The Royal Visit: How I Ended Up In A COIN Campaign

It was while I was in the middle of a three and a half hour journey home from work, because of Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail alterations due to the Queen’s visit, that I began to get a little annoyed.

I have no objection to the Queens visit, but it would be dishonest of me to claim that the delays in public transport are not an annoyance, as they affected me rather directly. So, as I walked halfway across Dublin, forced through legs on foot, the Luas, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail, I began to get a bit more critical of Elizabeth’s trip.

More than that, it was the bomb scares in Connolly Station that annoyed me, threats, hoaxes and vandalism that will invariably upset my day. Maybe the Queen should just stay home and stop bothering me, is what I thought.

And then, suddenly, it hit me. I’m a “heart and mind” in a COIN campaign.

Whoever is behind these bomb threats, dissident Republicans perhaps or just people against the Queen’s trip, want me, by having my schedule altered and commute extended,, to get annoyed at the Queen and the Irish authorities that are behind her security. They want me to get firmly behind the easy “bomb threat-train delays-Queen’s fault!” line of thinking. They want me to blame the authorities for everything.

And it was actually working. Studying COIN, either thousands of miles away in the Middle East or in the incalculable distance of the past, has meant that I have never actually been a direct subject of its workings. This means that it is more difficult to actually grasp the nuances of insurgency and counter-insurgency, chief among them how each side attempts to exert control over the “people”, in getting them to back or oppose the resident government forces.

And there I was, set to start telling Facebook that the Queen should stay home. In doing so, the bombers win, because they get to add one more voice to their cause, even if that voice finds their politics abhorrent. That was somewhat of a stunning feeling for me, seeing my feelings and motivations successfully manipulated.

So, realising this, and realising that no, I don’t like bombers, real or hoaxed, I changed my mind. I now attribute my feelings of rage and frustration to them, and not the authorities who were too simple a target. If bombers and threat makers would simply get over it, accept that the nation has every right to invite a head of state to these shores, and that head of state has every right to visit, then security would not have to be so harsh, so draconian. They are the ones inconveniencing me and the rest of Dublin’s commuters, with their childish lashing out at a nation that has not been our enemy for 89 years and counting, lashing out that has nothing resembling any kind of popular mandate.

So, I choose to lend my heart and my mind to the Garda (all as helpful to me as they could be today), to the state and, as much as I never thought I would say it, to the Queen, at least on a temporary basis. And thus, the bombers lose. It’s a small battle, but every such battle they lose is a victory for the “good guys”, our Guards, our Armed Forces, and the stressed out employees of Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail.

And remember, the “good guys” are the ones not planting bombs in railway stations and buses. They have no moral high ground whatsoever.

Of course, if what is going on here is some kind of COIN campaign, albeit a very limited one, then the propaganda war being waged by the state has been pretty dire. They need to start going after the “bad guys” more aggressively, making sure that the public know who to blame when trains get delayed, when roads are shut. It doesn’t have to be this way, but a minority, a tiny, otherwise insignificant minority, is ruining your day. That minority is not some elderly figurehead from across the water, a woman without the slightest bit of power or control over us. It is not the state. It is not even Dublin Bus.

Don’t let the bad guys win.

This entry was posted in Counter Insurgency (COIN), Ireland, Irish Defence Forces, Politics, War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Royal Visit: How I Ended Up In A COIN Campaign

  1. Arquinsiel says:

    Funnily enough my logic behind going to Belfast for Q-con the weekend after the riots was “If we don’t go then the terrorists win!” without really being able to express why I felt that way. Your point is well taken.

  2. Pingback: Revolutionary Remembrance: Royals In 1916 | Never Felt Better

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