Yesterday evening we watched a television programme I had recorded back on 4th August, the exact date of the 100th anniversary of Britain declaring war on Germany. The exact causes of the war are still subject to some debate, but there is no doubt that the immediate reason why Britain joined the fight was the German invasion of Belgium. It was that invasion and the reports of atrocities carried out on Belgian civilians that inspired so many of Britain's young men to join up.
Fast forward 25 years and in 1939 Britain again declared war on Germany. The reason was once again a German invasion; this time, of Poland. In both cases, this country was honouring treaty obligations and coming to the assistance of other countries under attack.
I have never been entirely convinced . . . Correction: I have never been convinced at all that the invasion of Iraq was about anything other than oil supplies. The weapons of mass destruction excuse was a figment of somebody's overactive imagination. But how much longer, I wonder, can we hold back from further action in the Middle East?
I have no views of the rights and wrongs of the Shia/Sunni dispute. As far as I am concerned, the two sides should forget their differences in much the same way as Catholic and Protestant Christians have learned to do. But the Islamic State is a beast of a different hue.
This is evil and needs to be stamped out.
I have no wish to be told that more young English man and women - and Scots and Welsh and Irish and American and Australian and Canadian - have died and I would never want to be the Prime Minister or President who ordered troops into combat, but that is what is needed. And it should not be just American troops backed by British and Australian allies with a smattering of other European countries. It is time for some of the emerging economies such as India and Brazil to stand up and be counted - and Saudi Arabia.
It is repugnant to me to say it, but action needs to be taken - with boots on the ground. We have no treaty obligations this time, just humanity.