Distinction between lethal and non-lethal

Following the Westminster coalition government’s donation of taxpayers’ money to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is waging civil war against an internationally recognised government, while receiving clandestine support from Turkey, Iran and other nations, I write with an obvious question in mind: Is there a moral distinction between providing guns that deal death directly and phones that help the process?

I won’t broach the legality of supporting insurgents, nor the question, Does this mean that the (Conservative and Liberal) coalition has effectively declared war upon the Syrian government? In this age of austerity, who would even dare to think that this money might be better spent on our own maligned, put-upon and ignored armed services.

Do our eminent south of Scotland MPs David Mundell and Michael Moore support and endorse Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement on August 10 when he announced that Britain will escalate its “non-lethal” backing for Syria’s opposition, providing extra supplies worth £5million (no mention of how much other support has been given).

What of Labour’s Russell Brown? Does he see the support as morally justifiable when the tactical advantages gained by the FSA will be used to deliver lethal consequences?

We know that the difference between the recently created political wing of the FSA and the FSA itself appears to be of the Sinn Fein/IRA variety – a branding over reality – yet our government sucks it up.

When all things are considered, the distinction between lethal and non-lethal is an artificial construct, as both build capabilities for an insurgent force.

I cannot see a moral distinction between these actions.

Hague noted: “There have been reports of atrocities on the opposition side.” The obvious question is why would they provide any support?

Would Messrs Mundell and Moore defend their government on the point that there is a moral distinction between providing the guns that directly inflict death, or the phones that allow deaths to occur?

I suspect that they will bury their heads in the sand and hope that no one asks these hard questions at their next hustings.

Steven McKeane

Ellwyn Terrace

Galashiels