Sir, Your editorial “ Britain’s MPs have made the right call on Syria” (December 4) was a pretty cool appraisal of the parliamentary approval of RAF action in Syria. But aside from uncertainty about ends there seem to be three absentees from the recent debate.

First, too many people, including the UK chancellor, have asserted that lessons have been learnt from Iraq. How can they say that? How can others get away with not confronting the fact that, absent the Chilcot Report, we do not know how many and what kind of lessons there are to learn? (One might be to resolve, in this age when international events develop so rapidly, to have a faster means of running inquiries.)

Second, insofar as we seek to suppress terrorism, isn’t it the case that the principal threat in the UK has come from domestic terrorists? How does bombing Islamic State in Syria advance our domestic strategy to undermine the wellsprings of terrorism? The question is one that also applies to French policy of avenging the recent outrages in Paris on Syria.

Third, to argue that it is irrational to object to an extension of UK action from Iraq to Syria is itself irrational. RAF operations in Iraq support a government against a threat to it. Were the Iraqi government to reach an accommodation with Isis we would have no ground to go on bombing Isis over Iraq.

Sir Edward Clay

Epsom, Surrey, UK

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