tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 30, 2013 6:00am-7:01am EDT
last weekend, i said we shared his view about the despicable nature about the use of chemical weapons and we must not stand aside. i also explained to him that because of the damage done to public confidence by iraq, we would have to follow a series of public confidence and it sure the maximum possible legitimacy for any action. these steps are all set out in a motion before the house today. i remember in 2003. i was sitting two rose from the back on the opposition bench. it was just -- rows from the back on the opposition bench. it was just two days after my son had been born. i wanted to believe the man standing here. the wealth of public opinion was to be poisoned by the iraq episode. i understand the public
skepticism. the am most grateful to prime minister for giving way. his motion tells me that everything with and it could have been debated on monday. this house has been recalled and i believe it was recalled in order to give cover for possible military action. has the prime minister made it clear to president obama that in no way does this country support in the attack that could come before the u.n. inspectors have done their job? >> i called this house to debate issues that are absolutely vital. it is this house that will decide what steps we next take if you agree to the motion i have sat down. no action can be taken until we
have heard from the u.n. weapons inspectors and before there has been another vote in this house. those are the conditions that we, the british government, the british parliament, are setting. let's we -- let me make a more progress and i will take interventions. this deep public cynicism makes it a particular responsibility on me as a prime minister. that is why i wanted parliament recalled. i wanted this debate to bring the country together and not divide it. i included in the government motion all the issues i could that were raised by the leader of the opposition and by many colleagues on all sides of the house because i want us to try to have the greatest possible unity on this issue. i read the opposition motion carefully. it has much to commend it.
the importance of the process to the united nations. quite right. i believe the motion is decision in two by the respects. -- vital respects. the motion does not make it clear that the conditions were caused by chemical weapons. thend, in no way does opposition motion even begin to point the finger of blame at president assad. that is at odds with what has been said by nato and by the president of the united states. it is at odds with the judgment of the independent intelligence committee.
it would be the wrong message for this house to send to the world. i will be recommending that my friends vote against it. >> mr. speaker, i thank my right honorable friend for giving way. can he confirm to the highs that were we to find opposition in the general assembly and the majority against it in the security council, we would not just go along? >> it would be unthinkable to proceed if there were overwhelming opposition in the security council. the best route to follow is to have a chapter 7 resolution, take it to the u.n. security council, have it passed, and
think about taking action. that was the path followed with libya. thatnnot be the case that is the only way to have a legal basis for action. we should consider what the consequences will be. you could have a situation where the government was annihilating half of the people in that country, but because of one veto on the security council, you would be hampered from taking any action. i cannot think of any member of any party of that house who would want to sign up for that. we have the doctrine of humanitarian intervention set out in the attorney general's excellent legal advice to this house. >> i am grateful to my right honorable friend and i am extremely grateful to him for taking the time to listen to the concerns about further british military intervention in the middle east. why is it that our allies in
the middle east like saudi arabia, uae, qatar does not -- do not have the military intervention falling on them? >> chemical weapons used by syria -- that is the only basis i would support action. we need countries that are capable of doing that. one from my honorable friend right here. >> did not the u.n. in 2005 sign off on the responsibility to protect? if countries default in their responsibilities to defend their own citizens, the international community has a responsibility as a whole to defend those citizens. syria has defaulted on its responsibility to protect its
citizens. tohave a responsibility undertake what we have agreed to do just recently -- just as recently as 2005. >> let me be clear about what we are talking about today. yes, it is that doctrine. it is also about chemical weapons. it is about a treaty a whole world agreed to. the question before us, is britain the country that wants to uphold that international taboo against the use of chemical weapons? my argument is, yes, it should be that kind of country. >> the impact we have on decisions today -- there is a perception of the prepared this to get involved in this conflict before the turn incident. it has an impact on the decisions of the day.
