Understanding terrorists

I see Lord Alderdice, the former Assembly Speaker Alliance leader and psychiatrist is turning over his familiar theme of the links between fundamentalism and terrorism in Trinity College today. As fas as I can see, opinion divides, not so much on the straight links but on how we look at it. Do we objectivise it as “terrorism,”as problems to solve ; or hold them, “terrorists,” morally responsible as people and treat them accordingly? viz, Alderdice:

“”Fundamentalism emerges in particular political contexts where there has been serious trauma and uncertainty which brings out fear and aggression,” says Lord Alderdice.

Until people in any conflict [have already] begun to turn away from violence as a means of solving their predicament, they are unlikely to be prepared to accept that the prize of peace is worth the price of peace,” he says.

Contrast this with the historian Michael Burleigh’s view in “Blood and Rage: a cultural history of terrorism”:

Independent review quotes
All terrorists are “morally insane”. From playboys to psychopaths, narcissists to n’er-do-wells, “the milieu of terrorists is invariably morally squalid, when it is not merely criminal.”

These different perspectives are not actually mutually contradictory but they tend to veer off in opposite directions, Alderdice the less judgemental negotiator and Burleigh the scourge of the liberal appeasers..

Burleigh defines terrorism as a tactic. It’s also a lifestyle choice which is neither glamorous nor admirable, as Burleigh sets out to show. Spanning the last 150 years, Burleigh examines ideologically-inspired movements (Nihilists, revolutionaries, Red Brigadists, the Baader-Meinhof gang) and nationalist/separatist activists: Fenians, ETA, FLN and OAS, the PLO and various Middle East factions, the ANC, Irish Republicans and Loyalists).

Then there are the empirical analyses which tend to shift the blame to “us” i.e. the West, like Prof Robert Pape’s analysis of the suicide terrorism, a different entity to our domestic sort.:

“The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any religion for that matter. In fact, the leading instigator of suicide attacks is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion (they have have committed 75 of the 188 incidents).”

Not long after 9/11, Michael Lind wrote a brilliant refutation of the “Clash of Civilisations” theory that abruptly replaced the immediate post-cold war “End of history”.

Quote
“Liberal democracies may be able to resist Muslim terrorism, but the greatest long-running threat to secularism, democracy and science could come from within, from the emerging coalition of the religious right and the romantic left brought together by a loathing for open society that they share with each other-and with Osama bin Laden.”

This case was always overdrawn. But I suspect that the fear of a clash of civilisations will survive the decline of the neo cons and religious right.

Now Phillip Bobbit, ex- Presidential adviser sand modish analyst posits another position.

The attacks were the work of an ultra-modern movement — closer to Mastercard than the IRA in structure. The worst is not inevitable: but it is distinctly possible, In his latest work, Terror and Consent” Bobbitt’s central premise is that today’s Islamic terrorist network, is like a distorted mirror image of the post-Westphalian market-state: decentralized, privatized, outsourced and in some measure divorced from territorial sovereignty. The terrorists are at once parasitical on, and at the same time hostile toward, the globalized economy, the Internet and the technological revolution in military affairs. Just as the 14th-century plagues were unintended consequences of increased trade and urbanization, so terrorism is a negative externality of our borderless world”.

And so in this techy age, do we “understand” the forces that produce terrorism and come to terms with it – and them?

I go back to Alderdice:”Until people in any conflict [have already] begun to turn away from violence as a means of solving their predicament, they are unlikely to be prepared to accept that the prize of peace is worth the price of peace,”

No matter how long it takes?

Myself I go with Simon Jenkins whom I recently watched gently mocking the lugubrious Bobbitt:

“Bombs threaten life and property, as would more harmful devices not yet found in the possession of terrorists but that they might conceivably obtain. I am happy to have a proportion of my taxes devoted, as now, to preventing this. Such policing, not “war”, has been mostly successful without putting Britain on a war footing.

What I cannot do is join the pessimists in claiming that western civilisation is so enfeebled by immorality, as the Bishop of Rochester implied last week, as to be structurally vulnerable to bomb explosions, devoid as they are of any political programme or local support. Because a terrorist claims to attack western culture does not make the claim plausible.”

  • The problem with this talk of terrorists and the war on terror is that those who advocate eliminating terrorists or waging war against terror inevitably use terror themselves, terror after all being an innocent noun!

    Thus the British used terror to counter terror in the North – or was it the other way around? Similarly with the USA and Al Qaeda – the innocent victims were the workers in the Twin Towers and the shoppers in the Bagdad marketplace. It becomes a moral blur…and the British and Americans have been to the fore in blurring the lines….

  • Earnan

    The US Army has to follow ridiculous rules to ensure everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. They certainly do not target civilians, unlike the other groups you mention.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “The US Army has to follow ridiculous rules to ensure everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. They certainly do not target civilians, unlike the other groups you mention.”

    Are you sure?

    Were civilians not the sole targets at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings?

  • Rory

    War against the powerful is labelled terrorism. Terrorism by the powerful is called war.

    It is ridiculous for one side in a conflict to pronounce on the morality of the other as it will always find it wanting while holding its own to be irreproachable. What we are all morally required to do is to be ever alert to breaches of our own moral code from those purporting to act in our name and finding the courage to call the perpetrators to account if and when that happens. The enemy, whoever he may be, may take differing forms but it appears he is always with us. Or perhaps rather, against us.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    No, you fool, they weren’t. The military power of Japan was the target. The atomic bombs differed not one whit in moral fact from area bombing, experienced by us, Germany and Japan. The solitary practical difference lay in the speed of delivery of explosive force. But then since you, as you keep telling us, aren’t an apologist for the Provos, yet still can’t tell the difference between them and people who *weren’t* terrorists, I suppose I’m wasting my time here.

