Yank's question about the IRA's London Bombings in the 1990's

Duke,

In one of his earlier posts Brecher talks about the the evolution of the IRA's bombings, particularly the Hyde Park bombing that blew up all the horses, and he goes into how the IRA realized it generated bad publicity. Its his point that during the 1990's the PIRA learned its lessons and would then call ahead to announce the bombing to the public. Can you name any mass casualty bombings during the 1990's?

In answer to your question to me I weigh 175 lbs and stand 5'11" (not really sure why you wanted to know, but ok...)

Warrington 1993. Two children killed by the heroic Provisional IRA. Probably not 'mass' enough for the misty eyed blarney stone kissers of New York, but 'mass' enough for their parents.
 
I didn't read all of Breecher's article because he comes across to me as a misinformed Oirish/American half-wit whose research has been done on republican web-sites. I read a few paragraphs and skimmed through the rest. If you want to spend your time reading about the troubles, I'm sure that you could find something better researched.

For example;
"The Loyalist hit teams, I realize now, were a classic SAS attempt to turn the whole Ulster fight into a tribal war, so the British could come off as the impartial referees trying to keep the savages from tearing each other apart."

I doubt that very, very much. It is utter bollocks. The UVF didn't need any outside assistance to turn them into savages.

He seems to believe that the "nerf" war was the result of restraint by the PIRA. It wasn't.
I was living in London for most of that time; the bombing 'campaigns' were spasmodic because the PIRA did not have the resources in men or materials to mount a continuous campaign. The campaigns usually ended when the sole cell of volunteers were arrested or blew themselves up.

Reading Breecher you'd think all the IRA bombings were brilliant spectaculars. My recollections were different.

Stephen Tibble, an off-duty PC (20 ISTR) shot in 1975 after joining colleagues chasing a suspect. The killer got asylum in your country.
Ross McWhirter, editor of the Guinness Book of Records, shot dead for being critical of some killing.
Professor Gordon Hamilton-Fairley, an Australian and renowned cancer specialist, killed after touching a package left under his neighbour's car; had it got the intended target, it would probably also have killed Caroline Kennedy.
The 15 year-old army cadet (like military boy scouts) blinded and maimed by a booby trapped torch left at a TA centre.
The mid-70s letter bombs; several secretaries injured.
The Harrods bomb; 4 (I think) police officers killed whilst attempting to clear the area after a vague or deliberately misleading warning; nearly got my aunt.
My windows rattling when the Canary Wharf bomb went off; I think I lived about 5 miles away.
The incessant delays and interruptions to public transport while some forgotten carrier bag, abandoned lunch box or badly parked car was inspected by the bomb disposal people.

The reality was that most of the IRA campaigns were a tedious **** up from start to finish. They were a PITA, like a 30-year long bout of haemorrhoids. What did it achieve for them? Really, what did it achieve?

The IRA recruits were mostly from the ghastly shit-hole council estates (community housing) in Northern Ireland; they weren't the brightest or nicest people. Most of the bright kids got themselves onto university courses (funded by the British taxpayers) in the British mainland, got themselves careers and got out. Maybe if some of your militias decided to become independent or the hispanic gangs decided that California, Texas and New Mexico should secede from the USA and rejoin Mexico, you'd have something similar. Perhaps a few Unabombers going for 30 years and training new recruits, with a McVeigh-type bomb every few years. It would get tedious fairly rapidly.

And there wasn't a victory. They didn't want the British Army in Ireland and neither did the British Army. The Brits were stuck there for the forseeable future whilst the Unionists held a majority. The present, peaceful interlude isn't a permanent solution either, the Brits will gleefully abandon the place when the Republicans gain a majority. They have just handed out respectability, ministerial posts and salaries to Sinn Fein to secure some peace until then; it's just an ointment to alleviate the PITA, it hasn't cured it.

My family is all catholic Irish, I was born in London.

You forgot the the two poor Australian bastards shot dead in a car park in Germany (IIRC) because they had short hair and were mistaken for British soldiers. Had they been US nationals it might have woken up many in the US whose world view of the Oirish issue is taken from the same romantic guff that spawned 'The Patriot' and 'Braveheart'.
 
In March this year I met a convicted bomber of the Republican persuasion along with one from the "Loyalist" side, in Derry. Both of them expressed both regret and remorse about the things they had done. Both said that they had wanted out but couldn't leave because they would have been executed.

If the OP considers that an alleged 30 minutes (on some occasions when they didn't **** it up) warning before killing innocent adults and children counts as legitimate warfare he needs to spend some time with the relatives of the injured and dead.
 
In terms if how they compare to the Iraqis, fortunately PIRA don't seem to have a technical A level between them. Decades of terror and the average bang was a vehicle full of fertiliser. In Iraq, within 5 yrs of the insurgency starting, we faced complex, daisy chained EFPs that could defeat even CR2. A host of methods of initiation and the ability to place them at short notice in a city that had more istar watching it than most of the world. We should count ourselves fortunate that the average Iraqi is way smarter than your average PIRA mong. Let's face it, for the majority it's never been that political. Most of the IRA are petty criminals, drug dealers etc who think this brings a touch of sparkle to their otherwise unremarkable lives.
 
Warrington 1993. Two children killed by the heroic Provisional IRA. Probably not 'mass' enough for the misty eyed blarney stone kissers of New York, but 'mass' enough for their parents.
And to top that off their wage of "economic warfare", they set these bombs off in Warrington shopping streets in the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon. Yes they broke a lot of windows and as you said, killed two little kids at the same time.

