British Army’s “smug” attitude over NI success led to US criticism of UK’s Afghan ops…

IN an extensive interview just published by the Economist, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, has accused British armed forces of being “too complacent” and “smug” after its experiences in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. He said: “You are only as good as your next success, not your last one. You can never rest on your laurels and I think we may have done that. If you go around and ask enough Americans you will find some who are critical to a degree. . . of the way that the British do things and the approach that the British take.” But it’s not all negative. The Economist notes that a British general, Graeme Lamb helped win over American sceptics by recounting how he had overcome his own revulsion at dealing with the IRA for the sake of peace, leading to useful contact with Sunnis in the fight against al Qaida in western Iraq.

  • LURIG

    Why would the British Army be smug about it’s role in the North? If you think organising and directing loyalist death squads; murdering children with plastic & live bullets; butchering innocent Civil Rights protestors; shooting GAA members; wrecking pensioners houses and smashing holy pictures; abusing and threatening people walking past them; ridiculing and insulting parishoners going to mass AND beating up fellas and kids coming home from work and school IS something to be proud of that’s pretty warped thinking. The British Army, media and public still believe that their Army was some sort of non partisan peace force keeping 2 warring tribes apart WHEN in effect it largely controlled, directed and prolonged the conflict. As we are now seeing with Israel and the US, when the West acts militarily it is for the ‘greater good’ and the establishment in those countries close ranks and clicks into propoganda mode. The British media shamefully acted as apologists and cheerleaders for the crimes and human rights abuses of the British Army in Ireland and still covers most of them up. I seen and witnessed at first hand the disgusting actions of the British Army whose front line troops are mostly drawn from uneducated inner city communities and who are programmed to do and think what their public school educated Rupert officers tell them. They should be sitting in the dock at The Hague alongside the Israeli & American war criminals.

  • William

    Lurig…Wise up…believe all the IRA propoganda do you??….not enough of the Republican terrorists were dispatched to that great furnace in hell

  • file

    Interesting definition of success…but by their own standards and history, from being the first army to invent concentration camps on (and back), the British Army were successful in Northern Ireland, ie nobody got caught, or convicted in a meaningful way, and the government covered up for them and the Queen gave out the requisite number of knighthoods to the top brass. Plus ca change…

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    ‘Sir Jock Stirrup’…what a handle!

    Obviously related to ‘Sir Jock Strap’ and ‘Hitchcock’!

    Spiffing stuff!

  • LURIG

    Paul Greengrass’s film Bloody Sunday, on the other night, had the British Army off to a tee. Smug, arrogant, bigoted, racist officers in charge of thick, uneducated, monosyllabic infantry and all still fighting colonial wars. They are getting their arses kicked and a hell of a beating out in Afghanistan and Iraq by a smarter local well motivated guerilla force……..mmmm heard that somewhere before.

  • Jock Stirrup?

    Hmm.

    Sir Jock Stirrup.

    He sounds like a character in a very dodgy 70’s American porno.

  • latcheecoo

    So to recap:
    1. The noble general singlehandedly saved the day against the fuzzies by recounting his tales of derring-do and wowing his colonial allies.
    2. Aforesaid colonials regard the chaps recently seen marching up Royal Avenue in grand style as well… crap.

  • NCM

    LURIG:

    Yes, but they do have pretty uniforms.

  • LURIG

    NCM

    LOL. Must admit that did give me a laugh because even the most rabid Republican couldn’t deny that. Very colourful uniforms, insignia and standards AND their musicians can knock out a good tune too. I would put money on Gerry and Martin catching a view glimpses of Trooping The Colour and The Edinburgh Military Tattoo every now and then. However their record in Ireland both present and past has been shameful, they have been nothing more than thuggish bully boys sent to teach the natives a lesson with all their warmongering animalistic tendencies and prejudices to the fore. Their record in the North of Ireland since 1969 requires an urgent UN investigation.

