A tale of two wars (well two divergent accounts of the same war)…

3 views

Two conflicting responses to the Secretary of State’s speech, first from Gerry Kelly

“Her comments on the past are deeply offensive to the hundreds of victims of state killings and loyalist collusion. Many of these killings were ordered from the very top of the British establishment during the Thatcher era.

“Around 15,000 republicans were imprisoned during the course of the conflict. Only a handful of members of the British state forces were convicted during this time.

And secondly from Nigel Dodds, who was also responding to what he called the OTRs postman

The facts are clear; 90% of deaths in Northern Ireland were caused by paramilitaries, and of those, two-thirds were by republicans. The IRA killed more Catholics than either the RUC or the Army, yet there has been a concentration of resources and calls for inquiries on a very small number of deaths.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Two conflicting responses”

    Mick, I don’t see how those two quotes are contradictory; they focus on different aspects of the insurgency – as referenced in the second part of your title. Neither Gerry nor Nigel take a wider view.

  • Morpheus

    If there is sufficient evidence for a prosecution then prosecute, if there isn’t then there can’t be a prosecution – it really has to be that straightforward.

    If there is sufficient evidence against an IRA man for a crime then prosecute.
    If there is sufficient evidence against an UFF man for a crime then prosecute.
    If there is sufficient evidence against a soldier for a crime then prosecute.
    If there is sufficient evidence against a police officer for a crime then prosecute.

    If the evidence exists and the authorities pick and choose who is prosecuted and who isn’t then it makes a mockery of our judicial system which is supposedly the envy of the world.

    The harsh reality is that in most cases there is insufficient evidence for prosecution

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    It was only a “war” in the self-justifying imagination of terrorists. “War” lets them off the hook (killing is OK if you’re in a war, they reason). Problem is, there was in reality no war, just terrorist campaigns and the extremely challenging policing thereof.

  • zep

    It seems like Republicans were fondest of describing it as a ‘war’ but were quick to act otherwise as and when it suited, and Unionists were fondest of maintaining that what we had was most definitely NOT a war, but were happy to see Republican paramilitaries dealt with in a ‘military’ fashion.

  • zep

    Incidentally, you have to wonder who would have the most to lose going forward if we were just to open up the books. The RUC, UDR, MI5 etc are already roundly discredited if you believe Gerry Kelly, so it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to see the detail of what went on there. I’d be interested to see who they were talking to, I wonder if Gerry agrees?

  • Mc Slaggart

    @Mainland Ulsterman

    Would you be happy if they called it something else than war but explained that they had a just cause?

  • Son of Strongbow

    “Just cause” is very much in the eye of the beholder, or in the finger poised over the trigger if you prefer; and of course everyone can promote their particular ’cause’ as the most morally preeminent.

    As to ‘war’. It was of course no such thing. It was multiple terrorist campaigns waged by murder gangs for ’causes’ they self selected to pursue, with the State playing catch-up.

    Opening the ‘books’ (and it is the State that holds the records) is not am option I believe. At least in terms if naming names. Article 2 considerations would preclude that option.

    The only way to name those who have culpability is by bringing successful prosecutions against them in the courts (and deals have been done on that score).

  • foyle observer

    “Just cause” is very much in the eye of the beholder, or in the finger poised over the trigger if you prefer; and of course everyone can promote their particular ’cause’ as the most morally preeminent.

    Well in that case, Britain and the USA ‘war on terror’ is a terrorist campaign.

    Glad we got the chance to clear that up.

    FYI – Over 100,000 civilians murdered by Britain and the US since their terrorist campaign began.

  • zep

    We live in the era of wikileaks, where state secrets become un-secret every other day!

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    McS, no – because “explained” assumes an underlying truth which is absent. They can *claim* it was a just war, the same as I can claim Jim Megaw was an Assyrian deity.

  • babyface finlayson

    MU/McSlaggart
    The IRA could not fulfil the criteria for a just war by any stretch of the imagination.
    Declared by lawful authority? No
    Reasonable chance of success? Not at all
    Proportional? Hardly

  • Mc Slaggart

    Son of Strongbow

    ““Just cause” is very much in the eye of the beholder”

    While it not an absolute truth (very little is) it is often put up in defense in legal disputes.

    It is the only means anyone have to defend their actions and it does not matter if you take those actions as part of a state or independently.

