Thursday, July 24, 2008

Having to argue the obvious

The orgy of lies that started on Tuesday with the news of Radovan Karadzic's arrest shows no sign of winding down. In fact, it is getting worse, with every Tom, Dick and Harry who's ever made a deposit into the Bank of Collective Serbian Guilt elbowing into the limelight to get his two minutes of hate in.

So normal has it become to hate the Serbs that no one is asking the obvious questions one would expect in this situation: what's all that fuss really about, for example, or whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?

Fortunately, over at the Brussels Journal, two writers do precisely that.

Michael Huntsman takes to task "the likes of Lord Ashdown, Richard Holbrooke, David Miliband and a raft of others" who "all speak of Karadzic as if he had already been tried and convicted. The little matter of holding a trial concerns them not."

Though Karadzic's arrest is welcome, he claims, "not least because it brings the ending of the ICTY's mandate that much closer," it "surely is disgraceful that public figures should thus pronounce him guilty" before he's even been extradited. Huntsman concludes:

I have no idea if Mr. Karadzic is guilty or not. We shall only know that when he has had his trial and his appeals have been exhausted. Then we can say with precision what he did and to whom. That can only be achieved after the holding of a fair trial at which he is able to challenge through counsel the assertions of those who have already pronounced him guilty. Until then the likes of Lord Ashdown ought to keep their own counsel, he not the least because he may yet be a witness at Karadzic's trial. His impartiality and objectivity are now most certainly utterly compromised.

At first I was somewhat annoyed at what seemed to me naive idealism. Ashdown's impartiality and objectivity compromised? I've known this ever since his days as the Bosnian Viceroy. Trials by public opinion? Old news, even before the show trial of Slobodan Milosevic. And the notion that Karadzic will get anything even tangentially approaching a fair trial from a "court" that is specifically designed to preclude that possibility may sound laughable.

But then I realized that I may know all this, but the general public is probably quite oblivious. And that arguments such as Huntsman's need to be made, precisely because no one else seems to challenge the Inquisition or the likes of Ashdown, Holbrooke and others. Things like fairness and justice ought to be virtues - something that I sometimes forget when slogging through the swamp of lies, where there is no virtue, only power.

Another excellent contribution at TBJ is John Laughland's essay, "The Plight of the Bosnian Serbs." Again, it seems obvious - but everyone except Laughland (and Srdja Trifkovic, earlier in the week) has been too busy calling for Serb blood to even wonder. Laughland makes the argument the Serbs themselves have been too intimidated to make, one that years of demonization in the West have managed to prevent from being heard.

Laughland takes issue with the perception of the war - reinforced this week by thousands of reports, commentaries and essays - that the Serbs were the "aggressors" who committed genocide against innocent Muslim victims:

Even if one accepts that crimes against humanity were committed during the Balkan wars, it should be obvious that both these claims are absurd.

The Serbs were as much of an aggressor as Abraham Lincoln, he argues (note that I disagree here; Lincoln actually was an aggressor...). The accusation of aggression was deliberately made to condemnt the Bosnian Serb war effort as such, "(in terms of ius ad bellum) independently of any condemnation for the way the war was fought (ius in bello)." Laughland counters:

In fact, the Bosnian Serb war effort was no more or less legitimate than the Bosnian Muslim war effort. The Muslims wanted to secede from Yugoslavia (and were egged on to do this by the Americans and the Europeans) while the Bosnian Serbs wanted to stay in Yugoslavia. It was as simple as that.

He further illustrates that the Muslims "cheated" by deciding on an independence referendum in the absence of Serb legislators, and that Muslim behavior gave the Serbs "excellent grounds for believing that the Bosnian Muslim secession was quite simply a coup d’état":

In any case, once the Muslims had seized power in Sarajevo, the Bosnian Serbs sought not to conquer the whole republic but instead simply to fight for the secession of their territories from Muslim control. Of course atrocities were committed against civilians during this period, especially ethnic cleansing. But the same phenomenon is observed, I believe, and by definition, in every single war in which a new state is created... If the Muslims had the right unilaterally to secede from Yugoslavia, why should the Bosnian Serbs not have had the right unilaterally to secede from the new state of Bosnia-Herzegovina which had never before existed and a state, and to which the Bosnian Serbs had no loyalty whatever?

Laughland also takes issue with the charge of "genocide." But rather than focus on the number of those killed (Muslims claim 8,000, Serbs say much fewer), or the fact that Srebrenica was not a demilitarized "safe haven" but a base of operations for an entire division of the Bosnian Muslim army, he argues against it on principle:

What is clear is that the Srebrenica massacre cannot possibly be described as genocide. Even the most ardent pro-Muslim propagandists agree that the victims of the massacre there were all men. The Bosnian Serbs claim that they were combatants (although that is certainly not an excuse for killing them) but the point is that an army bent on genocide would precisely not have singled out men for execution but would have killed women too. The Srebrenica massacre may well have been a crime against humanity but it is impossible to see how it can be categorised as genocide.

Yet, he says, "there is a very clear political reason why" it has been. In his remarks following the capture of Karadzic, the current leader of Bosnian Muslims, Haris Silajdzic, argued that the whole Bosnian Serb Republic was based on genocide and aggression. Says Laughland:

The clear implication of what he was saying was this: if the very existence of the Bosnian Serb republic... is found, in a court of law, to have been had as its president a man, Karadzic, who is convicted of genocide in the process of creating it, then its status would be illegitimate and it should be abolished. The Muslims continue to claim control over the whole of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, while the Serbs merely want the preservation of their considerable autonomy within it. (emphasis added)

And there you have it, in a nutshell. Serbs never denied the Muslims their right to a state - they did, however, deny the Muslims the "right" to dominate them by separating Bosnia from the rest of Yugoslavia and disenfranchising its Croat and Serb population. Muslims countered by accusing the Serbs of "aggression" and "genocide" - neither of which makes any sense, but both of which have been accepted as fact by the West.

Laughland will inevitably be condemned as a "Serb apologist" by the legions of actual Muslim apologists, men and women and creatures who have accumulated money, power and fame on the myth of Serbian aggression and genocide, persuading the gullible world that things that were patently untrue were the actual truth. That Laughland is one of the few in the West to even dare make the argument he made, or that no Serb leaders seems to have the courage to argue likewise, is a sad testament to the state of the world today, run by the peddlers of myths abut Bosnia.

No comments: