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US Irish in St Patrick's Day Iraqi banner outrage

Common sense the first casualty of war

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They say that truth is the first casualty of war. Apparently not always. Common sense seems to have sustained a sucking chest wound in Gulf War II with the news that The New York Monaghan Association decided against carrying its traditional banner in the New York St Patrick's Day parade.

For those readers unacquainted with County Monaghan, it's a part of the Emerald Isle where you can assured of "Gentle Countryside and Friendly people". Lovely.

Naturally, there are around 100 million direct descendants of Monaghan folk currently resident in the US, and there's nothing they like more than a bit of Big Apple-style celidh and an opportunity to toast the assault on Baghdad with a few pints of Guinness.

Indeed, the Association stresses that: "We welcome the start of the military campaign against Iraq. The world cannot stand idly by anymore when innocent people are killed by their leaders. Bringing democracy to Iraq will allow the Iraqi people to achieve their full potential and lead free lives"

Why, then, can these flag-waving Irish Americans not unfurl their banner with pride? Well, the reason is that the said standard carries an outline map of Monaghan, which bears an uncanny resemblance to an outline map of Iraq. Terrifying.

Association PRO John McKenna explains: "It came as quite a surprise to us that Monaghan and Iraq had basically the same outline shape. We had been receiving some jeers and comments as we assembled for the parade in New York and we couldn't understand why. Until someone from the Louth Association pointed out the similarity. So for the sake of being able to walk 5th Avenue in peace, we had to carry a simple blue and white banner instead or our ornate traditional banner."

Yes, it all makes perfect sense. Iraqi Republican Guards infiltrate St Patrick's Day March in New York and then run amok with outline map of Iraq. We bet Saddam and his generals were absolutely delighted with that cunning and evil plan to destroy western democracy.

Enough of this madness. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are maps of Iraq and County Monaghan. Remember, if you're a member of the allied air forces waiting to get stuck into Baghdad, the place on the left is the one you should be bombing.

Are they by any chance related? Iraq (left) and County Monaghan

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