| 12.2°C Dublin

Kevin Myers: Why is the British press hiring a defeated terrorist warlord as a moral arbiter over the British Army?

ON Monday, 'The Guardian' newspaper published an article by The Right Honourable Gerard Adams, MP, denouncing British policy in Afghanistan as an extension of failed British policies in Northern Ireland.

Listing five different episodes in which British soldiers killed civilians in Afghanistan, he wrote: "All of this just scratches the surface of another dirty war that is being fought using modern versions of old strategies and techniques, and is failing."

Well, if NATO ends up with a failure in Afghanistan like the British failure in Northern Ireland, I'll certainly settle for that, thank you. For, remind me, please: on the one hand, which army is today actively recruiting in the North, amongst both communities? And on the other, which army has called an unconditional cessation of all hostilities, has decommissioned its weapons, and has agreed to live peacefully under the sovereign rule of a foreign government?

But those irksome little questions aside, I'll take criticisms of NATO/US/British policies in Afghanistan from anyone -- Amnesty International, the Quakers, the Greens, even The Kingstown Presbyterian Sewing Circle -- but by God I won't take it from that lying Pharisee, Mr Gerard Adams, MP, who now swears he was never in the IRA. There's a lawful war in Afghanistan, authorised by the UN, in which soldiers from 40 countries -- including Ireland -- are serving. So what in the name of all the gods of journalism is 'The Guardian' doing, employing a defeated terrorist warlord as a moral arbiter over the British Army that had effectively beaten him?

And just as the Right Honourable Member of Parliament for the Belfast (West) Constituency feels free to list some British atrocities in Afghanistan, I feel similarly free to remind readers of what the IRA did while he was a senior member.

In July 1972, two Protestant brothers from North Belfast, Peter and Malcolm Orr, went out to meet their Catholic girlfriends. They were picked up by the Provisional IRA from Ardoyne and shot dead, simply because they were Protestant. The Provisional IRA so deplored this double-murder that the brothers' killer, "Cleekie Clarke" (who is now dead) went on to become Gerry Adams' personal bodyguard. Those glory days, however, lay ahead: at that time Gerry Adams was merely the commander of the IRA's 2nd battalion in Belfast. We now know that he was responsible for ordering the Bloody Friday offensive, that same July, in which nine people were killed and 130 others were injured by more than a score of IRA bombs in Belfast.

David McKittrick's 'Lost Lives' quotes an eyewitness of the time: "The first thing that caught my eye was the torso of a human being ... It was recognisable as a torso because the clothes had been blown off and you could actually see parts of the human anatomy. One victim had his arms and his legs blown off and some of his body had been blown through the railings. One of the most horrific memories for me was seeing a head stuck on a wall. A couple of days later we found a vertebra and a ribcage on the roof of a nearby building. The reason we found it was because seagulls were diving on it."

And so on.

Five months after Bloody Friday, the IRA abducted a widowed mother of 10, Jean McConville, from the bosom of her family, shot her, and buried her body secretly.

In Ed Moloney's 'Voices from the Grave', (Faber and Faber, London, 2010), the IRA leader Brendan Hughes was asked whether Gerry Adams was lying when he denied involvement in Bloody Friday and the disappearance of Jean McConville.

"He was lying," he replied flatly.

NOW, I'm not really too surprised that the wretched little Jolyon or Tarquin of 'The Guardian' -- who commissioned Gerry Adams to write a moralising sermon about Afghanistan -- apparently knows nothing about events in Northern Ireland. After all, few English people usually seem capable of remembering anything at all about Ireland, but English liberals, out of an apparent mixture of masochistic insipidity and pathological self-loathing, seem positively to rejoice in regular recitals of British atrocities. So naturally, Jolyon or Tarquin are probably totally unaware of the IRA's murderous deeds: Birmingham (21 dead), White Cross (10 dead) and La Mon (12 dead, including three married couples), never mind Gerry Adams's many little japes.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

But have 'The Guardian' features editors already forgotten the allegations of only a few months ago, that for two decades, Gerry Adams had done nothing substantial about a republican who decades before had been accused of child-rape? The alleged victim finally told Gerry Adams about this accusation 22 years ago -- and the result was not the usual IRA response: a bag over the head, and a hole in both. No indeed: the Sinn Fein activist in question moved from Belfast to Sinn Fein circles in Dundalk, and later to the US and Donegal.

So, as a matter of interest, would 'The Guardian' ever commission an article denouncing British policy in Afghanistan from an Irish Catholic bishop, against whom were resting allegations of passivity over child-abuse such as those being made against Gerry Adams MP?