From Ulster to Iraq – A Lesson Never Learned

Back on 16th September 2005, on this site, I wrote that it was a serious mistake on the part of the US forces in Iraq to allow the Sunni population to feel that it had not suffered a crushing defeat. We all knew at that time that the terrorism in Iraq that was beginning to undermine efforts to create a peaceful and democratic state was emanating from the Sunni enclaves in Baghdad and the “Sunni Triangle”.

The “official” view was that the Sunnis had to be enticed into co-operation with the Shias and Kurds, or otherwise there could be no lasting peace. My view was that the Sunnis needed to experience the disasters of real defeat otherwise they would never accept that they had to capitulate, capitulation being the precondition for compromise and co-operation. The “official” view was, of course strikingly similar to the view of the media scribblers and Leftists commentators. Such a view develops not from any desire to achieve a lasting peace but from it’s opposite, a desire to see failure. But of course, those who will this failure dare not articulate it, so it is dressed up in the trappings of patience wisdom, farsightedness and moral superiority.

The US and UK forces (and President Bush must carry ultimate responsibility) have wasted precious time appealing to, and cajoling, the Sunnis in their enclaves to join with their one-time victims in a united march to democracy. The response has been that the Sunnis have developed and sustained a military resistance and provided a safe haven for imported terrorists, killing both our troops and increasing numbers of the Kurds and Shias they despise. US troops have protected their havens, limiting reaction to occasional, constrained sweeps that have aggravated the Sunnis without making them pay a real price for their resistance. Without doubt and predictably, the Sunnis have become bolder and ever more ruthless in their attacks, especially against the Shia population.

The Shia and Kurd leaders have been pressed by US officials to avoid retaliation though turning the other cheek has done them and their people no good at all. As always in such circumstances, when elected leaders fail to protect their own and fail to punish deadly enemies, unofficial avengers emerge to do the job. They then do so with increasing brutality and we see what is often described as a downward spiral of violence and lawlessness. This is the situation we now have in much of Iraq. At this point, the media scribblers and Leftist commentators start to attribute moral equivalence to both sides, though their real sympathies always lie with the original instigators of the violence. It is a short step from this standpoint to one where the whole situation is described as ‘beyond repair and time to wash our hands’. For the media scribblers and Leftists this is the point where we absolutely desert those who were once our allies and who we encouraged to walk out on the plank. President George W Bush has, probably quite unwittingly, led the Shia and Kurdish people of Iraq to the kind of vulnerability that his father more willingly led them to once before.

It is not quite too late for this President to do the right thing before his commitment to the good people in Iraq must end in 2008. He should pull US troops back from the Sunni areas and let the two other factions go in and do whatever is necessary to crush Sunni resistance once and for all. If he wants to give the Sunnis one last chance, he could put them on 2 days notice to hand over all foreign terrorists and all Sunni militants. He should tell them that after the deadline, US troops would not intervene, no matter how much bloodshed. The likely outcome of such an ultimatum would be similar to that which took place once in Paris, when the Prussians pressured the French to crush their own revolutionaries. It is quite likely that the Sunni leadership, realizing that the game was up, would crush the Sunni insurgency and purge the foreign suicide bombers and their infrastructure. If not, the Kurds and Shia are capable of exacting justifiable revenge and not a drop of US and UK blood need be spilled.

As it is, we are sacrificing our brave soldiers in a half-hearted enterprise that is really a drift to the defeat that the Media Class and so many on the Left long for.

We have seen all of this kind of despicable betrayal of both troops and allies before. It happened in Northern Ireland in the 1960’s. In response to an outburst of street violence in Catholic enclaves, the British Government allowed the world’s media and Leftists to hamstring its response and to the terrorism that then emerged from it. A tough and unyielding stance towards Catholic irredentism in Ulster that had succeeded in suppressing violence for decades was abandoned in favor of appeasement. The world’s media loved it and none more than the BBC, then just beginning to flex its political muscles. The media and the Leftists were on the side of the insurrectionists and there was much talk of freedom fighters, civil rights and the scandal of British imperialism. In fact, lurking behind the self-styled civil rights agitators, were the ruthless killers of the IRA.

The media and their Leftist allies successfully demonized the Loyalists of Northern Ireland in the eyes of the world and British Governments felt it appropriate to be ashamed of them and their loyalty to the British nation. The British, or at least their leaders, abandoned their true friends and pandered to those who wanted nothing less than British capitulation.

The Catholics of Northern Ireland had indeed been treated as second- class citizens and just as in Iraq now, the factional situation was historically complex and no side was either all right or all wrong. However, the results of Britain choosing to abandon friends and pander to enemies at the behest of those who panted for a British humiliation were disastrous for all. The psychopaths of the IRA used the safe havens of the Catholic enclaves to dominate Ulster by executing opponents (including many Catholics), shooting British soldiers and policemen in the back as they attempted to bring security to all sides, and then moving on to shooting down worshippers in Protestant Churches and planting bombs in shopping malls and bars. In the end, no outrage was too blood thirsty and grotesque for the IRA to commit and the world soon lost its sense of horror. When Loyalists began retaliating with their own cold-blooded killings the scribblers decided there was moral equivalence even though Loyalist violence paled into insignificance when compared to IRA atrocities.

The IRA blazed a trail for today’s world of terrorists. They demonstrated that utter ruthlessness brought nothing worse than media headlines, political hand -wringing, support from the world’s Leftists and victory. It is not stretching things to point out that ultimately in New York, 3000 citizens paid a price for the financial and moral support that drunken Irish American politicians had provided the IRA terrorists for decades.

The Kurds and the Shia in Iraq can still be retrieved as our allies but the Sunnis will continue to support terrorism until they are crushed. That is the way of the world and those who advocate conciliation on our part have a hidden agenda for our defeat. It is time to halt the daily death toll of our soldiers and the bloody massacres of those who would be our allies. The Sunnis in Iraq and elsewhere need to know that the gloves are off. In this way, our allies and potential allies in Iraq will once again have confidence in us and be willing to assume responsibility for lawful government. Holding the ring between enemies and allies is a recipe for failure.

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