  • Dave

    The FRU did well in Northern Ireland along with the other Intel agencies. They managed to confine the sectarian squabbles to a small number of murder gangs who they controlled, thereby containing the latent potential for a civil war between the two tribes. In addition, by confining the conflict to a small number of organised gangs who would gain kudos as militant leaders of their tribal faction, they were able to direct the leaders of those sectarian gangs to persuade their supporters to renounce their right to self-determination, their opposition to the constitutional position of Northern Ireland, endorse the legitimacy of British sovereignty, disarm, assist in the administration of British rule in a devolved parliament, etc, by persuading their supporters that all of that would lead them to a united Ireland rather than a consolidated United Kingdom. As Margaret Thatcher stated in her memoirs “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” In that context, the loss of life was minimal. While NI’s leaders have nothing to teach others in conflict zones, NI’s generals and Intel agents have plenty.

  • LURIG

    ……all based on Dave, Britain’s imposition of an illegal Northern statelet that was foisted on Ireland at the point of a gun. The North is and never has been a legal state because the Irish people were NEVER given the choice on the division of the island. Lloyd George, Birkenhead and the others gave Collins no option. So if we are starting from this Britain has NO sovereignty or legitimacy over ANY part of the island. The Cairo gang, FRU, SAS, Intelligence Corps etc were Britain’s murder gangs that tried to tell the Irish they were British and ALL got the same message. Britain has NO claim over ANY part of Ireland like it has NO claim over Hong Kong, The Malvinas and Gibraltar. Go to the Catholics around Lough Neagh, The Sperrins and parts of Fermanagh and they can still point out the fertile Protestant owned lands that were stolen form the native Irish. That’s how deep it runs. How dare you, Britain still illegally occupies Irish lands and there will be NO real peace until this is rectified. Most Nationalists & Republicans recognise this and are just playing the waiting game with regards the Good Friday Agreement and Stormont Executive. Once a Nationalist majority becomes a reality within 10 years the push for unification of the island will become unstoppable and the UN & NATO will agree to this, with peacekeepers if necessary. Ireland is very strategic in the international arena and Britain will eventually agree to this re-unification under pressure from the States.

  • Dan Breen’s Revolver

    Although it ended up a victory for the Crown, if it was a real, unqualified success people like McGuinness and Adams wouldn’t be ministers at Stormont. If the PIRA were nothing but a mere ‘murder gang’ it would not be a success for the British forces to lose 1000s of members over a few decades while spending billions upon billions on the security effort. The IRA were a dedicated paramilitary force who eventually realized victory was impossible and negotiated the terms of their own surrender. In the meantime much of NI endured tragedies and hardship

  • runciter

    They managed to confine the sectarian squabbles to a small number of murder gangs

    The British aim has never been to ‘confine’ sectarisnism. Rather, they intentionally imported sectarianism into Ireland in the first place and have cultivated it at every opportunity.

    Throughout the Troubles they deliberately sectarianised every debate, portraying demands for sovereignty and civil liberties as mere ‘tribalism’. They have always actively funded and supported the most vicious sectarian actors behind the scenes. Sectarianism is a symptom of the British government’s presence. It exists because of their actions, not despite them.

    As the people of Iraq are now learning, sectarianism is a disease you tend to catch under British occupation.

  • mnob

    LURIG :

    …..all based on, Ireland’s imposition of a independence that was foisted on the UK at the point of a gun. The UK people were NEVER given the choice on the division of the union…

  • Driftwood

    It is not the purpose of armies (of any country)to act as a PR agency for their state. However, the fact that they learn from past conflicts would be a major plus in their development. The British Army learned a lot here and were much better at their job in the latter stages of the terror campaign they were dealing with than when they arrived. Give them some credit.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    I watched that ‘Bloody Sunday’ drama again that night and it was shocking. The British Army were dressed for war that day in Derry, camouflage on their faces with a shoot the town up, gung-ho attitude. It was appalling to see the British soldiers shoot civillians lying on the ground as they pursued the marchers through the streets. All based on eye witness accounts, so it was not made up. The British Army were brutal toward the Irish Nationalists, cups of tea for them on their arrival at the beginning of the Troubles, but the welcome all soured and turned into the awful conflict that affected everyone.

