So, it looks like the US and UK will be bombing Dublin, then

…unless the authorities hand over Sinn Fein and IRA members, that is.

From this report, it seems like Congress have finally come to the conclusion that the IRA “has formed part of a global terror network”. Apparantly, “American lives were being put at risk by Provisional IRA activity in Colombia” and “US national security is threatened”.

This conclusion is the result of the three IRA members being arrested in Colombia for training FARC rebels. To be fair, the three men have denied any involvement with the IRA - although since Gerry Adams’s envoy to the region was one of the group (Sinn Fein denied this at first, but later admitted it), it’s pretty clear the link is there.

It turns out that “not only had the IRA operated on behalf of the FARC, but also the Iranians, Cubans and possibly Basque separatist movement ETA.” If this is proved to be true, then this makes Sinn Fein and the IRA part of a global terrorist network. Are we therefore going to see Irishmen rounded up in Colombia and shipped out to Camp X-Ray in Cuba? Is the Irish goverment going to have to hand over Sinn Fein activists to the US? Is the British government going to be seen as part of an Axis of Evil because Gerry Adams has an office in Westminster?

The answer is quite clearly “no” - but why? What makes this case so different from the other groups being rounded up around the world?

…or driving tanks into West Belfast and bulldozing the Falls Road.

The difference: there shouldn’t really be any.

My take: terrorists are only terrorists when they’re not citizens of allied countries.

The implication: utter hypocrisy.

For the life of me, I can’t think of a strong argument against this contention.

I cannot give a single, valid argument that shows a difference between Israel bulldozing areas of the palestine and Britain deciding to bulldoze parts of Belfast.

Could someone help?

So, in a nutshell, your argument is that here are two situations that bear some resemblance to each other, so Americans are a bunch of hypocrites if we don’t respond exactly the same way?


Let’s see . . . no state sponsorship, no September 11, not targeting America, governments in other countries who are perfectly willing and capable to investigate and imprison their own bad guys, and no military deployment. Those enough differences for you?

If not, I suggest building a bomb shelter and watch out for bulldozers, lest the world be tragically deprived of your hypocricy detector before you’ve maged to get it working properly.


“In a nutshell”, that’s pretty much exactly NOT my argument. Thank you for playing, please try again.

Reread the OP and link and get back to me. Notice the phrase “American lives were being put at risk”. Also notice “US national security is threatened”. Whilst you’re at it you’ll notice the lack of anything like “Americans are a bunch of hypocrites”, so I’ll thank you not to put words into my mouth.

I’ll think I’ll continue the topic with the non-kneejerk brigade, if you don’t mind.

Gary: that’s pretty much what I’m getting at. Let’s imagine the main IRA re-started operations against the UK. Clearly the world today would be outraged if Britain rolled tanks into trouble spots, and grabbed a chunk of the Republic of Ireland to act as a “buffer zone” - but I think to be fair the Israelis are not exactly escaping a similar worldy outrage.

It was fair a while back to compare the IRA with the Palestinians, in that they are both groups fighting for what they see as rightfully their land. However, it seems now that they have moved into international terrorism, or some kind of “rent-a-bomb”, which puts them squarely in the Al Qaeda camp - i.e. we ought to be rounding the lot of them up. We can’t, of course, 'coz real politics wouldn’t allow that - but why not? What makes the modern IRA* any different from Al Qaeda, aside from size and wealth? Is it just that they haven’t managed a sizeable job yet? If so, that would seem a pretty blase way of dealing with future risks.

[sub]I am assuming that the allegations made by the US are true. If not, then it would naturally be ridiculous to compare the IRA to Al Qaeda[/sub]

Please. “American lives were being put at risk” is nowhere near the same thing as “Americans were being targeted.” And your charge of hypocricy is absolutely implicit in your OP’s cheap rhetorical questions of whether we were going to ship Sinn Fein to Cuba and label London as part of the Axis of Evil.

If you have a point, how 'bout you make it without all the nonsensical flourishes? And if your point is to ask “What makes the modern IRA any different from Al Qaeda, aside from size and wealth?” . . . I repeat:

Sheesh, is it really that hard to comprehend that we don’t unleash John Ashcroft and the U.S.M.C. on every country with terrorists in the population?

It was me minty was criticising the ‘hypocrisy’ jibe. So, minty, clarification of your stance, please…

Sinn Féin is a political party with very strong links to the IRA, standing for election in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Adams has just turned down a request from the Congressional Subcommittee because: he feels it would

Now look at this: GW Bush said

And let’s look at the Conclusions of the Committee on International Relations investigation:

Since you mentioned “no September 11, not targeting America” I conclude that you believe that global terror networks are only indicated in GW Bush’s speech if they target America.

Can you explain to me what is not hypocritical about making this statement and missing out the “if they target America” bit?


  1. I understand that Adams’s role as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist supporter’ is moot, but there’s a fair degree of evidence avaliable about the nature of the relationship between Sinn Féin and the IRA.
  2. Please do not construe this as an implicit criticism of America, nor America’s current foreign policy - just the little bits regarding support for Sharon’s policies and GWB’s speech.[/sup]

On September 20, Bush said to a session of congress:

If missing out ‘only applies to anti-US terror’ isn’t hypocrisy, it is at the least a gross error of omission. Which is it?

