During ‘the troubles’ the IRA carried out almost 500 attacks in England which resulted in the deaths of 125 people and injuring and maiming 2,134 others. Their campaign was not exclusive to England, they also attacked targets elsewhere in Europe including West Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. A University of Ulster research project claimed that, up until 2001, the Provisional IRA was responsible for the deaths of 1,823. The figure was not disputed.
The Army’s Chief of the General Staff at the time, Sir Michael Jackson described the IRA as “professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient”
Think of it – almost 2,000 fatalities in the UK.
Bear in mind that most of this activity took place during Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister. Her cabinet contained some of the most rabid right-wing ministers since the Victorian period and yet never once was it ever considered bombing or targeting IRA strongholds of West Belfast or the Bogside. The very idea would have considered insane. Even more absurd would be a call to European allies for an air strike on what they called the “Terrorist bolt-holes’ of Dundalk and Dublin
Only this week the defence minister Michael Fallon claimed the Brimstone Missile fired by, a now forty year old, Tornado aircraft could ‘distinguish between terrorists and ‘people in head-scarves selling shoes” – how, and by what method the missile can make this remarkable distinction was left unanswered. This is a missile, according to the manufactures GEC, that doesn’t kill civilians and, incidentally, it costs £175,000 a pop.
If I remember correctly, in the seventies the Paveway II missile had the same amazing abilities. Fired into the Bogside, they claimed, it could take out your local IRA leader without even damaging the wallpaper.
Who in their right mind could possibly consider that an air to ground strike in Derry (population 85,000) or in Dublin or in Dundalk would not have caused massive death and destruction. Not only would have be the biggest boost to recruitment for the IRA anyone could possibly imagine, it have received, quite rightly, world wide outrage and condemnation.
Yet we’re blandly assured that in the city Raqqa (with twice the population of Derry at 150,000) air strikes will be the very dab, they will do the trick, they will “take out ….the people who are plotting against this country and outrages elsewhere in Europe”
…and no one else, apparently
If it was as easy as that, they would have tried it in Ireland.