    “The North is and never has been a legal state because the Irish people were NEVER given the choice on the division of the island. Lloyd George, Birkenhead and the others gave Collins no option. So if we are starting from this Britain has NO sovereignty or legitimacy over ANY part of the island.”

    Indeed Lurig, but this has all happened and is in the past. Ireland and her people were always treated rather unfairly throughout history by the London administration. But we can’t go back, and change history. We can’t change the past. We accept it and move forward. Change lies in future.

    “Once a Nationalist majority becomes a reality within 10 years the push for unification of the island will become unstoppable and the UN & NATO will agree to this, with peacekeepers if necessary.”

    Well let everyone work for a positive outcome then, where everyone agrees Lurig in those years ahead. The road will always be rocky with disagreements, beligerance and stubborness. And that should always be expected. Always remember too, that a repeat of the divisive Troubles is the last thing everyone needs on the island. And always remember, all the victims on both sides of the conflict that were murdered. It’s the great goal and desire to unite all the people of the island.

  • neil

    Here’s why the brits are smug, it’s because they’re sooo clever. Like what happened here, hundreds of years of strife because they invaded this country, and what did they learn? Fuck all (they’re squadies dontchaknow).

    They only get out of here with their skins intact (well some of ’em anyway) and within a few years they’re off to Afghanistan, half way round the world on an illegal war to fight in a country where every male over the age of ten owns an AK47.

    Fuckin genius. The reason they’re so smug is because they’re that fucking thick they don’t realise when they’ve taken a beating. Wouldn’t have it any other way myself.

    And just in case someone’s about to jump in to tell me how succesful the brits were here in NI, there’s 739 dead squadies who would disagree with you, and one would have thought the brits would have had a slight advantage in terms of arms, numbers, freedom of movement etc. I’d call 739 dead and your enemies in power an unmitigated disaster personally.

  • CBGB

    No surprise that the British army – alongwith every other instrument of the British security apparatus from the Troubles – have been hawking their expertise in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan…First of all it isn’t the first trip the British army have made to these parts of the world, often sowing the seeds for today’s prolems and ethnic tensions. Second, there are very few ‘victories’ in counterinsurgency warfare – usually only the delaying of inevitable settlement with those who have been colonised / invaded. In this regard NI is seen to have been one of the more successful delaying tactics. Personally, it does not require a genius to understand that Bloody Sunday, the assassinations and nefarious links with death-squads etc suggest an aggravation of conflict for most of the Troubles. No one is ever fooled by soft-caps – ‘Oh look, no helmet…maybe I should reconsider my opinion of these guys – don’t mind the machine-gun!’. Totally overblown and basically good pr that has proved effective on the British public, other military and policy makers.

    A dismal record of success does not mean that you can’t be internationally popular. It’s often more likely to be the case on security issues!

  • Greenflag

    mnob,

    ‘The UK people were NEVER given the choice on the division of the union’

    They were also never given a choice on the ‘creation ‘ of the Union either 😉

    The ‘Union ‘ was created through a long ‘historical ‘ process which began with the conquest and subjection of Wales , the neutering of Scotland and it’s final ‘defeat ‘ and absorbtion into ‘Empire ‘. The severing of Scotland’s old French alliance secured the larger island from possible French invasion . The Second Conquest of Ireland (1550 through 1690 ) finally removed almost all possibility of Ireland ever becoming a threat directly or indirectly to English ‘dominance ‘ in these islands.

    In the course of all the above over centuries the English ‘monarchy ‘ and it’s supporters both within England and indeed within Scotland , Ireland and Wales comforted themselves in the midst of all the slaughter by ‘looting ‘ as much as they could on the way . Once the three minor countries were sucked dry and neutralised then the Empire could move outward and onward without fear of being ‘stabbed ‘ in the back by any combination of the three minor ‘nations’ with one or other of the larger continental powers -France or Spain or even later Germany .

