Thursday, 12 March 2009

Sometimes we do learn from history

The success of the rallies by UNITE in opposition to the shootings of two British soldiers and a police constable demonstrate that the people of the six counties are tired of bloodshed, whatever their community. There will be no loyalist retaliation, there will be no slide back to civil war. The Real IRA are on the wrong side of history. The utter abhorrence and contempt with which these killings have been met across the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic shows that the civilian support which sustained Sinn Fein-IRA for so long has gone, and is not coming back.

This has been top of the news for a week, and many have wondered why. The cynical have pointed out that these men were about to fly off to Afghanistan. Had they done so, and died on the Asian steppes instead of on an Ulster army base, they would scarcely have registered in the press. Yet I think the media attantion is more than justified. It is necessary to show these murderers what the world, even the people they claim to fight for, think of them. For murderers is the term. They are not warriors, they are not soldiers, they are hnot even terrorists. They are criminals, and when caught will be treated as such. That is the progress we have made, and it cannot be hidden by a balaclava, nor killed with a kalashnikov.

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