What the British did right in NI?

Here’s an interesting comparison from the US Army between the British handling of the Northern Ireland crisis between 1970 and 1999, and the French in Algeria 1957 to 1958. One of its conclusions, although it seems to ignore a lot of other factors is that the French gave their army a free hand to do whatever it had to win the struggle with the FLN (the Algerian Front de la Libération Nationale). It resulted in a near complete military victory, but:

The widespread, ruthless recourse to barbarity by forces that stood for “civilization” destroyed what legitimacy the French had among ethnic Algerians, and this had major political repercussions in France. By late 1957, clear evidence of torture and other government-sponsored or condoned forms of brutality and illegal behavior by the Army fed a popular outcry that grew until Charles De Gaulle was elected to the presidency in 1958, ending the Fourth Republic.

It concludes:

In contrast, by consistently attempting to hold to a legal and fully accountable prosecution of warfare, the British Government and military in Northern Ireland have retained the public’s mandate to prosecute the war and might yet see it to a successful conclusion. While such a strict adherence to the principles of law and legitimacy might considerably lengthen a campaign, the lessons of the long British experience in Northern Ireland suggest that a longer campaign might be the only way to ensure success.

Thanks to Jim for the heads up!

  • Robert Keogh

    This article imbibes far too deeply from the well of downing street propaganda.

    Despite some wellpublicized exceptions, the British military has remained under the firm control of civilian authorities, and transgressions of law have been publicly investigated and prosecuted. This adherence to the rule of law has allowed the British Government to retain its legitimacy in the paramount view of domestic public opinion.

    151 civilians murdered by the British Army – two convictions. Since those convictions the british army stopped murdering civilians in Northern Ireland.

    The French employed the same tactics in Algeria as the British did in Kenya.

  • Dave

    I think the British got it “right” After all SF/IRA have been brought into the democratic structure by being out gunned and politically out manoeuvred.

    The latest fiasco at the ARDOYNE has shown the world just how petty and the low level of tolerance such a terror organisation has.

    They (Irish terrorists) just keep on painting themselves into a political corner.

  • Henry94

    The real pity is that Britain has yet to produce a degualle with the courage to face down the pieds noirs here.

  • aquifer

    In the Irish War of Independence the effect of the brutality of the Black and Tans on British public opinion was also to help push towards a negotiated settlement and disengagement. Although some first conceded partition, then refused unionists their commonwealth comfort blanket in an ireland controlled by irishmen, and then shot up their former comrades. Nice work.

    The RM say ‘trust us’?

    Where is all that eastern block heavy metal you promised us?

  • Gonzo

    If anyone is interested in the conflict in Algeria, I can thoroughly recommend The Battle for Algiers.

    You can view a trailer here.

    A masterpiece of cinema verite. See it. There are many parallels in the movie you can draw with NI, and it’s an incredibly engaging film in its own right.

    As for that US Army analysis, I think it’s a bit superficial. For example, the author (Lieutenant Colonel James D. Campbell, Maine Army National Guard, the Commander, 11th Civil Support Team (Weapons of Mass Destruction) writes:

    Perhaps the most important of these lessons is that in a low-intensity conflict, a key – if not the key – operational center of gravity and balance is domestic public opinion and the retention of legitimacy

    But he doesn’t mention the role of the media or propaganda once, and cites examples of British compliance with the rule of law where questions still remain unanswered.

    The author writes that “After attempts at an internment policy during the early 1970s, the government realized the danger of involving the British military in running prisons and conducting interrogations. Allegations of torture still dog the army today. As a consequence, the army turns over anyone it arrests to the civilian police and does not conduct independent interrogations or operate prisons.”

    The author seems to argue that is these allegations (whether true or false), and the negative effect he believes they have on public opinion, that led to military restraint. This is fair enough. But how is public opinion formed and controlled? Nor does he consider the differing political contexts the French and British governments found themselves in during their respective conflicts.

    If the author is writing from a solely military point of view without considering the wider context, there are other things we could consider.

    Internment, for example, didn’t come to an end solely because it was so widely opposed. It was prosecuted by security forces working with pretty useless information. This led to a large number of people with no connection to terrorism being arrested or harmed and imprisoned without trial.

    However, while human rights will be abused, from a security point of view the policy still has the potential to be effective (although the extent would be hard to measure) to some degree. If the security forces had had better intelligence at the time of internment, arrested fewer people unconnected with terrorism would have been arrested and more who were. The lack of widespread human rights abuses would have minimised public disgust, particularly outside Northern Ireland.

