Here – hold my coat

I saw a link on Facebook recently that truly hit the mark. It said something like “Constant Guardian reader finally gives up on Obama and concedes he’s useless”.  That’s a concession a lot of people, I suspect, would make. Maybe not out loud but in a small hidden place in their heads. So much hope was placed on Obama, he came with something unique, he spoke of talking with the US’s enemies rather than targeting them.  He seemed to offer a fresh start after the dreary dimness of the Bush years. 
It didn’t happen. Obama may be ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he’s used five times as many drone bombs as did his predecessor. He would claim these are ‘surgical strikes’ aimed at known militants, and he’d like to do the same in Syria; the record shows that these attacks are usually about as surgical as a physician removing your appendix with a hatchet. Figures vary as to how many people have died in these two foreign wars. There are those who put the number of Iraqi deaths due to the US invasion at  more than 1,500,000 , and those in Afghanistan at more than 16,000. 
Of course when we say Obama used or wants to use drone bombs,  we don’t actually mean he has or would like to launch these bombs himself. But he was the one gave the OK for the war and/or its continuation, so clearly he shares in the guilt of those deaths. Pretty ghastly, eh? 
Now – what about Ireland? Has the southern government  had any hand, act or part in these deaths?
Well, the latest figures show that more than one million US troops passed through Shannon airport – that’s 665 per day – en route to US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, the government of the twenty-six counties provided material support to US soldiers as they journeyed across the globe to leave one and a half million dead in Iraq and over 16,000 dead in Afghanistan. 
Here’s a parallel of sorts, and one you’ll be familiar with. In 1984, the IRA tried unsuccessfully to kill Judge Tom Travers. They failed but in the attack his daughter Mary Travers was shot dead. Mary McArdle, who was found to have concealed the IRA weapons used, was convicted of murder and sent to prison.  She was released under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. 
I have a simple question: when will proceedings for murder be initiated against the southern government for its part in the mass slaughter of thousands/hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi people?   Louder, please – I’m afraid I can’t hear you. 

10 Responses to Here – hold my coat

  1. Catholicus September 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Sometimes Jude you can be quite vile and here you go again dragging in Mary Travers to justify some argument. Could you not find some other innocent victim to use as your example?

    I’ll take the Americans over the IRA any day. And I’m delighted that my government is operating as a supportive ally.

    • Jude Collins September 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      So you believe it’s ‘vile’ of me even to mention Mary Travers? Change the medication, I suggest, Catholicus.

  2. Anonymous September 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    You just can’t seem to accept that Mary Mc Ardle should have been convicted of murder.Is your point about the Southern government now Sinn Fein policy or is it just another bizzare Jude Collins solo run?

    • Jude Collins September 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      You’ve got a wonderful imagination. Where in the above do I say Mary McArdle shouldn’t have been convicted of murder?

    • Anonymous September 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      It’s good to know that you are quite happy that she was properly convicted.

  3. Anonymous September 16, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Completely agree Jude – Although Irl previously had a (shady) Neutral stance the cosying to the US via Shannon is abhorrent.

    • Jude Collins September 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Maybe replace ‘cosying’ with ‘toadying’, and ‘abhorrent’ with ‘lethal’…

  4. Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Apparently Mr Obama was much more personally involved in the drone strikes sometimes deciding the fate of the targets on the ground according to this New York Times article…

  5. Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    You assume Tom Travers was the target because he was a judge, but Mary Travers was a primary schoolteacher in Holy Child Primary School in Andersonstown. Mary lived in two different worlds and as a result may have seen something inconvenient to an ‘Intelligence Asset’ of the British and their Allies inside the Provos.

    It’s a bit like the spin on Jean McConville having a military-style portable radio.

    Isn’t it just as likely Jean saw someone using that radio and got killed for that knowledge? Surely that is as likely a scenario?

    It’s often what goes unexamined that hides inconvenient possibilities. We now know as accepted fact many running IRA Internal Security were agents for the British and their Allies.

    This from the Belfast Telegraph about Nuala O’loane’s report:

    ‘She said that while she did not find Special Branch had frustrated efforts to get evidence from the search of a property in the Malone area that was suspected of being used as a safe house, she was critical of the branch.’

    “An analysis of intelligence relating to this case shows that Special Branch failed to share all relevant intelligence with the murder investigation team,” she said.

    Ms O’Loan added: “It is also totally unacceptable that two guns used in this attack have since either been lost or destroyed.”


    ‘The same weapon was used to murder – among others – Judge Billy Doyle, who was shot dead outside St Brigid’s Church 15 months before Mary Travers’ murder, and the Rev Robert Bradford, the Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast, shot dead at a community centre in Finaghy in November 1981’



    There is a pattern here, lost evidence, failure to act, failure to retrospectively investigate and prosecute. SB did not act on information from Joe Fenton to access a flat used by the killers of Mary Travers. In the Rev Robert Bradford killing the ‘Security Forces’ (I often wonder whose security?) allegedly had prior information and failed to stop the attack.

    As for Mary Ann McArdle – She was a young woman when she joined the Irish Republican Army. Mary’s choices would be limited after joining, at her age she would take orders, not give them. The trick is not to join and therefore not be in her unenviable position of having to protect your spooky leadership when they throw you to the wolves. I see her as a victim of Geopolitics, darker hands than hers were on the wheel and still are. It was all about money for a few, that was the end game. I bet Mary McArdle didn’t get rich out of other people’s time and other people’s blood and misery!

    About the Americans, being America’s friend means doing what their bankers say. I feel sorry for the American people because their leaders are just as shitty and corrupt as ours!

  6. giordanobruno September 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    It is true that ideally governments should be held to account for their actions in such situations where the legality can be questioned under international law. But it is hard to see how the UN is going to indict the Irish Government for allowing troop movements when nothing was done in response to Tony Blair and his government in regard to alleged war crimes in Iraq, for instance.
    Or indeed should the Russians be brought to court for arming the Syrian regime?
    Who will be left to try all these cases? The Swiss perhaps.
    Sadly there is not the genuine will in the international community to try such cases, probably because there are few with clean hands.