The Woolwich murder and foreign policy
There are many cogent and valid arguments against using drones to assassinate terrorist suspects in other peoples’ countries, invading Muslim or other countries on false pretexts, and keeping our troops in Afghanistan a day longer. But, contrary to a mass of media comment, fear of providing a motive or excuse for terrorist attacks in Britain can’t be one of them. We can’t allow terrorist blackmail to determine or influence foreign policy. Anyway, Islamic extremists will never be satisfied by our abstention from invading “their” countries: they object equally strongly to, for example, our practice of educating girls, the way western women dress, pop music, and failure to adapt our laws to Sharia.
The outrage in Woolwich could never have been prevented by modifying our foreign policies in the way the perpetrators demanded. It was a straightforward murder, a matter for the police, not for politicians fatuously portraying it as a threat to our way of life and calling for national unity in sub-Churchillian rhetoric. The prime minister makes a nonsense of his call on everyone to ‘keep calm and carry on’ by cutting short his official talks in Paris and rushing home to chair Cobra meetings, as if a single gruesome murder with a political motive constituted a national emergency.
Any article, letter, tweet or statement which says that nothing can excuse or condone the murder of an innocent soldier on a London street, and continues with the word ‘but’, betrays a hopelessly muddled mind. Predictably, today’s Guardian is full of them.
(Apologies for the long absence of political or other commentaries on this blog. The reason is spelled out at length at http://www.barder.com/3942. It will be some time before normal service can be resumed, I fear.)