    By failing to recognise the intelligence failure that led to internment of innocent people, which in turn led to the negative “public opinion” that he blames for the policy’s demise, the author sees a symptom, not a cause.

    Internment didn’t just fail because it was conducted in a brutal fashion. Yes, the state probably learned the lesson that abusing human rights leads to widepread public disgust. But – as both his and our governments are doing today – they are ignoring his advice and drawing a different lesson. That is, that they are facing a new enemy about whom they know very, very little. The new legislation would indicate a bit of hand-flapping, being seen to do something. But what to do?

    The author’s conclusion is not invalid and by extrapolation you could interpret it as a warning that the US government may find, for example, as the British did, that internment – if not conducted in a transparent manner, and obviously within the rule of law – can backfire. It could easily create more martyrs that it imprisons. From the state’s selfish point of view, it might draw the conclusion that arrests and detentions should be selective rather than speculative, based on good evidence. This in turn would mean putting resources into such things as, not just surveillance and asset seizing, but information from inside. Stories are appearing every day about how normal the London bombers were in their everyday lives. Their families seem to have suspected little, if anything. One who had been under suspicion was later judged not to be a threat to national security. Governments surely must know that getting the wrong people isn’t just morally wrong, but also ineffective and probably counter-productive. But getting the right people fairly and squarely is even more important.

    The Sunday Times reported:

    MI5 will use its increased funding to open eight regional offices this year, including one in the northwest that will cover Leeds and Dewsbury, where three of the bombers lived. It will increase its manpower by 50% to 3,000 officers by 2008. An official said it took a long time to recruit and train intelligence officers. It was too early to tell if ministers would promise to add extra money to the pre-existing spending plans.

    So we’re already behind, it appears. It might be an idea to hire more translators to sift and select information. How many of the new recruits will be Muslims?

    Therefore, surely, the state security priority should be – as well as legitimate defence and domestic security – driven by obtaining human intelligence legally. These new intelligence officers, if used effectively and lawfully, could be crucial in dealing with the immediate physical threats, while others look for long-term solutions. We’ll probably never know how effective informants were – or ineffective – in Northern Ireland, but the lack of on-the-ground information in the ‘war on terror’ has been noted elsewhere.

    I suspect that there is also a lack of understanding of Muslim culture, which will have to be resolved if there is ever a prospect that a resolution or end to hostilities could be brought about through political or economic means.

    The author’s faith in the British justice system is also touchingly uncritical(!)

  • fair_deal

    Henry94

    Not a de gualle but a Sadat

  • Marty Maguire

    The Brits got it ‘right’ here, just about as much as they’re getting it ‘right’ in Iraq at the minute. What a load of complete bollocks. I think the comparison would be more accurate if it read ‘Who f*”ked it up the worst?’

    An American source too? What the friar tuck do they know about getting it ‘right’ anyway?

    Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq, Iraq etc etc

  • willowfield

    Robert Keogh

    151 civilians murdered by the British Army

    That’s nonsense! Where does that figure come from??

    Wise up.

  • Waitnsee

    How refreshing to see that, where it actually matters, nobody pays Irish republicans the slightest bit of notice.

  • Brian Boru

    Personally, I see parallels between the Francophone settlers in Algeria and the Unionists in NI befor partition. The French eventually did the right thing and ultimately refused to give in to their colonial cousins’s demands that Algeria remain under French rule. They didn’t partition Algeria.

    The Brits should have done the same in 1920.

  • fair_deal

    “The Brits should have done the same in 1920.”

    “The real pity is that Britain has yet to produce a degualle with the courage to face down the pieds noirs here.”

    Two fine examples of the ideological failure of irish nationalism and republicanism.

    Having used quite literally every argument and tactic in the book it has failed to convince a sufficiently large number of people in NI of the value of a UI.

    Do they see this as an opportunity for some introspection and discussion about how their ideology, argument and tactics need to change? No its all the Brits fault for not forcing Unionists to do what republicans and nationalists can’t persuade them to do.

  • Brian Boru

    Hi fair deal.

    I personally regard views on a UI in NI as being about what religion you are. I have nothing against Protestants but this is just mostly how it is, except for a few people like Billy Leonard.

