An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, March 16, 2004  


Here is a lesson which the British government in Northern Ireland only learned in the past 10 years. It's a lesson that the US clearly has to learn and a lesson that Blair needs to remember (coming as he did into a peace process in NI that was well on its way).

When you try to fight terrorism illegally you only help it. The terrorists are the ones who must remain in the wrong; legally and morally. As soon as the legitimate governments step outside the law in an attempt to beat the terrorists all they do is ensure that recruitment into said terrorists groups is increased. Exponentially.

There were several classic cases of this in Ireland. In 1916 after the Easter Rising, the rebels were despised by Dubliners and had rotten fruit thrown at them as they were being brought into Mount Joy jail. Within one week, as they had been executed one by one, including James Connolly who, due to this injuries, had to be tied to a chair to be shot, they became instant heroes of Irish Freedom and martyrs to the cause. In more recent times we had the recurrence of the 'Troubles' in NI. The British government responded with Internment: the wholescale rounding up young men of dubious background and detained without trial. They queued up to join the IRA. The refusal to negotiate with the Hunger Strikers (in which 13 men starved themselves to death) was an even bigger mistake and saw a marginalised terror group become part of the mainstream within the 6 counties. This does not mean that you do not deal with terrorists through security measures; you just make sure you do it legally and without handing over the moral highground so that the appeal of the group spreads beyond the original few nutters.

This is where the Bush/Bliar axis failed the victims of 9/11 and now Madrid. Let us not forget that after 9/11, the Afghans offered to hand Bin Laden over for trial to a neutral country if the US could provide any shred of evidence that he had some connection with 9/11. That's a standard legal requirement for extradition. In fact, the perfect place to try Bin Laden would have been in the International Criminal Court which the US still refuses to endorse. Instead, Bush bombed Afghanistan back into the Stone Age and claims credit for liberating the people from the dreaded Taliban; the oppressive regime the West were quite happy to leave in power as long is it was only women they were oppressing. How did bombing the miserable inhabitants of that country do anything to stop Al Qaeda?All it did was provide a cause for more militants to join.

Then they proceeded to invade Iraq against all international opinion and the clear will of the people so that the neo-con's dreams of taking the balance of power from the Saudis would be realised. Their motives were so transparent and their evidence so flimsy that it is astonishing that Bliar still claims that 'history will vindicate him'. In the meantime, fundamentalists arrive in Iraq on a daily basis to kill Iraqis who take jobs from Americans.

In Spain previous governments tried to fight the so-called 'dirty war' against ETA and simply got themselves into trouble. It wasn't until Asnars ruthless, but legal campaign against ETA coupled with some pretty major political concessions, that ETA became a spent force. It's repeated over and over again all over the world. You must fight terrorists by legal means.

posted by Sarah | 22:22 0 comments
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