David Cameron Mali
David Cameron has taken Britain to war in Mali without consulting the British people, says Lucy P.

Say what you like about Tony Blair, but when he wanted a war he at least cared enough to make up a dodgy dossier and pressure his attorney general to give him legal cover before sending in the troops.

The heady days of our government calling a vote in Parliament before assigning our military to yet another adventure are long gone; the tactic now is to dispense with all the mundane stuff like debates, and start off small before ramping it up once we are there.

The Libyan no-fly zone swiftly turned into the RAF acting as the rebels' personal air force, and the tactic of 'mission creep' is now being repeated in Mali.

First we were only sending a couple of cargo planes, with a David Cameron assurance that there would not be any British boots on the ground, and today it was announced that we are sending hundreds of troops under the category of 'training' as well as surveillance personnel and air-to-air refuelling capacity.

The sense of déjà vu should have came to most of us when Cameron made his speech last week claiming that, after the Algerian hostage debacle, "this is a problem for those places and for us" and finishing by telling us that it was time to "thicken UK involvement in the area" due to the "terrorist threat from a group of extremists based in different parts of the world who want to do the biggest possible amount of damage to our interests and way of life".

In a matter of weeks we have gone from what was a regional conflict into an international effort to prevent a full-blown terrorist insurgency to protect 'our way of life'.

They never so much as attempted to persuade the British public to accept that we are about to be involved in yet another military conflict. Instead, they just told us we were in one whether we liked it or not.

Aside from the timing of the latest announcement, coming days after the Government announced they were making 5,300 troops redundant, the £5 million the Coalition is handing to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) to uphold the UN security council resolution on Mali is especially galling when the same people are forcing massive austerity measures on us all to bring down our national debt.

We have every right to ask: how is it that we can afford another expensive military escapade in a far-away country, but not have the money to continue running childcare services and disabled centres in our own?

Our recent record of intervention doesn't inspire confidence either. Neither Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya are any safer due to our military action; all we accomplished was spreading terrorism further around the region, and creating a situation where Al Queada and its supporters could slip into the power vacuum we left behind to bomb, shoot, torture and terrorise whole populations, and draw us into yet more prolonged, bloody wars whenever and wherever they choose.

Once again our government is complicit in dropping thousands of tonnes of aircraft ordnance on a country in order to 'save' it. And we don't even get a say in it.

Lucy P writes commentary on news, politics and media on her blog Falling on a Bruise.

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