The decision to execute Alan Henning will undoubtedly begin to challenge opinions. Be they apathetic, oppositional, or well and truly on the fence.
Over the past few days, Britain has confirmed that it will join the U.S air force in it’s attacks on Sunni militant groups in Iraq. The current name de mode for the enemy, after ISIS and ISIL, is the Islamic State. Their sickening riposte to UK involvement in this conflict has been swift and brutal.
“The blood of David Haines was on your hands Cameron” – Islamic State executioner
Yesterday, Alan Henning was barbarically beheaded. He was a man of no military background. A taxi driver using his hard-won holidays to deliver aid to war torn countries. “Executed’” was the term used in the British Foreign Office statement and it is the appropriate, the only term to use for this act.
A view held by myself, and no doubt others, on Cameron’s initial decision to dust off that special relationship with the U.S., was overwhelmingly negative.
“Iraq? Again? Still?”, was surely the sound muttered over many a morning paper. This is a war that has failed to win many hearts and minds either at home or abroad.
The perpetration of this act on a British Citizen, it’s very personal nature and the rhetoric used by the captors could well be perceived as a threat and direct provocation to Britain itself.
“Because of our parliament’s decision to attack the Islamic State, I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision.” – Alan Henning
Politically, there will surely be a hardening of positions in support of air-strikes, particularly in the light of a right wing emergence with a groudswell of support in British politics that has not been seen since the 80s.
It would be surprising if the vulgarity of the Islamic State’s actions, especially against such an innocent and altruistic man, does not also begin to change attitudes from within all sections of British society towards both the Islamic State and Britain’s involvement in this conflict.
Aerial bombardment is not the answer and it is important we begin to realize that al-Qaeda and Islamic Fundamentalism are more than just a collection of militant peoples. They are that most difficult of things to kill. They are an idea. Bombs will not destroy it or stop it, neither will troops on the ground.
Despite this, the murder of Alan Henning demonstrates that military action against the Islamic State is now imperative. It is a saddening, chilling prospect but a necessary one.