Thursday, June 02, 2011


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 - 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.


Suvorov said...

Sorry if this idea doesn't seem fresh, but the reason such countries as Serbia and Russia get that kind of treatment by the MSM and Western political establishment is that there is a consensus on this foreign policy issue between the two factions of the War Party. For whereas neoconservatives pretty much like war in general, neoliberals believe in eternal Muslim victimhood and in protecting civilians by dropping bombs on them. Btw, I am sure you've seen attempts by some neo-Ustase posing as Western liberals to exploit this latter false belief under your columns on They would say something like, "Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are wrong, but war against Serbia was very right and very justified..."
In my opinion, however, these attempts are useful in driving a wedge between genuine opponents of war and phony liberal do-gooders.

It seems to me that the reason Serbia gets an even worse treatment in the media than Russia is that it is always more convenient to hate someone who doesn't possess nuclear weapons. And as to why the British are even more hawkish and virulent than the Americans, it must be because they cannot lay their imperial past to rest. It probably hurts to turn from an empire on which the sun never sets into a petty police state that doesn't even make its own laws, but has them handed over from the EU commissars.

CubuCoko said...

That does indeed seem to be the case. Worse yet, that sort of cognitive dissonance (their wars bad, our wars good) seems to be the norm, rather than an exception.

Funny you should mention that about the British - I just read a piece by Benny Morris on that, after posting this essay.

Suvorov said...

Well, perhaps thoughts travel...

(I actually wrote about this several months ago, but the comment was mistakenly submitted under a different name because I wrote it from another person's computer and that person was logged into google.)

In any case, I will just repeat that, unlike the American Russophobia (and thus also Serbophobia by extension) the British one has been meticulously and lovingly cultivated for centuries, like a proper British lawn.

Eugene Costa said...

Yes, one saw the demonstrators protesting Mladic's arrest described as "Nationalists and NAZI-sympathizers" in one mainstream media article.

At this point, however, it is more than demonization one is sure.

First, given events elsewhere, the criminal attack has to be the US' and NATO's one completely "correct" war.

Second, it has to maintain the myth of a great victory by airpower alone, however inaccurate it is, not only for the Imperialists but for the people they intend to intimidate next, as with Libya.

Third, as with Orwell, the victim must love the victimizer, and no facts can interfere. The Spectacle demands not only approval and belief, but all other versions must be expunged, and will be, until the Spectators realize there is only one narrative--that of the Spectacle, even when the narrative is obviously false.

In that last, the Empire is trying to maintain its own lunacy as sanity naturally, and that may be the most vicious aspect of it all in the long run.

There is more in Deleuze's and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus about all this than at first meets the eye, even though it is heavily cloaked (and for good reason).

Nor would either Debord or Sanguinetti be surprised.

The US and NATO are the psychoanalysts and the patients must admit the diagnosis to be cured and even if they do not survive the treatment.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Nebojsa, could you go on and talk about your experiences being on the receiving end of the Bosnian Serbs' artillery? Or link to a post in which you do?

In how much danger, from the "kinetic" aspect, did you feel? As a Serb, did you receive unwanted attention from the Bosnian Govt, or from some of its less trumpeted auxiliaries, Caco and Celo?

jack said...

RT interview with Nebojsa Malic

You forgot to mention that Hasan Cengic helped finance the 9/11 attacks and the Bosnian government gave citizenship to the leading 9/11 hijackers KSM and Mohammad Atta.

CubuCoko said...

Jack, it's not so much that I forgot, it's that with live TV interviews, there is never enough time...

Rasputin, when you're 15 and have no idea what artillery sounds like, it's hella terrifying. Once you've lived long enough to tell the difference between mortars, rockets and howitzers, incoming and outgoing, terror is replaced by annoyance. As for the "unwanted attention"... why do you reckon I now live in the U.S.?

Anonymous said...


Please can you provide a link/s for the three articles you contributed to for the audiences in Serbia?

I am sure many other Serbian speakers outside of former Yugoslavia would be interested to read what you wrote.


CubuCoko said...

Mirko, the vast majority of my Serbian stuff can be found on this blog's sister site, Sivi Soko.