  • Zig70

    Oh whatever do unionists think drove thousands of catholics to armed insurrection? Often the easy choice is to do nothing in the face of injustice. I’ve more respect for a man that stands up for his family or community than I have for some kid that goes to a distant country and shoots the locals on the behest of a politician. The argument of whether it was a just war is mute. The cause still hasn’t been addressed and noting the audience Ms Villiers didn’t address the fuel religious institutions lent to the fire. In fact some churches here still demonise the rest of us. In the past year in work I’ve been told that I’m going to hell because I don’t have the same interpretation of a man-written, transcribed and translated book. I can understand people wanting to feel special and have their own wee club but when the troubles are addressed, their part of the responsibility needs to be set out.

  • cynic2

    “Oh whatever do unionists think drove thousands of catholics to armed insurrection? ”

    At its peak the IRA had perhaps 3000 members and hangers on – in a population of say 700000 Catholics

  • cynic2

    “Just cause” is one thing

    Unjust illegal and murderous approach is another

  • mac tire

    “At its peak the IRA had perhaps 3000 members and hangers on – in a population of say 700000 Catholics”

    Hmmm, so how come there were at least 15,000 Republican prisoners throughout the conflict? So I wonder how many there were who were not imprisoned.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Mac tire,

    The same thought entered my mind about the numbers. There is a simple explanation (which may or not may be true). At its peak ; it wasn’t always the same 3000. Just like unemployment, there may be 7% unemployed at a moment in time but it’s not always the same people (mostly). People joined and then they left, possibly deciding to leave after a period of incarceration that they did not want to repeat.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    BTW, I have seen much lower figures quoted; at any time there were no more than 300 – 500 “active service” members.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    Here is the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of war:

    “: a state or period of fighting between countries or groups

    : a situation in which people or groups compete with or fight against each other

    : an organized effort by a government or other large organization to stop or defeat something that is viewed as dangerous or bad.”

    The IRA/INLA campaign I think fits within these three defintions: the republicans were a group with at least one large organization (the INLA/IRSP could hardly be described as large) and both they and the British forces carried out organized campaigns.

    As to just war the best criterion for that is the Catholic/Christian tradition, consisting of two different sets of criteria: jus ad bellum (justice until war) and jus en bellum (justice in war), (please forgive my Latin I declined Russian nouns not Latin ones). The former requires that all means short of war be tried before force is resorted to. The latter consists basically of the principles that are now contained in the laws of warfare. The Republicans don’t want to seriously discuss the SDLP’s protest campaign that was designed to correct discrimination against Catholics without warfare. As far as the laws of warfare go the less the IRA says about this the better. The loyalists are in an even worse position as it can be credibly argued that they were responsible for starting The Troubles by forcibly suppressing the NICRA marching campaign and engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in August 1969 in Belfast and elsewhere. At least the loyalists can the good sense not to argue that they conducted a just war–more likely a just protection racket against unionist businesses.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “McS, no – because “explained” assumes an underlying truth which is absent. ”

    In this all truth is relative. I had a relative who said the “Nonviolent struggle” died in the Omagh area when the B Specials came out of the courthouse and beat the protesters off the street. I think what haunted him was that they left him alone as he was well known and a friend to a lot of them. I am left to wonder how many of those police men thought they was wrong in their actions? 1

    1
    ” In the first place, recent declarations of Government policy on issues of local franchise, the drawing of administrative boundaries, investigation into methods of housing allocation, and machinery for dealing with grievances against local authorities, which have already been made, all provide material support for the inference that the evidence of political or social-political grievance which was presented to us from so many quarters, in such detail, and with such frequency, had substantial foundation in fact. ”
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/hmso/cameron.htm#contents

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson:

    “The IRA could not fulfil the criteria for a just war by any stretch of the imagination.”

    Churchill said ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” in Belfast. Do you disagree with him?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Mc Slaggart

    “Churchill said ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” in Belfast. Do you disagree with him?”

    Well, his son Winston did (eventually) disagree with this sentiment, hence his rough reception in Belfast.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    McS,
    With reference to the IRA having a “just cause”, you cite instances of Catholic disadvantage pre-1969. There was of course just cause for a campaign to increase Catholic employment levels etc and of course there were long term structural issues in NI society to be addressed (the bulk of the problem), as well as discrimination (a smaller exacerbating factor but one with a disproportionate capacity to sour inter-community relations). I’m with you on all that. The non-sequitur is to say there was a just cause for terrorism (or indeed just cause for seeking to make NI part of a united Ireland against the wishes of its people).

