SyriaDan Hannan and Damian Thompson have both been asking why the mainstream media in this country and the US have not been reporting the martyrdom of Fr Francois Murad, a Catholic priest beheaded by the Syrian rebels whom our government thinks we should be backing with more arms – surely Mr Hague only needs to send them more swords – as that seems to be what they need, and appropriate for the stage of civilisation reached by these people.

Before Afghanistan some of us warned that no good would come of it; if Alexander the Great and the Soviets could not win, we were never going to. Iraq was, even by the standards of ‘thinking’ prevalent in the State Department and the Foreign Office, stupid. Yes, Saddam was a nasty piece of work, but so are all those in power in that region, and it was not in our interests to remove the one regime which worried Iran; so we did it.

Syria, along with Jordan, has been one of the few States in that unhappy region where Christians could live in peace. Since we invaded Iraq a decade ago, most of the Christians there have been driven from the ancient ancestral lands; the same thing is happening in Syria. The Copts have been suffering greater persecution since Mubarak went, and across the region resurgent Islam seeks to finish off the job begun by Mohammed himself.

Of course, as Mr Thompson points out, you will see nothing of this in the mainstream media. Catholic priest interferes with child – major headlines; Catholic priest beheaded by people we want to send arms to? Move along please, there is no story here.

Bashir al Assad inherited an unsavoury regime from his father, but it is a great and simplistic error to suppose that because the Russians support him, we must support those who rebel against him.  These people are Al-Qaeda’s local franchise, and if they win, they will align Syria closely with Iran. Putin knows this, and that is why he wants to keep Assad there; we appear to be stuck in some Cold War warp where anyone Russia opposes is on our side.  Did we learn nothing from the folly of that peanut farmer letting the Shah of Iran fall? Have we really learned so little from Afghanistan and Iraq? Do we still think there are, somewhere, some dusky George Washingtons in turbans who are going to bring LGBT rights to these places?

We saw in Libya how these people behave, and we see it again in Syria. Our governments seem to learn nothing, and seem blind to the fact that Christians in these countries are being exterminated. If this was a gay community, the first gay president, Barry Obama, would be on TV condemning them – but hey, a Catholic priest, that’s nothing to get worked up about, neither is the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Christians.

I have written to my MP urging him to vote against any proposal to arm these bloodthirsty lunatics, and I hope anyone who reads this will write to their representative. Assad is a bad man, no doubt, and his regime murderous; but those who seek to replace him are worse, far worse. If we wish to see an Al-Qaeda arc running from Libya through to Iran, we are well on the way to getting it.  Surely Mr Obama is due another Nobel prize. Do they do one for naive fool of the year?

In the meantime, let us pray for the soul of Fr Murad, and all those in danger in Syria – and for some sense to descend on our politicians.