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August 30, 2014, 03:34:54 PM
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Author Topic: A simple question . . . . .  (Read 8176 times)
ulthar
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2008, 04:10:31 PM »


Well, living in Europe at the height of the Bader-Meinhoff Terrorists (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bader-meinhoff), and IRA attacks of the 70's-90's, I can safely say that Muslims do ot have a monopoly on terrorism.  They are just the current noisiest ones.
-Ed



I get kinda rankled when I hear comparisons between the IRA and the current crop of Muslim terrorists.

I'm NOT defending the IRA...but...the main line IRA attacked political, military and police targets exclusively.  There was "collateral damage," but the innocent bystanders were not the targets of the attacks.

And, there is at least on example, one of the most notorious examples of innocent dead in an IRA attack (the Remembrance Day bombing) where the IRA issued an apology!!  They were targeting the Minister of Defense (a political target) and misjudged the proximity of innocents.

This lies in stark contrast to the Muslim and Palestinian terrorists who purposefully target innocent civilians simply living their lives...cafe's, bus stops, etc.

Now, you can condemn the IRA for their tactics and say, "well, they should not target the Minister of Defense with a bomb" and I'd certainly give that point of view due credit. 

But to me, at least, there is a huge gulf of difference between people trying to effect political change in their own country by targeting what they see as a corrupt, non-representative government and a group of religious zealots targeting civilians in OTHER COUNTRIES...people who have directly harmed them in no way, shape or form.

Drawing moral equivalence between the two only serves to lessen the repulsiveness of the reprehensible actions of cowards.  Remember, if we dilute the term "terrorist" too much, the Continental Rebels that fought for the founding of THIS country would be labelled as such.
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2008, 07:20:31 PM »

Ulthar, the IRA absolutely did murder civilians, and murdered them deliberately. Murdered them deliberately, and in cold blood. The best that can be said for the IRA in all its many incarnations is that there were and are worse elements than them in Irish society. Probably the single most terrible fate that could befall  Ireland today would be if the Republicans in the north ever truly did manage the reunification so many of them so virulently claim to want.
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2008, 09:55:27 PM »

Well, after posting I went and read the ENTIRE list of attacks attributed to the IRA since 1969 (we are not talking about the "Official" IRA)...and having read that list...

I humbly disagree with your assertion that they wilfully targeted civilians.

Can you cite any FIVE attacks PROVEN to have been IRA and for which civilian, non-politicals were the intended targets?

As I said, that's not to say that they did not indeed end up killing civilians, but they were most certainly not the primary target of most attacks.

I'm not defending what they did.  After refreshing my memory on the historical facts, however, I maintain my opinion that there is a BIG difference between "terrorism" as it applies in the Middle East (and 9-11) and The Troubles in Ireland.

I also freely admit that this opinion will not be a popular one.
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« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2008, 11:24:40 PM »

If Islam is a religion of peace, how come, 9 times out of 10, when something, somewhere is blown up, it's a Muslim doing it?
How come, when the Pope quoted an ancient text citing Islam's prediliction for violence, did Muslims protest by shooting a 64 year old nun in the back and raping Christian schoolgirls in Africa?
If it is a religion of peace, why does a simple cartoon in a Dutch newspaper cause riots that kill dozens worldwide?
Last of all . . . if, as Rosy O'Donnell says,  radical Christians are as big a threat to peace as radical Muslims, could someone please tell me the last time a radical Baptist, Methodist, or Lutheran blew up a schoolbus or a busy marketplace in the name of their faith?
Just . . . . wondering.

Wasn't there an abortion clinic bomber...?  Murder, terrorism and mayhem are never forgiveable in any guise for any cause.  I'd assert that my last statement is a fundamental Christian ideal. 
Islam in the 20th century has sprouted terrible versions of fundamentalism that have proven both virulent, contagious, and dangerous.  Setting aside my own personal opinion about Islam (or any faith) I must look at the basics.  I determine that Islam through history has shown much more tolerance of Judaism and Christianity than Christian europe ever tolerated either other faith.  But like all great faiths, its history is checkered.  However, the activities of terrorism that have more and more enraptured humankind's attention are unique in our history, unique to our Information Age.  They provide by example the terrible possibilities of the bent individual mind.  I live in New Jersey, a point of entry for much of America's immigrants, and have Muslim neighbors and co-workers.  Most people want to live, to live in peace, and to seek a better life. 
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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2008, 11:28:15 PM »