    Not only was it the Empire of good intentions it was also the Empire of least resistance as it ‘conquered ‘ and ‘pirated ‘ it’s way to the top .

    Along the way to Empire Britain became a ‘democracy ‘ and the ‘inherent ‘ contradictions ‘ between having to be both led as we know to the demise of said Empire ‘

  • charliemuck85

    LURIG:
    ‘Go to the Catholics around Lough Neagh, The Sperrins and parts of Fermanagh and they can still point out the fertile Protestant owned lands that were stolen form the native Irish. That’s how deep it runs.’

    I apologise to all for the conuation of the ‘whatabouttery’argument but I didnt reelise Fermanagh Roman Catholics knew what land was ‘stolen’ from Roman Catholics centuries ago, do you have extensive knowledge of the minds of Fermanagh Roman Catholics Lurig?
    Also, does this mean you feel that the only way this can be rectified in your view is to remove Protestant people off the Fermanagh lands???

  • Harry Flashman

    “from being the first army to invent concentration camps”

    No they didn’t.

    Anyone who has watched Greengrass’s movie about Bloody Sunday and took away the impression that he wished to portray the soldiers involved as mindless racist morons intent on slaughtering innocent civilians clearly wasn’t paying attention to the much more subtle and nuanced depiction of events that the director himself says he wished to portray.

  • sevenmagpies

    “I’d call 739 dead and your enemies in power an unmitigated disaster personally.”

    Really depends on your objective.

    The constitutional status of the north is exactly the same as it was when the troops arrived, and the political figures of the movement who vowed to remove British influence in the north now help to administer British authority.

    Simply killing people is never any sort of a victory.

  • Driftwood

    Wasn’t it British soldiers who stopped prison officers from beating up recaptured Maze escapees?
    You cannot brand any army based on 1 event, be it Bloody sunday, My Lai, Katyn, and countless other incidents.
    The British army, like all others goes where its political masters dictate, and do what they are told. Sometimes their officers and men learn from their experiences. Whether politicians do or not is dubious.

  • neil

    The constitutional status of the north is exactly the same

    Not at all true. The principle of consent was absent, and it’s a pretty important thing for nationalists, due to it meaning that as, if and when we have the numbers to vote ourselves into a united Ireland we can do so.

  • fin

    Harry, I’m not aware of the existant of concentration camps prior to their use by Kitchener in the Boer war, but happy to be corrected.

    7magpies
    The Northern Ireland Act 1998 (1998 c. 47) repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920, parts of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.

    My understanding is that the presense of British troops in NI was actually illegal and that the government had to push legislation through parliment in the following 24hrs. How far NI has moved is the fact that Gardai where carrying out duties in South Armagh at the end of 2008 in connection with the Quinn murder.

  • Driftwood

    fin
    There have been British soldiers garrisoned in NI since its foundation. My grandfather trained at Ballykinlar. They didn’t just arrive in 1969.

  • Earnan

    With regards to the Boer War, I was reminded of something.

    A few British officers were courtmartialed for putting hostages in their trains and carraiges when traveling to deter enemy attack. (as in Breaker Morant)

    However, 15 years later in Ireland this became a common tactic. This time they would put lawfully elected officials in their lorries in an attempt to save their mercenary skins from ambush.

  • Stephen Dedalus

    I didnt know that military stalemate against a smaller, less well equipped, and less well trained guerilla force could be counted as a success. So by that logic the British Army should be out of Afganistan in…oh, 90 years from now.

    “Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.” oct 08.

    …..mmmmmm, sounds familiar.

  • Harry Flashman

    Check out the Spanish in the Philippines war.

  • fin

    Driftwood, I’m vaguely aware of there been an issue, maybe it had to do with the actual deployment of troops on NI streets, I know Hume had a court case in the mid 70’s regarding the army, I think I’ll google it tonight, unless someone else can help…….

  • sevenmagpies

    Neil

    “The principle of consent was absent, and it’s a pretty important thing for nationalists, due to it meaning that as, if and when we have the numbers to vote ourselves into a united Ireland we can do so.”