    As such, I regard the so-called “failure” of Nationalists to persuade a majority to back a UI as not necessarily reflecting badly on them or on the benefits a UI would bring. Rather, it reflects the tribal nature of NI. Which is not the fault of Nationalists.

    Of course, I would have preferred if NI had not been created in the first place.

  • willowfield

    Yeah, the whole island should have stayed in the UK.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Marty Maguire,

    Just on the point of Korea: didn’t the Americans succeed in containing communism there? Not an easy task when China & the USSR were helping the N.Koreans.

  • willowfield

    FYU

    It was the UN. And they only saved South Korea from communism. North Korea is actually still communist.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    I think he makes a good parallel. Although Gonzo’s point about the shaping of opinion through the media is a good one. The failure of internment was both practical and political. With better information it might have been possible to be more effective but then would the political failure still have occurred anyway? Gonzo I think is suggesting that if it had been practical success that might have shaped a different political response? That’s really an unknowable but its an interesting point. To what extent have the media been an actor in the conflict? Where did they position themselves and what impact have they had in how in the political narrative has been formed? What consequences has that had on the current political circumstances?

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Willowfield,

    But the VAST majority of the UN force was American… it was even led by an American general (MacArthur) and S.Korea is still capitalist thanks to the Americans.

  • Marty Maguire

    Aye they did and they’ve left it in such a stable and happy state too haven’t they?

    Have a holiday at the DMZ.

  • Young Fogey

    Aye they did and they’ve left it in such a stable and happy state too haven’t they?

    Another example of the left getting things badly wrong.

    Syngman Rhee was bad.

    Kim Il Sung was worse.

    Sygman Rhee is long gone and South Korea is a prosperous, democratic, open society.

    Kim Il Sung is, in death, dictator for eternity in North Korea, and his son is now in charge of starving and brutalising the people.

    Korea is better for the US led intervention. This was not a case where there was moral equivalence between the two belligerents.

  • maca

    “Yeah, the whole island should have stayed in the UK”

    Why? Would that not have been the second worst solution after partition?

  • willowfield

    maca

    Why?

    Why not?

    Would that not have been the second worst solution after partition?

    No. The second worst after an independent all-Ireland.

    FYU

    But the VAST majority of the UN force was American… it was even led by an American general (MacArthur)

    Oh aye. But it was a UN force, so don’t forget “our boys” and others.

    and S.Korea is still capitalist thanks to the Americans.

    It may be, but North Korea isn’t.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “so don’t forget “our boys” and others”

    Suppose so.

    “It may be, but North Korea isn’t.”

    N.Korea was the USSR’s responsibility, the plan was that there would be an election throughout the country to detirmine what the people wanted. It was the North that in invaded the south and the Americans beat them back way up past their own border.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    considering the Act of Union of 1801 was nothing more than the formal annexation of Ireland by the British Empire and for the next 120 years from the Repeal the Union movement, through the Home Rule Movement to Sinn Fein, the Irish people tried by every means possible, constitutional and otherwise, to extract themselves from it, what makes you think the UK has or ever had any attraction to Irish people?

    40+ % of the Northern Ireland voting electorate vote for parties who want to leave the union as soon as possible so those left in the rump union are hardly giving it a ringing endorsement.

    The Irish Unionist Party (remember when unionism wasn’t simply British?) never got more than 36,000 votes outside of Ulster back in the days before the Irish War of Independence.

    By the way, do you have a crystal ball? How do you know how successful an independent unitary Irish state would be or could have been?

    Personally, I can’t imagine us making a bigger mess of the northeastern part of this island than it already is.

    It’s no mean achievement to turn the island’s richest and most industrially developed region into its poorest, most divided and most backward within the space of 80 years.

    Not only that, the ingrained structural weaknesses mean it will take decades to repair the damage.

  • Robert Keogh

    151 civilians murdered by the British Army

    That’s nonsense!

    Emphatically nonsense – absolute certainty.

    Where does that figure come from??

    No idea where the figure comes from – but absolutely certain it’s nonsense.

    Wise up.

    Yes, you should.

    The numbers come from Suttons index of NI deaths.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Robert Keogh,

    And how many civilians were killed by paramilitaries?

  • Gonzo

    Duncan

    Yeah, some of my comments are kinda counterfactual and perhaps bluntly made. It was very late when I wrote them…!

  • Biffo

    “kinda counterfactual”

    you’re taking this American military speak a bit too far.