Well, living in Europe at the height of the Bader-Meinhoff Terrorists (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bader-meinhoff), and IRA attacks of the 70's-90's, I can safely say that Muslims do ot have a monopoly on terrorism.  They are just the current noisiest ones.-Ed

I get kinda rankled when I hear comparisons between the IRA and the current crop of Muslim terrorists.
I'm NOT defending the IRA...but...the main line IRA attacked political, military and police targets exclusively.  There was "collateral damage," but the innocent bystanders were not the targets of the attacks.
And, there is at least on example, one of the most notorious examples of innocent dead in an IRA attack (the Remembrance Day bombing) where the IRA issued an apology!!   They were targeting the Minister of Defense (a political target) and misjudged the proximity of innocents.
This lies in stark contrast to the Muslim and Palestinian terrorists who purposefully target innocent civilians simply living their lives...cafe's, bus stops, etc.  Now, you can condemn the IRA for their tactics and say, "well, they should not target the Minister of Defense with a bomb" and I'd certainly give that point of view due credit.   But to me, at least, there is a huge gulf of difference between people trying to effect political change in their own country by targeting what they see as a corrupt, non-representative government and a group of religious zealots targeting civilians in OTHER COUNTRIES...people who have directly harmed them in no way, shape or form.   Drawing moral equivalence between the two only serves to lessen the repulsiveness of the reprehensible actions of cowards.  Remember, if we dilute the term "terrorist" too much, the Continental Rebels that fought for the founding of THIS country would be labelled as such.
Perhaps we've been annoying one another for months, but, you, ULTHAR, deserve karma.   Thumbup
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« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2008, 01:02:44 AM »

Ulthar, you seem a polite, thoughtful person so don’t take this as a personal attack, but I have to disagree with your characterizations of the IRA and with your continued assertion that civilians have never been targeted. They have been. Don’t take my word for it, just look at these sad events…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsmill_massacre

In 1976 a dozen IRA “soldiers” stopped a bus in a predominantly Protestant section of Kingsmill, Northern Ireland, made the passengers exit onto the street, released the one Catholic among the number, and then proceeded to execute ten civilian Protestants on the spot. These were textile workers on their way home to families after a shift at their plant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_pub_bombings

The IRA-sponsored bombing of a Birmingham, England pub in 1974 killed or injured more than two-hundred British civilians, ordinary people, mostly working class, enjoying an evening with friends and family. A deliberate attack on non-military personnel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford_pub_bombing

In this case the IRA used the excuse that this pub, located in Guildford, England, was frequented by British soldiers to justify the bombing of ordinary men and women, killing five people and injuring by some counts seventy others. To say, “We were after soldiers” is a little like bombing a bar in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and then excusing civilian deaths by pointing out the bar sits in a military town.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrods_bombing

Harrods, the most famous department store in London, hardly a military target, was bombed by the IRA in 1983. The fact the IRA was “polite” enough to give police minimal advance warning is not an exoneration for targeting a civilian site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_IRA_campaign_1969%E2%80%931997

Quote: “Many[specify] British civilians were killed during the IRA bombing campaign in England, which was occasionally directed against civilian targets such as pubs and public transport such as the London Underground.”

(I respectfully submit that public houses and public transport stations are not military or governmental targets.)

Quote: “Another element of their campaign was the bombing of commercial targets such as shops and businesses. The most effective tactic the IRA developed for its bombing campaign was the car bomb, where large amounts of explosives were packed into a car, which was driven to its target and then exploded. The most devastating example of the Provisionals' commercial bombing campaign was Bloody Friday in July 1972 in Belfast city centre, where 22 bombs exploded killing nine people and injuring 130.[9] Other examples include the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in Belfast in 1972, where two people were killed and 130 wounded and the La Mon Restaurant bombing in County Down in February 1978, where 12 customers were killed by an incendiary bomb.[10]”

Quote: “An IRA technique used in the early 1990s was the "proxy bomb", a type of involuntary suicide bomb where a victim was kidnapped and forced to drive a car bomb to its target. In one operation in Derry in October 1990, the Provisional IRA chained a Catholic civilian to a car laden with explosives, held his family hostage and forced him to drive to an Army checkpoint where the bomb exploded, killing himself and five soldiers.”

