Michael Fallon has called the lack of RAF airstrikes in Syria “morally indefensible”. Is he right?

Letter published in The Times, 6 November 2015. © Richard Kemp

For Michael Fallon to call our failure to strike Isis in Syria as well as Iraq “morally indefensible” is an understatement (thetimes.co.uk, Nov 5). It is morally bankrupt for any country to half-heartedly engage in a war. If the government perceives the threat as serious enough to require military force then it must unleash sufficient combat power to defeat the enemy as rapidly as possible and wherever they are. To do otherwise exposes our own citizens at home and abroad to lethal threat, results in increased civilian casualties on the battlefield and adds unnecessary risk to our own fighting forces.

This means greatly intensifying our feeble bombing offensive in Iraq as well as extending the campaign to Syria. If we do not have the courage and the will to do this then we have no right to be using military force at all. Mr Fallon’s estimate that Isis can be defeated in two years is baseless. The time it will take depends on many factors, the most significant being how seriously we are prepared to fight. It is also unnecessary to rely upon speculation about how Flight 9268 was downed this week over Egypt. The threat to our country from Isis is already clear enough, as the director general of MI5 warned only last week.