  • Robert Keogh

    FYU,

    ah yes, the “I don’t have any defense whatsoever for the murders carried out by the armed forces of my country, in my name, so I’ll try to distract attention with the murders of terrorists.”

    The article is talking about how britain adhered to the rule of law in NI. Which every student of the period knows is farcical. The British Army murdered 151 civilians in NI, convictions were obtained for victim 150 and 151 and there was no 152. If the premise of the article is correct there would have been trials and convictions for some if not all of victims 1 through 149.

    Nobody mention Widgery and Saville.

  • Ginfizz

    Personally, I think the Brittish Army was damn patient with the scum on both side of the divide in this country. The fat, bloated, drunken tramps, who think because they break some teenagers leg or shot some police-man in the back they are a hero.

    I tell you, when I hear all this whinging and gurning about “rights” and “unlawful killings”, the Alan Clarke solution seems more and more appealling…..

  • The Beach Tree

    FYU

    uh-uh, whataboutery, tut-tut…..

    Keogh was challenged on a specific point, he replied on point, and replied fairly well, to be honest. Debate his point, don’t simply interject a new one you’re more comfortable with. Or ask Mick to start another thread.

    FWIW, because Shipman killed over 200 and Frad and Rose West got round only to about 15 does not make Fred and Rose any the less monsters.

    151 deaths, no matter how many fewer than the numbers killed by loyalists and republicans, is a reprehensible number in its own right wouldn’t you agree?

    P.S Loyalists apparantly were responsible for 873 civilian murders, and Republicans for 737, with 55 unclaimed or unknown according to Sutton – just for all our continued enlightenment.

  • fair_deal

    Of the 151 how many were on ‘active service’? Or does Sutton’s definition of civilian already exclude those?

  • The Beach Tree

    fair_deal

    Sutton excludes those. Or rather, it lists them quite clearly and seperately as Republican (or Loyalist)paramilitaries killed by British Security.

    In this case, ‘quite apart from civilians killed’, the British Security forces killed 145 Republican Paramilitaries, and 14 (sic) Loyalist paramilitaries.

    Clearly ‘active service’ personnel would fall into these groups.

  • fair_deal

    Thanks beach tree.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Robert Keogh,

    “so I’ll try to distract attention with the murders of terrorists”

    Not really the case actually. My point was you are giving an impression of the BA as a murderous occupying force while in reality they were here trying to protect us. Those 151 civilians you mentioned, it is unfortunate they were killed but in most cases it was not ‘murder’. In my point about paramilitaries I was reading your comment the BA were being singled out as murderers while in actual reality they were here saving civilian life’s while the paramilitaries were trying their best too kill as many ‘taigs’ or ‘prods’ at a time, the fact that they were often civilians was irrelevant.

    THB,

    “uh-uh, whataboutery, tut-tut”

    Actually it was a simple comparison. There is no denying the facts.

    “Debate his point”

    He is implying the 151 civilians were murdered by the BA. That is his opinion, no matter what I or anyone else says he probably will not change that view.

    Ginfizz,

    “I think the Brittish Army was damn patient with the scum on both side of the divide in this country”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    ** just on the point of civilians killed by the army : 25,000 killed in Iraq, of which 37% killed by US-led forces

  • Brian Boru

    Actually if collusion with Loyalist terrorists is taken account of, loads more were probably murdered by the security forces. Remember tha tthe UDR was abolished because it was a front for Loyalist terrorists.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    “the UDR was abolished because it was a front for Loyalist terrorists”

    Don’t be pathetic.

  • Brian Boru

    “Don’t be pathetic.”

    Sorry but I specifically recall hearing in the media that it was abolished because the British Government accepted Irish Government assertions that it was being used as a front for Loyalist terrorists. I stand by what I say.

  • Sean Fear

    We can state with certainty that *some* people have been murdered by members of the security forces in Northern Ireland. We can also state with certainty that the figure is considerably less than 151. 151 is the figure for civilian deaths at the hands of the security forces, but the majoriy of those cases weren’t murder.

    We can, OTOH, state with certainty that in excess of 2,000 people have been murdered by Republican terrorists, and in excess of 900 have been murdered by loyalist terrorists.

    I’m always intrigued at the way that some people demand perfection from the security forces, while being remarkably indulgent towards their own favoured terrorist organisations.

