Parliament recalled today, to discuss the proposed bombing of Isil in Iraq; I am following the debate with interest. I am always uneasy when all political parties agree and I am uncertain about the wisdom of joining what may turn out to be a half-hearted attempt to rid the world of a murderous organisation. If Isil must be annihilated then an all out assault on them is justified but it seems this is unlikely to happen. We are prepared to give the strictly legal help that Iraq is requesting and yet a major part of the territory under Isil control is in Syria. And then there is the question of whether the oil resources under Isil control will be targeted, if not then the funding of their murderous administrative machinery and weaponry will continue but if we do target oil resources then the most basic source of Iraq’s wealth could be destroyed, something unlikely to be sanctioned by Iraq. The risk of terrorist attacks in the west in the short term at least is made more likely by an assault on Isil, not less likely and the deaths of civilians in the occupied areas much more likely by accident or design. There will be some speakers in this debate who will be opposed to all war on principle and I have a great deal of sympathy with them. But there are many like me who are not pacifists and yet cannot see that a modest action such as the one we are proposing to join is justified. The outcome is unpredictable and there are multiple interlocking problems in the Middle East that this war will not solve. Nor will the proposed action address the cultural origins of fanatic Islamism, as dangerous as any fanatic religious creed (the medieval Christian crusades our ancestors took part in were every bit as horrible, it’s as well to remember).