Posts Tagged ‘The Torygraph’

Tory Bloodlust, Corbyn, and the Drone Strike against ‘Jihadi John’

November 23, 2015

Okay, this is going to be another article commenting on the current situation in the Middle East. I’m sorry about this, if you’re bored with the subject, guys. Please stay with me. This stuff’s important. But I guess you already know that very well already.

Last week it was reported that the Americans had killed Mohamed Emwazee, aka ‘Jihadi John’, in a drone strike. Emwazee was the British ‘executioner’ with a London accent, shown murdering prisoners in ISIS’ propaganda videos. This was a subject of celebration, with David Cameron appearing on TV to praise the Americans for having done a good job well done, and make various comments about British-American co-operation, intelligence-sharing and so forth.

And then the right-wing press over here decided that they were going to attack Corbyn for not being sufficiently militaristic. The good blogger over at Zelo Street has written a very good piece about this at http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/jihadi-john-bloodlust-exposed.html. Among the pack baying for Corbyn’s blood was the editor of the Sun, Tom Newton Dunn, Dan Hodges and Toby Young at the Torygraph, Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes and Andrew Neil, known to readers of Private Eye as ‘Brillo Pad’. They attacked Corbyn for saying that it would have been better if Emwazee had been tried in a court of law. This wasn’t enough for the above rightists, despite the fact that Corbyn had prefixed it with a statement that ‘Jihadi John’ had been held to account for his brutal and callous crimes’. Not quite the soft statement the Tories were making it out to be, but still not bloodthirsty enough for them.

The article in Zelo Street makes it clear that capturing ‘Jihadi John’ would have been exactly the right course, given the precedents for it. The Israelis captured and tried Adolf Eichmann, one of the Nazis responsible for the Holocaust. There’s a quote by Eichmann in which he states that he had absolutely no regrets about what he did. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it’s something on the lines that only weaklings regret what they have done. It’s one of those noxious statements that make you think that however the Israelis killed him, whether by firing squad or hanging or whatever, it was too good for the b*stard. The Israelis would have been justified shooting him out of hand. But they didn’t. They put him on trial and had him convicted according to the rule of law. Just as the Europeans and Americans did with Radovan Kardzic, one of the Serb generals responsible for horrendous war crimes in Bosnia. He was captured, and tried at the Hague for his crimes against humanity.

And in fact, there are a number of other, very good reasons why it is better to capture and try individuals like Emwazee, rather than killing them in drone strikes.

Firstly, as a way of gaining hearts and minds, drone strikes are counterproductive. Where they’re being used against Taliban enclaves in Pakistan, they’ve actually managed to increase support for the Islamists. Part of this, supposedly, is that the local people feel it’s a cowardly method of fighting. The drones are remotely operated by someone hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the battle field.

Secondly, as a matter of simple military precision, they aren’t very good. I’ve put up a report about them from The Young Turks, which showed that rather than precisely targeting their victims, they simply home in on their mobile phone signals. The result has been that the wrong people have often been killed, simply because they were holding the intended victim’s phone at the time of the attack. This has included the mother of the Jihadis. Those killed in the strikes have also been bystanders, who may not have had anything to do with the victims except having been standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The third argument against them is perhaps the most serious. Many liberal Americans have opposed drone strikes, such as that which killed Anwar Awlaki, on the grounds that are a form of extra-judicial execution. Or assassination, if you prefer. Anwar Awlaki was the Islamist preacher killed in a drone strike in Yemen. He was a deeply unpleasant piece of work, having preached murderous jihad and planned numerous terrorism offences. He was also an American citizens, and many Americans were upset about the way the president – in this case, Obama, had ordered his death without having him caught and tried.

All of this also applies to the drone strike against ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazee. And you don’t have to have any illusions about how brutal and thuggish Emwazee was to be concerned about the manner of his death, and the implications it has for global justice. Zelo Street states that he was scum. He was. Utterly. The man butchered innocents and boasted about it, with no remorse whatsoever. He pretty much got what he deserved, at least if his own low standards were applied to himself. But justice demanded that he be captured and tried.

As for Dunn, Brillo Pad, Young, Staines and the rest of them, don’t expect them to make reasoned, nuanced criticism of Corbyn. They aren’t. They’re frightened, and they’ve decided that the best way to destroy him is to make him out to be a dangerous subversive, who supports the IRA, ISIS and other terrorist organisations. Even if he doesn’t quite say what they want you to believe he said. That the ‘narrative’ they’re using, and they’re going to stick to it, according to Goebbels’ maxim that if you use a lie big enough for long enough, then it becomes the truth.