The delayed attack on Syria is good for Britain -- and the PM

We were finished as a world player, said a more than normally depressed Paddy Ashdown. It was the biggest fiasco since Suez, said others, the most epic parliamentary cock-up since Lord North. We had flunked the global virility test, and in military terms we were a bunch of useless, toothless eunuchs who no longer had the political will to waggle our missiles at anyone. The French were tougher than us, for goodness’ sake! …

That delay is a huge tribute to the Prime Minister. It is a recognition of the role he has played in leading the response to the atrocities of Assad of Syria. It is also, frankly, a reflection of the quandary we all face. It seems overwhelmingly likely that the forces of the Syrian regime have indeed used chemical weapons, and killed hundreds of civilians in an act of utter savagery. I wrote in this space a few weeks ago of my deep anxieties about our getting embroiled in Syria — and I still have them.