Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now Is the Time to Recall Parliament; Commentary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now Is the Time to Recall Parliament; Commentary

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Fox Defence Editor

BY COMMITTING RAF Tornado jets to northern Iraq, the Government is edging closer to putting British service men and women into a combat role.

Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, must know from his experience at the Ministry of Defence that using the Tornados in "a surveillance role" doesn't mean that they will stay out of the fight. If the planes' surveillance and target acquisition kit illuminates a target on the ground, it is likely to draw a response in fire from the ground. The line is crossed.

If the air operations in dropping humanitarian aid as well as protection of the fleeing Kurds, Turcmen and Yazidis are to succeed, teams of forward aircraft controllers and cargo handlers must be put on the ground. All this makes nonsense of President Obama's pledge "not to put boots on the ground". Not to do so now, albeit in limited form, would be irresponsible and put the lives of American, British and other allied service personnel at risk. …

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