Quote: “According to the CAIN research project at the University of Ulster, [89] the Provisional IRA was responsible for the deaths of 1,821 people during the Troubles up to 2001. This figure represents 48.4 percent of the total fatalities in the conflict.
•   621 of these casualties were civilians.”


Other (recent) newspaper reports citing IRA murders of civilians:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9504E6DE1539F934A25754C0A9649C8B63

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/jul/17/northernireland.northernireland2

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/ira-and-eta-learned-long-ago-that-causing-civilian-deaths-was-counterproductive-180056.html

http://www.inac.org/irishhistory/deaths


Please make no mistake, the IRA is a terrorist organization out to serve its own interests rather than those of the legitimate Irish Republic, the Catholic population of Northern Ireland, or the people of Northern Ireland as a whole. To speak of a single “official IRA” is also misguided and similar to trying to define the KKK as a single entity, when in fact both organizations have formed and re-formed over the course of more than a century, have splintered into various often vying factions representing diverging goals and viewpoints, and have embraced policies of violence to varying extents. There is NO branch of the IRA which is innocent of at least some involvement in mass murder. Too often in recent times members of Sinn Fein disavowed actions by so-called Republican splinter groups and to this day make a point of re-writing history in order to present a responsible and legitimate face to the world.

The IRA’s apologies for past violence remind me of a geriatric Yassir Arafat’s similar disclaimers on bloody PLO handiwork of earlier times. The IRA in its many guises, names, cadres, is as bloodstained an organization as it has been indicted to be.

Also to compare the IRA with colonial Americans who fought for self-government falls flat for a number of reasons, most glaringly that in the case of the founding of the United States, a majority of the thirteen colonies’ people wished to sever ties with the mother country, Great Britain, whereas in Northern Ireland, a majority of the citizens there wish in fact to stay a part of the United Kingdom.

Further to somehow absolve the IRA of bloodguilt because of a war being waged on what it calls its homeland brings to mind Osama bin Laden’s claim that he too seeks to drive westerners from his own homeland, the sacred ground of Saudi Arabia. Only in his case he has the means to take his fight far into the field. Or is it your contention that people living in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom who don’t share IRA dogma somehow have no right to be in their own homeland, one shared with Republicans?

I was in Derry (Londonderry) Northern Ireland in 1998, and found in its ethnically divided working class neighborhoods a facsimile of Hell on earth. It was frightening there, it was unpleasant, and it made no sense. I also found a far more militantly aggressive atmosphere in Protestant neighborhoods than Catholic, and I truly believe that the leadership of the IRA is utterly naïve if it thinks reunification with the south is desired by a majority on either side of the border, or if it believes for an instant that Protestant factions there, from the relatively sedate Orange Order on up, would take such a move lying down. There is genuine hatred in Ulster, and there is the means to take the fight into Catholic homes with little notice or pretext.

It’s a dismal place, indeed.

For all these reasons, the fascination too many Americans have with the IRA sickens me. The IRA is a collection of misguided murderers who disgrace all the people of Ireland.








« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 01:04:47 AM by ER » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2008, 08:36:40 AM »


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsmill_massacre

In 1976 a dozen IRA “soldiers” stopped a bus in a predominantly Protestant section of Kingsmill, Northern Ireland, made the passengers exit onto the street, released the one Catholic among the number, and then proceeded to execute ten civilian Protestants on the spot. These were textile workers on their way home to families after a shift at their plant.



I'll give you this one.  It was however, a retaliatory hit for the murder of two Republicans by loyalist paramilitaries.  Does this make it right?  Of course not.  But (to my mind) it's not "terrorism."

Quote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_pub_bombings

The IRA-sponsored bombing of a Birmingham, England pub in 1974 killed or injured more than two-hundred British civilians, ordinary people, mostly working class, enjoying an evening with friends and family. A deliberate attack on non-military personnel.



Hmmm....that one gives me some pause.  Also from wikipedia:  "The "Birmingham Six" would be tried for this and convicted. Many years later, after new evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, their convictions would be quashed and they would be released."

So, there was sufficient evidence of police fabrication of evidence to overturn the convictions.  That's pretty significant to my point that there is a difference between fighting a corrupt government on your own homeland and terrorism.