>> the case i am making is the house of commons needs to consider this issue of a massive chemical weapons use by this regime. i am not argue that we should get more involved in this conflict. i am not arguing we should get involved with the rebels. the question before us is, is this 1925 agreement, post world war i -- do we want to maintain that law? ofit in britain potion national interest to maintain an international taboo about the use of chemical weapons on the battlefield? my answer is yes. britain was parts of drawing up that protocol, which syria signed.
let me take an intervention from the democratic union. >> there are many people in this house who do not believe this is a prelude to actions that will see us involved in syria. there have already been 14 instances of the use of chemical weapons. 100,000 people dead. why is it only now that the prime minister thinks this is the time for greater intervention? >> the point for considering this tougher approach is we know there are 14 uses of chemical weapons. now we have this much larger use. this does seem to me and to president obama and to many others that it is time to do something to stand up on the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. you cannot accuse me of rushing into something and on the other hand ask me why i have waited after 14 chemical weapons attacks to do something? i want to explain what we know.
i want to set out the paths we will follow. let me try to make some progress. that we set out what we know about what happened. in three hours on the morning of 21 august, three hospitals in the damascus area received 3600 patients with systems -- symptoms consistent with a chemical attack. it was some of the most sickening human suffering of mail -- imaginable. there was no way this could not have been chemical attacks, particularly in the behavior of small children. it seemed to be nerve agent exposure. anyone in this chamber who has not seen these videos should force themselves to watch them. you can never forget the sight
of children's bodies stored in ice. young men and women gasping for air and suffering agonizing deaths. the syrian regime has publicly admitted they were conducting a major operation in the area at that time. the regime resisted calls for unrestricted access for u.n. inspectors, while rocket fire in the area reached a level of around four times higher than the preceding 10 days. the forces took precautions normally associated with chemical weapons use. the joint intelligence committee has made its judgment. it has done so in line with the reforms put in place after the iraq war by sir robin butler. there was a letter that states, there is little serious dispute that the chemical attacks
causing mass cavities on a large scale took place on 21 august. there is no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate the claim of the possession of chemical weapons by the opposition. it is not possible for the opposition to have carried out chemical weapons attack on this scale. the regime has used chemical weapons on a smaller scale on at least 14 occasions in the past. these factors make it highly likely that the syrian regime was responsible. the chairman makes this point absolutely clear. there are no plausible alternative scenarios for regime responsibility. i am not say that some piece of intelligence i have seen that
the world will not see convinces me that i am right and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. this is a judgment. we all have to reach a judgment about what happened and who is responsible. from all the evidence we have, the fact that the opposition does not have chemical weapons and the regime does, the fact that they have used them and they were attacking the air at the time, that is enough to conclude the regime is responsible and should be held responses. >> i am grateful to the prime minister. what has convinced him? what is the evidence that an action by the international community -- 100,000 dead. millions of refugees, continuing action, which is totally destroyed in that country. what is the evidence that convinces them? -- convinces him? >> there is no 100% certainty
about who is responsible. there is no 100% certainty of what -- about what action might succeed or fail. when we have a regime that has used chemical weapons on 14 occasions and is most likely responsible for this large scale attack, if nothing is done, it will conclude it can use these weapons again and again and on a larger scale and with impunity. talk about escalation. the biggest danger of escalation is if the world community, not just britain, but america and others, stands back and does nothing. makingprime minister is a very pro full and a heartfelt speech. -- powerful and heartfelt speech. there seems to be no logic to
this chemical attack. >> if he reads the conclusion, this is where they find the greatest difficulty of ascribing militants. been of motives have ascribed. the most likely possibility is that he has been testing the boundaries. theants to know whether world will respond to the use of these weapons, which i suspect are proving quite effective on the battlefield. we cannot know the mind of this brutal dictator. all we can do is make a judgment about whether it will be better to act or not to act. >> does he know if there were any plans for military action before next week? >> i honestly cannot discuss
the details of potato action in detail in front of this house. the american president and i have had discussions reported in the newspaper about potential military action. we have had those discussions. the american president would like to have allies alongside the united states with capability and with the partnership that britain and america has. britainut clearly what would need to see happen for us to take part in that. more action from the u.n., a report from inspectors. it will be decided by this government and by votes in this house of commons. >> i agree with the prime minister with the -- on the floor of chemical weapons. -- horror of chemical weapons.
can he convince the house that military action by our country would shorten the civil war, help harold in a post-war government? -- herald in a post-war government? >> i cannot make those decisions. it would have to be action that is about determine the future use of chemical weapons. in the story. if we were aware of large-scale use of chemical weapons by the opposition, i would be making the same argument and the making the same recommendations. >> i am grateful to my honorable friend for supporting britain's tradition. we have always stood against mass murder.
