The merciless nature of the attacks on underground trains and a commuter bus were designed to quite simply cause maximum loss of life and injury. This horrific attack was designed to coincide with the concerted effort of President Bush and other world leaders to finally address the issue of grinding poverty in Africa.
Beyond that, the intention was to frighten and intimidate. In the aftermath of the bombings some frequent mention was made by media commentators on both sides of the Atlantic of the IRA and its past role as an organization given to bombing the British capital and other cities.
Such comparisons are disingenuous. It should be clear to anyone with a reasonable knowledge of the IRA’s historical roots and modus operandi that the organization always adhered to a political objective that could be the subject of negotiation. Put bluntly, the IRA set about bombing its way to the negotiating table. Those negotiations are ongoing but what is absolutely clear is that the IRA’s war is over.
Al-Qaeda’s goal appears to be to kill as many innocent people as possible.
With that in mind, it was discouraging to witness how some unionist leaders sought to score political points by raising the specter of the IRA in the context of London’s tragic day.
It was also disappointing given the fact that the Provisionals are reportedly very close to making the kind of move that will put clear daylight between the republican movement and a past generated in large part by the political machinations of others, not least unionists leaders.
After the bombings, we could all do with a little good news. The IRA has it in its power to deliver it. We hope it will be soon, and sufficiently momentous to focus even the nay Sayers on a more hopeful future. In the meantime, this newspaper urges the Bush administration to redouble its efforts to find and bring to justice Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.