Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Pusillanimous Malcolm Rifkind

Malcolm Rifkind is planning a run as leader of the Brit Tory Party. Bad Idea. Rifkind has much Bosnian blood on his hands & is used in the Gandalf household as the template for the word "pusillanimous".

The disgraceful behavior of the Brit Tory government in Bosnia in the 1990s is chronicled in the book Unfinest Hour: How Britain Helped to Destroy Bosnia, by Brendan Simms, reviewed here.

...what Britain did to Bosnia stands alongside Munich and Suez as a great Conservative foreign policy disaster...

Simms uses the phrase:

'conservative pessimism' to describe the mentality of Hurd, Rifkind and Owen. They evaded Serb responsibility for the atrocities and vastly overestimated the difficulties of intervention.

Exhausted by Ireland and haunted by Suez and Vietnam, Conservative politicians and the 'experts' in the press and think-tanks maintained that ethnic cleansing was an unpleasant fact of life.

Rifkind, as Defense Secretary, energetically enforced the policy of his appeasing government, which was to prevent "leveling the killing field" in Bosnia. This meant stopping arms reaching the Bosnians, because:

"Then we will lose control."

So, Rifkind is complicit in the murder of tens of thousand of unarmed Bosnians, including the killing by the Serbs of 7,000 unarmed Bosnian men and boys at Srebrenica and the rape of their children, wives, sisters and mothers. Here's how that played out.

The first Clinton administration was only a few months old and was beginning to press for a more robust defense of human rights in the Balkans, which appalled the Europeans who insisted that what was happening there was simply in the character of the place.

A transatlantic rift was opening up that would reach its bizarre conclusion with the British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind reportedly telling the US Senator Bob Dole - who lost the use of an arm defending Europe from fascism in World War II - that Americans didn't understand the reality of war.


When the Tories were finally pressured by the US to help out the beleaguered Bosnians, instead of carpet bombing the Serbs, Rifkind sent in just 2 Sea Harriers, one of which was shot down by the Serbs. Rifkind commented:

"We got a bloody good hiding".

Only one good thing came from this man. He expanded my children's vocabulary to include pusillanimous, meaning "cowardly, appeasing, heartless, bullying, stupid, betrayer of trust".

If the Tories even consider this creep, Blair gets my support in perpetuity.