Thursday, July 28

Moral inequivalence.

There's more of this bollocks in the papers over here than I can find on the Web. The BBC gives a reasonable summary of the gist of the complaints, but fails to capture the more extreme histrionics. Just read their report and imagine the same thing but with more self-indulgent whinging from some quarters and more spittle-flecked shouting from others.

Firstly, Blair has said what any fule no:

Al-Qaeda terrorism is not on the same par as the IRA, Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested.

He said IRA political demands or their previous atrocities could not be directly compared to fundamentalists who carried out the 9/11 US attacks.

It was invidious to make comparisons because "terrorism is wrong", he said.

"I don't think you can compare the political demands of republicanism with the political demands of this terrorist ideology we're facing now."


And, predictably enough, Ulster's Unionists have taken the opportunity — they never miss one, you know — to make themselves look bloody stupid:

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey said he had warned Mr Blair against "creating double standards between terrorists".

"There is no point in using the numbers killed to distinguish between terror groups as the prime minister seems to be implying," he said.

"However, if Mr Blair wants to use a crude stratification process in order to establish a hierarchy of terror, he will find that the number of those murdered and maimed in Northern Ireland is greater."

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said Mr Blair's comments were an "insult to every victim of terrorism".

"Whether a terrorist sets out to murder one person or 100 people, they are a terrorist and no difference should be drawn," he said.


Reg Empey is one of Northern Ireland's most respected politicians, but he's clearly incapable of even the most basic reasoning. Does he really mean to say that the IRA have killed and maimed more people than Al Qaeda? No, I think he means to compare just the London bombings with the IRA's entire campaign, which is unreasonable and stupid. Does anyone fall for this stuff? At least when Westminster's politicians lie, they do it well. Our lot are such bloody amateurs.

On the one big issue of Unionism, Unionists are right. And they've been losing the political battle these many years because they insist on making themselves look wrong. They really only have one policy: the IRA are evil and should be resisted at all costs. This policy is correct, but it has become such a dogma that it is carried into the realms of insanity. For Unionist politicians, not only are the IRA evil, but they are the ultimate evil, not to be out-evilled by any other. And, when you make ideas that stupid the bedrock of your thinking, you're going to have all sorts of stupid thoughts. Like, for instance, the idea that we mustn't just fight the IRA and their sympathisers, but must also fight people who dare to suggest that the IRA might be slightly less bad than some other things, such as massive tidal waves, the Holocaust, or the victory of Satan over all the peoples of the Earth.

Look. Pointing out that Mao was much worse than Hitler does not imply that Hitler was actually quite a nice chap and that perhaps we shouldn't have bothered fighting him after all.

The IRA — who, let us not forget, are all bastard scum — killed people as a means to an end. Whatever one may think of the rights and wrongs of that end, it was always possible to stop the IRA killing people by giving the Six Counties to Eire. It would have been wrong to do so for a large number of reasons, but it was still possible. Not so with Al Qaeda: for them, killing infidels is the end itself. They're not killing us to get concessions; they're killing us because we're us. In the words of one Hamas leader:

We don't attack you to get you to give us something. We attack you to kill you.


The point that the DUP and UUP fail to understand is that the difference between Al Qaeda and the IRA isn't how many people they succeed in killing; it's how many they want to kill. In Al Qaeda's case, that number runs into billions. And yes, of course that makes them worse than the bloody IRA. Obviously.

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