  • EWI

    Burleigh defines terrorism as a tactic. It’s also a lifestyle choice which is neither glamorous nor admirable, as Burleigh sets out to show. Spanning the last 150 years, Burleigh examines ideologically-inspired movements (Nihilists, revolutionaries, Red Brigadists, the Baader-Meinhof gang) and nationalist/separatist activists: Fenians

    Does Burleigh also address the role of government agents provocateurs? A mention of the Fenians (who were riddled with British agents concocting dynamite ‘outrages’ which served the political needs of London) should put a stop to his gallop right there.

  • Garibaldy

    Anyone who thinks that the US army goes out of its way to avoid civilian casulties should (apart from looking at the evidence of Iraq and Afghanistan) take a look at the book Black Hawk Down. In which some of the US army’s fairly elite Rangers unit talk unashamedly about firing at whoever was in the way, regardless of age, gender or whether they were armed or not. There is also a documentary I got part of on Sky Movies of troops from a National Guard unit that took really heavy casulties in Iraq. One of them described how in he was in the front of a truck. The driver slowed as though to let a child cross the road, waited until the civilian was in front of them, and then accelerated and ran him over. The reason he gave was that orders were to run people over rather than stop.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Garibaldy, Rory et al

    Stop it you are confusing the poor fellow’s.

  • Greenflag

    GOF,

    ‘Were civilians not the sole targets at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings?

    Not to mention Dresden where 160,000 mostly old men women and children were incinerated and one of Europe’s most beautiful cities razed to the ground .

    Kurt Vonnegut the great American writer who was a prisoner of war of the Germans in Dresden lived to tell the tale in ‘Slaughterhouse Five ‘.

    While there may have been an excuse for the Hiroshima bomb in order to end the war in the east, the bombing of Dresden was sheer bloody genocide .

    Modern warfare is not conducted by the Queensberry rule not that it ever was . Without the Geneva Convention it would be much worse for p.o.w.s.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I get very concerned when I see the word “genocide” being bandied about. Genocide is a systematic attempt to wipe out an ethnic or religious group.

    Dresden, Hiroshima and so on were not genocide. Unnecessary ? Arguably. Bloody murder ? Possibly. But there was no attempt to try to wipe the Germans or the Japanese off the face of the earth. To try to describe them as such belittles what happened to the ethnic and religious groups who *did* face an orchestrated and concerted effort to make them extinct.

    I don’t think Hiroshima or Nagasaki were necessary. I accept that the bomb is what brought the war to a close, but I believe that a way could have been found to demonstrate the power of the new bomb to the Japanese on unpopulated territory – “you’ve got 48 hours to capitulate, or we start dropping these on your cities”.

    Dresden, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was an act of vengence and as such I’d class it as a war crime. However there is a strange pattern in that IRA supporters are constantly banging on about it, as if it somehow excuses everything they did.

  • McKelvey

    Brian,

    Do any of the sources you quote actually bother defining “terrorism”?

  • Greenflag

    BW,

    “Fundamentalism emerges in particular political contexts where there has been serious trauma and uncertainty which brings out fear and aggression,” says Lord Alderdice.

    Alderdice is obviously referring to modern examples be they in the Middle East or Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the world .

    And while what he says rings true it’s also an historical fact that ‘fundamentalism ‘ also emerges when Empires – and powerful nations are reaching the peak of their international power or have suddenly won the ‘great game ‘ It’s even more of a truism that with decline ‘fundamentalism ‘ rears it’s head once again as ‘tradionalists’ look back to a golden age and try to recreate their former idyllic society . The result of this is always an even more rapid decline .

    In 16th century Spain -fundamentalist Catholicism emerged with the Inquisition , the baiting of Morenos – converted Jews and Moors etc . In 17th century Holland the rise of the House of Orange and Calvinist rule emerged at a time when Holland ‘ruled ‘ the waves . God had obviously taken a shine to the Spaniards and then the Dutch in their turn . But the ways of God are not always consistent for having chosen both peoples he then sent the Spaniards a plague of gold from the Americas which destroyed his chosen followers with hyper inflation , and divided Spain into a rentier society with the Church , Landowners and the inheritors of wealth at the top ( think Ireland 1750 through 1850/60) and 90% plus of the population living at subsistence level . Spain’s Home grown terrorists/freedom fighters ’emerged ‘ during the Napoleonic era but the British under Wellington soon replaced the Catholic King on the throne .

    Less known and little remembered is the outbreak of ‘fundamentalism’ during the last years of Victorian Age Britain . Lloyd George was much influenced by the British Israelite version of history and many were the Anglican clergymen who urged the ‘cannon fodder’ out to the trenches to do God’s work . The German’s reciprocated by embossing the ‘Gott Mit Uns’ motto on the belt buckles of their ‘kannonenfutter ‘

    In today’s world we see the greatest support for Armageddon ‘politics ‘ from the fundamentalist brigades both in the USA and in Iran . The former led by the bat brained televangelists of rapturism and the end of days Book of revelations and the Iranians led by possibly slightly less insane Islamic jihaddists .

    The only defence any society has against terrorism is the strength of it’s democracy and the extent to which ‘tolerance’ of other religions and none is part of a written constitution and is upheld by the State .

    As we line up for hours at airports to have our bags searched and our lives discommoded by the actions of a few terrorists has anybody ever estimated the ‘total cost’ of this insanity ?

    As to what constitutes a strong democracy and what doesn’t could I suggest at least this simple critierion

    1) It’s possible to have a change of government with an opposition coming to power and without a civil war or an overnight change in the country’s name or status .

    By the above criterion NI is not a strong democracy but I’m sure Lord Alderdice is more than painfully aware of that sad but permanent fact of political life given that State’s present set up.

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin .

    ‘but I believe that a way could have been found to demonstrate the power of the new bomb to the Japanese on unpopulated territory – “you’ve got 48 hours to capitulate, or we start dropping these on your cities”. ‘

    Perhaps in another universe or one not populated by humanity . There was an element of ‘let’s see what this baby can do ‘ among the A Bombs afficionados . I read recently that some Japanese historian is on record as saying that Hiroshima probably ‘saved ‘ lives . At the time of the October 1962 Cuba crisis – Kennedy had great difficulty in keeping them from trying out their toys . IIRC one Curtis Lemay the Senior US Air Force had it worked out that whereas we would only lose maybe 100 million the USSR would be sent back to the ‘Stone Age ‘ 🙁

    Vonnegut uses the term ‘genocide ‘ in describing the Dresden bombing . Technically you are correct and ‘war crime ‘ is a more accurate description . Nobody stood trial for it of course because in that instance the war ‘criminal’ was on the winning side . Not for the first time of course and not for the last either.

    ‘However there is a strange pattern in that IRA supporters are constantly banging on about it, as if it somehow excuses everything they did.’

    The same was the case with the Dresden bombers and their political leaders who pointed to the Nazi gas chambers post war to ‘justify ‘ their ‘revenge’ in advance .

  • Comrade Stalin

    Perhaps in another universe or one not populated by humanity .

    Why do you say that ?

    There was an element of ‘let’s see what this baby can do ‘ among the A Bombs afficionados .

    Yes I know, and like I said, they could have performed a demonstration on an unpopulated spot had they wished.

    Vonnegut uses the term ‘genocide ‘ in describing the Dresden bombing .

    Well, he’s wrong.

    Nobody stood trial for it of course because in that instance the war ‘criminal’ was on the winning side .

    Yup. That doesn’t make it genocide, though.

    The same was the case with the Dresden bombers and their political leaders who pointed to the Nazi gas chambers post war to ‘justify ‘ their ‘revenge’ in advance .

    The justifications for Dresden that I have seen from political leaders at the time involve the suggestion that it was a tactical target. I don’t remember anyone ever claiming that they deliberately did it as a revenge attack, although that’s certainly what it looks like.

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin

    ‘that I have seen from political leaders at the time involve the suggestion that it was a tactical target.

    And that’s all it was -a suggestion -It was indiscriminate saturation bombing . The so called ‘tactical ‘ target the railroads remained largely untouched and were up and running within two days . If German pilots had shown the same degree of accuracy in tactical bombing they would have found themselves transferred to the Russian front .

    In the London Blitz 1941 the city was subjected to 71 separate air raids receiving over 18 000 tonnes of high explosive – more than the rest of the country put together. The raids took place over 76 consecutive nights apart from Nov 2 Total dead in London was 30,000 – and in the UK as a whole 60,000. Dresden was one night -one air raid and 160,000 dead and the city razed to the ground .

    If the Germans had bombed London in the same manner that Dresden was bombed by the Allies – I might not be here -for my grandmother survived the London blitz although many of her friends did’nt .

  • Comrade Stalin

    Greenflag, your contribution is all over the place, I can’t keep track of it, it’s a weird hodge-podge of incoherent opinion.

    My previous post was prompting you to maybe substantiate this bit, which sounds suspiciously like made-up bollocks :

    The same was the case with the Dresden bombers and their political leaders who pointed to the Nazi gas chambers post war to ‘justify ‘ their ‘revenge’ in advance .

    Continuing on the made-up bollocks theme :

    Dresden was one night -one air raid and 160,000 dead and the city razed to the ground .

    Wikipedia says :

    Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent publications place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000.[3]

    Are you in the habit of posting unsubstantiated fantasy ? I’ll be taking extra care to take whatever you post with a pinch of salt in the future.

    FWIW, I still think Dresden was a war crime, and I hope some time in the future it is formally recognized that way, but I don’t see what all the wanking about it achieves.

  • cynic

    “”Fundamentalism emerges in particular political contexts where there has been serious trauma and uncertainty which brings out fear and aggression,”

    Forgive me but the least I can say on that is that its a gross simplification. The worst is probably ‘bollocks’.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    At times the pathology of the Irish Nationalist mindset defies rational analysis, even, I suspect, by the good Doctor Lord John up there. Take Greenflag for instance. He makes what he takes to be the ‘point’ that, we and the Americans dropped, in a single night, more bombs on Dresden than the Germans, in preceding turn, had been able to drop on London. What exactly is it in the neuroses of contemporary, essentially Northern, Irish Nationalism that gives vent to lunatic statements like the one of Greenflag’s I’ve pointed to? How can anyone, with any basic degree of cognitive capability not understand that the sole functional reason why the Allies dropped more bombs in a single night than the Nazis was that, they could? We had more bombs and more planes, and were opposed by fewer German fighters supported by a less effective radar system. Yet somehow Greenflag, having supped deep at the well of Irish Nationalist psychosis, thinks that this differential (volume of Nazi aerial bombing on any night versus Allied area bombing) actually makes a moral point? How on earth has this, well, madness come about? What could it possibly be about Irish Nationalists that drives them demented, with, as far as one can make out, the twin symptoms of paranoia and morbid expressions of guilt-denial whenever the term bombing hoves into view? Oh wait . . .

  • RepublicanStones

    In respect of Islamic fundamentalism, there are two schools of thought. One is that the west is a target because of certain policies our governments have with regard to certain regions in the middle east. Another one is that it is because of who we are that we become a target. In some cases the two may overlap. Rami Khouri, a Jordainian journalist has the idea of the Arab st and Arab basement or more accurately Islamic St and the Islamic Basement. The street muslim dislikes many western govts for that which they do, whilst the basement dislikes western govts because of what they represent. The basement recruits from the street. If the west were to address its own behaviour in the middle east, it would diminish willing recruits to the ‘Basement’.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Rory hit the nail on the head when he said….

    War against the powerful is labelled terrorism. Terrorism by the powerful is called war.

    Too bad some folk can’t grasp this, only maybe when they are on the receiving end!

  • Greenflag

    Comrade Stalin,

    ‘Wikipedia says ‘

    What Wikepedia says today is not what Wikepedia may say tomorrow.

    ‘Are you in the habit of posting unsubstantiated fantasy ?’

    No . I used Vonnegut’s numbers . He was there . Wikepdia was’nt . What was it your namesake Stalin said – 150 dead is a tragedy but 10,000,000 is a statistic .

    ‘I still think Dresden was a war crime’

    It was along with many others committed on all sides in WW2 . ‘

    ‘I hope some time in the future it is formally recognized that way’

    Keep hoping . The truth is that the ‘war criminals ‘ on the ‘winning side’ seldom if ever face trial for their crimes either by their own country or by any international tribunal .

    We have veered from the main thread which is whether tackling ‘terrorism’ from a Lord Alderdice’s perspective or Burleighs or others above mentioned is going to be ‘successful’

    IMO every ‘conflict ‘ situation is the same and yet they are all different . Trying to equate the IRA or the ANC or the PLO with the Red Brigades or Baader Meinhof is where Burleigh IMO is in error . The former three groups have always had widespread public support within their areas of conflict.

    Burleigh’s contention that ‘all’ terrorists are insane implies that those who support such groups are also ‘insane ‘ . Burleigh inhabits a world where tyrannical regimes ‘reform ‘ themselves from within without either internal revolution or by succumbing to outside political pressure or defeat in war . History tells us that the latter methods of removing ‘tyranny’ are the rule .

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Actually Greagoir, what stupefies us who have been on the receiving end of terrorism is the peculiar capacity of one particular set of those scumbags who doled out the terrorism (and, natch, their online fanboys here on Slugger). Namely their constant denials they were or are terrorists. You’ve have thought planting bombs, murdering civilians and shooting unarmed, off-duty policemen in their homes, in front of their children as they try to watch telly, say, would be something of a hint. But plainly some folk can’t take a telling.

  • RepublicanStones

    It seems some folks think history begins with the ‘Troubles’ (which were actually started by unionists/loyalists) and believe previous history has no impart whatsoever on more recent events.

  • Greenflag

    rooster cogburn ,

    ‘Yet somehow Greenflag, thinks that this differential (volume of Nazi aerial bombing on any night versus Allied area bombing) actually makes a moral point?’

    Do I ? I listed the facts . You are the one drawing the ‘moral ‘conclusions’ and assumptions .

    Anyway before you give yourself an apopletic fit I suggest you return to the main thread and tell us why Mr Burleigh’s ‘solution’ for defeating ‘terrorism ‘ is a better bet than the ‘good ‘ Lord Alderdices ?

    I accept the fact that your limited understanding of Irish nationalism is just that ‘limited’ but you could try and not let that weakness, or any northern unionist pathological condition distort your judgement .

  • Greenflag

    rooster cogburn ,

    ‘what stupefies us who have been on the receiving end of terrorism ‘

    I know ‘it’s that the ‘terrorists’ or apologists for them are now part of the Government of NI.

    ‘plainly some folk can’t take a telling.’

    And you Rooster top the list 🙁

    Try to move on – For what it’s worth you have my sympathies . We don’t live in a black and white world and while I believe myself to be a long way from being a ‘moral’ relativist’ I do understand that politics can be a dirty business. Nevertheless it’s still to be preferred over war/conflict /terrorism take your pick, which are always a lot less ‘clean ‘ than even the dirtiest politics .

  • Rooster Cogburn

    You might not live in a world where murdering people was and is wrong, I’m glad to say I do. If that personal difference between us sums us Unionism and Irish Nationalism, I’m gladder than ever I’m on my side of the fence (the one that a.) knows what murder is * b.) objects to it, rather that making mewling, disingenuous excuses for it).

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Here’s your worst nightmare Rooster….

    If there is ever the possiblity of a United Ireland occuring in our liftime; with a withdrawl of the British administration, British troops et al I bet the militant Unionist folk will not stand idly by, as they’ve demonstrated their resistance before. If conditions are right and if a UI ever comes about, no doubt militant Unionists will do every thing they can to prevent the democratic wishes of the majority of folk on the island and within NI. The Unionist guns will be out again, the bombs will be made, and Paddy the civilan will be the target. The Irish army maintaining the peace this time, whilst the Unionist folk will see themselves as the victims on the receiving end!
    Big bully Irish army and government pushing our loyal people about, will be the cry! Kinda sounds familar Rooster?

  • Sure Rooster when the British aided UVF planted bombs in Dublin and Monaghan that went off almost simultaneously exacting the largest single death toll of any terrorist incident of the Troubles, was that because they could? Do they, the British that is who helped the UVF carry out this atrocity, know that they committed murder? Is that why they’re refusing to cooperate with the Irish authorities’ attempts to investigate the incident?

  • Earnan

    Japan was arming all of its citizens from age 12 up. Since you are all historians you would realize that in their religion/code of honor nothing, nothing, was worse than surrendering. It was unthinkable. They planned to bleed the Allies so much for each foot of sacred japanese land that some kind of negotiation would have to take place, as democracies only stand for so much bloodshed.

    Even after the 2nd atomic bomb, which came 6 days later, 6 days they could have surrendered, a coup was narrowly averted by military officers who were going to kidnap the emperor and other officials. They had heard that a surrender was imminent and they wouldn’t stand for it, even after the 2 nuclear bombs. Underground tunnels all over Japan were in various stages of development and many in Japan were for holding out no matter the consequence. The only reason the surrender went ahead is that some offcourse B-52s dropped their load in the wrong place and managed to help stop the coup.

    The A-bombs, overall, saved human life and suffering. That is my opinion. More people would have died in a bloody invasion and conquest of Japan. It would have been like Iwo Jima but on a grand scale.

  • Earnan

    Sorry, responding to earlier posts. Go back to topic at hand.

  • Greenflag

    Earnan ,

    ‘Go back to topic at hand. ‘

    And on that it would appear that Lord Alderdice’s approach to ending the NI conflict seems to have more adherents than the Burleigh ‘method ‘.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Earnan on Aug 21, 2008 @ 02:47 PM

    Outright propaganda, take my advice read more than the “official” allied version of what they wanted the world to know.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Irish Nationalism: mental disorder or personality defect? Let’s examine the evidence: against my very simple, very basic, essentially moral and absolutely insistent point that the murders committed by the murderers were wrong (hardly a challenging proposition that one, you might have thought, for anyone other than a Provette), we have Greagoir, who somehow manages to take Whataboutery into a new dimension. He does this not by disagreeing with my basic contention (murder = wrong), and not even by lamely saying, ‘themuns did it a bit too, and you’re one of themuns, so you are, so you just shut yer mouth’. No, Greagoir takes us into a counterfactual, alternate universe, where a brave new 32 County Irish republic has dawned, and those fiendish Jaffa b*stards are setting off bombs. While the ruse here is obviously laughable, let’s not let its screaming risibility distract from what Greagoir so desperately doesn’t want to have to face up to. Because in his loony, rival dimension, he’s plainly in no doubt who the terrorists are, or rather, would be. It’s them Unionist hoors setting off their bombs. And yet here we are in the real world, where the Provos murdered innocent after innocent, and rather than just face up to that, Greagoir has to give us all that horsesh*t about Parallel Universe 2,435,675. Pitiful, of course, but then there’s well known, quite sincere, winner of friends for disinterested, apolitical minority languages, Concubharar-ar-arse! Yah! Hoorah! It’s open goal time.

    Connie baffles on about the UVF bombs in Dublin. These were terrorist atrocities: the people who carried them out should be brought to justice, lawfully convicted, and, naturally, denied political office. See Connie? It’s easy peasy to be against murder. I am. Why aren’t you? Why exactly do you think that the Provos who, in exactly the same manner as the UVF, murdered people shouldn’t equally be made to pay for their crimes? Go on, lay down your heroic, one-man campaign to put another generation of Huns off gaeilge with your rancid, sectarian, coat-trailing Republican bile. And then with all the free time you’ll then have on your typing fingers, tell us – why exactly is it that you feel so differently about Provo murders as compared to UVF ones? But for the fact you really, really hate Unionists, it would be a great puzzle indeed.

  • These were bombs planted by the UVF, aided and abetted by British Security Forces. I’m all for them being brought to justice, lawfully convicted and penalised appropriately. I’m not so sure about ‘denied political office’ as I believe that’s a function of the electorate. After all if people were to be denied political office because of being lawfully convicted of ‘terrorist offences’, Nelson Mandela would never have been elected President of South Africa.

    I have no doubt that the British forces were behind many IRA murders as well, through their informers. So I would be in favour of them all being brought to justice. I’m against murder. More so than you I would wager given your support for the mass murder of the Dresden bombing.

    As for your resorting to ad hominem attacks and sectarian stereo typing, I think that has no place in a reasonable debating forum. I don’t hate unionists. I hate unionist ‘holier than thou’ hypocrisy. I hate republican hypocrisy. These are fine distinctions which might not be immediately obvious to a bipolar perception of the world such as yours.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    You can’t bring yourself to straightforwardly say Provo murders were wrong, or anything even close to it. The depth of your sectarian hatred is evident and shaming.

  • ALL murder is wrong! Is that clear enough for you. I’m not cherrypicking the murders I like and the murders I don’t like you are. Which says a great deal about the depth of your sectarian hatred and how shaming that must be for you.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Connie: “I’m not cherrypicking the murders I like and the murders I don’t like you are”. Yes you are and yes you were. If you want your track record on Slugger (and elsewhere) of defending the Republican indefensible thrown back at you, just say the word. You’re consumed with sectarian prejudice against unionists and you discredit gaeilge every time you pretend your advocacy of the language is sincere and apolitical. Your pitiful efforts to convince yourself that everyone else is bad as the murderers you’ve morally prostituted yourself in front of convinces, I fear, not even you.

  • Greenflag

    Rooster ,

    ‘Irish Nationalism: mental disorder or personality defect? ‘

    Why stop there why not compare it to the ‘nationalisms’ of the following list of countries who have all rebelled against Britain or it’s Empire at one time or another most of whom are now ‘independent ‘ non terrorist ‘ States ? How can that be ? Surely once a terrorist always a terrorist ?

    USA , South Africa , India , Israel , Kenya , Egypt , Pakistan , Malaysia , Scotland , Wales , Nigeria , Ghana , Malawi , Uganda , Botswana etc etc etc etc

    Or perhaps you’d rather discuss

    ‘Ulster Unionism ‘ pathological loser’s syndrome , fundamentalist mania resurgence , or world leader in political incompetence ?

    ‘about the UVF bombs in Dublin.
    These were terrorist atrocities: the people who carried them out should be brought to justice, lawfully convicted, and, naturally, denied political office.’

    Does that include the any member of the British Government of the time who organised , aided and abetted the bombers as agents provocateurs to instigate the Cosgrave Government of the time to pass ’emergency ‘ legislation ?

    .

  • By the way I think your use of crude and offensive language towards me does you nor the cause you allegedly serve, unionism/loyalism/equivocation over the use of violence for political ends against civilians, no favours.

  • By the way I think your use of crude and offensive language towards me does you nor the cause you allegedly serve, unionism/loyalism/equivocation over the use of violence for political ends against civilians, no favours.

    I’ve been through the ‘track record’ wringer with Willowfield – who is still nursing his bruised ego. So do what you will. My position is simple – I abhor all murder. I don’t equivocate like you admit you do. You have blood on your hands and you’re trying to distract the focus with bluster and hot air. You’re support for the Dresden bombing is shameful – it would take the IRA 100 years to achieve the same amount of murders as that single night and you appear to be proud of the level of murder as a technological and war mongering achievenment.

  • Greenflag

    COL

    ‘I hate unionist ‘holier than thou’ hypocrisy.’

    Rooster cannot accept your comment that all murder is wrong because that would be too non sectarian 🙁

    Chap is doing his ’cause’ whatever it is no good .

    As to using ‘crude’ and ‘offensive’ language it is a tactic long used by some of the ‘ultra’ unionists on slugger who can’t cope with a civilised discourse . I thought ‘rooster ‘ was above that kind of thing but hey you never know Scratch the white painted crow long enough and the black comes through loud and clear .

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Greenflag, yeah: murderers: prison, couldn’t be simpler, could it? Try it yourself sometime as a political stance. Connie: you’re too good to be true. You’re such a gift to Unionists, you have to be a Unionist wind-up merchant pretending to be the most blinkered, fanatical sort of Republican. You know, the sort who can with a seemingly straight face compare Britain fighting Hitler and the Provos murdering people, in order to inveigh against me because I approve of the former, whereas you so plainly can’t disapprove of the latter. Still, for self-delusional madness, nothing ever will top your post on 19th May (you, you of all people said the following – you with your track record of cynically exploiting gaeilge to try and further advance your own bitter Republican obsessions! amazing, truly fantastic):

    If it were only Scots Dancing that the Boord were funding that would be fair enough – but to be funding English language cds featuring Orange Order songs indicates to me that I am not going far enough in my Orange Order proxy charge.

    Sure there are genuine people working in the Ulster Scots language movement but how disheartened must they feel when it’s been taken over by the DUP/Orange Order to advance a kitsch – supposedly non Irish – cultural separateness.

    Maybe the Ulster Scots language does exist and is viable – but it’s being made a joke of by the involvement of the DUP/Orange Order. Let’s not forget, for instance, that the Chief Executive of the Boord is none other than a former Secretary of the Grand Lodge.

    And because of the combination of this politicisation of Ulster Scots and the tendency to marry Ulster Scots and Irish in polite discourse, it will be automatically assumed that the Irish language is a creature of SF to the same extent as Ulster Scots is intertwined with the DUP. That’s the public perception and it damages the credibility of Irish – it’s guilt by association.

    No one, bar no one who contributes to Slugger does gaeilge more harm than your persistent, sectarian ranting does. Why, when Unionist after Unionist tells you quite how offensive your misty eyed equivocation about the Provos’ murder campaign is, do you still insist on pretending that you’re an apolitical language advocate? Or is still just yet more evidence for my theory that you’re actually a Unionist wind-up?

    Anyway Connie, if you want to go on proclaiming that the rest of us are Sectarian bigots, whilst you just happen to believe that not merely is the RAF’s role in WWII comparable to the Provo bombing campaign, it’s actually more to the discredit of the former than the latter, you go right ahead. The rest of us have you well and truly figured.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Connie, 18th July: “There are perfectly valid reasons why the names of some [GAA] clubs and competitions are named after people who, irrespective of their involvement in the GAA, became involved in the armed struggle [terrorism] for right or for wrong [wrong]. The attempts to link that with the GAA ‘supporting’ terrorism is … absurd’. Post after post litters Slugger from Connie where he not merely equates terrorism with law and order, he constantly and in every instance comes out in favour of the former, but only when it’s Republican terrorism. Connie, there’s no credible debate here for people who claim to think murder is wrong (as you lied in post 11, when you claimed that that was what you thought). The murders those ‘heroes’ of the GAA committed were just that. It’s a pity you can’t realise that, but then you of course don’t think they were murders at all. You are the walking, squawking definition of sectarianism, and a disgrace to all honest advocates of gaeilge.

