Sunday, March 19, 2006

He has them worried

Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith was before a preliminary hearing last week to decide on key legal questions in his upcoming court martial for refusing to serve in Iraq. The case clearly has the British government worried. If Kendall-Smith is acquitted, it would set a precedent which would allow any British soldier to refuse to fight in an illegal war - something the local warmongers aren't too keen on. It may even require that all British troops be withdrawn from Iraq. It's indicitive of the cynicism people have for the British establishment that they are already saying that Kendall-Smith won't be allowed to win, no matter how good his case.

Meanwhile, the British government is moving to prevent an outbreak of Israeli-style Refuseniks by dramatically increasing the penalties for refusing to serve. The new Armed Forces Bill currently before Parliament imposes a penalty of up to life imprisonment specifically for those who refuse to participate in "military occupation of a foreign country or territory". If the government cannot win the argument on the legality or morality of invading and occupying Iraq and thereby convince its soldiers to fight for it, it will simply throw those who disagree in jail...


No great surpise.

The order to which Flt Lt Kendall-Smith objected has been ruled lawful. He was ordered to go to Iraq to participate in an occupation/reconstruction that had backing from the UN Security Council. The question of whether the invasion itself was illegal was found irrelevant to the question of whether an order to go to Iraq in 2005 was legal, a position which has a useful simplicity to it.

A decision that the post-security council approval occupation was illegal would have effectively sidelined the UN. Why would anyone bother going to the UN for approval in a peace-keeping mission, or a humanitarian intervention if a security council resolution doesn't render what follows as a result of it lawful at international law?

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/23/2006 12:19:00 PM

First up let's just be clear that the occupation is destroying Iraq, rather than rebuilding it. Cities are still being bombed after all.

More importantly, the UN resolution had requirements that have been thourougly ignored, they're supposed to have left already by the terms of that resolution for example, so using it to say they should still be there is bullshit plain and simple. A peaceful reconstruction under UN leadership with the backing of a real Iraqi government with full control of it's own resources may well be legal at this point, but what's actually happening isn't even close, no matter how much the brits like to pretend otherwise.

As an aside, anyone else notice that local hostage fella got released thanks to careful negotiations and payment of ransom in the first stories out? Boy did that one go down the memory hole quick.

Posted by tussock : 3/26/2006 05:55:00 AM

tussock - the question isn't what is happening now, but what was happening when Flt Lt Kendall-Smith was ordered to return to Iraq.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/26/2006 09:44:00 AM