    Wasn’t that included in Sunningdale in 1973? What did armed force republicanism achieve aside from 739 dead soldiers?

    Fin,

    Concentration camps were used in America in the early 1800s, and I believed Belgium used similar camps in the Congo in the 1800s as well. I think the Brits simply invented the name “concentration camp” as prior to that they were known as something else. Whatever they are called it doesn’t really make them any more pleasant, of course.

  • sevenmagpies

    Stephen,

    “I didnt know that military stalemate against a smaller, less well equipped, and less well trained guerilla force could be counted as a success.”

    Terrorism is extremely easy, that’s why it’s so popular and so hard to defeat. It rarely achieves anything, and the ‘armed struggle’ is simply yet another in a long line of abject failures.

    All the Brits had to do to ‘win’ was not lose anything, whilst the terrorists actually had to gain something or their whole campaign was utterly pointless. Did they gain anything?

  • Earnan

    Yes, you are correct magpies. The Provos campaign was easy. Any member would most likely end up dead or in prison, and there was no possibility of getting rich or being in a good situation to rear a family.

    Their campaign (at least after civil rights were not really an issue) may have been murderous, barbourous at times, and ultimately insane but I don’t think it was easy to maintain. It took insane amounts of sacrifice (and a lack of conscience, some would say).

  • Smug O’ Toole

    A friend of mine’s has an English girlfriend whose father stated one evening at dinner that the difference between a pirate and the British army throughout history was that the British wore spiffing red coats.

  • sevenmagpies

    Earnan,

    “but I don’t think it was easy to maintain”

    It’s incredibly easy. Sure, you might lose a few people here and there, but there’s always someone else willing to step up and take part in the romantic struggle to ruin livelihoods and destroy lives.

    A bunch of schoolkids with a chemistry set and a total disregard for human life would be the ideal terrorist unit.

    Smug,

    I think the difference between state violence and the violemce of independent organisations is that independents have no alternative to offer.

    If you consider use of force/compromise to be a delicate balance of carrot and stick, then terrorists, guerillas, call them what you will, simply have no carrot to offer.

    A state party can say – ‘do what you are told and we’ll fund this, provide that, release the other’

    All a paramilitary group really has is – ‘do what we want or we’ll kill you and blow stuff up’. Their only option is an adjustment in the application of stick.

  • Dave

    “Wasn’t that included in Sunningdale in 1973?” – sevenmagpies

    One of the myths that the Shinners proffered to their supporters under direction from their political controllers is that the Principle of Consent was a nationalist demand rather than a core British demand and that the formal acceptance of it in the GFA by both communities was a defeat for unionists (who had always accepted it) and a victory for nationalists (who had always rejected it, dismissing it as the Unionist Veto). In effect, it was the nationalists accepting the constitutional legitimacy of Northern Ireland, renouncing the legitimacy of their own ideological position. This, clearly, is an unmitigated victory for those who had always held that Northern Ireland is legitimately under British sovereignty, i.e. the British government and the Ulster Unionists.

    Followers are always best led by their own leaders, so whoever leads the leaders leads the followers. That is why ‘kudos’ was conferred upon the murder gangs: it allowed the militants to claim ownership of republicanism (and who could claim ownership better than those who died and killed for an ideal?) and control of those murder gangs by the British intelligence (and military intelligence in the form of the FRU who controlled PIRA’s ISU) gave British intelligence de facto control of republicanism, allowing them to convert it into an entity that promoted the British nationalism. That is the policy that Margaret Thatcher was referring to in her memoirs when she said that “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” They have now been “led” to do that.

    The Principle of Consent was the core of the constitutional framework of Northern Ireland since partition. The Government of Ireland Act, 1920 granted self-determination to Northern Ireland, allowing its elected parliament to unite the country if a parliamentary majority voted for it.

