I honestly would have to say that to apply the label of terrorists using today's context to the IRA would not be fair. Seriously give this consideration for a moment. For sake of argument lets exclude the Real IRA, RHD, UVF, etc.
A terrorist is usually associated with committing criminal acts of a generally violent nature against civilians. We would think of hijackings, taking hostages, blowing up buildings, and the like. Now, if you look at the history of the IRA, we would see that they primarily target British and Loyalist military personnel and installations. Granted there have been cases where civilian buildings were targeted, but almost all if not all of which were targeted at a time where the population of that building was virtually nill. This does not show the intent to actually do harm to civilans directly.
Would you say this behavior is more akin to military strategies, as opposed to fanatical criminals out to do nothing but kill people? Just using terms from recent events, the words "IRA demilitarization" or "IRA ceasefire" would be more appropriately applied to military forces, not rogue terrorists.
I think the whole situation is very much like when the British had to get the Romans out, or the US war for independence.
Now finally, to disregard terrorists acts committed by almost all military forces around the world including American and British is unfair. It really is an unfortunate tactic that is used, but we don't consider American or British soldiers terrorists do we (although had the word been around during the 1700s, the British would have applied the terrorist label to Americans)?
I hope the parallels I've drawn there between terrorism and war make some sense (hey, its early in the morning here
) As I said, I would never support acts of violence against Irish or British common citizens.
I feel for the British people and what they've gone through with the turmoil in Ireland. Interestingly enough, a recent poll showed a majority of Britons supported pulling out any British interests in Ireland. I can certainly dig that information up if you'd like to see it.
Thanks for your lively and mature debate
You wouldn't care what people thought of you if you realized how seldom they do