Islamic State Jihadists: Once you've Beheaded Someone for Fun, Where Do You Stop?
While President Obama works on his golf swing, British Prime Minister David Cameron has cut his summer holiday short to preside over an emergency crisis meeting about the Islamic State in Iraq. Perhaps Cameron's mind has been concentrated by stories like this one - a transcript of an interview with a British-born jihadist on the popular teenage chat-room Ask.fm.
Here are some of the questions British kids were dying to ask of this exciting role model - together with his somewhat terrifying answers.
Q: Are there gun stores there? A: Yep, u can buy loads of stuff.
Q: Are bulletproof vests hard to get where you are? Would a person be better buying it in Turkey and then crossing over with it? A: You can buy it here easily, like any random military store in Raqqah u’ll find it.. they’re like $100.
Q: Do you use night vision goggles? A: Of course, we even have spy planes.
Q: Are Nikes sufficient footwear? A: I brought one pair of Adidas high-tops. You’ll get what you need here. You won’t enter the battlefield unless ur kitted up and you have ammo etc.
Q: Are there a lot of bugs there? Like if I’m sleeping, are they gonna crawl on me? Sorry if this is a weird question. May Allah reward you. A: Nope inshallah, you’ll be fine. Even if there was bugs, there’s those bug eliminators. It’s not bad, only thing is mosquitoes really.
Q: Is there internet at your homes? A: Sometimes your house can be near an internet cafe so you can use internet from there.
Q: Are there jobs to be an executioner, like when you capture kuffar [non-believers]? A: Yep.
I'm sure we'll all be able to sleep much more comfortably in our beds at night now that we know the young British recruits out fighting for the Caliphate are not being unduly troubled by unpleasant insect life and that when they go about their holy business of chopping innocent villagers' heads off that they're all protected by very-reasonably-priced bullet proof vests.
Seriously, though, isn't this one of the scariest, most horrible things you have ever read? I'm old enough to remember a period - quite a long one, actually: roughly the first 40 years of my life - when reports of captive prisoners being routinely beheaded would have seemed so barbaric and appalling as to defy belief. Such things, we used to console ourselves in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, belonged in the era of Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan, not in the civilised present. As for genocide, this was something we had more or less put paid to when we defeated Hitler...
Yet now, here we are in the age of amusing cat videos on Buzzfeed, handwringing campaigns by poodle-haired pop stars to stop tuberculosis-ridden badgers being culled, and private emails being monitored lest they say anything mildly sexist, where suddenly, in certain sections of our own community, decapitation has become the new black. The contrast between Western liberal complacency and decadence - aka the post WWII "peace dividend" - and the Medieval brutality of Islamism could scarcely be more jarring.
Or indeed, more totally unsurprising.
It's not as though one or two commentators - Douglas Murray, for example - haven't been warning us for years that this sort of thing was coming. And what has been our government's response to this burgeoning enemy within? Why, to try to improve "social cohesion" by making token appointments like the beyond-useless Baroness Warsi - now happily resigned - in the risible belief that the mere presence of a Muslim (and not just any Muslim but a female - check - Northern - check - working class one - check) in the senior echelons of government would lead to a sudden outbreak of peace and light.
You can imagine, can't you, what an impact gestures like that will have had on hotheaded young Muslims in Bradford, Luton and Cardiff, fired up with the prospect of going to fight for the Umma with their AK, their must-have Adidas high-tops and their trusty decapitation knife?
"There I was, all ready to go and pose with a few severed heads for my Twitter homies, when suddenly Baroness Warsi appeared on Question Time talking about Islamophobia and I realised that what I really needed to do was finish my medical degree and knuckle down to a proper job..."
As a general rule, I think it's a bad idea when world leaders break off from their summer holidays. a) they need a break now and again to contemplate at leisure the stupidity of their ways and b) their countries invariably seem to fare much better without their meddling.
On this occasion, though, I think Cameron scarcely came home from Portugal soon enough.
This problem that we have allowed to arise in Iraq through a mix of unforgiveable complacency and understandable reluctance not to get involved in yet another unwinnable foreign war just isn't going to go away. If we don't intervene, we'll have another genocide on our hands. If we do - as we are, on a small scale, already; and as we no doubt surely will on a much larger, more aggressive one - then inevitably there will be violent domestic consequences.
Some of those Western-born militants like Abu Farris will, no doubt, end up being killed by US and British air attacks or by Kurdish forces supplied by the CIA. But not all of them. One day, perhaps sooner rather than later, they'll come back home and I don't think the message they'll be spreading will be one of peace, harmony and goodwill to all men. After all, once you've cut somebody's head off in cold blood - and realised that among your peer group it's the height of chic - there's really no turning back, is there?