    This ‘principle’ was restated in the Ireland Act 1949 as:

    [i]“It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty’s Dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be a part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.”[/i]

    The “constitutional framework of the state” was updated in the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 to restate this ‘principle’ as:

    [i]“It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to this Act.”[/i]

    The difference between the original “constitutional framework of the state” from 1920 is that self-determination in relation to the constitutional issue would be exercised by parliament, whereas, after 1973, the concept was introduced that it would be exercised by plebiscite.

    Of course, it is always far easier to get a majority of a parliament to agree to alter sovereignty than it ever is to get a majority of the people to agree to it. That is why the EU detests plebiscites, preferring national parliaments to ratify treaties wherein the people give their sovereignty away to others. So, not only did nationalists accept the constitutional legitimacy of Northern Ireland but they accepted it on the worst possible terms for altering it.

    Of course, it was not intended by the British government under the Government of Ireland Act that either parliament, north or south, should ever function as other than a puppet parliament wherein sovereignty resided with the UK parliament. So, even if unity occurred, it would occur in the context of a United Kingdom. That Redmondite agenda is what the supporters of the Shinners must now proffer in order to have a slim hope of getting Ulster Unionists to agree to unity. In effect, they regard removing the border as the end in itself rather than the means to an end, since that can only occur if the people of the Republic agree to renounce their right to self-determination, dismantle their nation-state, and agree like the northern ‘republicans’ to live under British sovereignty.

    That is why it paid the British government to control the murder gangs and thereby control republicanism.

  • Dave

    To put it another way. As you can kill those who are motivated by an ideal but you can’t kill the ideal. You then need to change your tactics and discredit that ideal, controlling those who control the ideal, and ‘redefining’ that ideal according to your own agenda.

  • stephen

    The upper echelons of the British Army are always smug in these situations, as the heavily controlled media (see Tim Pat Coogan’s ‘The Troubles’) will distort all actions and outcomes to whatever line the establishment directs it to.

    On the subject of success in Ireland,the army was largely removed from the action as they came to be seen as merely standing targets. The war was fought from the British side by largely local/native forces both legal and paramilitary. this served to exacerbate sectarian tensions whilst allowing for atrocities and attacks that the state could never undertake or be seen to sanction. The republican forces either reacted in a sectarian nature (understandable in the circumstances but wrong)or,due to the command structure in the IRA,took too long to target the individuals concerned thus leading people to feel that they were not being protected/avenged. Either way war weariness sets in and people sue for peace.

    Recent events have shown however that feelings and historical wrongs will not be forgotten and that there is likely to be some conflaguration in the future.

    This will probably occur as the recession starts to bite and the countries of the world start to engage in trade barriers, leading to mass unemployment and the subsequent scapegoating that goes with it. Ireland will face massive financial problems,the british will take actions to protect themselves and enterprising dissidents will start to blame woes on the border and the british presence in the north.

    This time however the british will not have the money to pump in to the situation, so who knows the outcome?

  • fin

    7magpies, I think you are referring to the belgium practice of holding families as hostage to encourage workers to gather/produce more rubber (practices that Casement exposed) as for America are you referring to reservations? either way neither fit the profile of a concentration camp.
    In the Congo people where released upon production of rubber, in America Indians lived in a large space, more similar to the exiling of the native Irish to the lesser lands. Any other ideas on concentration camps prior to Kitcheners introduction in the Boer way?

  • Earnan

    Magpies

    Maybe you and I are arguing at different ends. I recognize your point, for the most part. A terrorist/guerilla group doesnt have to defeat an enemy, just stay intact long enough and cause enough damage/casualties a year where the imperialists no longer deems it worth it to stay in area. Or, alternatively, the imperial power has to use methods that its population won’t stomach (that is, if they find out about it).

    Answer this…why have dissident groups been so unsuccessful if it is so easy? Are there just not enough of them? Or not enough skilled ones?

  • Reader

    fin: Any other ideas on concentration camps prior to Kitcheners introduction in the Boer way
    Reconcentrado, Cuba, 1896

  • Driftwood

    Seen the Paul Greengrass film tonight.
    No big deal. The paras were fired upon, including by our illustrious Deputy FM. They fired back.
    13 terrorists were killed.
    Big frigging deal!!

