In the last part of the speech, Benn, speaking to his own Labour Party, makes the case that Daesh equals fascism and the Labour Party has always fought against fascism. It is one of the best denunciations of the terror of Daesh I have come across. Hidden within this paragraph is a reference to the Good Samaritan and the reference implies that it is Good Samaritan behaviour to refuse to ignore the threat of fascism, instead to engage with it:
"Now Mr Speaker, I hope the House will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the House. As a party, we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. And we are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us here tonight, and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt. And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. And it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. And my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for this motion tonight."Without going into all the arguments for just war and so forth, I think Benn has a theological point. If we take the Good Samaritan paradigm [sic] seriously, then we will not just love our neighbour in an ambulatory mode (binding up wounds after the beating up), nor will stop once we love our neighbour preventatively (guarding the road to Jericho to prevent robbers and malcontents lurking in the shadows). Where fascistic forces are intent on war, depredation of 'the other' and despicable behaviour towards women and children, it is (so the argument goes) unloving to persist in refusing to combat such evil. One response in chorus to Benn's speech has been that bombing will destroy innocent lives alongside destruction of combatants. That surely is true. But the rejoinder is that if we walk by on the other side and do not engage Daesh, innocent lives of non-combatants will still be lost, both in Syria/Iraq and in the killing fields of Paris, airspace over Sinai and wherever terror strikes next.
There is a larger set of arguments - noted in part previously on ADU - in which we need to ask, notwithstanding Benn's argument, what the "best" engagement with the situation is, with special reference to twisting Turkey and Saudi Arabia's arms in respect of their tacit (?) / explicit (?) support for Daesh.
In connection with various themes above, finally, an Economist article on ++Justin Welby's speech in the House of Lords re the air attack motion, is more than worth a look at. Not only does ++Justin think the just war criteria have been met for the UK to justify engagement, he also as a Christian theologian challenges Qatar and Saudi theologians to re-examine their Salafist theology (which underpins Daesh's justification for their thuggery).