Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Lagan doesn't flow into the Hudson

The plot thickens. A few hours ago we had our lengthy post about David Trimble's WSJ op-ed piece, busy drawing analogies between the British battle against the IRA and the War on Terror (WoT). But now we wonder if Trimble was relying on the low profile of the WSJ op-ed page in Ireland to sneak through a few valentines to his VRWC friends with some material that he knew would sound dodgy before an audience more familiar with the Northern Ireland conflict.

Because, courtesy of a tip from a loyal reader (Go Wolverines!), we see that Karl Rove was offering his own thoughts on IRA/WoT, and Trimble has balked. The context is Dubya's recent glimmer of realism (since shut off) that the WoT is not winnable. His spinners have concocted a hasty explanation for this gaffe, which is that when the USA wins, there won't be a peace treaty. Rove tried another tack on Wednesday in the more easily linkable Washington Post:

[Wash Post, quoting Rove] This is going to be more like the conflict in Northern Ireland, where the Brits fought terrorism, and there's no sort of peace accord with al Qaeda saying, 'We surrender'

As it turns out, Trimble is attending the Republican convention, so he was tracked down for a quote:

[Trimble] I'm not altogether clear about what exactly he's getting at...Al Qaeda is quite a different terrorist organization to those in Northern Ireland. It's perfectly reasonable, I suppose, to draw some parallel in that the war on terror will probably take a long time just like it did in Northern Ireland, if that's what he meant.

So: Trimble is confused about what Rove might mean in making a comparison between the WoT and the IRA, on the same day that Trimble has a published article for Rove's target audience called "The Lesson of Northern Ireland." He's surely hoping that, to the extent anyone in Ireland is paying attention to his NYC trip, it'll be what shows up in the Post and not the WSJ that counts. More broadly, how many nationalist-leaning Irish-Americans know about Dubya's ongoing game of footsie with Ulster Unionism?

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