does my friend not agree that there is a humanitarian case for intervention, especially after what happened in 1988 when 5000 kurds were killed with mustard gas? >> i applaud my friend for standing up against mass murder wherever it occurs. speechesd part of my to deal with the actions. -- speech is to deal with the actions. there should be no disagreement that the use of chemical weapons is wrong. the world came together to agree on the 1925 treaty and to outlaw the use of chemical weapons. there was a determination that the events of that war should never be repeated. whatever happens, these weapons should never been used.
president assad has crossed that line and there should be consequences. taken together with the previous 14 small-scale attacks, it is the only instance of regular and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by a state. interfering in another country's unfair should not be undertaken except in the most exceptional circumstances. it should be a humanitarian catastrophe and a last resort. this is a humanitarian catastrophe. if there are no consequences, there is nothing to stop president assad and other dictators from using these weapons again and again. doing nothing is a choice. it is a choice with consequences. these consequences would not just be about president assad and his future use of chemical weapons. decades of painstaking work to construct an international system of rules and checks to prevent the use of chemical
weapons and story stockpiles would be undone. a 100 year taboo would be breached. people ask about the british national interest. is it not in the british national interest the rules about chemical weapons should be of help? in my view, it is. >> notwithstanding the timing and approach to conflict, can i bring up the issue of consequences? whomever is is possible for the chemical weapons attack should know that they will face a court, whether it is the international criminal court or a war crimes tribunal in the future. whether there is intervention or not, somebody is responsible for a heinous crime and they should face the law. >> i certainly agree that people should be subject to an international criminal court. the use of criminal -- chemical weapons is a crime and should be prosecuted.
syria is not a signatory to that treaty. that me make a little more progress and i will give way. i have consulted the attorney general. he has confirmed the use of chemical weapons in syria. i want to be clear about the process we followed. the weapons investigators in damascus should complete their work. they should brief the united nations security council. there should be a resolution backing all necessary measures. then and only then should we have a vote in this house backing military action. i do not need to repeat that again. i would urge my colleagues to read this advice, which i put in the library at the house of commons. that we keep one more time -- let me repeat one more time, we have not made a decision to act.
if there would be a decision to act, this advice would be legal. >> would he agree that our constituents across the house are concerned with becoming involved in another middle eastern conflicts. he is speaking specifically on the war crimes use of chemical weapons. from a different matter britain being involved in a middle eastern war. >> i completely agree with my right honorable friend. there is wariness in our country linked to the fact that people have difficult economic times to deal with. they are asking questions about why britain has to do so much in the world. we should reassure our constituents by saying this is about chemical weapons. this is not about intervention. this is not about getting involved in another middle east war. >> thank you very much.
mr. speaker, the prime minister said a moment ago in the hearing of the house that one of the purposes of any action is great thing of the chemical weapons capabilities of the president assad regime. it would involve hundreds of ships and aircraft and hundreds of thousands -- thousands of ground troops. what would his objective be in grading the chemical weapons capability? >> referring to them as my constituents is a take away. [laughter]
he makes a very good point, which is what i think the letter was addressing. if you wanted to dismantle syria's weapons arsenal, that would be an enormous undertaking. that is not what is being proposed. what is being proposed, were we to take part, is an attempt to deter and degrade the future use of. listnot want to set out a of targets. it would be perfectly simple and straightforward to think of actions you could take to control the use of chemical weapons and the people and buildings involved in that, which would be tar sand degrade. how can we be certain any action will work? -- deter and degrade. if nothing is done, we are more likely to see more chemical
weapons used. >> grateful to the prime minister for giving way. the joint intelligence committee says the motivation -- says they have a limited, but growing body of intelligence that says the regime was responsible. ministerate the prime cannot share such information with the house as a whole. the security committee has top- secret clearance to look precisely at this sort of material. as members of the committee, would he be member -- willing for members of the committee to see that material? >> i am happy to consider that request. the intelligence committee plays an important role.