    It’s hard to see what a “just cause” for terrorism might be. It certainly didn’t lie in employment differentials between two communities. In reality, the reason for IRA terrorism lies mainly in the beliefs of Republican ideology: that “blood sacrifice” was a noble way to “cleanse” Ireland of the British presence. Delightful stuff.

    The blood sacrifice was mainly other people’s – Republicans killed 5 people for every “volunteer” of their own that died in the “struggle”. All it took was an opportunity, which was presented by the disorder of 1969-1970 (in which Republicans were also instrumental, though not the sole instigators of course).

    The SDLP had a just cause at that time, insofar as they sought to better the lives of the Catholic community. The IRA (and some in the greener parts of the SDLP) were not however formed to campaign for economic fairness but to “free” “Ireland” from “the British”. Which meant changing the sovereignty of NI against the wishes of its people. This was not a just cause, in fact it was positively unjust and oppressive. The IRA then took this unjust cause and pursued it in about as unjust a way as is possible. In short, they got it wrong from every angle.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    And on the IRA numbers, I think the 15,000 that went through the prisons was over the 30-odd years. So looking at a snapshot in time, the numbers involved in the IRA at any one time would be a lot lower. But even 15,000 out of 700,000 doesn’t really tally with the idea of a rising up of a people en masse – particularly as the vast bulk of said ethnie voted consistently for the IRA-rejecting SDLP throughout the Troubles. The Republicans, though they had their umbra of diehard support, were a minority within a minority. They punched above their weight in 2 areas: (1) violence; (2) brass-necked self-mythologising. Happily they have now dropped (1).

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    … and on Gerry Kelly: I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say anything actually coherent or truthful about the IRA’s role as principal perpetrator of the Troubles. I hope he realises that if there is going to be any kind of truth recovery process, he’s going to have to get his act together. Or rather, stop the act and be honest for once.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “With reference to the IRA having a “just cause”, you cite instances of Catholic disadvantage pre-1969.”

    The problem is the state thought it had “a “just cause” for terrorism” in fighting the changes’1.

    The B specials as individuals was nice decent people who feared the wrath of god 2. At the Tipping Point they took out their truncheon and beat peace off the street.

    2
    “None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see.”
    Matthew Henry

    1 terrorism: “violent acts that are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants”

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    “Churchill said ‘Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” in Belfast. Do you disagree with him?”
    Not sure what that has to do with the IRA campaign, but if you mean do I think a similar campaign against home rule would have been just, well definitely not.
    Now what are your thought on the Provos and just war theory?

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    Do you think the B Specials techniques was acceptable?

  • Barnshee

    “The B specials as individuals was nice decent people who feared the wrath of god 2. At the Tipping Point they took out their truncheon and beat peace off the street.”

    Dates and locations please

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    “Do you think the B Specials techniques was acceptable?”
    Oh well done you nearly got me there. No I don’t think the B specials techniques were acceptable. What next? The Gulf War? Dresden?
    Or would you get to the point about the IRA and their war.
    Do you think it met the criteria as set out by tmitch57, for example, for a just war? And if so why?

  • Mc Slaggart

    @ babyface finlayson

    I should say at the outset I am not from a physical force background so their is others better equipped to answer
    your question than myself.

    It was Cicero that claimed that the absence of political rights corrupts moral virtues.

    Then again how could northern Ireland give everyone equal rights when the ghost of the IRA haunted it.

    “It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood:
    Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
    Augurs and understood relations have
    By magot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
    The secret’st man of blood. What is the night?”

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    Thanks for the nice quotation. A bit of culture never goes amiss.
    However, I can’t help feeling you are being a bit evasive after me giving clear answers to your 2 questions .
    So why not venture an opinion. You must have thought about it.
    If you live here then it affected you and you should be entitled to an opinion on whether their ‘war’ was just or not.

  • Mc Slaggart

    The IRA existed throughout the life of Northern Ireland so did it change the state of Northern Ireland by its activities or did Northern Ireland change to make it become active?

    loyalists in 1966 started killing people.

    IRA = I Ran Away

  • Mc Slaggart

    It was Internment that sorted out what sort of IRA we would have. The British army went after the old Marx IRA and not “PIRA”.

