Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Meddling U.S. Politicians Irk Britons Working to End Ira Terrorism

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Meddling U.S. Politicians Irk Britons Working to End Ira Terrorism

Article excerpt

Politicians in Boston and New York, eager to solicit the vote of American Irish Catholics, gave a hero's welcome to the Irish Republican Army's political spokesman, who recently helped arrange cessation of terrorist bomb attacks on Britons.

This second tour of the U.S. by Gerry Adams went down badly in the United Kingdom. Most people in Britain do not think anybody deserves lionization and a fresh infusion of funds for stopping, or perhaps only suspending, a policy of systematic murder. They resent the portrayal of Northern Ireland as a place occupied by British soldiers to prevent the inevitable unification of the Irish people.

The Brits argue that Adams, unlike Nelson Mandela, never talks of "one person, one vote" because a million Irish Protestants in Ulster form a vast majority that wants to remain part of the United Kingdom. Unlike Yasser Arafat, the IRA spokesman cannot complain of no nation for his people because of the existence of the Irish Republic, where Catholics form the great majority.

Nothing would please the English, Scottish and Welsh more than to be able to withdraw forces from the Irish outpost established in Cromwell's time. But to do so would abandon a million British subjects to bloody civil war. The IRA has its fierce and murderous counterpart among Irish Protestants.

To pull out peacekeeping troops, as the IRA demands with its "British out," would turn the place into an orange and green Bosnia. A million British ethnic Irish do not want to be nationally cleansed, and the English cannot in honor set their nationals adrift.

As a result, British subjects in Northern Ireland have a more secure future in their townships than Israeli citizens do in their settlements in the West Bank or on the Golan Heights .

Most Americans don't get that picture. We tend to think that "the troobles" have gone on too long, that religious wars are out of date, that it might be tidier with all the Irish under one political roof, and that today's terrorists are tomorrow's statesmen - so why doesn't London quit quibbling about whether the IRA's "complete cessation" is "permanent" and get on with negotiating directly with Adams? …

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