Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Here's my take on the IRA peace announcement. I was chuffed that I came home from a night of beer drinking Friday night, during which I bored my companion by droning on about the IRA, only to find an unexpected message from my editor at Slate asking if I had "anything smart to say about the IRA announcement." Hell, yeah - everything sounds smart when you're drunk.

Actually, the smartest thing I have to say involves pointing out how wrong I've been about a few things in the past, most recently Thursday when I scribbled here that the IRA has said "the war is over." They didn't say anything of the sort. They said the armed campaign is over, which is rather different. As the sub-head of my piece says, in the absence of an Army Convention declaring otherwise, the IRA is still at war.

In April, I suggested that Adams's campaign speech appealing to the IRA to give up arms was actually code for the calling on a General Army Convention, the only IRA body allowed (according to the IRA constitution) to ratify a final peace declaration. Wrong - there has been no Army Convention, most likely because the Army Council was afraid a peace declaration wouldn't pass.

Then there's that whole thing where I speculated in March, as the uproar over the Robert McCartney murder was growing, that things were spinning dangerously out of control for Gerry Adams. In hindsight, the McCartney business seems to have played right into Adams's plan.

Thank you to Ed Moloney for his help on my most recent article. If you want to read something infinitely more informed, read Moloney's piece for Scotland's Sunday Heraldand his piece for the Irish Examiner.

Of special importance - unfortunately I wasn't able to go into this - is the importance of the contrived "divorce" between Sinn Fein and the IRA, with the latter likely carrrying on as a huge criminal enterprise.


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