the local population and not “an army somewhere aloof”.