    Still, though, you’ve got to laugh at Greeners too: scratch a Prod, find a dirty b*stard, eh? That’s it, let all those ugly prejudices flow out. You may as well stand out loud and proud beside Connie.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Here’s a real pearler from Connie (23rd June): “I never supported a campaign of sectarian murder unlike the unionist community which regarded killing Catholic non combatants as ‘returning the serve’”. Unbelievable. Even as as he lies (abut his supposed lack of support for the ‘armed struggle’), he casually smears with sectarian impulses *every* single one of themmuns. How much do the enemies of gaeilge pay Connie to be such a disreputable acquaintance?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Connie, famed (cf. post 11) opponent of all terrorism, all murders, 24th June: “The GAA can stand up for itself but as far as I know the organisation is purely a sporting organisation and that’s where it ends. Any links to ‘terrorism’ are purely in the sense of being linked to historic figures who may have been described as ‘terrorists’ by some but who would be described as freedom fighters or rebels by most reasonable people at this remove”. That’s ‘reasonable’, you’ll understand, as in, ‘when my side kills one of your side, that’s perfectly reasonable’ (it’s freedom fighting even! ah those tyrants queuing for their chips, how brave the defenders of Ireland to murder you where you stood!). Go away Connie, you bitter, dishonest, sectarian fool.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Connie, 30th June:

    SF aren’t murdering ‘at will’ in Ireland – or in Colombia(?). Sure members of SF were involved in a conflict in whch they took lives – it was a bloody and very messy conflict with loss on all sides.

    The activities of the IRA or SF notwithstanding, those that were involved in the UFF et al would probably have been murdering ethnic Catholics. The Unionist paramilitaries, after all, started the blood letting in 1966 with the killing of Peter Ward. So let’s not get holier than thou about it”.

    Can’t you just smell Connie’s repulsion at terrorist murder? Well, you can certainly smell something alright. And that something, other than the bullsh*t of post 11, is the nauseating stench of Connie’s opinions: ‘loyalist’ terrorism = unspeakable (which of course it is); Provo terrorism = understandable/’let’s not get holier than thou’. What makes it worse, that Connie is an out and out apologist for terrorism, or that it’s only his sectarian side’s terrorism he so cloyingly defends, post after poster here on Slugger?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Connie, on 10th June, really came to grips with the reality of Apartheid, and wasn’t at all disgustingly, sordidly MOPEish: “Normal politics [in NI] wasn’t possible 30 or 40 years ago. It would be like asking the ANC to indulge in normal politics while Apartheid still reigned”. And if words have meaning (and remember, Connie is stooping to writing in English) what else can we take from ‘normal politics’ not being possible 30 or 40 years ago other than having here yet another demonstration of his clear, persistent, and pointedly sectarian support for Republican terrorism?

    But just in case you think it’s only the suffering of black South Africans that Connie contemptibly dismisses out of hand with his vile MOPEry, guess what? He’s not exactly sane when it comes to Zimbabwe either – Connie, 23rd June: “Perhaps the wannabe Paisley film makers could direct their attention to Robert Mugabe instead – he is in the news after all and it’s arguable that he is a more sympathetic character than Ian ‘The UVF knew the colour of his living room wall paper’ Paisley”. Got that? Paisley, worse than Mugabe. Well, the former is a Unionist after all, and Connie is a bigot after all.

    If professional advocates of speaking English were all as politically vile as Connie, what odds the world speaking Esperano?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    And finally for today, we’ll leave off with the words of the fair-minded, sincere, apolitical advocate of gaeilge, and, non-Provo apologist on 20th May: “British nationalism is as close to nazi-ism as it gets in my opinion [and] the BNPs of this world bear me out. And that’s why it’s a bankrupt political philosophy”. Proving yet again, while you couldn’t make it up, Connie certainly can.

  • I think you’re proving the point perfectly, Rooster. Unionism is well served by you. You’re such a reasonable well spoken advocate of its cause. Good on you….

    You make my arguments with much more articulation than I could possibly manage. Your erudition steams off the page.

    By the way, why don’t you put your own name to these little works of yours. Why do you hide behind a ‘cartoon character’?

    Maybe because you are a cartoon character?

    The remarks you remind of prove the moral bankruptcy of your stance – I abhor all murder. You don’t. If I were a true opponent of British unionists, I couldn’t pay for the likes of you to argue on my behalf. You’ve proved your own argument that nationalism is a personality defect or, perhaps, in your case a psycopathic disorder.

    I also wonder aloud how come it’s alright for poster hiding behind nom de plumes to make such ad hominem attacks against posters posting under their own name. Anyone would think Slugger was looking for a libel action?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Whinge away about a libel action. Your own words have been quoted directly back at you. You excuse Provo murders, you condemn loyalist ones: your sectarianism is rank and disgusting.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Greenflag: “Perhaps in another universe or one not populated by humanity . There was an element of ‘let’s see what this baby can do ‘ among the A Bombs afficionados . I read recently that some Japanese historian is on record as saying that Hiroshima probably ‘saved ‘ lives .”

    When you understand the alternative plans — both Allied and Japanese — you will understand that the atomic bombs *did* save lives.

