Boris Johnson in 2001: ‘Bin Laden should die, but we must try him first’

Boris Johnson, November 2011 by BackBoris2012 Campaign

Grandstanding at the Tory conference on Wednesday, David Cameron took the opportunity to attack Jeremy Corbyn for his description of the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden as a “tragedy”.

As the Right Dishonourable has now pointed out twice, the video in which the Labour leader is quoted from makes it clear that  for Corbo the escalation of violence and the snuffing out of the rule of law is the real “tragedy”:

“On this there was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him [bin Laden], to put him on trial, to go through that process. This was an assassination attempt and is yet another tragedy upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center attack was a tragedy, the war in Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy.”

In return for this Cameron lambasted Corbyn for his “security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology”.

For a conservative it is strange to attack support for the rule of law as part of a “Britain-hating ideology”, especially since, as all good Tories know, it is partly Britain’s reputation for strong law that makes us such an attractive place to invest.

But stranger still is the implicit attack by Cameron on London mayor and Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, even if his preferred successor is chancellor Gideon “George” Osborne.

Way back in December 2001, as the fumes from the destruction of the Twin Towers were still strong in the nostrils of New Yorkers, Johnson took to his column in the Torygraph to reject the notion that British squaddies should perform a summary execution if they came across bin Laden:

“Bin Laden should be put on trial; not in Britain, but in the place where he organised the biggest and most terrible of his massacres, New York.

“He should be put on trial, because a trial would be the profoundest and most eloquent statement of the difference between our values and his. He wanted to kill as many innocent people as he could. We want justice. It was a trial that concluded the tragic cycle of the Oresteia, and asserted the triumph of reason over madness and revenge.”

At the end of his piece Johnson does skirt over Britain’s commitment not to hand over crooks to the Yanks if there is a danger of them being executed (as was true in New York at the time), which does rather spoil things.

But even so, once this article is brought to Call Me Dave’s attention he will no doubt waste no time in denouncing Johnson for his “security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology”.

We await the prime minister’s response.

Image Credit – Boris Johnson, November 2011 by BackBoris2012 Campaign

Jimmy Nicholls

Jimmy Nicholls

Writer on Westminster, free speech, religion and so forth. Contact jimmy.nicholls@rightdishonourable.com

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