A profoundly important, unprecedented and dangerous decision has been taken by European leaders in the past few days. It’s not made as explicit as it should be – because our leaders are always careful to erect a bodyguard of verbiage and lies to protect them if something goes wrong – but it’s perfectly clear that they want any foreign fighters in Isis to be killed when they are found. It’s not a question of whether they deserve to live or die – they have cut the throats of innocents, including my journalist colleagues, and they have raped women and enslaved children. We know that, and we are aware that their vicious cult has not yet ended. Isis is still alive.
But what happened to justice, that staple foundation of all countries that believe in freedom, democracy, liberty? A few quotations to start with. Here is the French defence minister, Florence Parly. “If the jihadis perish in this fight, I would say that’s for the best,” she said. Then we have the US envoy for the anti-Isis coalition, Brett McGurk. “Our mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined Isis from a foreign country and came into Syria, they will die here in Syria. So if they’re in Raqqa, they’re going to die in Raqqa.”
And here is our very own diplomat-philosopher and Tory minister Rory Stewart. “These are people who have essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance towards the British government…they believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth century, or seventh century, state. So I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact that these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately (sic) the only way of dealing (sic again) will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”