  • Dan Breen’s Revolver

    driftwood

    there was one shot fired by the officials, after the paras had gone on a murdering spree. he was tackled by a few provos and told “you dont fire in situations like this”

    read any work on the conflict by nonpartisan sources who have examined all evidence and testimony.

    they all agree on most mpoints.

  • latcheeco

    Driftwood,
    Can’t bear the thought of it can you? The oul programming might short circuit. You stay classy mucker.

  • runciter

    13 terrorists were killed.

    Amazing.

  • sevenmagpies

    Fin,

    I would presume that whether ot not a facility fits the definition of a ‘concentration camp’ is really down to the view of the internees, rather than the people who set it up. Prior to transport to reservations, native americans were rounded up and held confined in iirc ‘resettlement camps’. In all cases (US, UK and Belgium) the objective was to concentrate civilians in a particular area and keep them controlled.

    So what’s the difference?

    Earnan,

    “Answer this…why have dissident groups been so unsuccessful if it is so easy? Are there just not enough of them? Or not enough skilled ones?”

    Probably a combination of factors. There aren’t very many of them – although the Mumbai attacks demonstrated that limited numbers aren’t necessarily a hindrance. The dissidents clearly don’t have the skill or the tactical albility to launch wide ranging attacks – either that or their hearts just not in it i.e. they’re still committed to the romantic concept of armed force republicanism but deep down they realise it’s entirely counterproductive.

    Certainly, post 9/11, randomly blowing stuff up and shooting people isn’t very popular amongst the general population (unless the people and stuff are in a country far far away about which we know very little), but it’s still pretty easy to do.

    The dissidents could easily shoot a few coppers if they really wanted – catch them outside a chinese takeaway on a Friday evening, for example. Heroically setting fire to shops is purely a matter of chemistry. Causing terror amongst the civilian population could be achieved by two or three guys lobbing grenades or pipebombs down Royal Avenue on a Saturday morning. And they only have to do the effective stuff once or twice, and then the fear comes from wondering when it might happen next.

  • fin

    Reader,from Wiki – “General Valeriano Weyler, military governor of Cuba, herded the rural population into what he called reconcentrados, described by international observers as “fortified towns.” These are often considered the prototype for 20th century concentration camps”
    Horrible places no less, possibly where the British got the idea from in the Boer War.

    With regards to the Red Indian resettlement camps, I’m not convinced they could be termed as concentration camps, although horrid places

    anymore for anymore or do we have a winner with Lord Kitchener?

  • fin

    7magpies,”the objective was to concentrate civilians in a particular area and keep them controlled”

    to hell or connaught?

  • sevenmagpies

    Fin,

    “To hell or connaught?”

    You can’t argue that reservations aren’t a form of concentration camp and then suggest moving people to a patch of barren land in Ireland is a concentration camp.

    Perhaps I should have said “location” rather than “area” i.e. a camp, with boundaries and guards.

  • Reader

    fin: anymore for anymore or do we have a winner with Lord Kitchener?
    Doesn’t that all make Weyler the winner? Were you thrown by the fact that Reconcentrado is a Spanish word?
    Mind you – there’s always the Babylonians…

  • blinding

    I would imagine that many African slaves were held in concentration camps as they waited their transports to wherever their masters decreed.

  • Up Tyrone!

    Lord kitchner was a Kerryman. That’s just another reason why they shouldn’t get their paws on Sam again this year.
    Up Tyrone!

  • fin

    thrown by a bit of Spanish, not at all Reader, I had never heard of the “Reconcentrado”, so thanks for bringing it to my attention, however, from the discriptions I read they sound more like, say, the Warsaw ghetto or the Palestine territories. I know you, 7magpies and I were totally of the subject of the thread, but I’ve found it an interesting discourse, I suppose one thing I’ve drawn from all this is that names and terms can be very subjective.

  • fin

    whereas Tir Eogain gave the world Philomena Begley…….

  • Up Tyrone!

    fin,

    How dare you bring THAT up after all these years? I’m…wounded.