i did not want to raise the status of individual groups and pieces of intelligence into some quasi-religious cult. there is an enormous amount of open source reporting. there are an enormous amount of videos we can see. the fact that they were attacking that area and the fact that they -- the opposition does not have those weapons or those delivery systems. yes, of course intelligence is part of this picture. let's not pretend there is one smoking piece of intelligence. this is a judgment issue and one in which honorable members will have to make a judgment. >> the reason many of us in parliament opposed the farming of the rebels was that there were atrocities committed -- opposed the arming of the rebels was that there were atrocities committed by both
sides. there was a real risk that the violence would escalate. by this would be escalated within the country and on the syrian border. >> i have not agreed on every aspect of syrian policy. that is well known. if we were to take action, it would be about degrading and deterring chemical weapons use. the greatest form of escalations we have in front of us is the danger of additional chemical weapons use. this debate, this issue is not about farming -- arming the rebels. it is about chemical weapons. >> the use of chemical weapons has made syria our business. does the prime minister agree with me to send a strong message to president assad and others that the house condemns the use of chemical weapons and we will stand by our obligations
to deter them? >> the question our constituents as the most is where is the british national interest in all of this? there is a specific national interest relating to the chemical weapons use we have seen and preventing its escalation. i will give way more in a minute. i want to make some more progress. i have been trying to address the questions people have. there is not some choice between acting to prevent chemical weapons being used against the syrian people and on the other continuing to push for a long-term political solution. we remain absolutely committed
to using diplomacy to end this war with a political solution. for as long as president assad is able to defy international will and get away with chemical attacks on his people, he will fill little if any pressure to come to the negotiating -- feel little, if any, pressure to come to the negotiating table. far from undermining the political process, a strong reaction to the use of chemical weapons can strengthen that political process. >> one of the consequences of intervening will be the effect it will have on other countries in the region. yemen,icular concern is which is the most unstable country in the area.
affected will have on countries like yemen? >> i have taken a look at all of the impacts on the region. this is the next question that needs to be answered. the region has already been affected by the war in syria. jordan is coping with a massive influx of refugees. turkey has suffered terrorist attacks and shelling from across the border. that is why the arab league has been so clear in condemning the action and attributing it precisely to present a sigh and calling for international action. this is a major difference with past crises we have had in the middle east. there are clear international laws and people in countries that are prepared to stand up to them. >> i believe my constituents like those in the rest of the house wants to the prime
minister to make clear on behalf of this country that we are not going to walk away from the illegal use of chemical weapons, but we are going to give peace a chance. will he assure us that he will continue to engage, however difficult, with russia and other key countries to try to make sure the u.n. route is productive and the diplomatic process is engaged again as soon as possible? >> i agree with my honorable friend. we must continue the process of diplomatic engaged in. i saw president putin on monday and had a long discussion about this -- president putin on monday and i had a long discussion with him about this issue. if there was any action, it would be immediately taken over by running a political process once again.
britain will do everything in its power to make that happen. let me ask a final question that has been in the debate in recent days. the question is if this will risk radicalizing young muslims, particularly those in britain. this question was not asked a lot in 2003. this question was asked by the national security council yesterday. the counterterrorism experts say there is no room for complacency. the focus actions that will be proposed will not be a significant new cause for radicalism and extremism. young muslims in the region and in britain are looking at the pictures of muslims suffering in syria, suffering horrific deaths in syria. i will take one more intervention from the honorable gentleman. >> would he agree that on the question from my right honorable
friend on the humanitarian situation, not just as it might appear in the future, but as it happens now with thousands of refugees go into neighboring countries? how can we be absolutely sure that given aid agencies have said this is the worst situation in the 21st century, there are problems in north africa. >> we should be proud in this house and this country of the massive role that british aid money is playing to relieve this disastrous humanitarian situation. we will go on making that investment because we are saving lives and helping people every day. is the unfettered use of chemical weapons going to make
the humanitarian situation worse? i believe that it will. if there was a way of deterring and degrading future chemical weapons actions, it would be irresponsible not to do it. when you study the legal device published by the government, it makes the point that the intervention based on humanitarian protection has to be about saving lives. let me conclude where i began. this question before us is how to respond to one of the worst uses of chemical weapons in 100 years. we must do the right thing in the right way. it must be sure to learn the lessons of previous conflicts. we must pursue every avenue at the united nations, every diplomatic channel. we must recognize the skepticism and concern that many in the country will have after iraq, explaining carefully all of the ways this situation and the actions we take are so different. we must ensure that any action,