Quote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford_pub_bombing

In this case the IRA used the excuse that this pub, located in Guildford, England, was frequented by British soldiers to justify the bombing of ordinary men and women, killing five people and injuring by some counts seventy others. To say, “We were after soldiers” is a little like bombing a bar in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and then excusing civilian deaths by pointing out the bar sits in a military town.



If they used the excuse that the pub was a popular hang-out for British soldiers, you cannot say with authority that they were targeting civilians.  Yes, this is like bombing a bar in Fort Campbell, KY on that premise, which is, by some interpretations of Unconventional Warfare, a legitimate target in a guerrilla war.  The Viet Cong employed similar tactics.  Some such are seen through our lens as "terrorism," but many are justifiable as legit warfare in an objective analysis. 

Quote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrods_bombing

Harrods, the most famous department store in London, hardly a military target, was bombed by the IRA in 1983. The fact the IRA was “polite” enough to give police minimal advance warning is not an exoneration for targeting a civilian site.



I'll give you this one, too, with the caveat that "terrorists" don't usually give warnings.  One could argue that the warning was delivered by someone 'breaking the rules.'

Quote


Please make no mistake, the IRA is a terrorist organization out to serve its own interests rather than those of the legitimate Irish Republic, the Catholic population of Northern Ireland, or the people of Northern Ireland as a whole.



Here's where I disagree.  But this is a matter of perspective.  This is why wars are so difficult to explain...they DON'T have "simple" answers of causality.  Again, I reiterate that to the Loyalists in 1780, the Continentals were "terrorists" by your definition.

Quote

To speak of a single “official IRA” is also misguided and similar to trying to define the KKK as a single entity,



The "official" IRA I referred to was the organized military organization of the Republic from the 1920's to 1969.

Is your point that all populations should just accept being GOVERNED by outside forces, Imperialists or Colonizers?  Is there EVER a time that fighting for the freedom of your own homeland the right thing to do?

It is completely unfair to characterize the IRA in the same breath as the KKK.

Quote

There is NO branch of the IRA which is innocent of at least some involvement in mass murder.



True enough...exactly as many today claim about the US Military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I don't buy the argument there, either.  Warfare is ugly (as it should be), but we run a SERIOUS risk of becoming hypocrites if we condemn the actions of others for doing pretty much the same thing WE DID in the establishment of our country.

Quote

Also to compare the IRA with colonial Americans who fought for self-government falls flat for a number of reasons, most glaringly that in the case of the founding of the United States, a majority of the thirteen colonies’ people wished to sever ties with the mother country, Great Britain, whereas in Northern Ireland, a majority of the citizens there wish in fact to stay a part of the United Kingdom.



That is absolutely NOT the historical record.  The War for Independence was extremely unpopular, especially in the South, and I believe most Northerners were ambivalent at best.  It's funny, huh?  How when we are on the "winning side" of a conflict we get to write the history books to suit us?

Washington himself was in a constant struggle to maintain support for his campaign.  Washington had deserters shot.

Source: Not Wikipedia

Was that cold blooded murder?

By our modern standards, yes it was.  Yet nowadays we hold Washington in high esteem as a great leader.

The turning point for the War was King's Mountain in the South...a battle fought by guerrillas under Daniel Morgan.  Yet the Southern Campaign was a near-run thing...Marion, perhaps one of the most important figures in the Southern Campaign, was a guerrilla leader who had a very hard time keeping troops in his command.  Most were farmers who cared only about raising their crops...they'd join his band for a few weeks, then go back to their farms.  Fighting was kinda like a "hobby" but the real focus was farming.  It was not a "I must do this or die trying" attitude.

Until September of 1780 when British Major Weymess effected atrocities of his own from the coast to the area of present day Greeleyville, SC.  Weymess burned homes, killed livestock and his campaign culminated in the execution of a man named Adam Cusack.  This galvanized the local "freedom fighters," terrorists to the Loyalists and Brits, into longer commitments with Marion.

From the "US Wins the War" perspective, Francis Marion was a hero of the war.  Yet there are web sites devoted to discrediting him...generally pointing out that he was a murderer and terrorist by the modern definition.
 
Quote

Further to somehow absolve the IRA of bloodguilt




Did I absolve them of ANYTHING?  I have repeatedly stated that I don't think their tactics were fully in the right, and I have never said that their killing of innocents was less than murder.  What I DID say, and the point that I am trying to make is that they are NOT terrorists in the same vein as Islamofascists who want to kill anyone who NOT a Muslim...for that reason alone.

