Letter: Offensive charm

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The Independent Online
YOUR editorial ('The patriot shame', 28 March) recalling the IRA bombing campaign of 1939 omitted the fact that the 16-year- old Brendan Behan participated in it. Only his luck or ineptitude saved him from murdering anyone. He never expressed the least remorse for this episode.

Behan, for all his undeniable talent and charm, was fairly odious. But he was not a common criminal. Likewise, the soldiers of the modern IRA are certainly very different from common criminals.

Yet the British Government blindly insists that they are common criminals, or at least must be dealt with as if they were. That is why in 20 years it has failed to defeat the IRA, and why it will continue to fail.

David Watkins

Pontcanna, Cardiff