if it is to be taken, is proportional and specifically designed to deter the use of chemical weapons. we must ensure that any action is accompanied by a renewed effort to forge a political solution and relief humanitarian suffering in syria. at the same time, we must not let the specter of previous mistakes paralyzed our ability to stand up for what is right. there will be no action without a further vote in this house of commons. on this issue, britain should not stand aside. we must play our part in a strong international response. we must be prepared to take a side of action. that is what this resolution is about. >> the question is the motion on syria and the use of chemical weapons has published in corrected form. to move his amendment, i called
the leader of the opposition, mr. ed miliband. >> i move to -- a move in favor of the amendment. there was a moral outrage -- this was a moral outrage. the international community is right to condemn it. everyone in this house and most people in the country will have seen the pictures of men, women, and children gasping for breath and dying as a result of this attack. i can assure members of this house that the divide that exists does not exist over the condemnation of the use of chemical weapons and the fact that it breaches international law. nor does it lie in the willingness to condemn the regime of president assad. the question facing this house
is what, if any, military action we should take and what criteria should determine that decision? that is what i want to focus on in my speech today. it is right to say at the beginning of my remarks that the prime minister said a couple of times in his speech worse to the effect of, we are not going to get further involved -- words to the effect of, we are not going to get further involved in that conflict. i have to say, that is simply not the case. that does not rule out intervention. i do not think anybody in this house or anybody in the country should be under any illusions about the effect of our relationship to the conflict in syria if we were to militarily intervene. that does not rule out intervention. we need to be clear eyed about the impact this would have.
let me also say, mr. speaker, that this is one of the most solemn duties this house possesses. i will outline the simple question, which is out of holding international law and legitimacy, how can we make the lives of the syrian people better. the duty we owe to the exceptional men of our military and their families, who will suffer the consequences of any decisions we make. the basis on which we make this decision is of fundamental importance. it determines the legitimacy and moral authority of any actions we undertake. that is why our amendment asks the house to support a clear a
legitimate road map for decisions on this issue. it will enable us to judge any recommended international action. i want to develop the argument about why the sequential road map is the right thing for the house to support today -- sequential road map is the right thing for the house to support today. if we take action, we will follow the right, legitimate, and legal course, not an artificial or political timetable set elsewhere. that is important for any decision we make. this is fundamental to the principles of britain, a belief in the rule of law, a belief that any military action we take must be justified and we must train every sinew to make international institutions were to deal with the outrages in syria.
this is where the prime minister and i now agree. we must let the u.n. weapons inspectors do their work. ban ki-moon, the u.n. secretary general, said that them do their work. we will have to report to the security council. the weapons inspectors are in the midst of their work and will be reporting in the coming days. for this house, it is surely a basic point. evidence should proceed decision, not decision precede evidence. -- evidence should precede decisions, not decisions precede evidence. the weapons inspectors cannot reach a judgment on the attribution of blame. that is beyond their mandate.
some might state that makes their work essentially irrelevant. i disagree. if the u.n. weapons inspectors conclude that chemical weapons have been used, in the eyes of this country and the world, that concurs legitimacy on the findings beyond any list -- any country or intelligence agency. it is possible that what the weapons inspectors discovered could give the world wider confidence in identify the perpetrators of this horrific attack. there could be compelling evidence that the syrian -- the present assad regime is responsible for the attack. of course, as the prime minister said, there is always room for doubt. the greater the weight of evidence, the better. there was proof of regime culpability. we will wait -- await publication of that evidence. that evidence will be important
in building up the body of evidence that president assad was responsible. >> he has said he might be able to support military action of the kind the government is contemplating. he is put in his -- has put in his amendment a list of requirements, which also appear in the government also own motion. why can he support the government's motion in order that this house can speak with a united voice to the world? >> i will develop in my remarks why i do not think that is the case. i will point to the fact that the government amendment does not mention compelling evidence against president assad. i am developing my remarks on the fifth point in our amendment, which is important. the basis in which we judge that actions that can be taken as consequences.
