Nerve gas in Salisbury, drones in Syria: is there a moral difference? | Simon Jenkins

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The attempted murder of a former Russian spy is rightly condemned. Yet Britain advocates the execution of its own citizens in the Middle East. It’s sheer hypocrisy

In 2015 a British student from Cardiff, Reyaad Khan, was killed in Syria by an RAF drone bomb, presumably “piloted” from Lincolnshire. A House of Commons report later accepted that he was “orchestrating and inciting” terrorist attacks in Britain, but could not discover how imminent the attacks were or the legal basis for his killing. His British associate, Junaid Hussain, was killed by an American drone. Two years later, Hussain’s widow, Sally Jones, and their 12-year-old son were similarly wiped out. No trial preceded these executions of British citizens on foreign soil. They died by executive action for being a threat to national security. If we assume someone in Moscow took the same view of Russian spy Sergei Skripal, what is the difference?

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, implied this week that Britain was now a victim of Russian “acts of war”, notably cyber-attacks. He implied that if the Skripal case was traced to the Kremlin, he would “look again at sanctions”. He is right that the murder of anyone on a British street is terrible and, if sanctioned by a foreign power, is, in diplomatic jargon, “unacceptable”. But murder is a criminal act against individuals. It is silly to merge it into an act of war.

The AK-47 is the poor man’s B-52. But the AK-47 is at least more accurate – as is Russian poison

Related: CCTV shows Sergei Skripal shopping days before he collapsed

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Link : Nerve gas in Salisbury, drones in Syria: is there a moral difference? | Simon Jenkins


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