Comedians, Artists, Writers Warn Against Britain's 'Dangerous' Rush to Bomb Syria
'Far from tackling terrorism, the last fourteen years of war have seen massively increased Jihadi terrorist organisation around the world'
Just days before a London anti-war march is expected to draw thousands, Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle united with artists, writers, and trade unionists on Thursday in an open letter denouncing the "dangerous" British rush to bomb Syria.
"Far from tackling terrorism, the last fourteen years of war have seen massively increased Jihadi terrorist organisation around the world," states the missive, whose 23 signatories also include Roxy Music star Brian Eno and writer, journalist, and filmmaker Tariq Ali.
"The U.S. has been bombing Isis for a year and admits that Isis is as strong as ever and has continued recruiting," continues the letter, which was organized by the London-based Stop the War Coalition. "The experience of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya shows that Western military interventions lead to large scale casualties, devastating destruction and huge flows of refugees."
The letter coincides with British Prime Minister David Cameron's aggressive push this week, in the wake of the Paris attacks, to convince lawmakers to authorize air strikes against alleged ISIS targets in Syria. The drive comes despite the fact that Cameron lost a parliamentary vote in August 2013 for approval to launch air strikes—then against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
Moreover, the effort follows rising concerns over the country's recent military escalation, including drone assassination of its own citizens, secret participation of its pilots in air strikes within Syria, and bombing of targets within Iraq. As recently as September, Cameron was widely criticized for exploiting the refugee crisis to build the case for escalated war.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday wrote to the British parliament voicing opposition to Cameron's proposed bombing campaign. "I do not believe the prime minister’s current proposal for airstrikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it," he wrote.
Cameron has also faced skepticism from other lawmakers, particularly in response to his recent claim that there are "around 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters, principally of the Free Syrian Army, who do not belong to extremist groups, and with whom we can coordinate attacks on [ISIS]." Conservative MP Julian Lewis, who chairs the defense select committee, replied that the claim is "a revelation to me."
The open letter released Thursday issues a stark warning against repeating the mistakes—and lies—of the past.
"Rather than ignoring this recent history by joining the long list of countries that have bombed Syria in the last year, we urge the government to stop arming reactionary and aggressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that sponsor terrorist groups and look for political solutions as the only viable way to end the conflict," the missive states.
Meanwhile, thousands are expected to mobilize to Downing Street and across Britain on Saturday for an emergency protest against the bombing of Syria.
"The shooting down of a Russian plane by Turkey has underlined the potentially disastrous consequences of sending more planes to bomb Syria," Lindsey German, an organizer with Stop the War Coalition, said in a statement released earlier this week. "More and more people are aware that Britain's involvement will create more instability and increase the risk of terrorist attacks."