in light of the weapons inspectors' findings and other evidence, the u.n. security council should been -- and then debate on what should take place. i have heard it suggested we should have a united nations moment. those are certainly not my words. those words do no justice to the seriousness with which we must take the united nations. the united nations is not an inconvenient sideshow. we want to adhere to the principle of international law. >> i agree with his doctrine that evidence should precede decisions. can he tell the house whether he believes that the evidence being presented to us today by the joint intelligence committee is compelling or not? >> it is important evidence. we need to gather further evidence in the coming days to persuade the internet security
and people in this country of president assad's culpability. that is important. let me come to his earlier point. i am clear about the fact that we have to learn the lessons about iraq. of course we have to learn those lessons. one of the most important lessons is the respect for the united nations. let me say, on the question of the security council, mr. speaker. i am also clear that it is incumbent on us to try to build the widest level of support, whatever the intention of particular countries. the level of international support is vital if we should decide to take military action. it is vital in the eyes of the world. the u.n. cannot be seen as a sideshow, but has a special part in building the case if intervention takes place.
>> i thank the leader of the intervention for giving way. he is right that the security council should not be a sideshow. why does he say the security council should have voted on the matter? >> i will come directly to that question. i will come directly to that question. there will be those who argue that in the event of russia and china vetoing the resolution that any action would not be legitimate. if there is a proper case made that actions will be taken without a security council resolution -- mr. speaker, the prime minister did not go into much detail of the attorney general's legal advice. in the attorney general's legal advice, there are three important conditions. conventional evidence accepted by the international community
as a whole, objectively clear that there is no practical alternative to the use of force if lives have to be saved. that is a condition we need to test in the coming days. third, the proposed use of force that is proportional and limited in time. it is important for the house to understand this. there could be circumstances in the absence of a chapter 7 security council resolution 4 actions to be taken subject to those three conditions. that is the case that must be built over the coming peroid. period. these reflect-- in the upcoming period. >> i could have gone into more detail on the attorney general's advice. the leader of the opposition mentioned the three conditions. the very next sentence is that all three conditions would clearly be met in this case.
>> that is the attorney general's view. that is the view that needs to be tested out over the coming period. that is a judgment that have to be made. additionally, mr. speaker, the responsibility to protect the man's a reasonable prospect of success and -- responsibility to protect and a reasonable prospect of success. this takes me to the final point of the road map we have proposed. >> i am referring to the fourth paragraph of our road map. he has touched on any action must be legal, proportionate,
and time limited. he goes on to say it has precise and achievable objectives. could he detail what those objectives are? >> i am coming back to that point. the government needs to set that out in the coming days. that takes me to the final point of the road map. any military action should be designed to deter the future use of military weapons. future action would require further recourse in this house. mr. speaker, we must in -- further action would require further recourse in this house. the responsibility for that rests with the parties in that conflict and president assad. the international community also has a duty to do all it can
to support the geneva ii process. any action must assist the process and not hinder it. that is a responsibility that lies on the government in the upcoming period, the government and its allies to set out that case. some say britain should not contemplate action emitted it is limited if we do not know the consequences that will follow. >> have got to make more progress. we owe to the future security of our world to scrutinize any plan that would lead to the consequences that they have. i setting the framework today, we give ourselves the time and space to scrutinize what is being proposed by the government to see what the implications are. clarity, forke of the house, the rightful gentlemen tells us.
