It just occurred to me this morning that I haven't written anything here about last week's arrest of Gen. Ratko Mladic. I've been busy commenting elsewhere - appearing on RT twice so far, writing three articles for the audiences in Serbia, and putting together a column on Mladic for Antiwar.com - and between all that, this particular venue got neglected.
I don't think I've seen this kind of venom and hatred, in such amounts, in the media since the Karadzic arrest in 2008. What happened in Bosnia was tragic and horrible enough, it doesn't need embellishment. I understand perfectly why the Muslims, Croats or Albanians would exaggerate or invent Serb atrocities - it's all part of the war effort, and these days, the camera is mightier than the cannon. But what drives American, and especially British reporters to simply make stuff up? Could it be that, without a villain, they - and the governments they shill for - can't posture as heroes?
It is outlandish that Mladic is being painted as some sort of Nazi reborn, when his father was killed by the Ustasha (Croatian Nazis) back in WW2, and Mladic himself had been a Yugoslav officer, committed to "brotherhood and unity" and multi-ethnic coexistence, rather than some bigoted nationalist. But perhaps that is the point: by calling Mladic a Nazi, the attention is redirected from his enemies, who had actual Nazi histories and sympathies in the past (one PR flack doing precisely that admitted as much back in 1993).
It is also mind-boggling to see Mladic compared to the recently deceased Osama bin Laden, when Mladic actually fought against a government led by a man who wrote a treatise on political Islam and Islamic revolution, whose army actually incorporated several units of Bin Laden's "Afghans", and whose government reportedly issued a passport to Bin Laden himself. Yet even those who fight against militant Islam in Europe and the U.S. instinctively demonize the Serbs, so deep has the propaganda seeped into every pore of the public.
I could go on at length about my own wartime experiences (on the receiving end of Mladic's artillery, no less), the hypocrisy of treating the people buried as martyrs in the jihad as unarmed civilians for propaganda purposes, or the specific problems with the definition of genocide employed by the Hague Inquisition - but I've already written much about it all, and don't feel like repeating myself.
To me, the most important aspect of this entire affair is that Mladic isn't being put on trial as an individual. The Hague Inquisition seeks to "complete the set" and charge the entire military, political and police leadership of the Serbs, whether in Serbia or elsewhere, with a phantom conspiracy. It has never presented any evidence that this conspiracy existed - but facts and evidence are of no interest to a political court, focused only on creating a villain so its own sponsors can appear noble. For all the good it will do them.
This isn't just about Mladic, or the Serbs, or the Balkans Wars. There is a pattern of demonization at work here, with far-ranging implications. The Empire and its satellites are already invoking Mladic as justification for their war in Libya, just as they used Bosnia to justify Kosovo, and Kosovo to justify Iraq. God only knows who might be next.