* We must do something stupid?
* We must do something that kills even more people?
* We must do something but not bother to stick around and deal with the consequences?
* We must do something that adds to the risks?
* We must do something but don't know how it will end?
Shooting from the hip and hoping for the best is not a very wise foreign policy. That is what dropping bombs on Syria without any idea of what to do next amounts to.
The alternative approach is to be a touch more thoughtful. First do no harm. Then do something positive. As soon as you start looking at it this way round you quickly come up with very different answers:
* We must stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia that end up killing people in the Yemen and in Syria in support of the extremist Islamic ideology that gave us 9/11.
* We must stop buying oil and gas from Russia and Saudi Arabia as quickly as possible and invest in alternative technologies that cut off the funding for the horribly cynical actions of their governments
* We must stop war spreading to new places by, for example, investing in providing Tunisia with a secure future instead of leaving it to rot, letting the terrorists scare off the tourists and then discovering that Islamic terrorism has fed off the poverty that comes from a collapsed economy
* We must clean up some of the mess we made the last time we tried to interfere in the affairs of another country without thinking about what would happen next. In Lybia, Iraq or Afghanistan for example
* We must build the capacity of our conventional armed forces and our disaster recovery teams to get to danger spots, do something constructive and see those actions through to conclusion instead of wasting money on a Trident weapon whilst sacking soldiers.
* We must stop Russian exiles from laundering the money they've extracted from their country through banks based in London whose wild uncontrolled gambling gave us ten years of austerity.
* We must stop making stupid threats to our friends and neighbours that we will go to war over Gibraltar
To be clear:
* I am utterly opposed to the Assad regime
* I am equally opposed to the cynical lies and the military interventions of the Russians
* I am not a pacifist
* I am every bit as angry as anyone else about the use of chemical weapons on helpless civilians.
I do, however, hold to a very simple concept that when you drop bombs on a country you are at war. That is a serious move and a country should only go to war when it is clear that there are no other alternatives, when it can win that war, when it knows who its local allies are, and when it has a clear vision of what it is going to do at the end of the war to restore peace and rebuild the country. I have yet to hear anyone give me a clear answer to any of those questions in Syria and we all have very recent evidence of how much damage can be done by entering into military adventures without answering difficult questions properly first.
We are living in incredibly dangerous times. We have a petulant spoiled brat running the White House whose actions are neither predictable, nor stable, nor subject to influence by his allies. Russia is being run by a corrupt Mafia of ex KGB operatives, billionaires and gangsters. Extreme religious bigots from Saudi Arabia are funding extremist versions of Islam and fostering terrorism. China is a dictatorship run by a clique that seems to think it is to its advantage to allow its North Korean ally to be run by a deeply weird man who is pointing nuclear weapons at the United States and boasting about using them.
So unlike many on the left I believe that we do need strong modern military capabilities in these dangerous times. I just happen to think that having the capacity to act and to carry those actions through to a positive conclusion is very different to rushing into action without a moment's serious thought about the consequences.
It is not so very long ago that a Conservative government wanted to go to war with Assad. Parliament to its eternal credit voted that war down on the basis of arguments very similar to the ones I have just put. Then the Conservative government switched sides and decided that it was necessary to drop bombs on Islamic terrorists in Syria. We have been dropping bombs and killing people to help Assad.
Before that same government switches sides once again can I suggest that every time someone says to you that "We must do something" you look at them long and hard and ask "What exactly is it that you are proposing we should do, and how will we do it?"
I very much doubt that you will hear a convincing argument.