  • Sean Fear

    Going back to the Algerian analogy, and in particular Henry 94’s points, plainly the British establishment is much more strongly committed to maintaining British rule in Northern Ireland than the French establishment was to maintaining French rule in Algeria. Likewise, Unionist determination to remain in Northern Ireland was, in the end, much stronger than the determination of the Pieds Noirs to remain in Algeria.

  • Robert Keogh

    I’m always intrigued at the way that some people demand perfection from the security forces, while being remarkably indulgent towards their own favoured terrorist organisations.

    I’m equally intrigued with how criticism of security forces is always equated with support for a paramilitary.

    Notice that the british army not being perfect results in over 50% of their victims being civilians. Yet the bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers PIRA with no respect for civilian life resulted in less than 30% civilian casualties.

    Can you explain that one to me?

  • bertie

    If you’re not in the army you are a civilian.

    “the bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers PIRA with no respect for civilian life”

    sums them up perfectly

    the use of percentages does not take a way from the death toll of the IRA

  • Wichser

    bertie

    The facts stand. The state, the republicans and the loyalists all killed substantial numbers of innocent civilians – all tragic and all needless – the most fundamental tragedy of all.

  • Robert Keogh

    the bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers PIRA with no respect for civilian life

    sums them up perfectly

    Well seeing as how the PIRA killed fewer civilians as a percentage than the the british army, I guess that makes them both “bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers with no respect for civilian life”.

  • aquifer

    In absolute numbers:

    “Loyalists apparantly were responsible for 873 civilian murders, and Republicans for 737, with 55 unclaimed or unknown according to Sutton – just for all our continued enlightenment.”

    With the rest to bring the total to over 3000, it all adds up to a wanton disgrace.

  • willowfield

    George

    considering the Act of Union of 1801 was nothing more than the formal annexation of Ireland by the British Empire

    It wasn’t. Ireland was already formally part of the British Empire. The Act of Union was the union of the two parliaments to form a single state.

    … what makes you think the UK has or ever had any attraction to Irish people?

    Personal experience. The fact that I and many other Irish people whom I know are attracted to the UK. Also watching the news, reading newspapers, reading books, etc.

    It’s no mean achievement to turn the island’s richest and most industrially developed region into its poorest, most divided and most backward within the space of 80 years. Not only that, the ingrained structural weaknesses mean it will take decades to repair the damage.

    A common experience of regions dependent on heavy industry in 20th century Europe, I’m afraid. Northern Ireland is not peculiar, although it did have the particular disadvantage of the terrorist campaign of economic destruction in the last 30 years of the century.

    Your attitude, though, seems rather unsympathetic and callous. I suppose it is what one would expect from an arch-Thatcherite like yourself.

    Robert Keogh

    The numbers come from Suttons [sic] index of NI deaths.

    Well, Suttons [sic] index is a fantasy and a lie if it says the Army murdered 151 people. And so are you for quoting it. Have you got a link for this dishonest index?

    Wise up with your outrageous lies.

    The British Army murdered 151 civilians in NI

    Please stop lying. You are only getting away with libel because the Army is not a legal personality and cannot sue.

    Shame on you.

  • willowfield

    Robert Keogh

    Notice that the british army not being perfect results in over 50% of their victims being civilians. Yet the bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers PIRA with no respect for civilian life resulted in less than 30% civilian casualties. Can you explain that one to me?

    More nonsense. “Over 50%” of Army victims were civilians – this implies that a large minority of victims were not civilians. Who were these victims? Was the Army killing its own soldiers?

    And PIRA victims “less than 30% civilian casualties”? More lies. And even if true, the implication seems to be that murdering non-civilians is somehow acceptable. That is outrageous.

    Are you a Provisional IRA supporter, by the way? If not, why are you engaging in disinformation? Why compare a supposed proportion of a relatively small number of deaths, with a huge proportion of an absolutely large number of deaths, implying some kind of similarity or equivalence, if not in an attempt to mislead?

  • Betty Boo

    I always find it very alienating when the act of occupation, ie. the take over of other peoples country and therefore their way of life by means of violation and force, is not even put into the occasion.
    As my grandfather was killed in Stalingrad, they Russians had every right to do so, because he had no business of murdering and plundering their country.
    I would appreciate very much if we could start the thread again from the point that every occupation is wrong in the first place before we start tearing out each others feathers.

