Saturday, November 24, 2001
Some late feedback, first on the other feedback:

Can these people read properly? You seemed to me to be saying that we should get Bin Laden and get out-wipe out the terrorists and bring our troops home. What's their objection to that? Because frankly I wouldn't take Afghanistan as a gift.We must of course have the intelligence necessary to guard against any terrorist resurgence-but otherwise, who rules Afghanistan ain't our war!

And this on my column:

The Kosovo adventure had a truly worrying side to it as Blair committed 50,000 troops, more than half the British army, to an operation with no conceivable national interest. That turned out OK as the Serbs surrendered without a land invasion. Has the man's luck run out?

I'm surprised that you seem to be supporting Blair's interpretation of the outcome of the 1999 war against Serbia, saying that the Serbs surrendered. Perhaps you're being ironic?

From Blair's 2 October speech:
I have long believed this interdependence defines the new world we live in. People say: we are only acting because it's the USA that was attacked. Double standards, they say. But when Milosevic embarked on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo, we acted. The sceptics said it was pointless, we'd make matters worse, we'd make Milosovic stronger and look what happened, we won, the refugees went home, the policies of ethnic cleansing were reversed and one of the great dictators of the last century, will see justice in this century.

AAUI it was Nato that gave up the Rambouillet Appendix B demands that caused the war - the demand for a referendum on independence for Kosovo and for the military occupation of all of Serbia (the latter, as the Spectator pointed out at the time, very like the demand by Austria-Hungary in 1914 that started the World War). If Serbia loses Kosovo then Milosevic can say it wasn't he who gave it away (if he's ever allowed to speak from his prison cell).

The failure of Nato quickly and decisively to defeat a small impoverished country in the Balkans can't but have encouraged the Taliban and other regimes to defy the US, ISTM. Who's next, I wonder?

I personally think that as the west did achieve its main stated war aim, the evacuation of the Serbian armed forces from Kosovo, it is fair enough to use the term "surrender, although it may be a bit sloppy as the Serbs did not agree to be occupied as was envisaged at Rambouillet. Where did Blair get this idea that Milosovic was one of the great dictators of the twenty first century?


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