    Thus they went after the group who had waited for “all means short of war be tried before force is resorted to.”

    The regular British army member respected the PIRA and did not want to be associated with the UDR.

    To much Sun Tzu
    “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”

  • Mc Slaggart

    At all times during the troubles the IRA was available for talks to end the fighting.

    which meets the third criteria of “Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence”

    Thomas Aquinas

  • Mc Slaggart

    It must also be said that anyone joining up to the IRA did not expect any self gain. Which meets a Aquinas second requirement.

    “Second, war must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain…….
    “lost territory, lost goods, punishment for an evil perpetrated by a government, army, or even citizen population”
    Thomas Aquinas

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    McS
    “At all times during the troubles the IRA was available for talks to end the fighting, which meets the third criteria of “Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence””
    So honestly here, you are offering that as evidence this was not terrorism but a “just war”? Really? You do realise that by that test, any aggressor willing to consider the surrender of their enemy would be “just”? Which doesn’t work does it.
    I’m not even going to start on the other spurious grounds as they are thinner than Charles Hawtrey after a bout of dysentery.

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    Mainland Ulsterman has beaten me to the punch, but I have to add that the PIRA were not interested in negotiating peace but only surrender, namely a British withdrawal from Ireland.
    It is possible to argue for a just cause alright. There was plenty of injustice against Catholics.
    Whether many volunteers took up arms for a good cause or to satisfy their own personal demons is hard to know. Many may well have ended up committing crimes of violence of a more ‘mundane’ sort such as domestic abuse or assault if they did not have their ‘war’.
    I can’t see how this was a last resort though, and as you are not a physical force republican I assume you agree.
    Furthermore they would fail the criteria of jus in bello for the repeated harm done to civilians.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The thing that finishes off the Republican argument on this is that violence for them was demonstrably not a last resort:
    - other nationalists did not resort to violence, so other choices were available
    - Republican ideology, pre-1969 and afterwards, openly asserted the IRA’s right to initiate armed attacks to bring about a united Ireland by force
    - the IRA was involved in some of the earliest violent street disturbances of the Troubles, including attacks on police stations that precipitated the larger scale inter-ethnic fighting
    - the decision to embark on a concerted IRA campaign of was made in January 1970. It is hard to argue that all non-violent courses of action had been exhausted.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Nationalist terrorists felt they retained the ‘right’ to use violence. (and they regarded violence as a ‘right’ exclusive to them as they did get a bit shirty when their serve was returned) Those who were active in the late sixties were merely following a template set down (not for the first time) in Easter 1916 and later at Soloheadbeg in 1919.

    The template required a ‘blood sacrifice’ (preferably the blood of other people) with no though given to peaceful options.

    I expect they were, and some remain, deluded enough to believe that by unleashing violence their fanciful notion of ‘Brits Out’ of Ireland (aka unionist fellow countrymen and women) would emerge from the smoke and carnage.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “You do realise that by that test, any aggressor willing to consider the surrender of their enemy would be “just”? Which doesn’t work does it.”

    Mainland Ulsterman
    Take it up with Thomas Aquinas I am only applying his criteria.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    ” for the repeated harm done to civilians.”

    That is the nature of war, just or unjust.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “other nationalists did not resort to violence, so other choices were available”

    Other choices are always available that is the basis of the just war theory. It simple states that while war is very terrible, it is not always the worst option.

  • tacapall

    “there was in reality no war, just terrorist campaigns and the extremely challenging policing thereof”

    There was no war yet we have this near 1000 year history of war between the Irish and the British on this island we had special non jury courts, a judiciary that acted as judge jury and prosecution, internment, British soldiers patrolling and killing people on our streets, political status, the British government found guilty of torture of prisoners, British police officers controlling and directing murder gangs, British army arming and controlling murder gangs and supplying intelligence information to murder gangs in order to facilitate state sponsored executions.

    No war is just but when considering the excuses Britain and America have used to invade other countries lately the above would be classed as legitimate reasons for the local population to rise against the state they are being slaughtered by.

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    You appear to be accepting the injustice and so to speak shrugging your shoulders.
    But it is more than an academic point. There is a continuing battle at present to see whose version of history becomes the accepted one.
    Sinn Fein are working hard on their revisionism.
    It can’t have been about ‘Brits out’ as they are still here so it must really have been about civil rights all along.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    “You appear to be accepting the injustice ”

    Which injustice are you on about?