If you are going to equate the IRA with the Muslim terrorists and Bin Laden and Arafat, to convince me, you will have to prove that the IRA swore an oath to kill all NON-IRISH, and ALL Protestants.

That's the difference I don't think you are seeing.  The Muslims hate ME and MY FAMILY simply because we are NOT THEM.  And it seems to be a burning hatred that consumes them. 

In marked contrast, the Irish conflicts were CONTAINED to within the bounds of their own country and those of a very clearly stated enemy...the country that had by force wrested control of their home from them a century or so earlier.

I don't recall the IRA setting off car bombs in the US, in Israel, in the Philippines, in Timor, in France, in Spain...all in the name of "You are NOT CATHOLIC and you are NOT IRISH."

If you don't see that distinction, then we probably should simply 'agree to disagree' on this.

Quote

For all these reasons, the fascination too many Americans have with the IRA sickens me. The IRA is a collection of misguided murderers who disgrace all the people of Ireland.



So, we should not study a group as objectively as we can to learn from them?  Our conclusions from that study should be tempered, simply because the subject of the study is a bit distasteful?  We should ignore history, and its lessons, because the facts leading to those lessons might be sickening?

Sounds like the epitome of Political Correctness to me..."agree with me, or shut up."
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« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2008, 09:45:44 AM »

Terrorism can be used by any group that doesn't have the means to launch sufficiently armed forces against a stronger group of people. There is no way to really stop terrorism due to the potentially unlimited kinds of targets. For the victims of terrorism it's mostly just a clean up job.

Yesterday the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the U.N. opened his speech with the comment about "hastening the coming of the last Imam" which relates more to the Shi'a branch of Islam. This man is ready to die for his belief.

It may go deeper than what is written in the Koran. For centuries Arab/Turkish/Persian peoples have believed that it is better to die in battle than to live till old age. Dying for the faith is simply an added bonus to a pre-existing belief in how one should die in that part of the world.

It's up to the more peaceful Muslims to eliminate the violent Muslims. George W. Bush gave them a starting point to work from. If the people can't see clearly enough to do the right things then they will all die eventually. If they don't do it themselves then the belief system should die out as it may become necessary to eliminate whole regions of people due to the advent of nuclear terrorist nations and the radical belief system from which Islamic terrorism stems. A lot of innocent people will have to stand up against radical Islam or die with radical Islam. Either way it has been and will continue to be a true test of the faith of each individual Muslim to fight against radical Islam. So far this gap has been to large to bridge.

Hopefully the Western powers can sometime soon take out the Iranian government because the people of Iran may be ready to change. If we get rid of the Iranian government then this might also help speed up a real turn around in Iraq.

Till a strong nation steps forward and eliminates all existing borders this type of fighting will never stop. A plan that involves mass migrations, mixing of peoples, along with the elimination of all borders to break up old enemies and loyalties.

All Governments are an instrument of God in one way or another. Knowingly or Unknowingly.

It would be great for all Muslims to find the Heart of God someday. This is worth living and dying for and I don't think the U.S. is ready yet to do just that because they have yet to find the heart of God themselves. For the U.S. it's only about economic well being at this time.

The world has been and continues to be terribly sick. Those who still have a few dollars and can still watch your football games this weekend may not of noticed.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of God, Who is the Passion of God, Who is the very Heart of God have mercy on all of us who have been greatly in error.

May the Heart of God find everyone.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 09:24:19 PM by Wolfgang » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2008, 10:45:52 AM »

Quote
Hopefully the Western powers can sometime soon take out the Iranian government because the people of Iran may be ready to change. If we get rid of the Iranian government then this might also help speed up a real turn around in Iraq.

name one city in iran besides tehran
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« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2008, 10:59:15 AM »

You asked me: "Is your point that all populations should just accept being GOVERNED by outside forces, Imperialists or Colonizers?  Is there EVER a time that fighting for the freedom of your own homeland the right thing to do?"

This will be my last post on this subject, as I think the history of the IRA speaks for itself, but as for "your own homeland" bear in mind more than two-thirds of the people of Northern Ireland wish to remain part of the United Kingdom---a great many Roman Catholics among this number. If we accept democracy for all its flaws as the best system yet devised, then the IRA becomes an extreme minority group seeking to overthrow democratic rule and terrorize a majority population into cringingly acceding to its unrealistic demands.

