Whataboutaery is a way of justifying one atrocity by comparing it to another worse atrocity (in the perception of the claimant), committed by the other side.
You ate my favourite biscuit,etc, etc.
So! What about you pinching my cream cake last week?
How dare you mention that! What about you using MY last teabag the week before
Typically the publication of the Saville Enquiry Today has produced swathes of whataboutary reactions; this one by General Sir Michael Rose in the Mail is just one sordid example. This one from Lord Tebbit is another. The comments that follow the articles are an even worse example of whataboutary, with those who welcome the enquiry's report branded as traitors to Britain and apologists for the IRA and those who oppose it are branded as supporters of state sponsored terrorism by the loyalist paramilitaries and the British Government!
I think that PM David Cameron has been bold and brave in accepting the enquiry's conclusion and apologising on behalf of the British Government for what was an unjustified and unjustifiable action.
What both wings of the IRA and what the INLA did during the troubles was also unjustified and unjustifiable.
What the UVF and other loyalist paramilitary groups did during the troubles was unjustified and unjustifiable.
Whatabout some of those organizations' leaders and supporters following Cameron's lead in accepting that what they did was unjustified and unjustifiable rather than continuing with the moral evasion of whataboutism as their reaction to the enquiry?
Accepting that there was wrong on all three sides is the only way of bringing peace and reconciliation to the north of Ireland. Cameron has given a lead for the British Government's side, have the other two sides got the whatabout it takes to follow that lead?
Others on this subject:
Blog Menai; Iain Dale; Matt Wardman; RandomPottins; Ceder Lounge and many others