But they seem to have done so on the question of the intervention of United Nations inspectors looking at the use of chemical weapons in that troubled land (your report, 27 August).
It is plainly wrong to draw conclusions about who was responsible before the inspectors have issued their conclusions. Sir Menzies’ plea that the House of Commons must meet and deliberate on the issue before any military action is one that must be supported not just on grounds of democracy. It will allow feelings on two crucial matters to be fully explored.
The first is one that will evoke horrid memories of the Iraq war. The public are now wary about committing troops and lives of the military on the basis of inconclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Each story of atrocities caused by religious and ethnic tensions there adds to public disillusionment about Western involvement in the Middle East.
But, secondly, there is also public concern about the motives and attitudes of the rebel opposition in Syria. The recent events in Egypt prompt many to feel that one type of dictatorship is being replaced by another (and then another). What sort of freedom are the Western allies out to defend?
In the final analysis it may be that regimes, or potential regimes, which use chemical weapons have to be confronted. Before that it is done it is right that all the different options, potential outcomes, and threats, if any, to Western interests are explored fully by our elected representatives.
If we are to take warlike action in Syria, who and how many are we going to kill?