So, a citizen from, say, the United States or Britain or France or Australia leaves their home and travels to Syria to fight with ISIS. The citizen may have executed people, held women and children hostage, raped women and, to quote Rory Stewart, the U.K. minister of international development, “by violence, tried to impose their will.”
We are all too aware of the atrocities committed by ISIS recruits and what their goal had been.
But now ISIS has largely been defeated in Syria, and citizens of the aforementioned Western nations who joined the terrorist movement — and survived — are pretty much on their own. They’re on the run, because the U.S. and the other countries mentioned not only don’t want them back, they are intent on killing them.
Reports the CBC: “I’m afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them,” Stewart told BBC Radio’s John Pienaar last month.
The CBC report also says this: Brett McGurk, former U.S. president Barack Obama’s special envoy for the fight against ISIS, who retains his post under Donald Trump, stated it explicitly on a recent visit to Syria. “Our mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined ISIS from a foreign country and came into Syria, that they will die here in Syria.”
Does that make sense to you? Do you think it is the right approach in dealing with the “foreign fighters” who joined ISIS?
I’m betting that most people would agree with the policy. I suppose an argument could be made for capturing the individuals and putting them in jail for a very long time. In either case, they would no longer appear to pose a threat.
But Canada is taking a different approach. Apparently, Canada prefers a reintegration policy, and some 60 Canadian ISIS recruits have returned so far and are being “closely monitored.”
A stupid policy?
I’m asking what you think, because I don’t know what to make of it. I would like to trust our security services. I would also like to think that the ISIS recruits have denounced terrorism — and it troubles me that they may have committed heinous crimes against humanity and are not facing the justice system.
What say you?
Photo: Andrew Poulin, of Timmins, Ont., joined ISIS in Syria in 2012. He won’t be coming home: He was killed in 2013.
I live in a society which, on the whole, muddles along with a lot of shared values, including the ability to accommodate some values that are at odds with each other but achieves this without lethal conflict. If a member of this society is so at odds with it that s/he wants to destroy it, that member is unacceptable to the rest of us. We do not need to spend time and effort trying to change this person’s viewpoint, they have already made that decision for themselves. If they cannot find another society which suits them, but wants to forcibly change our society, our society’s mutually-desired survival requires us to isolate or eliminate the problem member.
They want to be martyrs and find god. We should help them on their way.
There is little evidence re-integration programs work; much evidence that these are vicious “people” (I’m not sure they can still claim that title) who will murder, rape, & destroy for the cause. And lie for the cause, they believe that lying in the cause is not a lie. As such, how can one possibly trust their reintegration. They made a choice. They are adults. They need to live – and die – with it.