  • Wichser

    willowfield

    I’m not an IRA supporter and I think that the killing of civilians by the state is disgraceful. Do you or do you have no oral difficulty in principle with the killing of some civilians by the state ?

  • Biffo

    “I would appreciate very much if we could start the thread again from the point that every occupation is wrong in the first place before we start tearing out each others feathers.”

    Absolutely. The point to bear in mind is that the British and the French have a truely disgraceful history of mass slaughter of countless civilians of other countries.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Wichser,.

    We’ve been down this road before with WF – he has, in my experience, no problem with the British Army (RUC/PSNI and their assorted loyalist fellowtravellers) carrying out murders of nationalists -whom he regards as SF/IRA to a man.

    Murder is only a crime as far as he’s concerned when the killing is by republicans.

    As for Fermanagh Young Unionist:
    Not really the case actually. My point was you are giving an impression of the BA as a murderous occupying force while in reality they were here trying to protect us. Those 151 civilians you mentioned, it is unfortunate they were killed but in most cases it was not ‘murder’.

    How do you know these killings were not murder – only 2 cases were prosecuted – and both resulted in murder convictions. 149 cases were not prosecuted – so we have no way of knowing if they were murder. Convenient.

    As for the British Army showing patience to ‘both sides’ – don’t make us laugh. The British Army never did to unionists what they did to nationalists on, say, Bloody Sunday. And don’t say there weren’t unionist illegal marches because there were plenty which could have invited the fire of the paratroopers.

  • willowfield

    Betty Boo

    I always find it very alienating when the act of occupation, ie. the take over of other peoples country and therefore their way of life by means of violation and force, is not even put into the occasion.

    What occupation? Put into what “occasion”?

    I would appreciate very much if we could start the thread again from the point that every occupation is wrong in the first place before we start tearing out each others feathers.

    I don’t think every occupation is wrong. For example, I do not believe that the Allied occupation of Germany after the Second World War was wrong. Equally, while I opposed the war in Iraq, once it became a fait accompli, I believe the current occupation is justified until such time as the country is stable and the new government is ready to assume control.

    Anyway with reference to Northern Ireland, there was and is no occupation, so the discussion is academic.

    Wichser

    I’m not an IRA supporter

    Good.

    and I think that the killing of civilians by the state is disgraceful.

    Surely it depends on the circumstances? A policeman or soldier killing someone in self-defence, for example, far from being disgraceful, is likely to be entirely justified.

    Do you or do you have no oral difficulty in principle with the killing of some civilians by the state ?

    “Oral difficulty”? What is that? As above, it obviously depends on the circumstances. Murdering someone is obviously reprehensible and appalling. Accidental death or self-defence are different matters altogether.

    Olibhear Chromwaill

    We’ve been down this road before with WF – he has, in my experience, no problem with the British Army (RUC/PSNI and their assorted loyalist fellowtravellers) carrying out murders of nationalists -whom he regards as SF/IRA to a man. Murder is only a crime as far as he’s concerned when the killing is by republicans.

    LIAR. Retract that scandalous accusation immediately. If you are going to lie and misrepresent people, you have no role to play on this site. My position on murder is quite clear. My opposition to and disgust at all murders, no matter who the victim or who the perpetrator, is clear and unequivocal.

    (Can one of the moderators please issue a yellow card to Olibhear Chromwaill for this outrageous deliberate misrepresentation and personal attack?)

  • Wichser

    willowfield

    How can the killing by an armed man of an unarmed civilian be in self defence ?

    Just as I thought, equivocol on state killings and the use of violence for political ends.

  • willowfield

    How can the killing by an armed man of an unarmed civilian be in self defence ?

    I guess if the unarmed civilian was attacking the armed man and putting his life in danger, the killing would be in self-defence. Why do you ask?

    Just as I thought, equivocol [sic] on state killings and the use of violence for political ends.

    This statement appears to have come out of the blue, and is entirely wrong if it is supposed to be a summary of my opinions. I have not equivocated about any killings, by state or otherwise, nor about political violence. My views on killings are the same, whether applied to state or civilian: a civilian (obviously) is also justified in killing someone in self-defence.

    Self-defence is a universal, uncontroversial justification for killing. I don’t know why you seem to be querying it.

    I asked you on another thread not to misrepresent me. I ask you again.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    and I think that the killing of civilians by the state is disgraceful.

    Surely it depends on the circumstances? A policeman or soldier killing someone in self-defence, for example, far from being disgraceful, is likely to be entirely justified.