Secondly, as for Northern Ireland being a "homeland" of Catholic Republicans, historically the so-called Scots-Irish have by and large been in the region longer than many if not most of the Catholics there. Yes, Ulster was originally every bit as Catholic as the rest of Ireland, the head of Catholic Ireland to Dublin’s heart, the place of Saint Padriag’s episcopacy, but over the last four-hundred years this has ceased to be true. Two factors account for this, the first being the terrible ethnic cleansing of the region in earlier centuries, the second being that with the industrialization of the northeast of Ireland occurring in the nineteenth-century, vast populations of Catholics migrated northward into Ulster, traditionally the richest part of the island, in search of employment in factories and households, as laborers and domestic servants.

An argument can be made that Northern Ireland, which mostly is Ulster, is actually more of a Protestant homeland, as people with roots going back 300-500 years ---longer than Americans can lay claim to our own lands---might legitimately claim suzerainty over a land as compared to Catholics whose heritage beyond a century or two might lie in the west and south of the island. Am I saying there are no Catholics in Northern Ireland with roots going back into prehistory? Certainly not, but these are a minority, even among the Catholics there. Cannot someone whose family ties in a region go back “only” to the 1500’s call a region a homeland? Moreso than someone whose forebears arrived in the 1800’s?

Read a good biography of Michael Collins sometime if you want to understand exactly when the IRA departed from a somewhat honorable path and became a terrorist faction. Or, since this is a website about movies, see the passably accurate 1990’s bio-film with Liam Neeson in it. Incidentally, Michael Collins, a great hero of the Irish nation, was killed (I don’t say “murdered”) by the IRA, as you might know, yet another example of that small group trying to enforce its policies on an unconsenting majority.

I’m very glad, by the way, you “give me” the Kingsmill massacre being cold-blooded murder. You asked for five incidents of the IRA murdering civilians, in that one case there were twice that number. As for me, I stand by my previous closing, which you dubbed politically correct: The IRA is a collection of misguided murderers who disgrace all the people of Ireland.
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« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2008, 11:39:39 AM »

ER, I think where we might differ is the role of religion (Catholic Vs Protestant) in the conflict.

I don't see it as Catholic vs Protestant...though that backdrop certainly exists and helps to keep alive the hatred. 

I see the struggle in Ireland as fundamentally Irish vs. British.  That's why I kept bringing the term 'homeland' into the discussion.  And that struggle is centuries old.  The Troubles in the modern era is only the contemporary manifestation.

For what it's worth to you at this point, I have seen the movie MICHAEL COLLINS and have read a little about his life and role in Irish history.
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« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2008, 12:16:59 PM »

I can relay a personal story about the Irish conflict. In 1975 one of my older brothers and I were stationed together in Scotland. My brother had been stationed in Londonderry in the 60's and had married an Irish lass from there.

I went with them on leave once to see her parents. Her father was actually a 75 year old Italian man named Victor who had come to Ireland to escape the facist just before WWII.  Victor had retired from his business a few years earlier (he ran a fish and chips shop).  He let his wife run the business after he retired, but had to finally give it up when she had removed two bombs from their shop, one of which she carried out to a soldier.

Victor liked golf and when we were out on the course one day we heard an explosion in the distance. Victor told us that's why he gave up the business, it scared him every time he was out golfing and heard that sound.

He confided in us that he knew who planted the bombs, but he wouldn't dare tell anyone.  One of his business neighbors told the Royal Ulster Constabulary who had put one in his shop.  They came back and knee capped the guy.

We were told to be careful driving around, because one the IRA's recent tactics was to nab people and their cars, place a bomb in the car, and tell the person where to park it.  If the instructions weren't followed or they went to the authorities they would suffer.

I know when I was there, Londonderry was basically under seige. Most of the downtown area was surrounded by 12' chainlink fence with no civilian vehicles allowed inside but city buses.   Everyone had to submit to a physical search before being allowed in.

When driving, it was not strange to see Army vehicles with grenade launchers pointed out the back. We were also told not watch the soldiers or police from the upper floor windows of the house.

I had to return before my brother, so I rode a train to Belfast (imagining all the way that someone would blow up the tracks).  When I got to the airport  every one  had to open their bags for inspection.  When getting on the plane there were two soldiers armed with automatic weapons at the bottom of the the stairs.