if there is no security resolution, would labor opposition backed military intervention? >> it depends on the case that has been set out and the extent an international support has been developed. the honorable gentleman opposite making strange noises, it is right to go about this process in a calm and measured way. sayeople are asking me to yes let us take military intervention, i'm not going to say that but i'm not going to rule out military intervention. if we do so, we're going to do it on evidence and on consensus. >> that is a very important in paragraph e of his
motion, he refers to the size and achievable objectives. i assume that means that he has in mind precise and she -- and achievable objectives. i would ask him what those are. >> it goes on to say, designed to deter the future use of chemical weapons in syria. says, in .5, such action must have regard to the potential consequences in the region. any proposed action to deter the use of chemical weapons must be judged against the consequences that will take lace. i think there is further worth on the government necessary to set out what those might be. he is effectively making a very strong case against military action. the consequences of military
action are very unclassifiable because the objectives are pretty soft in terms of degrading and deterring. the link between military effects and effect on the ground. processva two consequences can only be negative. >> i am saying to the honorable gentleman and the house that we must assess in a calm and measured way, not in a knee-jerk way and not on a political timetable, that whether the could go alongon with international law and what the consequences would be >> listening to the speech, any reasonable human being would assume that the gentleman is looking to divide the house for political advantage. what has happened to the >> i have torest? say that intervention is not worthy of the honorable gentleman. i am merely trying to
set out a framework for decisions for this house. my interest in this all along has been to ensure that the house of commons can make this decision when the evidence is available. there are some people in this house, i will give way and moment, there are some people in -- the decision is simple. there will be some people who think that we can make decisions now that we should engage in military conflict. equally there are those who think we should just rule out military conflict. i happen to think that we ought .o get evidence our roadmap shows how we would do it. not ruleone thing to out military action, but isn't the problem with the --ernment's that it is an before we hear what the u.n.
>> ittors have to say -- was noticeable this morning that the government motion was being presented, i think this is an that is why it, don't feel ready to support the government motion. that is why i think our motion which sets a framework for decision is the right thing to do. i am going to make a bit more progress. >> will be gentleman confirm that in advance of previous conflicts such as the intervention in afghanistan, political parties in this house were briefed in detail under council terms on the nature of the evidence on why there should be intervention. can he confirm that there have been no such briefings in advance of this vote?
i have had the benefit of reading the notes to the prime minister. i am sure that he will extend that assurance to him and two other minority parties. today,ing this framework we give ourselves the time and space to assess the impact it would have on the syrian people, any intervention, and the framework of international law and legitimacy. i do not believe we should be rushed to judgment on a political timetable. in the coming days, the government has outresponsibility to set its case for why the benefits of intervention and action outweigh the benefits of not acting. i do not rule out supporting the prime minister. i believe he has to make a better case than he did today on
this issue. frankly, he cannot say to the house and to the country this does not change our stance on syria, this does not change our involvement in this. conflict. but in fact it would, mr. speaker. roadmap sets out from evidence to decision. it places responsibility for the judgment about the achievement of criteria for action, reporting by weapons inspectors, compelling evidence, a legal base and a ross is for legal action. i believe it captures a shared view on all sides of this house, both about our anger over the attack on innocent civilians but also a coherent framework for making it decision on how we respond. can i thank my honorable purpose of taking
on this serious issue. we understand from previous conflicts that war is not some kind of hokey concept. once you're in, you are in. >> the honorable gentleman speaks of a roadmap. to say not appreciate that our response to these atrocities is what we do in these chambers this afternoon. given his legitimate concerns about consequences, evidence etc. have been met. motionhim to support the so we can send a united message to a side and others. otherwise we will be undermining our own national interests. are not going to be
supporting a government motion which would briefed this morning decisions to take military action. that would be the wrong thing to do. we could only support military action and should only make the decision to do so with the conditions of our amendment. we all know that civility cannot be achieved by military means alone. i want to end by saying this, the continued turmoil in the country further demonstrates of a need for us to ensure that we onold the national interest a security and future prosperity of the whole region and the world. i know the whole house recognizes that this will not and cannot be achieved through military solutions. whatever our disagreements today, we stand ready to play our part in supporting measures to prove the prospects of -- to improve peace and security in
syria. this, mr. speaker, is a very grave decision. it should be treated as such by this house and it will be treated as such by this country. the fundamental test will be this. think of the men women and children who have been subjected to this atrocity. how many international communities acting in a lawful and legitimate way will help them prevent further suffering? i urge the house to support our amendment today. >> in about 45 minutes, we look at the foreign-policy, particularly what options the u.s. has in syria. atguest is peter wehner. 8:30 ron homburg will discuss
society's perception of the mentally ill. we will also discuss the cost of college and federal student aid with jack buckley from the national center for education statistics. "washington journal" is next. ♪ friday,ning, it is august 30, 2013. even as the british parliament voted not to join the u.s. in a possible strike. while administration officials said last night that the u.s. is considering taking unilateral action in response to a reported chemical weapons attack on syrian civilians and rebels last week, some congressional leaders said the white house has more work to do in making its case. as we take you