Well, he certainly left it late, but the Independent 's Adrian Hamilton has made a stunning, last-gasp effort to win this blog's inaugural 'Worst Article of the Year' Award.
Hamilton purports to be something of an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, but it's clear from his article today, in which he feebly tries to draw comparisons between Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, that he knows next to nothing about the former Yugoslavia. He refers to Milosevic as a ' dictator', conveniently overlooking the fact that Slobbo won repeated democratic election victories and governed a country in which over 20 opposition parties and a thriving, well-financed, independent media freely operated. Even Harry's Placer Adam Lebor, (who can hardly be described as being pro-Milosevic), conceded in his biography of the late Yugoslav President that it was inaccurate to call Slobbo a 'dictator'.
Hamilton also claims that Milosevic ruled by fear and 'the word of the informant' and in addition to being 'responsible' for war on his neighbours, oppressed his own people. Once again, absolutely none of this is true. Milosevic governed constitutionally, within the rule of law and oppressed no one, least of all the many ethnic groups who lived in the rump Yugoslavia.
Finally, Hamilton makes the charge that Milosevic cheated justice at the Hague, by passing away from natural causes. It's a charge that no impartial observer who followed proceedings at the Hague could possibly make. Milosevic's death was hugely convenient for the prosecution, who after four years had failed to produce any compelling evidence linking him to the crimes he was charged with. You don't have to take my word for this, just read the trial transcripts and make your own mind up.
Hamilton also makes a snide comment about Milosevic's lack of popularity. Well, Adrian, if as many people turn up to your funeral as turned up for Slobbo's on a freezing cold day in March, all I can say is that you'll be very lucky, old bean.
To find so many inaccuracies in an article in the Independent is not too surprising (just think of the usual tripe served up by Johann Hari). But Hamilton is not just any old Independent journalist- he is also the comment editor of the paper. For a person in such a position to be so ill-informed about a period of recent European history is truly shocking. Hamilton can be contacted at email@example.com, in case any readers should like to ask him where he obtained the factual information for his article.