Partisan politics is a funny thing. Yes, critics of Rep. Peter King, the Republican spearheading congressional hearings on Muslim radicalism, are most certainly right about his past support for Irish Republican Army terrorists and their Sinn Fein front men. But isn’t there something amusing about The Nation and The Guardian—two publications not previously known for their hostility to violent Fenianism—giving King a rough time for supporting the IRA? (Mother Jones has had quite a bit to say on King’s support for the IRA, though a quick look through the magazine’s archives suggest that it’s the first they have heard of the group).
Or how about King’s Republicans apologists: Do they recall his characterization of the party’s stance on organized labor as a "Southern, anti-union attitude that appeals to the mentality of hillbillies at revival meetings"? And here is King publically fretting about the militia movement: “There is no place in our society for gangs of armed wackos who threaten the government and scare the hell out of everybody.” Sounds like a quote from a member of the UUP, doesn’t it? And wait until Glenn Beck finds out that Gerry Adams is a socialist!
There are a few King quotes in circulation, recycled and repeated in every story about his previous support for armed republicanism (of the Irish variety), though no one has dug up a transcript of his debate with brave former IRA member-turned-supergrass Sean O’Callaghan, who King compared to Benedict Arnold (and Adams to George Washington). Nor has it been pointed out that after the IRA’s famously savage 1985 attack on the Newry RUC barracks, which even they admitted was deserving of criticism, King issued a statement reaffirming his support for the terrorist group.
But it is often argued that he rethought his position on the IRA—and the morality and efficacy of murdering political opponents—after the 9/11 attacks; a line King’s Republican apologists have uncritically accepted. After the gruesome 2005 murder of Robert McCartney, in which IRA knuckle draggers beat and stabbed the father of two to death in a Belfast pub, King warned those outraged by the savage attack against a "rush to be too sanctimonious.” And now The Guardian writes that “the congressman dismisses attempts to draw a parallel between IRA and al-Qaida, arguing that the IRA never carried out attacks on US soil, and that his only loyalty was to the US,” though curiously fails to provide a quote from King.
In other words, he’s not sorry for supporting the IRA. So while his committee recounts heart-wrenching stories of victims of Islamic terrorism, I offer to loan King my copy of Lost Lives, a detailed account of how every victim of “the Troubles” died and who was responsible for their murder.