Sunday, June 19, 2005

British Memo: "Bombing Raids Were Illegal"

The [U.K.] Times Online has another big story from Michael Smith.

British bombing raids were illegal, says Foreign Office
A sharp increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war “to put pressure on the regime” was illegal under international law, according to leaked Foreign Office legal advice.

The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began “spikes of activity” designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war.

The Foreign Office advice shows military action to pressurise the regime was “not consistent with” UN law, despite American claims that it was.
Those at the meeting on July 23, 2002, included Blair, Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6. The minutes quote Hoon as saying that the US had begun spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime.

Ministry of Defence figures for bombs dropped by the RAF on southern Iraq, obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Commons written answers, show the RAF was as active in the bombing as the Americans and that the “spikes” began in May 2002.
The increased attacks on Iraqi installations, which senior US officers admitted were designed to “degrade” Iraqi air defences, began six months before the UN passed resolution 1441, which the allies claim authorised military action.
Is this "more damning than Downing Street"? Can it possibly be brushed off? Or will it make no impact at all? We shall see. But, in some measure at least, it's up to you.

If you're outraged to learn that the US and UK were bombing Iraq six months before the passage of the UN resolution which they claimed gave them the justification to do so, then you're probably thinking clearly. But if you don't make any noise about it, what's the point?

If we sit quietly and wallow in our outrage, the world will have nobody to listen to except the warmongers, who will say anything to shield the mass murderers who started this war. Oh yeah, and the mass murderers themselves, one of whom was up to his old lying tricks again yesterday.

If history teaches us anything, it is this: We must be especially wary of people who say things like: "We will settle for nothing less than victory." Especially if they say this while they're getting their asses kicked.

History is a wonderful teacher ... but when will we ever learn?