I should add that I am taking the term ‘Islamic extremism’ to encompass both an attachment to a fundamental interpretation of Islam, which promotes a way of living as close as possible to the teachings of the Prophet, and, most importantly a commitment to violent means in order to achieve it. It was also assumed, in the previous posting, that the same principles (the same moral requirements) ought to govern all who are involved (on whatever side).
Insofar as it is right to discuss these issues within the context of ‘war’ (which I define as the use of violence for a political purpose), it should be noted that this is how Geneva law sees these things:
International humanitarian law, based on the Hague and Geneva Conventions and precedents from Nuremberg and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, was developed with the model of formal (interstate) conflict in mind. It is not easily applied to contemporary informal, asymmetric warfare. But it is not impossible. The process begins with the Geneva principle of holding all parties to the same standard and protecting those who are not directly part of the violence. It also requires us to condemn, in an unqualified way, those who do target the innocent and those who support them.