By coincidence, I happened to have read this, this and this today. The LRB article, in the course of tracing "how a rebellion by a minority of a minority took on such symbolic significance", claims that "the most important actors in the drama were the British forces in Ireland", and points out that
The post-rebellion crackdown meant that people's experience came into line with separatist ideologies. (The contemporary significance of all this need hardly be spelled out).
The post at Lenin's Tomb is essentially concerned to amass evidence to substantiate the claim that the military is an instrument of brutality and brutalization on a vast scale, a claim which the BBC's report of apparently institutionalized humiliation of new recruits, if hardly conclusive, would have undoubtedly supported. None of this particularly surprises me, I have to say. Power is its own aphrodisiac, and the immediacy of the power of inflicting physical violence, the visceralness of the domination it grants, felt by both those who exercise it and who are subject to it, only heightens that. So, a series of coincidences. It may be an axiom of scientific enquiry that correlation is not causation, but there comes a time when it becomes difficult to explain how it is that particular actions and outcomes seem so intimately connected, and questions need to be asked, questions like, 'how is it that that the leader of a democratic state can be unwilling to voice an absolute prohibition on torture?'