Last night, another soldier ...
Last night, another soldier ...
...was assassinated. Kiev, the EU and you.
Brexiteers, with independence, will have to face up to the full responsibilities of democratic citizenship - like foreign policy. We have to take responsibility for war crimes such as assasinations.
In the Article 50 negotiations, Mrs May is likely to make some concessions to the notoriously effective Brussels horse-trading. Already people are worried about fisheries, European Arrest Warrant and defence. She will have a celebrated victory with fisheries by cooperating in defence.
As Brexiteers, we cannot just re-post Gina Miller memes, we have to think about the serious stuff.
British people have gotten used to a rather child-like irresponsibility when it comes to Foreign Policy and war-making. What was left of the Roman Republic did not allow Juilius Caesar to get away with his illegal war in Gaul as easily as we allowed Tony Blair to get away with Iraq. It is as if we were not responsible for those we elect to wage war in our name.
It might be easier to evade responsibililty for what the European Union does. After all, Britian will leave the EU in a few years. Hopefully, but we might be out of the banana regulation union but still in the military union.
I do not want to get into the rights and wrongs of the Euro-maidan coup in Ukraine, not now will I attempt to disrupt your faith in the BBC narrative - that it was all Vladimir Putin's fault that it went wrong. No matter. Let us just look at the reality that is happening today.
Just a few nights ago, (Feb 8) a young battalion commander was assassinated, murdered in his office. His name was Mihail Tolstyh - more famously as "Givi". Givi was a capable officer, a professional soldier, a soldiers' soldier. He was famous. So people could see the war in Donetsk through the eyes of the men fighting. Maybe like that film "Enemy at the Gates", Russia sees the war through the eyes of a hero - and the demise of that hero becomes top priority for the enemy. Maybe there was a bit of that going on with Givi. But his has not been the only assasination of army officers.
In the very first reports, it was thought that the routine shelling of civilian areas by Kiev forces had just struck lucky. The BBC used "rocket attack" - you are thinking something like a cruise missile or something launched off the back of a truck. The word "artillery" is seen. But, in fact, the attack was executed with a Shmel. A shmel is a bit more than the RPG that comes as an optional extra with Toyota pick-ups. It is a disposable, single use, light launcher. It is very much like a LAWS - for those of us more familiar with NATO kit - but is not primarily anti-tank. Shmel is more for setting fire to buildings and usually has an incendiary. It is the kind of thing you carry over your shoulder on a strap and looks like a length of drainpipe.
It has an effective range of maybe 500 yards, maybe a bit more if you need to set fire to a barn, but to get it through an office window, really you need to be just across the street.
These are the same weapons, same methods as the Provisional IRA used when they were killing us. If it was murder then, it is still murder a couple of decades later. I will actually say that the Provos had better excuse to use those methods as the only option open.
There is no doubt that this was an assassination.
This assassination was committed during a period of ceasefire.
This assassination was almost certainly carried out by agents of the Kiev regime. I say "almost" because no culprit has been brought to trial. How is it the British police describe murders of British people that they wish to deny are acts of terror? SAV - Single Acts of Violence. It could have been that.
I am putting before you that an EU-client government carries out assassinations - and that is serious - so let us look at the alternatives: the BBC suggests that it was inter-factional. Even though it is on the BBC, this still might be true. But, they give as their source the Kiev government's version. To give the interpretation offered by the prime suspect as if an expert source is sloppy even by BBC standards. Also, we are not seeing any factional fighting between military units in Donetsk. Where is this blood-thirsty factional war? Rather, we have seen people sacked from jobs in the government in Donetsk, people we thought were very competent indeed, but they were not killed, just sacked and did not even emigrate but stayed and just got on with things. Things cannot be that bad if they do not even come to Britain for asylum. The factional hit does not seem that plausible. Another version, from Kiev, is that he had become too famous and too accomplished militarily. Again, it seems less likely that the DPR is systematically murdering its most able soldiers than that Kiev is doing so. Evidence offered by BBC is that the elderly parents of another assasinated officer also died this winter.
