9780748635290

The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780748635290

  • ISBN10:

    0748635297

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-12-18
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

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Summary

Is terrorism ever morally justified? Should we take historical andcultural factors into account in judging the morality of terrorist acts? What arethe ethical limits of state counter-terrorism?For three decadesthe Provisional Irish Republican Army waged an "armed struggle" against what itperceived to be the British occupation of Northern Ireland. To its supporters, theIRA was the legitimate army of Ireland, fighting for a British withdrawal as aprelude to the reunification of the Irish nation. To its enemies, the IRA was anillegal, fanatical terrorist organization whose members were criminals sacrificinginnocent lives in pursuit of an ideological obsession. At the center of thisconflict were the then unconventional tactics employed by the IRA, includingsectarian killings, political assassinations, and bombings of urban centres-acts that have become increasingly commonplace in our post-9/11world.This book is the first detailed philosophical examinationof the morality of the IRA's violent campaign and the British government's attemptsto end it. Students and scholars who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of aparadigmatic conflict of the late twentieth century will find a wealth ofinformation in this provocative inquiry.

Excerpts

Ireland's Troubles and the Morality of TerrorismTimothy Shanahan'By far the most cogent critical analysis of the Irish Republican movement I have read, written from a position as close to impartiality as we are likely to get.'Ian McBride, King's College LondonIs terrorism ever morally justified? How should historical and cultural factors be taken into account in judging the morality of terrorist acts? What are the ethical limits of state counter-terrorism?For three decades the Provisional Irish Republican Army waged an 'armed struggle' against what it considered to be the British occupation of Northern Ireland. To its supporters, the IRA was the legitimate army of Ireland, fighting to force a British withdrawal as a prelude to the re-unification of the Irish nation. To its enemies, the IRA was an illegal, fanatical, terrorist organization whose members were criminals willing to sacrifice innocent lives in pursuit of its ideological obsession. At the centre of the conflict were the then unconventional tactics employed by the IRA, including sectarian killings, political assassinations, and bombings that devastated urban centres - tactics that have become increasingly commonplace in the post-9/11 world.This book is the first detailed philosophical examination of the morality of the IRA's violent campaign, and of the British government's attempts to end it. Written in clear, accessible prose, it is essential reading for scholars and students who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of one of the paradigmatic conflicts of the late 20th century. Timothy Shanahan is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, CA. He is author of Reason and Insight: Western and Eastern Perspectives on the Pursuit of Moral Wisdom (2003) and The Evolution of Darwinism: Selection, Adaptation and Progress in Evolutionary Biology (2004), and editor of Philosophy 9/11: Thinking about the War on Terrorism (2005).

Excerpted from The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism by Timothy Shanahan
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