Saturday, 28 May 2011

Mladic - worse than bin Laden!

Just or not, the killing of bin Laden at Abbottabad was at least quick and conclusive.  (I'm not getting off the fence here, not saying whether I think it was right or wrong.)  But I think we are about to be reminded of the consequences of the alternative approach as we see how the same problem is tackled in the European way.

Could you ever imagine the European president having the courage to sanction the type of action that the American president recently approved?  Of course not, for at least two reasons.  First, do you know who the European President actually is at the moment?  I would be surprised if you do.  Second - it is inconceivable that the EU would ever agree to anything quick or efficient.

As I often say in my own unique mixed metaphor, in EU politics 'there is no smoke without mirrors'.  We never really know what is going on behind the scenes . . . behind the smoke screen.  The way that Europe deals with another (alleged) mass murderer will reveal a lot about what is wrong with Europe, even if it also reveals something about the fundamental humanity, truth and justice that they would like us to see.  Meanwhile our money will be squandered on a show trial that will seem endless.

Not many people would say that Ratko Mladic was a paragon of justice.  Even his supporters would only back him because of his successful efforts to eradicate their mutual enemies.  He was indicted in 1995 of the cold blooded killing of between 7,000 and 10,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica - the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II - a much worse atrocity than the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers where 2,800 died.  In one single event Mladic's forces killed at least twice as many as bin Laden's have killed in total.  Since that time one might speculate that certain Balkan authorities have successfully shielded him from arrest and kept him from facing justice.

At long last he is now in custody.  But the poor frail little old man isn't feeling very well and he couldn't possibly be expected to face the arduous journey to the Hague. No doubt this short flight would be in a private jet, not suffering the hardship and deprivations (!!) of the normal 'cattle class' tickets that ordinary law abiding peaceful people have on scheduled airline flights. 

Dear old, scheming, genocidal Mladic has good lawyers, no doubt handsomely paid out of his ill-gotten proceeds, and they will make it difficult at every step of the legal process, spinning out the trial for years.  The costs will reach tens of millions and justice might never be done.

This is the alternative to sending in a crack squad of soldiers to 'dispatch' him.  The American approach had the additional feature of revealing to the world how Pakistan had kept him 'hidden in open sight', whereas in the European approach nobody would dare to offend another European country by pointing it out. Surely those who deliberately defend and hide indicted mass murderers (whether they are labelled 'terrorist or 'army chief') deserve to be exposed.

Which is the better approach, the lesser of the two evils?  Please comment.  I can't believe that anyone reading this could claim not to have an opinion.

Little note.  In typical fashion, the question about who is the president of the EU has at least three possible answers:
  • President of the European Council (since 1 December 2009, Herman Van Rompuy)
  • President of the European Commission (since 22 November 2004, José Manuel Barroso) unelected of course, but clearly the most powerful
  • Presidency of the Council of the European Union (since 1 January 2011, Hungary)
You see!  Smoke and mirrors!

2 comments:

BRIAN BUCHBINDER said...

If there was a justification for executing BL, it was the somewhat sketchy excuse that he was still promoting murder. Mladic is probably not in that position, certainly once rational folks (and the Serbian public who installed them) came to their senses. Cheerleading "Republica Serbska" probably isn't enough to justify an execution.

John Loengaard said...

1 Killing is not Ok. The only possible justification is if they are actively trying to kill someone else and killing then is the only way to stop them (and even then you should feel incredibly guilty and despise yourself a little for not finding a better solution).

2 The ideal of everyone getting a fair trial no matter what is NOT evil.

3 The concept of retributive justice is an abhorrent example of bronze age thinking (the bible etc are full of it) that should have no place in any truly civilised society.