Woolwich: We’re mad to elevate Lee Rigby’s insane murderers to the rank of rational soldiers
WHO to blame for the barbaric murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich? You could start with the alleged jihadis, like Michael Adebolajo. The alleged killer says the West made him do it. There can be excuse for this repugnant act. The men who hacked Lee Rigby to death are deranged murderers making human sacrifices to their god.
The question is how do we fight it? The question is if fighting it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and other foreign places works?
Writing in the Guardian is Joe Glenton, a former soldier sentenced in 2010 to nine months prison for refusing to serve a second tour of Afghanistan. He objected on legal and moral grounds. He was the first British soldier to speak out publicly against the war. He writes:
So at the very outset, and before the rising tide of prejudice and pseudo-patriotism fully encloses us, let us be clear: while nothing can justify the savage killing in Woolwich yesterday of a man since confirmed to have been a serving British soldier, it should not be hard to explain why the murder happened.
But let’s start by examining what emerged from the mouths of the assailants themselves. In an accent that was pure London, according to one of the courageous women who intervened at the scene, one alleged killer claimed he was “… fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan …”. It is unclear whether it was the same man, or his alleged co-assailant, who said “… bring our [Note: our] troops home so we can all live in peace”.
It should by now be self-evident that by attacking Muslims overseas, you will occasionally spawn twisted and, as we saw yesterday, even murderous hatred at home. We need to recognise that, given the continued role our government has chosen to play in the US imperial project in the Middle East, we are lucky that these attacks are so few and far between.
Didn’t an extreme and imperialistic form of Islam that exists in Afghanistan and elsewhere inform the killers without the West’s involvement?
It is equally important to point out, however, that rejection of and opposition to the toxic wars that informed yesterday’s attacks is by no means a “Muslim” trait.
But the alleged killer specifically identified himself as a Muslim. He said he was acting on behalf of aggrieved Muslims the world over.
Vast swaths of the British population also stand in opposition to these wars, including many veterans of the wars like myself and Ross, as well as serving soldiers I speak to who cannot be named here for fear of persecution.
But they didn’t just hack a man to death in the street for their god. Didn’t one alleged killer say it was an act of war? Not exactly a peacenik, is he?
Of course, lunatics do mad things.
In May 2012, a lunatic called Hamza Boutouil, 25, killed blind Muslim cleric Maymoun Zarzour The killer told police he had killed the “antichrist” and that it was Judgement Day. At the Old Bailey he was put away.
Following a three-day trial at which three of the UK’s leading psychiatrists testified that Boutouil was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and “as mad as you can get”, the jury of four men and eight women returned, in a complex legal procedure, a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity”.
Boutouil was returned to Broadmoor maximum security hospital, in Berkshire, where doctors have been treating him since his arrest.
In 2013, Nicola Edgington, 32, of Greenwich, “virtually decapitated Sally Hodkin, 58, six years after killing her own mother”.
She had tried to stab Ms Clark shortly before attacking Mrs Hodkin, who was a law firm accounts clerk, with a knife stolen from a butcher.
The killer had a record of bad mental health.
Lee Rigby’s killers appear to be insane. But because they talked about war and their victim was a soldier, there is talk of their cause and of their reasons.
David Cameron reacted to these murderous madmen by convening a meeting of COBRA in the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms. This was just two psychos seeking fame and purpose. It wasn’t war. Two pathetic men managed to get the Prime Minister talking about a war. Wow!
Get this from Anthony Lane:
There is a particular horror associated with low-grade or homemade violence of this kind. The bombs used in the attack on the Boston Marathon were, as has become clear, frighteningly easy to construct; but there remains something hideous about the use of weapons that are, to other people, barely weapons at all, but household or kitchen implements. That was true of the box-cutters used by the hijackers on 9/11, and it is no less true, though of course on a far smaller scale, of the blades employed [yesterday].
The Woolwich knifers used blades. Stephen Lawrence was murdered with a blade in South London. I don’t recall discussion about why the killers didn’t use a gun or a drone and how more terrifying a blade was. Lane adds:
Cheap weaponry is also likely to cause concern to the security services; you can track the purchase and handling of explosives, but how on earth do you prevent someone from buying a few steak knives at a hardware store or a supermarket? Why should such a purchase even come to your attention?
You can’t. You have knife amnesty. You educate people not to carry knives. By law, shops can only sell blades to over-18s who can produce ID. In 2010, we read:
A mother was banned from buying a pair of plastic scissors after shop staff suggested she was going to give them to her toddler. Nadine Martin was told she could not purchase the plastic-bladed scissors because her three-year-old daughter had handed them to the cashier.
The only people turned on to the idea of using machetes and meat cleavers to hack people to death are mad not Muslim. Hacking a man to death will not get sane people wondering if the killer had a good point. Don’t fear the killers. Don’t call it war. If it is, we’re fighting the insane. Putting them on pedestal and paying heed to their words is just mad…