How to get a head in Syria

Al-Qaeda warriors for Allah in Syria have apologised for cutting off and then displaying a wrong man’s head.

A right head would have been one belonging to a Shiite member of Assad’s troops. The wrong head belonged to a fellow Sunni militant who had the misfortune of being wounded and consequently not coherent enough to identify himself properly when his fellow fighters for democracy arrived on the scene.

One of them immediately pulled out a knife and cut off the wounded man’s head, as one does. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, his fellow democrats were able to film the grinning executioner holding up the severed head by the hair. They then broadcast the video for the delectation of likeminded viewers.

That’s how they found out they had made a mistake: one of the viewers recognised the face as belonging to one of the good guys (as seen from his vantage point). To their credit, the beheaders acknowledged the mistake and asked for ‘understanding and forgiveness’.

Commenting on this development, a witty American reader of mine was laudably magnanimous: “Please, no apology needed,” he wrote. “Think nothing of it. Honest!” (The same man has decorated his car with a bumper-sticker saying, “Don’t blame me, I voted Chalcedonian.” That made him my friend for life.)

For myself, I was happy to see that some young people in the world still have manners. Our own yobs never say sorry for anything they do, although they generally tend to stop just short of decapitation.

As to the ‘understanding and forgiveness’ requested by the al-Qaeda chaps, I’m not sure how eagerly it’ll be proffered. You see, to err may be human, but to forgive isn’t always an automatic response on the part of Muslims, especially those who are more bellicose than average. An eternal vendetta for many a generation is something that comes to them much more naturally.

On that general observation the beheader would be well-advised to lie low for a while. An extended while, actually, ideally for life. Even then he’ll be constantly looking over his shoulder, which is guaranteed to give him neck pains.

However, much as I’m concerned about his wellbeing, I also have other concerns that take priority. Such as the plight of the Royal Marine sergeant who has been convicted for shooting an al-Qaeda militant badly wounded in an attack on the Marine’s base.

A few days ago I complimented the sergeant on his erudition, albeit displayed in a rather eclectic style. As he was about to shoot the prisoner, the Marine waxed Shakespearean, with a twist: “Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us.”

I’d suggest that the second statement has been vindicated by our apologetic Muslims. In fact, the Marine could have gone even further by saying that what ‘you would do to us’ would be much, much worse.

In fact, he had seen many a tree decorated with the body parts of his comrades, many of the parts severed before the men were dead. Al-Qaeda democrats do go in for such exhibitionism big time, and viewing their handiwork is bound to have devastating effects on anyone raised in a different culture.

Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that, but if there ever were mitigating circumstance to a killing, the sergeant’s case has them galore. ‘Mitigating’ doesn’t mean ‘exculpating’, and he ought to be punished for acting the way he did.

But punishing him with a life sentence, the maximum his offence can carry, would be an act of gross injustice. People who fight savages should not themselves become savage, but it’s utter folly to demand that they not make a step or two in that direction.

Any warfare hardens the heart, and this kind of warfare can well turn it to granite. Our top generals understand this, which is why they’re begging the tribunal for mercy to the Marine (and his young family, who may lose their sole source of income).

We should all pray for it, hoping that ghastly political correctness hasn’t yet reached our military. I do say my prayers – but I’m not holding my breath.

P.S. And speaking of apologies, a young Polish sculptor in Gdansk made a powerful sculpture of a Soviet soldier raping a pregnant Polish woman while holding a gun to her head.

During the night the young man placed the sculpture next to the monument of a Soviet tank, which celebrates the liberation of Poland from the Nazis. Come morning, the sculpture was removed, but not fast enough to escape the attention of the Russians.

Their embassy demanded an apology, which was meekly offered. Yet the Poles would have been within their rights to tell the Russians to perform a ballistically improbable act on themselves.

That the Soviet ‘liberators’ raped millions of German women of all ages is a fact universally acknowledged. Less known is the equally verifiable fact that the ‘liberators’ also raped every woman on the way to Germany – in western Russia, Belorus, Czechoslovakia and of course Poland.

They then raped the whole country by inflicting upon it the red version of slavery in place of the brown one. I think the Poles should withdraw their apology and restore a sense of balance by reinstating the sculpture.  


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