    Perhaps Willowfield can make a case that the MURDER of the 13 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday was in ‘self defence’…. until then I think any calls on his part to issue me with a yellow card given his equivocation on the use of murder as a political weapon should be treated with scepticism.

  • Betty Boo

    “Put into what occasion?”
    The same discussion where some call the taking of life killing, when committed by members of a preferred group and murder, when committed by members of an unfavourable one.
    The same discussion where excuses are still made for occupations to be justified or occupation as such is ignored, as none existing so no need will occur to defend.

    PS: The occupation of Germany came as a result of Germany occupying quite a lot of Europe first.

  • maca

    “a civilian (obviously) is also justified in killing someone in self-defence.
    Self-defence is a universal, uncontroversial justification for killing.”

    Jeesus, Willow, are ye mad? 🙂
    Gun down an unarmed person in “self-defence” and see where it gets you, more than likely jail.
    A quick Google search will yield loads of info on the subject including stories of people jailed for self-defence shootings

  • Betty Boo

    And I forgot to mention that this German occupation of other peoples countries was called the Second World War.

  • willowfield

    Olibhear Chromwaill

    Perhaps Willowfield can make a case that the MURDER of the 13 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday was in ‘self defence’….

    Why would I do that? At no time have I ever claimed the Bloody Sunday killings were self-defence. This is yet more outrageous misrepresentation. Retract it immediately

    until then I think any calls on his part to issue me with a yellow card given his equivocation on the use of murder as a political weapon should be treated with scepticism.

    I already asked you to retract your lies. Rather than do the honourable thing, you have repeated the lies. You should also apologise. I ask the moderator again to issue a yellow card for this outrageous, deliberately dishonest personal attack.

    There is no point in participating on this site if you are going to lie and misrepresent people. You are risking the reputation of the site by turning it into somewhere where people simply throw insults and tell lies. The success of the site depends on the integrity of its contributors.

  • Ringo

    Flip it the other way OC –

    do you believe that there are no circumstances whatsoever where the killing of an unarmed civilian by state forces could be justified? None? Ever?

    (as the number of nationalists who are officially designated as military is near negligible it can be argued that any nationalist killed by state forces in NI would be a civilian)

  • Ringo

    Maca –
    Gun down an unarmed person in “self-defence” and see where it gets you, more than likely jail.

    Doesn’t have to mean ‘gunning down’

    What about a Ban Garda using whatever means at her disposal to kill a convicted murderer who was trying to strangle her?

    Willowfield has a point. Just because the person is wearing a uniform or paid by the state, doesn’t mean it is indefensible. There are exceptional circumstances.

  • willowfield

    Betty Boo

    The same discussion where some call the taking of life killing, when committed by members of a preferred group and murder, when committed by members of an unfavourable one.

    What discussion is that? Can you provide a link?

    The same discussion where excuses are still made for occupations to be justified or occupation as such is ignored, as none existing so no need will occur to defend.

    You brought up the issue of occupations and said all were wrong. I merely disagreed, and gave an example. I, nor anyone else, ever claimed that no occupations existed. In fact, by virtue of actually citing Germany and Iraq, by definition I was accepting that occupations exist and have existed. The only reference I made to there not being an occupation was Northern Ireland.

    PS: The occupation of Germany came as a result of Germany occupying quite a lot of Europe first.

    That is quite correct. I never claimed otherwise.

    maca

    Jeesus, Willow, are ye mad? 🙂 Gun down an unarmed person in “self-defence” and see where it gets you, more than likely jail.

    If it was in genuine self-defence, and my “gunning down” of the unarmed person was considered to be reasonable force, then one would hope the court would find me not guilty if I was charged with murder. If it was not self-defence, or if gunning down the armed person was an unreasonable use of force, then the court would be right to convict me. That’s how it works.

    Wichser asked how an armed man could kill an unarmed man in self-defence and I gave the only example that I could think of. Don’t attack me for answering his question, although perhaps I should have included the “reasonable force” concept for clarity.

    (But I would have thought all the above was fairly obvious, wouldn’t you?)

    A quick Google search will yield loads of info on the subject including stories of people jailed for self-defence shootings

    As I said – the main point of what I said, in fact – it obviously depends on the circumstances. “Reasonable force” also has to be used.

