Thursday, September 02, 2004

Six Counties over Texas

One of the overseas branches of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy checks in today. David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist party, and likely head of an operational Northern Ireland government (if they had a government) writes in the Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd) about how Dubya's War on Terror could be informed by the war on the IRA. This is the same David Trimble whose previous such analogy to the Northern Ireland conflict, delivered during a St Patrick's Week visit to Washington, was predicated on the assumption that the 11-M Madrid bombings were the work of Basque separatists. So he's clearly an expert, like Canadian hack Mark Steyn, who also pushes the IRA/Q line.

Still, Trimble does operate with at least a bit more of a brain than the average stateside Dubya booster, so one point in the article is the fair one that the IRA ended up making considerable concessions in the (stalled) Northern Ireland peace agreement, due he says to tactical success in combatting them by the security forces. Nationalist politician Seamus Mallon has quipped that the 1998 peace deal was "Sunningdale for slow learners," as indeed one looks hard to see what was different about the collapsed 1974 peace accord of that name and the current one.

Trimble interprets this to mean that the only usable strategy against terrorism is to bring in the securocrats, but backing this is a pretty dodgy view of Irish history, and in particular the complete absence of any grievances that might have underlaid the terrorism problem. In an early pleasing nod to his American readers, he describes the IRA goal as a "Celtic Cuba," apparently oblivious that Cuba itself is somewhat Celtic through emigration from Galicia. And that's only the beginning of his pile of shite:

I am not suggesting that the IRA was defeated by firepower alone. On the contrary, after the disaster of "Bloody Sunday" in Londonderry [sic] in 1972, British policy shifted toward an intelligence-led approach and to "Ulsterisation," the concentration of security force operations and responsibility in local hands -- if only because of the need for personnel steeped in the local culture.

How does this new "Ulsterisation" strategy relate to the period 1922-72, when the discriminatory Unionist government of Northern Ireland had huge autonomy in local security policy involving many fine "personnel steeped in the local culture," such as the B Specials -- which is what brought an exasperated London back into the picture in the first place?

Later he turns to the idea that Dubya squandered global sympathy for the US, post 9-11.

Let me give the example from Ireland [sic], a European country with familial ties to America. After 9/11, the newspaper of the fastest-growing political party in Ireland, Sinn Fein, editorialized that the U.S. had effectively brought the attack upon itself through its "imperialist" foreign policy. Irish public opinion was massively against even the war in Afghanistan. The notion that a more sensitive, conscience-stricken U.S. policy would generate more support in international councils is a delusion.

Tricks here that only a spinner could love..."fastest growing" used to sidestep the low level of Sinn Fein support in the Republic, which is then made his single source of a blanket assertion that Irish public opinion was against the war in Afghanistan. We've noted before about how the VRWC has had to rewrite the immediate post 9/11 overseas attitudes to the US and Trimble is at it again; note also the insertion of the pleasing spin word sensitive, anchor of one of Dick Cheney's latest lies about John Kerry. With the sustained love-in between Ulster Unionists and Dubya, we wonder: just what has Trimble been promised in a second Dubya administration?

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