RANGER AGAINST WAR: Variations on a Theme <

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Variations on a Theme

--Brian Shivers could play his ownself in the film

Give Ireland Back To The Irish
Don't Make Them Have To Take It Away

Give Ireland Back To The Irish

Make Ireland Irish Today

--Give Ireland Back to the Irish,

Paul McCartney and Wings

So hold on to your rifles boys and don't give up your dream
Of a Republic for the workin' class economic liberty
Then Jem yelled out "Oh Citizens this system is a curse

An English boss is a monster an Irish one even worse"

--James Connolly
, Black 47

So you saved your shillings and your last six pence

Cause in God's name they built a barbed wire fence

Be glad you sailed for a better day

But don't forget there'll be hell to pay

--Rebels of the Sacred Heart,

Flogging Molly


Brian Shivers was convicted two weeks ago of the murder of two soldiers during a Real IRA gun attack on Massereene Army base in
Northern Ireland three years ago. The Guardian, The Telegraph, GlobalPost and MSNBC call him a "dissident"; Reuters calls him a "nationalist". Ten years after the events of 9.11.01, we still use the terms interchangeably, though they are not commensurate.

The answer as to Mr. Shivers' correct label depends upon which side of the fence you live. In 1975, an armed Irish Republican Army member killing an armed British soldier would have been declared simple terrorism, but everything is pumped up today. Terrorism mutates according to the needs of the political climate.

History lessons are in order: Ireland was the first British colony, and though we often view it as integral part of the British empire, not all the Irish see it that way. Technically, Ireland's colonial existence is in violation of the World War II Atlantic Charter that set the elimination of colonialism as a war goal. Britons are on board with this, except in the case of Ireland. (Yes, Ranger actually wore orange into an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day, but he did not know why he was getting the evil eye, being a Slovak and all.)

In this sense, the IRA may be seen as a legitimate "separatist" movement, or an insurgency or guerrilla war. It could also be seen as an unconventional war since it fits within the parameters of all of those events. The IRA and the ETA are the only two Euroterror groups that share the distinction of having a possible validity behind their violence (as seen from their perspective.)

However, the questions remain the same: How do we define terrorists, dissidents, insurgents and militants? What are their differences, and where do they overlap? Without correct terminology, how can they be appropriately dealt with? Our definitions are often vague and in accordance with political expediencies, but if something is legally vague, that usually equates to unconstitutionality.

An example of the expediency angle is a recent 60 Minutes episode featuring the Emir of Qatar which marveled over his game plan for improving life within his little sandbox. However, the Emir is also a big contributor to Hamas and Hizbollah; Hamas is recognized by the EU and many others as a terrorist organization, and the Council on Foreign Relations states the U.S. recognizes Hizbollah as terrorist, as well.

So why does the U.S. Department of Justice bust pathetic little pawns in the terror game while the big machers like the Emir continue to play their hand, untouched by U.S. sanctions? When Iran supports such groups the U.S. goes ballistic, yet the Emir openly provides material support to two Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. We step on the ants while the elephant sits in the middle of the room.

In addition to proper definition, we need to enact the proper responses. The British, French, Italian, Spanish and German governments neutered and countered domestic terror by applying the rule of law to the issue. There is nothing that a terror group can do that is not against the existing laws of all civilized societies (with the exception of propaganda and some financial aspects, but U.S. law covers these with "material support" and "conspiracy" charges.) Kidnapping, murder, extortion and bomb-making all violate national laws.

The terror threats faced by Europe in the 1970's and '80's are different than those faced by the U.S. today, but the concept remains the same. All terrorists are criminals, bottom line, and laws are on the books to deal with criminals.

Unless we treat them as such we will lose the war that we claim is against terrorism. When we ignore the reality of our legal system, we lose our legitimacy.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Winston said...


'The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in DOUBLETHINK. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken.

If human equality is to be forever averted — if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently — then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.

George Orwell 1984

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:49:00 PM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home