Real bunch of ******* heros that lot.
 
This was a 16-month old thread that was, for some reason, resurrected today. I doubt the OP is still folloing it.
 
...Let's face it, for the majority it's never been that political. Most of the IRA are petty criminals, drug dealers etc who think this brings a touch of sparkle to their otherwise unremarkable lives.
Actually not very well educated farmers were pretty prominent and the technology of PIRA truck bombs showed that. They had limited resources and made the best of them. Military engineering of course isn't much of a measure of sophistication in propaganda by deed.

The Iraqi Sunni population had a far higher density of military expertise than the Irish heaps of looted munitions and backing from Gulf Kingships going far beyond what Boston offered did but let's face it the Sunni Fedayeen guys lost big time to the Shia militias backed by Iran despite this tactical muscle. They then got completely screwed as they split with more nativist elements making a alliance of convenience with the the US only to be sold out to the new rulers of Baghdad once the worst of the trouble was over. They were fractious and generally failed to mobilise politically in the way PIRA did, Mao would not have approved.

The main local AQ franchise AQIM also completely screwed the pouch strategically, alienating the locals by disrupting tribal power structures and doing serious damage to the AQ brand in the Arab World with their knuckle dragging campaign against Shia markets. Takfiri groups made a similar mistake in Algeria's black decade. All their engineering degrees don't seem to breed cool headed strategists.

PIRA-SF in contrast used atrocity carefully often in tandem with negotiations, international diplomacy and electioneering. They had many logical lines of operation cleverly interlocked.

You are wrong about PIRA not being political, that was always really their hear and soul, it is what sustained the Long War strategy, the smuggling, extortion and bank robbing were sidelines, there was the odd rogue ASU that deviated from this. By the tale end of The Troubles they had a lot of legitimate commercial interests and owned so much business property in Derry that they really would have found difficulty in finding economic targets to bomb. SF is still reputed to be the best funded party in Ireland. You could not say that about my lot's Paras, drug dealing and turf wars became the preoccupation.

This can be overstated PIRA-SF were often stupid, they could have ended their war earlier on just as good terms. The Bible thumpers of the DUP do seem to run rings round SF in Stormont and are their equal as a grassroots party.
 
Actually not very well educated farmers were pretty prominent and the technology of PIRA truck bombs showed that. They had limited resources and made the best of them. Military engineering of course isn't much of a measure of sophistication in propaganda by deed.

The Iraqi Sunni population had a far higher density of military expertise than the Irish heaps of looted munitions and backing from Gulf Kingships going far beyond what Boston offered did but let's face it the Sunni Fedayeen guys lost big time to the Shia militias backed by Iran despite this tactical muscle. They then got completely screwed as they split with more nativist elements making a alliance of convenience with the the US only to be sold out to the new rulers of Baghdad once the worst of the trouble was over. They were fractious and generally failed to mobilise politically in the way PIRA did, Mao would not have approved. - I thought the IRA had well known established links (S America, Africa) for armalites and PE. Far more advanced (at the time) than what the Iraqi insurgents had/have. I'd say that PIRA are pretty fractious too. There are numerous (some more successful than others) splinter groups.

The main local AQ franchise AQIM also completely screwed the pouch strategically, alienating the locals by disrupting tribal power structures and doing serious damage to the AQ brand in the Arab World with their knuckle dragging campaign against Shia markets. Takfiri groups made a similar mistake in Algeria's black decade. All their engineering degrees don't seem to breed cool headed strategists.

PIRA-SF in contrast used atrocity carefully often in tandem with negotiations, international diplomacy and electioneering. They had many logical lines of operation cleverly interlocked.

You are wrong about PIRA not being political, that was always really their hear and soul, it is what sustained the Long War strategy, the smuggling, extortion and bank robbing were sidelines, there was the odd rogue ASU that deviated from this. By the tale end of The Troubles they had a lot of legitimate commercial interests and owned so much business property in Derry that they really would have found difficulty in finding economic targets to bomb. SF is still reputed to be the best funded party in Ireland. You could not say that about my lot's Paras, drug dealing and turf wars became the preoccupation. that's not what I said. The movement is obviously political but the average 'footsoldier' is a thug. That whole heart and soul bit smacks of the 80's USA rose tinted specs.

This can be overstated PIRA-SF were often stupid, they could have ended their war earlier on just as good terms. The Bible thumpers of the DUP do seem to run rings round SF in Stormont and are their equal as a grassroots party.
.
 
Just thought I'd bump this thread with the IRA back in the news in NI. I think some people are missing the Yank's point, as he states "And Al Qaeda style maximum-splatter is for hotheaded idiots who forget that the real job of a guerrilla force is to stay in existence, lean on the enemy, wear him out and bankrupt him". The actions of Al Qaeda, ISIS and all the rest of the nutters who seem to think that some gross shocking act like 9/11 or the Charlie Hebdo killings will force govts to change their mind and disengage but as he states the guerrilla force's tactic should be to remain as a potential force to strike when necessary and slip back into anonymity to strike again. It's also worth pointing out, that the British forces lost more men (1114) in NI to the IRA than they did in did in Afghanistan (454), 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the Gulf War (179).Chilling but formidable statistics. So has the Yank in fact got it tight ?

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-10637526

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-10629358

http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/tables/Status_Summary.html
 

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