The Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) is responsible for several violent attacks under the guise of fighting for the freedom of their fellow citizens. The series of political attacks collectively referred to as ‘The Troubles’ were targeted mostly at the British administration and leadership with the intention of deterring their presence in Ireland. Lord Mountbatten was killed in a bomb attack while sailing on his boat at Mullaghmore in Ireland. The IRA took full responsibility for placing the bomb and killing all the occupants on the boat. After the bombing, increased attention turned towards the interests of the IRA in Ireland.
The Mountbatten bombing was one of these attacks that attracted global attention because of its severity that involved the death of Lord Mountbatten, his 2 grandchildren and a crewmember (Walzer 246). Walzer’s concept of the Political Code of political violence can successfully explain the terrorist attack. In an approach similar to the Just War theory, Walzer proposed that innocent civilians should not be targeted as the main enemies in war or conflict. By engaging in terrorism, The Irish Republican Army was in direct violation of this principle. Walzer maintains that in terrorism, defenseless individuals are caught in the crossfire, and many are killed. However, the main purpose of terrorists is to use innocent victims to instill fear within other states and governments. Conversely, Walzer’s argument can be opposed in certain situations. When a group or community is faced with little or no alternative, they can resort to indiscriminate methods that are justifiable (Walzer 107). The Irish republican Army resorted to using violent methods to pass their message of liberation after being oppressed by the British government for many years.
Lord Mountbatten was the most suitable target for the IRA for several reasons. One, he was the Admiral of the British Fleet, and to the IRA, represented the leader of the opposition that they were keen on eliminating from their land. Therefore, by assassinating Lord Mountbatten, it was believed that the British would be confused and discouraged from continuing their imperialist agenda. Two, Lord Mountbatten had located his residence very close to the cross-border sanctuary used by the IRA militants. The closeness of the enemy to their safe-haven brought up security challenges for the IRA that greatly hindered their militia operations. Lastly, his connections to the royal family were highly significant to the IRA. Lord Mountbatten was an immediate uncle to Prince Philip as well as a cousin to Queen Elizabeth. Assassinating a member of the royal family would instill fear within the royal family and the rest of Britain, as it would show that the IRA was powerful enough to attack the top leadership successfully (Walzer 56).
The use of violence within IRA to achieve political objectives seemed to be an effective way to raise attention of the events within Ireland’s political environment. However, the IRA made precise use of the political assassination method to target political and administrative figures only. In the Mountbatten assassination, the main target was the military leader, and the other victims were collateral damage. Elsewhere, the use of political violence was received with approval as most of the parties acknowledged that the IRA was justified to use violent means to realize their legitimate political interests. Using the analysis of Walzer’s Political Code, the attack on Mountbatten was entirely legitimate as it represented the sentiments of oppressed Irish people who had lived under the rule of the British and wanted to secede.
Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New York: Basic Books, 2008. Print.
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