It’s Saturday morning and I am watching Theresa May on BBC1 with increasing incredulity. We’ll pass over the fact that there is no secure evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons in an area where Syrian government troops had already won and no questions from journalists about what his motivation could possibly be. Let us focus instead upon the double standards displayed by the UK and the US. The prime minister says the deaths of civilians in Syria cannot be tolerated. The US president states that action must be taken against mass murderers of men, women and children, and nations should be judged by the friends or global company they keep.
May and Trump are supporters of Saudi Arabia, assisting its genocide of the people of Yemen. They remain silent while Israel shoots down unarmed civilians and has deployed white phosphorus in its previous devastating assaults upon Gaza. It is clear to me that we have fostered conflict in Syria for many years, and that, in general, western interventions have only served to destabilise the Middle East. The cost in human life is huge and will not be reduced or stopped by bombing raids from the US and its allies. Theresa May can strike all the Churchillian poses she likes, but this is all about the geopolitics.
Dr Paula James
Chelwood Gate, East Sussex
• We Arabs are sick of being used for others’ gratification, as yet another Arab country is turned into a stage for western actors to strut and posture for reasons unconnected with the purported wellbeing of the Syrian people; so that Trump can cut a virile figure, or May can dream of becoming the new Thatcher – all this at Arab expense (Ministers must articulate a way out of the Syrian war, Editorial, 11 April).
The western position is based on two dangerous fallacies: that no proof or independent inquiry is needed to justify bombing Syria; and that it’s up to the west, which helped to fuel Syria’s civil war in the first place, to do it. Had there been a shred of concern for Syria’s people, they would now be left alone to recover as Syria, no thanks to western forces, is emptied of its western-backed jihadis and proxy mercenaries. The Middle East has been the playground of the west for long enough. It’s time to stop.
Dr Ghada Karmi
• I am writing in despair that the prime minister and President Macron (whom we previously so admired) should have joined this shabby coalition to bomb Syria and escalate the danger of war, as well as causing more suffering and grief to that beleaguered nation. Those of us who believe in peace, dialogue and diplomacy – not to mention international law and the lessons of the past 100 years – were full of admiration for President Chirac for refusing to join the US-UK illegal invasion of Iraq. We hoped Macron would stand firm as well, but he has profoundly disappointed us. So has our prime minister, who did not wait for the results of the ongoing investigation in Damascus, nor for a vote in parliament, to rush to join this misguided, pointless and risky venture.
• Well done, Mrs May. With a faltering government, no majority and Brexit in a shambles she decided to follow her mentor Mrs T and ferment a bit of a war a long way from the UK. Enter the red tops with the “our brave troops” rhetoric (even though they did not risk entering Syrian airspace). Follow this piece of post-imperial jingoism with a royal wedding and a royal birth and she’s cemented the Tories’ position. Parliament? Don’t bother. Independent investigation results? Don’t wait. Don’t give it the time of day. Back to brave little Britain circa 1940 and to hell in a handcart for people like me who question it all.
• Thank you, Simon Jenkins, for such a wise and rational article (Opinion, 13 April). Have we not learned from countless conflicts that reprisals and “punishments” lead only to escalation and not deterrence? All war is catastrophic, only to be engaged in at direst need, when attacked. Britain is not attacked. All our efforts should be concentrated on getting the combatants round a table to discuss a peaceful settlement, without the ridiculous condition that Assad must step down. Whatever his record (and he is by no means alone in that) he is the only leader with any kind of legitimacy, and the only one who has the po