There was a weird "We have always been at war with Eurasia vibe" about much of the coverage yesterday, with numerous Tory politicians giving the distinct impression that ISIS would not pose the problem it now does had the Commons not blocked the bombing of Syria in 2013. What they forget to mention is that the proposal then was to bomb not ISIS but President Assad, one of ISIS's principal enemies. I've no idea whether such bombing would have been effective in toppling Assad, but assuming that it had been, in the absence of ground troops the most plausible scenario would surely have been that (as in Libya) the dictator's fall would have created a power vacuum that ISIS itself would have filled. In short, had we bombed Syria in 2013 the capital of ISIS would in all likelihood now be not Raqqa but Damascus.
How would that have been better?