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    We have been talking all along about whether you think the IRA campaign was just or unjust.
    On their killing of civilians you said:
    “That is the nature of war, just or unjust”
    It appears you know very well the injustice I am on about.
    So how about a definitive clear opinion?
    You have cited a couple of criteria you think they met. Does that mean you think it was a just war?

  • Mick Fealty

    What was the OP about again? Yes, sorry, it was me who used the term ‘war’, so I guess I deserve what I get.

    It was a war for a lot of people I knew up west, and in Derry. In Holywood, not so much. We certainly saw the personnel and materiel going up there from 69, and I have honestly say the IRA campaigns looked like a pair of beaten dockets from those early times on, even before the south declared its hand.

    Physical force republicanism held the initiative for a large part of the last century even when it wasn’t particularly active because it’s constitutional cousin had no comfortably active means to pursue goals which were truncated by the treaty. As far the campaign was concerned it did conclude with a general, and iterated settlement that no allows cross jurisdictional constitutional action.

    Some of the credit for that must go to SF, but not all of it. Trimble deserves much, as does Blair, Hume and both FG (in 1985) and FF led Irish Governments. SF played a canny hand with the little they had, but it was winnings from an earlier game.

    Between Republicans and Loyalists to have accounted for 90% of all the deaths in thirty plus years is a very high price to pay for such a modest gain.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson:

    “We have been talking all along about whether you think the IRA campaign was just or unjust.”

    You asked a question 1 and I tried to answer it for you.

    Technically the “IRA” can make an excellent case for meeting the criteria of just war.

    My view of how just it was comes from Nietzsche:

    “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. ”

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    1
    “babyface finlayson (profile) 17 April 2014 at 7:15 pm
    MU/McSlaggart
    The IRA could not fulfil the criteria for a just war by any stretch of the imagination.”

  • Mc Slaggart

    As for my own view on the merits of a “just war” I find myself in agreement with Cicero:

    “An unjust peace is better than a just war.”

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    Blimey, all these gnomic utterances are hurting my brainpan.
    Are you now saying the unjust peace we had before the PIRA campaign would have been preferable to what came after?
    Mick
    I know we did digress but there is not that much to say about the 2 differing opinions in the OP.. For what it’s worth I think Kelly has a point in regard to the lack of prosecutions of state forces.
    Maybe there will yet be a show trial as a sop to republicans. Some hapless squadie chosen as scapegoat for all the sins of the army/RUC/UDR, given the requisite 2 year sentence and out in 6 months.

  • tacapall

    “Maybe there will yet be a show trial as a sop to republicans. Some hapless squadie chosen as scapegoat for all the sins of the army/RUC/UDR, given the requisite 2 year sentence and out in 6 months”

    Hapless squaddie ! …… If there was evidence that this person acted outside the law would he still be a hapless squaddie and not a terrorist like any other joe bloggs from the falls or the shankill roads who carried out a similar act. Where does the 2 year sentence and out in 6 months come from, is that wishful thinking or has this happened before ?

    “The facts are clear; 90% of deaths in Northern Ireland were caused by paramilitaries, and of those, two-thirds were by republicans”

    The passage of time is beginning to uncover a whole different set of facts and while people connected to paramilitaries on both sides did in fact carry out 90% of the killings the truth is emerging everyday that those who actually armed and pulled the strings of those who pulled the triggers in lots of those murders were in fact members of the RUC or British intelligence.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “even before the south declared its hand.”

    Mick, Dublin made its position clear on the socialist-initiated insurgency in 1966, an insurgency that was intended to sweep away the administrations in both Dublin and Belfast. Said insurgency was camouflaged in the language of rights issues. In the light of self-interest, it was hardly surprising that Dublin threw in its lot with the traditional as distinct from the socialist faction.

    Here is an exchange from Dáil Éireann on 11 May 1966 following a ‘street clearance’ on 24 April:

    Dr. O’Connell: Does the Minister agree that this baton-swinging democracy serves as a showpiece as suggested by the Taoiseach, when we have disturbances like this provoked by the police?

    Mr. B. Lenihan: The Deputy and certain other members of his Party appear to want to bring parliamentary democracy in Ireland into a state of anarchy in which anything might happen.