I am not claiming proof here but indicating sufficient prima facie case that we should ask about our own government's involvement through the EU.
No matter what you believe happened in the Euro-maidan, the fact is, an undisputed fact, that the Kiev government is backed by the EU to the extent that it would not remain if the EU withdrew. Everyday government in Ukraine is, to a very great extent, actually conducted by bureaucrats of the EU and foreign employees even at very high level. Ukraine was destabilised to such an extent by the Euro-Maidan (and by prior and subsequent events) that Ukraine is little more than a protectorate of the EU. That is just how it is. The military of the Ukraine are supported by the EU. There is training and supply. The US military is there, too. (The USA says so, it is not something Putin told us) This is paid by your taxes and permitted by your democratically elected leaders. You are responsible for those you elect, their clients and for the murders committed by those under their command, are you not?
Assassination has been against the rules of war since ancient times, since before St Thomas Aquinas. It is against International Law today. It is counter to domestic law in all civilsed states.
Like theft, it is a crime that has often happened. It is justified more by oriental writers but Machiavelli, while admiting it can be useful, is generally not in favour. As tyrannicide it finds excuse, as in Game of Thrones. Against enemies who cannot afford uniforms or "unlawful combatants" as the US calls them, it still meets widespread disapproval - but against uniformed officers, no, we call that murder.
I do not want to get too romantic about this: all war involves inflicting death, often on the innocent. It would have been no less if Givi had died under an artillery barrage of that part of town. Nor do we believe that it is not justifiable to murder one man (say Hitler in 1938) rather than see a continent soaked in blood.
Moral standards - even under fire - is how we knew who were the good guys when we learnt about history at school. The Germans bayonetted babies in Belgium whereas we did not. In the second world war the Germans and the Japs did all kinds of beastly things which we did not. Nuremburg reminded the world of their illegality. And this court in The Hague has reproached Serbs for committing the same offence against chivalry as Henry V did after Agincourt.
And yet, the morality we demand of others is not what we practice ourselves. The West, Europe led by the USA is rapidly abandonning any martial morality. We have forgotten that assasination is wrong. "Targetting killing" has become just a euphemism. Well, after you have nuked a couple of cities, military morality is bound to get a bit relative. "Targetting" seems so much nicer than the carpet bombing "kill them all, let God sort it out" approach.
If you google international law and assasination you will find very many results that are theses written during the last quarter century by students at US military colleges, Staff college. The usual argument is that assasination should be considered as any other use of force. This is the fashion. Technological innovation, drones, has required some review of morality since operators are often sat thousands of miles away from the drone mission. When they come come from the office they need to feel that they have only really been playing a computer game and not have to tell the wife that they have been committing murder all afternoon. And this has been accompanied by a relaxation of the strongest taboos such as the use of torture and long term detention without trial.
That we have forgotten that assassination and torture are wrong is hardly surprising. Europe has forgotten everything else. It has forgotten all decency, all respect for others, the old, the morality of the family, it has forgotten patriotism, we have forgotten God. We have the value of self-obsession, the "Rights". We, the EU, have forgotten everything that Europe was built upon - unless Brussels is building Borgia Europe. If you ask politicians now what is a European "value", the only thing they can agree upon is the promotion of recreational sodomy. So it is hardly surprising that, given the neoteny the euro-mind, we do not want to think about anything too serious, let alone deal with our own culpability. Even after Iraq, the news shows do not discuss foreign policy during an election but usually only hospital management. Even the referendum on indepence could only be contemplated by some as a financial advantage to the NHS.
I am not urging you to take sides in a war. Nor should you suspend thinking out of loyalty to the EU.
If it is too much effort, just dismiss anyone who thinks about what Givi's death means as a Putin agent: only people paid by Putin think about such things and since you are not being paid then why think? OK
In the referendum we said "Take Control". But if we take control, we must also take responsibility.