Eggleton says:  "We Must Reinforce our Military," But to carry out what defence policy?
                               by David Morgan

"As demands rise, the Canadian Forces are stretched," writes Defence Minister Eggleton ("We Must Reinforce our Military" (G&M 13 Jan'00) 

But "stretched"  carrying out what policy? 

Eggleton speaks broadly of Canada's military actions from World War I to East Timor,  glossing over the fateful change in Ottawa's defence policy that the bombing of Yugoslavia represented.

"Until Kosovo, the Canadian Forces had never before gone into combat, save in response to an attack on an ally or under UN Security Council auspices." (G&M 2 Oct'99)  This change was so important that it is worth study in some detail:

In joining NATO's attack on Kosovo and Serbia, Ottawa for the first time ever, broke three major international agreements:
1.  The UN Charter, among whose purposes are: "to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes" (Ch.1, Art. 1, No. 1) and that  "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any  state..."(Ch.1, Art. 2, No.4)
2.  NATO's founding document of 4 April 1949 which very clearly subordinates itself to the UN Charter.
3.  NATO's Founding Act of, 27 May 1997, on Mutual Relations Cooperation & Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, which also very clearly subordinates itself to the UN Charter.

But was there even some extreme emergency justification for breaking these fundamental agreements of international law?  Apparently not.

The two main reasons given by NATO for the bombing of Yugoslavia were, first, the rejection by Serbia of the Rambouillet Accords, and second, Serbia's "genocidal ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo.  We now know that these reasons were very misleading, if not false.  Yet Ottawa accepted these two reasons with its eyes wide open. 

First, the so-called Rambouillet "Accords" which required that, not only Kosovo, but Serbia itself be occupied by NATO forces - a condition no sovereign state could accept. A more exact name, then,  for these "Accords" would have been the "Rambouillet Surrender Ultimatum to Serbia."  Ottawa had access to the full text of this document well before the bombing began.

Second, the NATO figure of 10,000 Kosovars killed in "ethnic cleansing" by the Serbs in Kosovo was exaggerated about ten times. This figures was unsupported by the best source of information available: The 1380 Kosovo Verification Monitors on the ground in Kosovo to monitor the cease-fire compliance of the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement of 16 Oct. 1998.

  These monitors came from 38 countries, including sixty-four from Canada. One of them, Rollie Keith, stated: " I did not witness, nor did I have knowledge of any incidents of so-called  "ethnic cleansing" and there certainly were no occurrences of "genocidal policies" while I was with the KVM in Kosovo." (Democrat, May '99)

Thus, The bombing of Yugoslavia marked a fateful turning point for Canada.  Ottawa knowingly broke the UN Charter and International Law when it ordered Canadian pilots to bomb Yugoslavia on 24 March 1999.

 Do Canadians really want to see Ottawa defy international law in future?

Apparently our Defence Minister has no problems with this:
"If the cause is 'just' and allies are willing, Canada is ready to go to war again
for humanitarian reasons, even if the action defies international law and the United Nations Charter." (Defence Minister Eggleton, at Harvard University,G&M 2 Oct'99,A14)
 
Eggleton's statement is consistent with the realpolitik of Ottawa's defence posture in the past seventeen months. On 20 Aug'98 President Clinton ordered cruise missile attacks against a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum and a camp in Afghanistan. These attacks were in clear violation of international law, yet Prime Minister Chretien and Foreign Affairs Minister Axworthy gave their support for these attacks the following day.

Bombing of Iraq, was launched unilaterally and in defiance of the UN, by the US and UK, on 16 December 1998 and continues to this day.  This bombing, also quite unsupported by international law, was again quickly supported by Ottawa.

Then three months later came the bombing of Yugoslavia in which Canadatook part.  Obviously, this record shows an ominous trend from token support of international law-breaking, to heavy-hardware involvement.

Eggleton's statement is also consistent with his Defence Department's latest policy statement: "Defence Strategy 2020"of January 2000.  This statement which supersedes the "1994 Defence White Paper," makes scant reference to the UN or to law. The UN is mentioned only once; international law is not mentioned at all.

This is in strong contrast with the "1994 Defence White Paper," which mentions the UN thirty-three times.  It also asserts:  "Canadians believe that the rule of law must govern relations between states."( p.12) and again:  "Canada is strongly in favour of a vigorous and effective United Nations, capable of upholding the political values and procedural means set out in its Charter, and believes that situations requiring
international military action should be dealt with in accordance with the terms of the Charter."(p.30)
No such assertions appear in "Defence Strategy 2020"

It thus seems that Ottawa has turned its back on the UN and international law and now takes its lead from the USA and NATO.  This is a very ominous trend. It was this kind of contempt for international law that led to international anarchy and the two terrible world wars of this century. 

It was precisely to avoid international lawlessness and anarchy and its devastating effects that the United Nations was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II, the most terrible war in history.
 
Canadians should demand that Ottawa's defence and foreign policies return to a respect for international law and compliance with the UN Charter.

If it does, then the needs of our armed forces are clear, and they should be given ample funds, sufficient personnel and state-of-the-art equipment to do their job.

 However, if our defence policy, as now, is based on essential compliance with Washington,  Canada's independence will become increasingly limited while our defence "needs" will become limitless.

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*  David Morgan, National President,      *
*  Veterans Against Nuclear Armes (VANA)  *
*  240 Holyrood Road, North Vancouver, BC *
*  V7N 2R5, Canada    Tel:(604)985-7147   * 
*  Fax: (604)985-1260  <dmorgan@web.,net> *
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