    Hardline Unionists had noted the strategy spelt out by the socialist faction prior to 1968 as would have Dublin [see above link]:

    Garland: “This changes drastically our traditional line of tactics. There are no longer two different types of republicans; physical force men and politicians. We in the Republican Movement must be politically aware of our objectives and must also be prepared to take the appropriate educational, economic, political and finally military action to achieve them.”

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    “Are you now saying the unjust peace we had before the PIRA campaign”

    The PIRA did not exist at the start of the “troubles “.

    When in your view was northern Ireland free from disturbance in a state of tranquillity?

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    I know I should stop trying to get a straight answer from you, but what the hey.One more heave.
    “When in your view was northern Ireland free from disturbance in a state of tranquillity?”
    Your question presupposes that I have said such a state of tranquility existed, which I have not, nor would I.
    So any answer for me? What do you mean when you say
    “An unjust peace is better than a just war.”. In relation to here?
    tacapall;
    I mean hapless in the sense that any soldier or indeed anyone else who was prosecuted at this stage for crimes committed 20 or 30 years ago might consider themselves the unfortunate one, if singled out as an example. If they did the crime of course they deserve the full weight of the law.
    The 2 year sentence is simple speculation on my part about a hypothetical prosecution, which I was suggesting might be offered up to ease the concerns of republicans as expressed above by Gerry Kelly.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson
    babyface finlayson:

    Lets be clear I already give you my starting point of the troubles/war 1. The “war” started because a Unionist state could not accept change in the nature of the ” unjust peace” in places it was scared off. As mick puts it “We certainly saw the personnel and materiel going up there from 69″.

    1
    “In this all truth is relative. I had a relative who said the “Nonviolent struggle” died in the Omagh area when the B Specials came out of the courthouse and beat the protesters off the street.”

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    McS,
    On Thomas Aquinas – I read him at university – and have to say I did wonder why he was on the syllabus. He was no stranger to assertions utterly unsupported by rational principles.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Mick,
    Back to your OP, to address your point on the two views. It’s clear Dodds’s statement is a better summary of the Troubles. He covers the main action i.e. the killings, and talks directly about who did what. Hard to argue with what he says.

    Kelly, knowing he’s on a loser if he ever has to talk about how many people the IRA killed, and having no remorse for what he did, chooses to avoid that subject in order to create diversionary discourses around the lateral moraine of the “Armed Struggle” glacier, such as prison conditions etc. And then he gives data that suggests a huge injustice but which is much less convincing on closer inspection. The fact that 15,000 terrorist organisation members were caught, tried, found guilty and imprisoned over 30 years is surely a good thing, if you care for human life. It is not out of proportion to the scale of terrorist crime that was going on; indeed, the clear up rate for Republican murders was very low, compared for example to Loyalist murders. It may well be true that crimes done by British state forces were under-prosecuted during this time. But remember also that unlike Republicans, British state forces saved way, way, way more lives than they took; while Republicans, killing 6 for every life taken by the State forces, offered nothing but more terrorism. British state forces were heroic on the whole during the Troubles but of course killers like Kelly want to focus their mistakes (I wonder why) – mistakes dwarfed by the scale of the slaughter being carried out by his Republican machine. He has a nerve. He really has no place in public life and should step down.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    ” He (Thomas Aquinas) was no stranger to assertions utterly unsupported by rational principles.”

    He is taken to be the one of greatest theologian and philosopher in the catholic church. I shudder to think what you made of the rest of them.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “It may well be true that crimes done by British state forces were under-prosecuted during this time.”

    It cannot be true!

  • Reader

    Mainland Ulsterman: ” He (Thomas Aquinas) was no stranger to assertions utterly unsupported by rational principles.”
    Mc Slaggart: He is taken to be the one of greatest theologian and philosopher in the catholic church.
    Well, that’s religion for you. Devout theologians: the best of them can handle internal logic. Rationality is too much to expect.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Reader

    “Devout theologians: the best of them can handle internal logic. Rationality is too much to expect.”

    An interesting generalized attack on theologians. Thomas Aquinas is famous for his use of “natural reason” as well as his work on speculative theology.

    Thomas work on Just war simply built on the work of others such as Plato and Cicero.

  • David Crookes

    ….but in order to deal with today’s bit of news we need not Thomas Aquinas, but the Abelard of ‘Sic et non’.

    ‘G Adams was in the IRA,’ says an ex-IRA man.

    ‘No, I wasn’t,’ says G Adams.

    Sic et non.