Monday, March 07, 2005

The Forgotten War on Terror

New Sisyphus reminds us that terror still exists in Northern Ireland.

But, the good news is that the IRA may no longer rule through fear.

We’ve always wondered why the IRA and its splinter groups have avoided mention in our War Against Terror. If there ever was an international terrorist group, one with the will and desire to kill and maim innocents in their quest to turn Ireland into a Celtic version of East Germany, the IRA is one. From bombing Second World War vets on parade to teaching the FARC how to more effectively kill Americans in Colombia, the IRA has done it all. . . .

The story begins, as most stories involving the IRA do, with a murder. A young Catholic man from Belfast named Robert McCartney was killed by IRA men in a Belfast pub on January 30. As is usual, the IRA sent out the word that no one was to speak to the police about the murder and witnesses should shut up if they know what’s good for them. . . .

Except this time, no one listened. The McCartney family, of impeccable Republican credentials, courageously and valiantly stood up to the extreme social and political pressure and demanded in public that all people with knowledge of the crime step forward. What happened next was nothing less than the NI equivalent of what you’re now seeing in Martyr’s Square in Beirut; a long-suppressed people stepped forward to demand justice, sick and tired of living under a tyrannical and cruel yoke.

Under pressure from those it condescendingly calls “its people,” the IRA announced that it had kicked out three of its “volunteers” and urged them to seek legal representation. History in NI being what it is, no doubt the leaders of IRA/Sinn Fein thought that was enough and the story would end there.

But it didn’t. The McCartney family released a statement that cheered the hearts of the average people of NI that read:

"We welcome the fact that the IRA has accepted unequivocally that their members were involved in Robert's cold-blooded murder and the subsequent cover and clean-up operation.

"We acknowledge that they have taken action against particular members in the form of expulsions and are in the process of conducting their own procedures against others involved. The statement confirms what our family has maintained all along that Robert was a completely innocent man."

. . . Thousands attended McCartney’s funeral, in direct defiance to SF/IRA. Word has reached us that Sein Fein was dis-invited from this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House.

Well, we suppose that’s a start. Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. There is no dealing with it, no negotiating with it. A weakness on one front is a weakness on all. Our demand for justice, liberty, the rule of law and democracy should not stop at the Middle East.

The United States, for reasons political, financial and historical, has enormous influence in Northern Ireland. We should use that influence to open up a northern front.

Terrorism is indeed terrorism.

The romanticization of the IRA has always repulsed me.

This story is very heartening. May Irish history remember Robert McCartney as we will remember the Iraqi elections.