When he lost the vote to drop bombs on Syria he told us all that Parliament had spoken. "I get that and I will act accordingly."
It sounded very convincing. It now emerges that what he meant was not that he would avoid military action in Syria. He would merely organise for it to take place by allowing British pilots to fly US planes.
Now he is determined to get a mandate to bomb a different side in Syria from the one he wanted to bomb two years ago. This prompts a number of questions:
1. Why would bombing Syria be any more successful than bombing Iraq or Libya? Aren't those two countries now stronger heartlands for terrorism than they were before we took military action?
2. Which side does he actually want to win in Syria? Normally when a British government goes to war we know the answer to this question. Is he now hoping for the mass murderer Assad to get back into power to restore a bit of order? Is he hoping the country will be run by the Kurds? Which of the many opposition groups is he backing and will he be sending them any arms? Why is he confident that they are so much more democratic than Assad?
3. How will he know where to bomb in the ISIS run areas? Is our intelligence so good in those areas that we know the targets? Is there no risk of us hitting a school or a Madras by mistake? How many new ISIS militants will be recruited once the pictures are shown of the innocent children we have bombed by mistake?
4. If bombing Syria is right then why is it not right to send in ground troops? Where does the mission stop and what part of our experience in Afghanistan and Iraq leads him to believe that British boots on the ground lead to a quick and secure military solution?
5. If he wants to conduct this kind of warfare why isn't he spending more on the equipment and the troops that the armed forces need to deliver it. What is the use of a Trident Missile in Syria?
6. How many British troops will die in Syria? When and how will his mission end?
I have never been a pacifist. You only have to read up on Nazi Germany to be cured of the illusion that you can put a stop to fascism by dignified behaviour. Nor have I ever believed that you should compromise with religious extremists. The only way to deal with someone who wants to impose their religious certainty on you is to stand up to them and confront them or even better to make fun of them. But war is a serious business. It needs thinking through carefully and you need to know exactly what you want to achieve, exactly how you are going to achieve it and to be confident that you have the resources to win both the physical battle and the battle for hearts and minds.
Cameron has done none of that thinking. He is taking us into yet another war with a staggering lack of clarity over how he is going to win it. This is typical of the man. He rarely seems to focus on anything more complex than what will be written in the next morning's newspapers.
Which is exactly what he is doing with his latest ploy of trying to pass a law to allow parents to take away the passports of radicalised youth.
There has not been a single case of a child travelling to Syria to join ISIS that would have been stopped if there was a new law about passport seizures. It wouldn't have stopped the sisters who went on the pilgrimage to Mecca and then took their kids to join ISIS. It wouldn't have stopped the teenage girls who hid their intentions for weeks and knew where their parents kept important documents like passports. By definition if you intend to deceive your parents and head off abroad then they are unlikely to know your intentions and be able to stop them by seizing your passport.
The mechanics of the law change are a nightmare. Exactly who has the right to seize a passport and how? Does the parent need a court order? If so how far will the child have travelled before it is granted? Can the parent just seize the passport on the basis of an accusation? In which case how do we stop paternal control freaks from forcing their child into a marriage on the threat that they will make the accusation? At what age does the right stop? If it is up to the age of 18 then don't they already have all the authority that they need? If it is older, then at what age does it end? At 60? Can a child take away the passport of a parent who has become radicalised and tries to take them abroad? Does the right extend to all parents or only Muslims? Can I seize the passport of my child on an accusation that he has been radicalised by the right and is planning a Norwegian style murder?
If we really want to halt the slide into terrorism there is a real opportunity waiting for us right now in Tunisia. As the tourists leave and the economy collapses there is a serious risk that the terrorist who murdered our citizens on the beach will win. The country will slide into economic misery and chaos. For a fraction of the money we are planning to spend on a bombing campaign we could provide a programme of economic assistance to get that country back on its feet and help to turn it into a shining example of what our values can achieve when put into practice. We don't appear to be planning to send them anything but warm words. Bombs we send to people. Money we don't.
Cameron doesn't seem to be interested in practical useful action to halt terrorism. All that really matters to him is that he sounds tough on the telly whilst he allows yet another part of the world to slide into chaos. We are about to bumble into yet another ill thought out foreign adventure without knowing how it will end. Once again he learned it from Blair.