  • willowfield

    Betty Boo

    The same discussion where some call the taking of life killing, when committed by members of a preferred group and murder, when committed by members of an unfavourable one.

    What discussion is that? Can you provide a link?

    The same discussion where excuses are still made for occupations to be justified or occupation as such is ignored, as none existing so no need will occur to defend.

    You brought up the issue of occupations and said all were wrong. I merely disagreed, and gave an example. I, nor anyone else, ever claimed that no occupations existed. In fact, by virtue of actually citing Germany and Iraq, by definition I was accepting that occupations exist and have existed. The only reference I made to there not being an occupation was Northern Ireland.

    PS: The occupation of Germany came as a result of Germany occupying quite a lot of Europe first.

    That is quite correct. I never claimed otherwise.

    maca

    Jeesus, Willow, are ye mad? 🙂 Gun down an unarmed person in “self-defence” and see where it gets you, more than likely jail.

    If it was in genuine self-defence, and my “gunning down” of the unarmed person was considered to be reasonable force, then one would hope the court would find me not guilty if I was charged with murder. If it was not self-defence, or if gunning down the armed person was an unreasonable use of force, then the court would be right to convict me. That’s how it works.

    Wichser asked how an armed man could kill an unarmed man in self-defence and I gave the only example that I could think of. Don’t attack me for answering his question, although perhaps I should have included the “reasonable force” concept for clarity.

    (But I would have thought all the above was fairly obvious, wouldn’t you?)

    A quick Google search will yield loads of info on the subject including stories of people jailed for self-defence shootings

    As I said – the main point of what I said, in fact – it obviously depends on the circumstances. “Reasonable force” also has to be used. Just because many people are jailed for self-defence shootings doesn’t mean that all are.

  • willowfield

    Re. first paragraph above, the court would probably be right to convict me of manslaughter rather than murder.

  • maca

    Willow
    “Don’t attack me for answering his question”

    Don’t be so sensitive. Did you spot the smiley?

  • Betty Boo

    “What discussion is that? Can you provide a link?”
    Can’t provide a link but I belief you are already on this site.

  • Ringo

    Willow
    “Don’t attack me for answering his question”

    Don’t be so sensitive. Did you spot the smiley?

    Willowfields threshold for justifiable self-defence is on the low side 😉

  • willowfield

    maca

    Don’t be so sensitive. Did you spot the smiley?

    Sorry maca, but you’ll excuse me for being sensitive in the face of the outrageous lies and personal attacks by Olibhear Chromweill, who still hasn’t had the good grace to retract them or apologise.

  • The Beach Tree

    Willowfield

    without personnally commenting on the rights and wrongs of your argument with the above, is it not a worry to you that your loud and urgent call for a yelow card has apparently been so clearly ignored?

    Would this suggest that the various moderators consider the comments against yout o be ‘fair comment? And if so, where does that leave you?

  • willowfield

    No, it doesn’t worry me and, no, I don’t think it suggests that the moderators consider the comments against me to be fair comment. The moderators should be aware of my views: I’m a long term contributor here and have never expressed any of the views so scurrilously attributed to me by Olibher Chromeill.

    It worries me, though, that Olibher Chromeill is so dishonest as to make the comments in the first place, and so without integrity that he will neither retract them, nor apologise.

  • Sean Fear

    “Notice that the british army not being perfect results in over 50% of their victims being civilians. Yet the bloody-thirsty, psychopathic, sectarian-rampagers PIRA with no respect for civilian life resulted in less than 30% civilian casualties. Can you explain that one to me?”

    That’s a very weak argument. More than 6 times as many people were killed at the hands of PIRA -the vast majority unlawfully – than were killed at the hands of the security forces – of which a minority were killed unlawfully.

    “I’m equally intrigued with how criticism of security forces is always equated with support for a paramilitary”

    Well, if the cap fits…………………

  • willowfield

    More than 6 times as many people were killed at the hands of PIRA -the vast majority unlawfully

    Surely all were unlawful? Can you give an example of a lawful killing by the PIRA?!!

  • Sean Fear

    I’m sure there must be a case somewhere of one IRA member killing another in self-defence.

  • Biffo

    Why limit consideration of British Army killings to NI? Contemporaneous with this thread you could also consider killings in places like Kenya, Malaysia, Suez, Aden etc etc. Or do they not count?

  • willowfield

    Still waiting for an apology from Olibher Chromeill.

  • henry94

    Aren’t we all.