From Ballymurphy to Osama Bin Laden
October 24, 2001 6:14 AM   Subscribe

From Ballymurphy to Osama Bin Laden Viewpoint on how 911 and the IRA decommissioning annoucement should be taken, from Simon Jenkins in The Times. I know this has been discussed, but I've read Simon Jenkins for many years and he's an valuable voice IMO.
posted by Summer (15 comments total)
As with Lockerbie, Oklahoma and other instances of mass killing, civil policing and coercive diplomacy brought the guilty to justice.

Thoughtful and insightful article. He makes a good case against the bellicose American response to the terror of September 11.
posted by caraig at 6:42 AM on October 24, 2001

US says it may have killed 100 civilians: the Times on America's grudging admission of recent "collateral damage" (to me, a phrase as odious as the bureaucratic euphemisms coined by the Nazis for those they put to death).
posted by Carol Anne at 7:25 AM on October 24, 2001

i think it's ridiculous that the UN and international aid organizations were claiming that a number of civilians were killed while the US denied those numbers were true. what was the point in denial? it is not as if the UN has an agenda against the US.
posted by moz at 8:30 AM on October 24, 2001

> it is not as if the UN has an agenda against the US.

That's not what the nut cases believe. And they love that word agenda.
posted by pracowity at 8:42 AM on October 24, 2001

praco: of course you're right. though if it weren't the UN, i'm sure it'd be something else for those folks. even so. in a hysterically cynical moment, one might consider that the UN could fudge civilian death numbers because the US still owes a lot of money in back dues. we're like the deadbeat dads of the western world.
posted by moz at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2001

Great link Summer, thanks. Politics is all about double standards.

I hope most Americans understand a lot of the cynicism about this "first war" of the 21st century against "global" terrorism (Osama and no-one else unless they threaten America), is not the same as apathy.

What happened on 11 September was a real tragedy. It's just that some of us have had to deal with similar tragedies for years by groups supported by America.
posted by twistedonion at 9:09 AM on October 24, 2001

"AMERICAN military chiefs conceded yesterday that they may have accidentally killed more than 100 Afghan civilians in a hospital in Herat and in a residential area of Kabul after bombs went astray. "

What with the rhetoric that they are only after al-qaeda. What with the statements that they will not becom king makers in the region.

Now they are randomly killing civilians. They have provided uniforms to the Northeren Alliance so they can be differentiated from the Taleban. How will they differentiate between the fighting Taleban and the civilian Afghan ? Do their gunship planes distinguish them ? NO.

STOP killing civilian muslims. Stop it. Before a time comes when every muslim in this world says ENOUGH. Stop it. These generals might have fire power and technology. But these Muslims have their lives to give away. Stop killing civilian muslims before every muslim's heart becomes heavy with loss. Stop it.

I plead to all fellow Americans. Please stop this bloodshed. Do not call those killed as part of a collateral damage, because then those souls who left us on 9.11 are collateral damage too in this war of American policy vs. Irritated fanatics.

I beg for peace. I beg for understanding of humanity. I beg for a better future for all of us.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:10 AM on October 24, 2001

adnan: out of a million cruise missles, a few of them are going to miss their target. there is no such thing as a war with no civilian casualties. it seems to me that you ought to beg the taliban to let us get to bin laden.
posted by moz at 9:16 AM on October 24, 2001

Why the fuck does this always have to be turned into anti-Muslim sentiment? The action in Afghanistan is NOT ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT. Are you really that desperate to incite a fucking war drawn along the lines of religion as opposed to, say, terrorism? Even if 95% of those victims of the WTC attack were Christians, you wouldn't see anyone (except maybe Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, but they're morons) claiming this was a "WAR AGAINST CHRISTIANITY!"

No, Afghan civilians should not and are not being targeted. Yes, accidents happen, and America has always mourned the loss of unwarranted life. If, however, America sits back and does nothing in the wake of September 11th, we are all but inviting further massacre of innocent civilian lives.
posted by Danelope at 9:22 AM on October 24, 2001

I feel somewhat tentative as an american, discussing anglo-irish politics. I took pictures of the murals in ballymurphy in the summer of 95, then a few days later there were riots over the release of Lee Clegg (I think that's his name). Anyway, this article seems to make a point that has always seemed clear to me but which the politics of a situation sometimes makes it impossible to say, which is that in the end you can't stop terrorism with a military solution, you have to in a sense negotiate and undercut the political base of support. But most americans are still in a blind rage. I'm not really saying we need to negotiate with Bin Laden, but once this current situation is stabilized we would do well to undertake a campaign to address the concerns of those that support him passively. We should also remember that the single best recruiting tools the IRA had were given to them by the british in bloody sunday and internment.
posted by chrismc at 9:22 AM on October 24, 2001

s/loss of unwarranted/unwarranted loss of/
posted by Danelope at 9:23 AM on October 24, 2001

adnanbwp, I don't think there has ever been a war without civilian deaths. It's a horrible part of war and one of many reasons why, even after growing out of all my teenage ideologies, I am still a pacifist - war should only be the last possible option.

But on the scale of things 100 people is very small in comparison to previous wars. I'm not saying it is justified but I do think America is doing it's best not to kill innocents. Americas best option is just to get it over with as soon as possible - weeks rather than months.
posted by twistedonion at 9:27 AM on October 24, 2001

Oh, Now We Really Know Who Did 9.11
Sorry Mr. Taleban. We dont really have a proof against you. But since we are the "Super Power" hehe , we shall continue our Air "Supremacy" over your Air Zones. After all we gotta make way for VP Chenney's oil deals in Central Asia, not to forget, Daddy Bush's Carlyle group, also funded by deceased Bin Laden brother. Come on, we and you are cool, no ? hehe
posted by adnanbwp at 10:27 AM on October 24, 2001

did the US ever claim the Taliban did this, adnan? or, as i assume, you are simply trying to antagonize us with your bullshit. take your trolling elsewhere.
posted by moz at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2001

I think your argument is the sentiment held by many Americans "blinded by rage," as someone put it earlier.

Because someone mourns the loss of "unwarranted" life doesn't make it okay. It's like thinking it's okay to sin because you confess afterwards (and no I'm not religious).

Secondly, you said if America does nothing (are you implying they are bombing for the sake of "doing something"?), we are inviting further massacre.

Do you really think that the current bombing campaign is going to put an end to further massacre? As Chrismc said, bloody Sunday and internment were the biggest motivation for IRA recruitment. For many terrorists, this does nothing but motivate.

Now the (British) Northern Ireland secretary has just announced military security posts are to be removed on account of IRA disarmament. This happened through the change from a narrow-minded war mentality to negotiation tactics by those wanting an end to the North's terrorism. Just because it doesn't happen overnight, doesn't mean it doesn't work.

With the September 11 attacks, you simply can't adopt the same tactics of past wars when it's not a centralised enemy anymore. The loss of any civilian life should be vehemently avoided by those who cherish it.

Just my 2 cents.

(PS I'm an Irish man who has lived in New York for 2 years)
posted by thatis at 11:17 AM on October 24, 2001

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