The situation in Ireland was no different than many others, generations of ingrained irrational hate on both sides.   I don't know what you would call terrorism, but Victor had terror and tears in his eyes when confiding in us.  If that isn't terrorism  I don't know what is.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2008, 10:43:28 AM by Cap'n Trek » Logged




And you thought Trek isn't cool.
ulthar
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« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2008, 12:49:41 PM »


When getting on the plane there were two soldier armed with automatic weapons at the bottom of the the stairs.


Not unlike the first time I got off a plane in Frankfurt..my very first memory of being on the ground in Germany was staring down the barrel of a machine gun.  It drove home that I was not in the US anymore in a way words don't do justice.


Quote

The situation in Ireland was no different than many others, generations of ingrained irrational hate on both sides.   I don't know what you would call terrorism, but Victor had terror and tears in his eyes when confided in us.  If that isn't terrorism  I don't know what is.


Okay...Devil's advocate time.  In the 1940's, the Germans and Allies were engaged in armed conflict on the soil of France.  The French people were scared.

Was that "terrorism?"

Does being "terrified" in a war zone mean that one or both warring parties are "terrorists?"

If the answer to that is "no," where is the line between legitimate (perhaps unconventional) warfare and terrorism drawn?

Some of the French even helped the Allies...against the now legitimate (might makes right, right?) Governing Body that had by force conquered their country.  Were those Frenchmen "terrorists" or "freedom fighters?"  The Germans certainly would have defined them as insurgents.  From the German perspective, would such a characterization be incorrect?
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« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2008, 12:54:00 PM »

Quote
Hopefully the Western powers can sometime soon take out the Iranian government because the people of Iran may be ready to change. If we get rid of the Iranian government then this might also help speed up a real turn around in Iraq.


name one city in iran besides tehran


One of the regions I've most wanted to visit in Iran is around the city of Kerman after finding about the earthquakes in Bam, Iran in 2003. Really love these ancient cities. The earthquakes have taken there toll.


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« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2008, 04:52:53 PM »

What a fascinating discussion!!! Thanks to Raffine, ER, Wolfgang, Andrew, Lester, and all the others who have undertaken to comment on my "simple question."  I didn't mean to bail on my own thread, buy my internet has been down for a couple of days at home, and I can't access this site from work.

I can't comment on everything here, but I will mention a couple of things - the picture that Raffine (I think) posted of the "God Hates Fags" protestors is of the group I actually mentioned in my opening comments, the Westwood  Baptist Church.  The pastor is a flamethrowing hatemonger who has been denounced by the leadership of just about every major denominational group in Christendom.  His congregation consists of about 60 people, mostly his own extended family, yet they are always held up as a prime example of the hateful side of Christianity on television and in the papers.

Yet they do, in a way, serve as an example of what I am talking about.  Every major Christian church I know of has condemned their hatefulness and violent, confrontational methods.  Where is the outrage in the Muslim world over acts of terror done in the name of Islam?  Where are the moderate Muslim leaders stepping out and denouncing these acts?  There are a few, here and there, of course.  But only a few.

I recognize that there are many decent, kind, peace-loving Muslims in the world, and especially here in America.  I have known some of them. But moderate Muslims have been sidelined in the last century throughout the Middle East, and the most rigid, intolerant, and violent elements of the faith have taken over leadership both religiously and politically. The result is a culture that prizes death and violence as a way of life, and is determined to snuff out the light of Western Civilization.

As far as European colonialism goes, I am enough of a historian to know that much evil was done in the name of "civilizing" the pagan world.  However, let's be totally honest here.  Look at many of the nations of Africa, from Somalia to Sudan to Nigeria.  Look at the constant civil war, the rape gangs, the 10 year olds waving AK-47's in the streets.  In terms of education, longevity, and overall quality of life, are they better off now than they were when they were colonies of various European nations?  Sadly, in most cases, I think the answer is no.

My "simple question" has no easy answer.  I recognize that, and the title of the thread was partially sardonic in nature.  But I do stick by one assertion that I made - while great violence has been commited in the name of both religions, Christianity and Islam, the Quran explicitly endorses violence as a tool of conversion, and the New Testament emphatically does NOT.  What violence the church has done, it has done in transgression of, not in harmony with, the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I have enjoyed reading every post in this thread.  Thank you for your participation!
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