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We've Seen ISIS before, This is How Britain Stopped Them

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Imagine if our lives depended on continued military intervention in the Middle East. If the troops came home, there would be no food on the table, and the lights would go out. We would die, cold, starving and confused.

Fortunately, this is not the case.

In fact, there is really no traceable benefit at all from the continued military occupation of various spots in the Middle East. Every now and then, there is a London beheading, Paris shooting, or a Brussels bombing in retribution for the ongoing war, and this is the only identifiable impact that the ongoing war has had on everyday life in the West. Politicians and other cheerleaders for the war will say it would be so much worse without the ongoing air strikes, but this cannot be proved. What can be proved is that the stated motive of all recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States is the Western intervention "over there."

If this were the first time this had ever happened, I could understand the reflex to continue fighting.

But anyone over 40 has already seen this movie, and it was called the IRA. The Irish Republican Army waged war against the British as they occupied Northern Ireland under Operation Banner. Banner ran in earnest from 1969 to 1998. 30 years of arrests, fighting, and policing by the British Army did practically nothing to end the carnage, as thousands died in mass killings that continued into 2002. 

But suddenly in 1998, the British left, and people under 30 scarcely remember that there was a terrorist organization of Catholics setting off truck bombs in Western Europe on a regular basis. The Irish Car Bomb is now just a drink, and no one at college knows where the name came from. After the occupation ended, they faded away and all but disappeared.

It is likely that we will see Operation Banner unfold again, over and over, until the West withdraws its own troops from the Middle East. If the prize for staying were more precious, if continuing to fight meant continuing to survive, it would be worth the destruction at home. But, it is nearly impossible to justify even one Belgian or American death for all the benefit of this endless war. Death, it seems, is the only fruit that this particular tree seems to be capable of bearing.

Even after we leave, the attacks will likely continue for years, as was the case in Ireland, but eventually they will stop. If we continue to fight, however, the fighting and killing will never end, as was also the case in Ireland.


Richard is an engineer by day, and a political activist by night, fighting would-be totalitarians and government busybodies everywhere.