    The capstone in the decision to drop the A-bombs was the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa — the closer the Allies came to the Japanese homelands, the harder the Japanese fought and the greater the Allied casualties. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a soldier’sduty to die for his country. The Japanese plan to defend the homeland involved a variety of suicide attacks, including a wave-assault armed with spears on Allied landing areas, female soldiers and child soldiers. The Allied plan to clear landing zones included gas warfare to augment the usual heavy artillery and tactical air. The collision of these two tactics would have inevitably caused a greater number of casualties in just Allied war dead.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    ‘Irish Nationalism: mental disorder or personality defect? ‘

    Hey Rooster, I do believe you have become derailed. This is a rather inane remark, for it is neither a mental condition nor a neurosis or psychoses. Irish Nationalism was a political aspiration of the Irish people to govern ourselves, initially within the context of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, an English King/Queen head of State, etc…. A fair request which was always refused, but eventually granted and the country partitioned. It became the monster in NI when an aggrieved people were constantly ignored culminating in the outbreak of the Troubles in 69.

    BTW – Whataboutery British Nationalism? … with all it’s past imperialist and colonialist trappings. Obviously you do not feel the need to ever question that, and probably never will! Obviously in your eyes the British Government never did wrong and can never do wrong! Torch bearers of civil liberties and justice, sorting out the worlds problems etc. All gung-ho like a John Wayne movie to you …spiffing!

    Regarding alternative universes, your rant was hilarious, but as you are of course a law abiding British citizen who upholds the ‘impeccable’ British law, and who would never question any of it’s aspects, or actions, I merely gave an example of how your cosy pro-British government viewpoint may be challenged in the future as to help you understand Rory’s statement below!

    “War against the powerful is labelled terrorism. Terrorism by the powerful is called war”.

    No where did I advocate war, murder etc..No where did I agree with the past murderous campaign of the IRA in NI and Britain.
    Clearly you blew a fuse, somehow labeling us all IRA sympathisers who supported their of abhorrent acts of murder on the Unionist community!

    When in fact nobody here said such a thing!

    You display a case of paranoia!

  • runciter
  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Very true runciter!

  • Greenflag

    Dread Chutlu,

    ‘Contrary to popular belief, it is not a soldier’s duty to die for his country.’

    Well that would be the norm for those brought up in a western cultural environment . If you read Japanese history and take into account the fact that Japan had never been defeated by any foreign army in it’s entire recorded history and the cult of the God Emperor /the kamikaze pilots and the fact that the Japanese Army had been trained ‘never’ to be taken ‘prisoner’ as it would be an eternal disgrace on their family name etc etc then it’s easy to see that the Americans were faced between a rock and a hard place . IIRC the military stategists estimated that the Americans would suffer 3 million casualties including a million dead with the Japanese suffering three to four times that figure .

    It’s mind boggling to compare the success of the American achievement in Europe and East Asia during World War 2 and the present debacle in Iraq/Middle east and anywhere else in the world where Dubya lands :(.

  • I think that you need psychiatric counselling more than you need to carry on this debate Rooster but I will indulge you once again.

    I won’t go into each and every quote you so painstakingly provided to, as it were, make your case that I supposedly support sectarian murder. That argument by you is ill founded, libellous and unsupported by any reasoned reading of my postings here and by any reading, by a reasonable person, of the quotes you featured in your demented broadside.

    You use the word ‘Mope-ish’ to describe some of my comments. The word ‘mope’ is used by unionists of the most intolerant hue to claim that some how the systemic sectarian oppression carried out by the Unionist regime against catholics/nationalists during its fifty year reign was exaggerated. That it didn’t happen. And of course it happened. And to deny it is to paint yourself into a sectarian corner.

    You decry my comparing ultra British nationalism to nazi-ism. As far as I am the BNP, which I cited specifically, is as repugnant as the Nazi Party because the BNP adheres to Nazi theology in FULL KNOWLEDGE of what the Nazi party did. So that’s how my argument stands.

    It’s unarguable that there was a conflict in the north and that there was loss on both sides. I have no intention of mimising the loss on the unionist side or saying that the IRA weren’t guilty of awful acts of terror in the pursuit of their objectives. But I will not shy away from saying that the British forces, under the orders of their political superiors, were also involved with Unionist terrorists in unspeakable acts of terror and murder.

    Getting back to the topic of the debate, the fact is that non state terrorists or state backed terrorists cause terror. The only difference is that state terrorists can cause terror on a wider scale and with impunity it seems. A distinction which is captured accurately in the cartoon featured earlier.

  • 0b101010

    Nazis? Check.
    Dresden? Check.
    Comparison of military action to paramilitary action? Check.
    Events from at least half a century ago? Check.
    Gaeilge? Check.
    Anti-Americanism? Check.
    Whataboutery? Check.
    Melodramatic newspeak? Check.
    Passive-aggressive threats of legal action? Check.

    Congratulations. This post has managed to wring out the same old substandard bile masquerading as comment from the same old people.

  • RepublicanStones

    Don’t forget……

    Making lists? Check

  • Ad hominem attacks, to distract away from the poverty of those who support terrorism, as long as it’s committed by parties supported by the USA/UK/any number of client despotic regimes.

    Check

  • 0b101010

    Ad hominem attacks, to distract away from the poverty of those who support terrorism, as long as it’s committed by parties supported by the USA/UK/any number of client despotic regimes.

    Seems awfully intellectually lazy to me to bang away at this desire to compare the military actions of nation states, with all the machinations involved, to the paramilitary actions of small groups of rebels.

    What about…
    What about…
    What about…

  • Terror is terror is terror……there’s no laziness about, merely the inability of those who commit acts of terror, and their apologists, to face up to the consequences of their actions. Terror, whether it’s committed by nation states or by ‘small groups of rebels’, still amounts to terror and has the same effect on its victims.

    There is also, it appears, an inability to face up to the fact that oppression, itself a form of terrorism, breeds further terrorism.