Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Crossing the Rubicon: March 1999
We’ve heard a lot in the last few days about the anniversary of a certain war.
But four years before Iraq, let's not forget that Britain took part in another illegal US-sponsored war of aggression on grounds which were completely fraudulent.
In 2003 Tony Bliar’s Big Whopper was that Saddam possessed WMDs which "could be activated within 45 minutes". In 1999 it was that Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia was "set on a Hitler-style genocide equivalent to the extermination of the Jews during World War Two".
The war of 1999 was, we were repeatedly told, fought 'to stop a humanitarian catastrophe'. “It is no exaggeration to say that what is happening is racial genocide' – claimed the British Prime Minister – "something we had hoped we would never again experience in Europe. Thousands have been murdered, 100,000 men are missing and hundreds forced to flee their homes and the country." Yugoslav forces were, according to the US State Department, “conducting a campaign of forced population movement not seen in Europe since WW2". One US Information Agency 'fact' sheet claimed that the number of Albanians massacred could be as high as 400,000.
In fact, the number of both Serbs and Albanians killed during the 1998-1999 hostilities between Yugoslav Federal forces and the Western-backed terrorist group the KLA, according to the ICTY figures, totalled 2,788 victims. Compare that to the 3,500 people killed by NATO’s brutal war of aggression.
A dangerous precedent - that of launching an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign state without UN Security Council was set in 1999.
Just how dangerous, we would all see four years later.
UPDATE: Svetlana has more on this week's anniversary here.