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calendar   Wednesday - January 30, 2008

To call it ‘war’ makes soldiers of terrorists

From an editorial in The Telegraph

To call it ‘war’ makes soldiers of terrorists

Our Government announced the end of the “war on terror” last week. It is not that terrorism has disappeared, simply that British officials have been warned to desist from declaring openly that we are at “war” with its exponents.

This is a sensible move: there is nothing that terrorists crave so deeply as the moral status of soldiers, even while they reserve for themselves the terrorist’s freedom to do horrific harm to the softest possible civilian targets. We should not afford them even the name of combatants, since terrorism works specifically by attacking ordinary, helpless people in their everyday lives.

In Northern Ireland, the IRA and the loyalist paramilitaries often spoke high-mindedly of themselves as being at “war”, just as they were devoting their greatest energies to murdering blameless churchgoers, children and cab-drivers. There, the surreally named Consultative Body on the Past - set up to look at ways of healing the rifts caused by 30 years of violence - last month foolishly suggested that the IRA and loyalist campaigns could perhaps be officially reclassified as part of a “war”.

The truth is, of course, that had the Troubles really been fought as a war, most IRA and loyalist gunmen would be dead and their leaders tried for war crimes, since they routinely flouted the Geneva Conventions. I’m sure that it has not escaped even al-Qaeda’s attention, however, that - in Northern Ireland at least - terrorism has paid off rather better.


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 01/30/2008 at 11:43 AM   
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