So the wait is over, the 12 year, £191 million train wreck put into motion by ‘hand of history’ Tony Blair, has finally hit public domain. Despite some believing it was essential to the peace process, David Trimble, a man who should know, says differently.
The Armed Forces must be held to a higher standard than terrorists, who were intent on torturing and killing innocents in a premeditated fashion, so we must not draw any moral equivalence between the actions of the soldiers and the actions of the IRA, but it is worth noting that the loudest voices of protest seem to be coming from the organisations with close links to the PIRA.
We need to recognise that the soldiers over reacted and made a terrible mistake, resulting in the death of innocents, but sitting in quite calm judgement over the actions of young service personnel, being subjected to acid attack, gunfire, petrol and nail bombs is something we should be very careful of. The enquiry fails to put the events in context, the constant attacks on soldiers and the fact that the area was a complete no go area for the RUC.
General Sir Michael Rose said:
‘How ironic now that the soldiers who brought peace to Northern Ireland are likely to be treated as criminals as a result of this inquiry, while former terrorists like McGuinness and Adams – who did everything to prevent peace – are feted in their roles as ministers.’
Having read the enquiry report it makes a number of puzzling statements that seem to prejudge the evidence or interpret it with singular bias. Despite stating that the soldiers fired the first shot it is widely believed by many credible witnesses that the distinctive first shots were were from a Thompson sub machine gun, the same type of weapon that a certain prominent politician was reported as carrying and a favourite of the IRA at the time. Perhaps if a criminal prosecution against the soldiers was bought and likely held outside Northern Ireland, Martin would be called as a witness and face serious cross examination, rather than the soft soaping he received from Saville.
I wonder if charges of possession of a firearm will follow as well?
Is it really in the public interest to pursue criminal charges against former soldiers, who will now be in their sixties. If it is, then it is equally in the public interest to spend as much time and money on an enquiry into the violent death of every single victim of the troubles; Warrenpoint, Enniskillen, Regents Park, Manchester, Guildford, Omagh etc etc. If it is, then a prosecution against Martin McGuinness should follow.
It is the soldiers of the British Army and members of the RUC, UDR and security forces that held the ring and made both sides of the sectarian divide realise that there was no future in armed terrorism.
As usual, the great and the good will pour liberal quantities of blame off their well teflon’d shoulders and down onto the individuals doing their best, in difficult situations , at the sharp end.
The politicians who placed those young soldiers in Londonderry will of course be absent from any proceedings.
There was much injustice and many victims but Northern Ireland today is a very different place. Whilst the yoghurt knitting folk over at the Guradian and BBC get on with the business of characterising the entire Army in general and the Parachute Regiment in particular, as bloodthirsty murderers, perhaps we might pause for a moment and ask where the last recipient of the Victoria Cross was from.
Cpl Bryan Budd VC; a member of the Parachute Regiment and son of Belfast.
As David Cameron apologised I wonder if we will get an apology from Sinn Fein as well.
It’s time to draw a line and move on.