The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Politics and Reason

Mark Burke • 1 November 2004

I've been a subscriber to the Blanket for a few months now and I have to say that I find the letters of the readership somewhat disappointing.

First, whatever one may believe about Bush or US foreign policy, it is not absurd to imagine that a supporter of George Bush could also be concerned about Irish Republicanism. Diarmuid Fogarty's response was a sorry display of intolerance and closed-mindedness. His article was riddled with anti-American bias and a refusal to deal intelligently with someone with whom he disagrees. Certainly he is not the only one who has expressed shock and awe at the publication of Hurley's articles. Some have responded to Mr. Hurley in a thoughtful way, like Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh. Many, however, have failed to present an argument, giving air to nothing more than bias and declarations that only their views should be expressed in the journal. Isn't this a forum for free speech? I always imagined that such a forum would include any side of an issue without feeling the need to publish it "with an immediate rebuttal." The publication of Hurley's article led Fogarty to "conclude that you are deeper in debt to the Yanks than I could have imagined before." Does the presentation of Hugh Orde's views imply a debt to the Brits?

Secondly, I find that there is an unacknowledged, underlying inclination throughout a lot of the articles to the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." To name just one instance of this, Fogarty refers to the government of pre-invasion Vietnam as "a perfectly good government." In fact, Vietnam was in a state of civil war before the American invasion and various forces were struggling for power, sometimes at the expense of innocent civilians. Is it wrong for American troops to inflict civilian casualties, but alright for local Vietnamese political groups in the name of revolution?

Another problem that I have with many articles is the ambiguous stance on war. This isn't necessarily a problem with the authors of the articles. They may have a very sophisticated view of just war theory that I fail to understand. Nevertheless, I don't think that there is any sort of consensus on when (or if) a war can be just, and I think that many of the issues that I've already mentioned are due to this issue of clarification. I think it's safe to say that nobody believes that a war is just on the basis of the ability to win alone (i.e. a stronger power is always right in attacking a weaker power). It seems, though, that some readers would say that a weaker power (an "oppressed" group) is justified in attacking a stronger power (the "oppressor") simply because they are weaker. I think that such a simplification of many conflicts is unfortunate. I personally do not believe that the American Indian movement, for instance, is justified in using violence when other non-violent means of achieving their goals (the reasonable ones) are available. Perhaps I could receive some clarification on this matter.

Lastly, I want to express my disagreement with the well written article by Joanne Dunlop. I certainly agree with her in maintaining that more options should be available for women with unwanted pregnancies. However, I think that it would be a grave mistake to see abortion as a viable option to this problem. A woman's body is certainly her own body and should be subject to her own choice, but I think that an unborn child's body should receive the same protection from the government as the woman's. An unborn child (I know that my terminology already betrays what I believe) is NOT part of the pregnant woman's body, even if dependent upon the mother's body for survival. An ideology that views the "fetus" as a sub-person is a dangerous ideology for a free democratic society. Every person, regardless of age or degree of "independence" deserves the equal protection of the state. Otherwise, certain groups who have no voice of their own are subject to systematic state-endorsed murder.










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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

4 November 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Torture of John Devine
Anthony McIntyre

Defending the Faith
Dr John Coulter

Simulating the Simulators
Eoghan O’Suillabhain

Learning from Hurley
Gréagoir O’Gaothin

Politics and Reason
Mark Burke

If Looks Could Kill
Sean Smyth

Fraternal Parting
Davy Carlin

Bluebeard's Castle
Toni Solo

31 October 2004

Blanket Interview: Hugh Orde
Carrie Twomey & Anthony McIntyre

The Convict and the Cop
Suzanne Breen

Thanks and Goodbye
Diarmuid Fogarty

In Response to: John Kerry, the Wrong Choice
Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh

The True Face of a One-Eyed Jack
Richard Wallace

Hurley's Twisted View
Lonnie Painter

Three More Votes for Kerry-Edwards
Kristi Kline

Your Silence Will Not Protect You
Joanne Dunlop

The Orange Order: Personification of anti-Catholic Bigotry
Father Sean Mc Manus

Double Standards and Curious Silences
Paul de Rooij



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