News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

November 11, 2007

British Army Concedes IRA Was Not Defeated

Army concedes for first time it did not win the battle against the IRA

(Poster's Note: This news is a little old (July 6, 2007) but it
was brought to my attention by a friend (Phil) and thought you
might not have seen it. Jay)

Army Paper Says IRA Not Defeated

An internal British army document examining 37 years of
deployment in Northern Ireland contains the claim by one expert
that it failed to defeat the IRA.

The admission is contained in a discussion document released by
the Ministry of Defence after a request under the Freedom of
Information Act.

The 100 page document analyses in detail the army's role over 37

It focuses on specific operations and gives an overview of its

The six-month study, covering the period 1968-2005, was prepared
under the direction of the then chief of general staff, General
Sir Mike Jackson.

The document, obtained by the Pat Finucane Centre, points to a
number of mistakes, including internment and highlights what
lessons have been learnt.

It describes the IRA as "a professional, dedicated, highly
skilled and resilient force", while loyalist paramilitaries and
other republican groups are described as "little more than a
collection of gangsters".

It concedes for the first time that it did not win the battle
against the IRA - but claims to have "shown the IRA that it could
not achieve its ends through violence".

In a statement, the Pat Finucane Centre - a human rights group -
said the document "betrays a profoundly colonial mindset towards
the conflict here and those involved in it".

"Loyalist violence and the links between loyalist paramilitaries
and the state has been airbrushed out of this military history,"
it said.

In a statement issued on Friday, an Army spokesman said: "This
publication considers the high level general issues that might be
applicable to any future counter-terrorist campaign that the
British Armed Forces might have to undertake.

"It is critically important to consider what was learned by those
who served in Northern Ireland."

IRA patriotism ,under many names and guises, is as old as the Saxon's imperialism of the 32 Counties. The British concessions speak to their hard-learned lesson that the Irish would not permit domination either by the Thompson gun or by bribery through conversion; not even by systematic starvation. The more pertinent yet quite subtle threat now is internal--Ireland's whirlwind economy brings in its own invasion of foreign corporations and workers by invitation. If well managed, Ireland will benefit; if left unchecked, how different will this become from the Elizabethan planters and English ascendancy that supplanted all that was native Irish?
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