Sunday, January 31, 2010
Letter of the Week: The Yugoslavia 'precedent', by Neil Craig
This excellent letter, from our friend and regular commenter Neil Craig, appears in the Morning Star.
During the former attorney general's testimony to the Iraq inquiry the word "precedent" was used 16 times, overwhelmingly in regard to the precedent established by bombing Yugoslavia.
This was said to have been justified on the "new legal theory" that "a reasonable case could be made - I'm sorry, there was a reasonable case," to quote this eminent legal authority's testimony, that it was lawful to bomb people.
The interesting thing is that, whatever we may suspect about the honesty of the case made for WMD in Iraq, we know for an absolute fact that the case for the Yugoslav war - that Milosevic was engaged in genocide - was not only untrue but a deliberate lie. Like Iraq, Kosovo was a war undertaken without UN authority - and we never even attempted to get authority.
The real precedent provided by Kosovo, as Goldsmith said, is that "simply it is enough to say there is a reasonable case," however dishonestly, and that you can get away with murder. Mass murder.
Whatever whitewash we see at the Iraq inquiry, the case that Blair and his supporters are guilty of war crimes is undeniable. Indeed in Kosovo we saw the NATO-armed KLA, reappointed as NATO police, engaging in the ethnic cleansing of 350,000 people carried out under NATO command authority.
The NATO-funded war crimes commission has charged many Serbs largely on the grounds that they were part of a "joint criminal conspiracy." It can hardly now be denied that Blair, his supporters and at least his entire party organisation, were part of a joint criminal conspiracy to commit war crimes - and probably twice.
The importance of the Yugoslavia ‘precedent’ cannot be underestimated.
As I argued here, and elsewhere, the road to Baghdad began in the Balkans, and, as Neil Craig says, the fact that Blair got away scot-free with an illegal and deceitful war in 1999, only emboldened him to do it again in 2003.