Well, jjimm, here’s your answer –

Which state should the U.S. attack for “supporting” or “harboring” the I.R.A.? The U.K.? They seem to have been the primary target of the I.R.A.
The Republic of Ireland? The Irish government hasn’t supported the I.R.A. in 70 years - indeed, the Irish Free State, the precursor to the R.O.I., was founded by splitters from the I.R.A. after a civil war against the I.R.A.
Columbia? They don’t seem to be “supporting” or “harboring” the I.R.A., either.

May I also point out that the report came out yester-freaking-day? Maybe you’ll get your wish and the U.S. or the U.K. will invade West Belfast. :rolleyes:


The charge of hypocricy is implicit in the OP’s rhetorical questions, as I stated in my previous post, although jjiimm seems to be making a pretty good go of it himself.

Gerry Adams is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the government of Great Britain or Ireland, so I don’t know how the heck you can make a claim to “state sponsorship.” Nor are the governments of Britain, Ireland, and Columbia “harboring” the terrorists in question, since they’ve been arrested and are being put on trial for their activities.

And once more, with feeling: The “war on terrorism” does not require the Sixth Fleet and the Green Berets to personally kick the ass of every terrorist in the world. Declining to bomb the shit out of every person affiliated with a terrorist organization cannot reasonably be described as hypocricy, nor is the U.S. morally obligated to personally eliminate world terrorism. The IRA-Columbia situation is being handled quite well by the countries involved. So what’s your beef?


You’ve made a clear and logical argument as to why there is a distinction.

Please excuse me for playing devils advocate though, but your own quote raises one question in my head.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the USA the biggest source of funding for the IRA.

My main point here is the danger inherent when we start to create such black and white rules for what makes an “evil” nation.

Got it in one! Sinn Fein have offices in the British Parliament; one of the men arrested was a Sinn Fein man. Convicted IRA terrorists are released from British jails. That sounds like harbouring to me.

There are Sinn Fein members in the Irish Parliament as well, you know.

As jjimm has already said:

But thank you for re-making that point, just in case we had missed it.

The BBC report that sparked the OP came out today. I am sooooo sorry if I do not keep tabs on everything to come out of the US government so that I may respond immediately. :rolleyes:

Get a grip.

Gary, why are you conflating individuals and regimes? Absolutely, to our shame, a large number of individuals in the U.S. gave a lot of money to the I.R.A. The United States didn’t.

If it turns out that a rich individual in France gave large amounts to bin Laden, it would make no sense for the U.S. to bomb Paris.

In any event, I think the “black and white” rule makes sense. I think you are simply giving a very overbroad meaning to “harbor or support.”


It was not the official policy of the United States government to fund the IRA, Gary. Matter of fact, I believe the government worked reasonably hard at stopping the funds and the arms. Aren’t there still a couple IRA gun smugglers in American prison? In any event, hardly a “nation” supporting or harboring terrorism.

james, your fixation on Sinn Fein would serve your argument better if you could demonstrate that Sinn Fein is itself a terrorist organization or provides actual assistance, not just moral support, to a terrorist organization. London would have loved to make that connection, but they never managed to do so. Care to come forward with such evidence yourself? Barring that, the “Sinn Fein = Terrorism” argument just the fallacy from which the rest of your fallacies flow.

::sigh:: My point, which I thought was obvious, is that you are assuming without any evidence that the U.S. will not respond to the evidence discovered and promulgated in the report. You have no evidence because the report came out yester-freaking-day. None of us has any idea how the U.S. will respond because only one day has passed.


But what if the President of Paris were to meet with bin Laden, welcome him into the capital and then allow him to travel freely throughout to raise funds?

And what if it was Iraq who did this, not France?

Where exactly does this “black and white” division between good and evil stop being grey?


minty, Sinn Féin aside, how do you address the early release of convicted terrorists (who, it has been established by the Congressional subcommittee, are likely members of a ‘global terror’ network) from jail by the British government? Isn’t that ‘harboring’?

BUT the US has not made illegal the main fundraisers for Republican terror, Noraid.

"I cannot give a single, valid argument that shows a difference between Israel bulldozing areas of the palestine and Britain deciding to bulldoze parts of Belfast. "

—Welll . . . England is not entirely surrounded by hostile countries that have consistently refused to acknowledge England’s right to exist. Ireland has not banded together with Scotland, France and Germany in an outright attempt to destroy England and drive all Britishers into the sea. Ireland—though I may be mistaken here—has not spurned every peace treaty England has offered.

Not that I agree 100% with Israel’s recent actions, but they DO fit the very definition of “backed into a corner.”

Huh? What’s the comparison between Gerry Adams and the President of France? Where’s the state-sponsored fundraising for Columbian terror?

By the way, the answers to your brand new, completely different hypothetical questions are that we’d bomb the shit out of either France or Iraq in that situation. Fortunately, the French government is neither that evil nor that stupid.

minty: I cannot tell if you are serious or deliberately being obtuse. Martin McGuinness no longer denies being part of the IRA - in fact his testimony during the Bloody Sunday Inquiry confirmed that he was involved with the IRA as far back as then. And if you want something more concretely linked to the case in hand - just re-read again the OP and linked report; one of the men arrested was Gerry Adams’s envoy, for Christ’s sake!

Nobody seriously suggests that Sinn Fein are separate from the IRA. Please don’t bring this old nag into the race; if you are really unconvinced, then look through old posts on this very board.