The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The do-gooders and aggressive war

I'm pretty sure I covered the issue in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

But a snippet from Josh Marshall reminds me to note the point again:
For someone who considers himself in many ways a hawk and who did and does believe in American power as a force for good in the world (most recently in the Balkans)...

The post-war norm, based on the UN Charter, was the primacy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

Then, a bunch of do-gooding morons - led by the leader of the clan, Saint Tony Blair - decided to work themselves an exception. Against Russian opposition, and with a conspicuous lack of any authorising UN Security Council Resolution, these morons decided to play White Hats, and bomb the crap out of the Serbs, most notably, their TV station.

With what Nazis had been hanged for following the Nuremberg Trials, many (far from all) liberals on both sides of the pond burnished their precious consciences. As if by magic, and without the need for any stuffy treaty or judicial decision, they had conjured a new rule sanctioning aggressive war in a good cause.

And, one suspects, Perle and Wolfowitz were rubbing their hands at having their enemies so charitably smooth their path for them: by some strange chance, they had in mind a really good cause...

When Bush came round to proposing his war of aggression, the do-gooders, or most of them, were horrified: how dare he ignore the UN and purport to make up international law as he went along.

But, if he needed a precedent - and, managing the milquetoasts at State, he might well have done - the Kosovo Kapers provided a slam-dunk.

Coming up to date, one has to wonder quite what John Kerry's stance on the issue of aggressive war might be.

A trip down memory lane brings us to Roll Call 57 on March 23 1999 on S Con Res 21 authorising the bombing of ex-Yugoslavia.

A squint down the lists (the resolution passed 58-41) finds the Dems (bar two) lined up behind the Great Fornicator. Kerry, naturally, was of their number. (They were joined by the Republican chapter of bleeding-hearts, plus McCain, Lugar, and one or two more GOP guys.)

(One can't help imagining Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo ranting for more and bigger bombs to rain down on Brer Milosevic's head.)

Of course, he voted for the Iraq resolution H JRes 114 on October 10 2002 (RC 237); I can't pretend to be au fait with the wealth of Kremlinology on the subject [1], but I don't get the impression that the niceties of international law played much part in his views on the invasion, before or after.

Perhaps the experience of Bush's Iraq adventure has put Kerry off aggressive war. Or perhaps his tame sophists are as I write distinguishing Bush's illegal war from Clinton's, and keeping open the possibility just in case President Kerry should find an irresistible target.

President Kerry. Spooky...

  1. A November 2003 interview has him saying he was suckered by the USG claims of WMD. OnTheIssues has nearly 5,000 words of quotes under the hed John Kerry on War and Peace.


The Kosovo bombing and international law, I first looked at on November 27 2002, with some useful links. Also, on April 1 and April 7 2003.

If I were looking to explore the issue further, I'd start with Mr Google on "humanitarian intervention" kosovo filetype:pdf - 4,000+ items. Bon app├ętit!

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