Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" part xvi


The Introduction concludes with this section.

"The purpose of this book is to provide information and analysis to dispute the belief that NATO intervention in Yugoslavia was beneficial."

That's interesting--up to this point, it seemed pretty clear Ms. Johnstone was claiming the war was unjustified. Now she's merely accusing the intervention as not being beneficial?

This requires calling attention to aspects of the Yugoslav crisis and conflicts that are either distorted or neglected in mainstream commentary.

Translation: Look forward to an obsessive focus on minor inconsistancies and nearly irrelevent historical asides.

The comes her Ezra Pound moment; a 16-line channeling of Serbian natinalism, articulated by proxy in all its paranoid, self-aggrandizing, collectivist glory. Here it is:

"The inevitable selectivity may be reproached as evidence of a "pro-Serb" bias."

I don't know about 'pro-Serb' but it certainly seems proactive. Nip it in the bud.

"Inasmuch as the dominant mainstream bias has been blatantly anti-Serb, this is unavoidable in an effort to recover a fair balance."

I almost wish I hadn't already read any of Johnstone's articles or interviews prior to encountering this book. After 13 1/2 pages of intellectual postering, the mask is about to come off.

"However, for what it is worth, I can state at the outset that I am not "for" or "against" any people as such."

Translation: I'm not a racist; it's just that all those Croatians are fascists and the Albanians are terrorists and drug dealers. Why won't they just stay in their own neighborhoods?

"All peoples have their own variants, their own ways of expressing human qualities and weaknesses."

And now the mask is completely off--Johnstone is explicity preaching the gospel of ethnic nationalism, in general race-conscious terms.

"I am "pro-Serb" only if that means that I consider the Serbs to be human beings like everybody else, neither better nor worse."

Boy howdy--when Johnstone decides to go all in, she really commits. She manages to explicity echo the persistant sense of martyrdom that infuses Serb nationalism even while implicitly speaking colletively about Serbian people.

"I have no personal connection with any party to the Yugoslav conflicts. The only thing that may have inspired a special sympathy for Serbs is the fact that they have been subjected in recent years to an altogether extraordinary campaign of racist calumny by commentators and politicians in NATO countries. The slander of an entire people is an injustice for which there is no court of appeal other than public opinion."

The stupidity and dishonesty in this quote hardly merits a response. Still, I'm a little grateful that Johnstone drops her guard like this. It makes my arguement stronger.

She closes this section--and the introduction--with the claim that the NATO intervention was a cause, not a response, to instability and violence in Kosovo; then she summarizes the chapters. And that's it.

Before I leave the Introduction behind and move on to Chapter One, I want to present one last quote, from the last paragraph:

""Because of the constant interplay of past and present events in the Balkans, I have chosen an order that is not strictly chronological."

While she most likely considers this a minor aside, it's quite telling. The stereotype of the Balkans as being an exotic, otherworldly place where ghosts of the past somehow determine the present is not unique to Johnstone. But her throwaway line about her account not being "strictly chonological" is accurate in ways she does not intend. Like most Balkan genocide revionists, Johnstone mixes the chronology of events in Yugoslavia in order to confuse issues of cause and effect, accountability, and so forth. This is bit more truthful than she realizes.


Shaina said...

Johnstone's hypocrisy and racism are so apparent, I wonder how even she can take herself seriously.

First of all she claims that she is not a racist etc.

But then she goes on in her book to use nothing but generalizations and stereotypes. Ethnicities are not seen as being made up of indvidual people; but as generalizations. Therefore, the Serbs are "martyrs" The Albanians are "drug dealers & mafiasos." In Johnstone's mind ethnic groups are either white or black-good or bad.

Secondly, as you mention her set up of the Serbs as victims of a massive anti Serb campaign uses the same language of matrydom used by Milosevic etc. to justify genocide against the Bosniaks.

Third, she implies that anyone who believes that genocide occured in Bosnia is a racist and is anti-Serb.

When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between the arguments of the extreme left & right with regards to genocide denial. Both of them, either implicitly or explicitly use racism (anti Muslim bias in particular) to justify what happened and to demonize the Bosniaks.

For example, Herman (one of Johnstone's fellow travelers) refered to the Army of BiH as the "Bosnian Muslim Army" WTF?

This shows:

A. Herman knows nothing about Bosnia if he does not even know the name of the state of Bosnia's armed forces.

B. He does not recognize that Bosnia is not a "Muslim" state and that their armed forces are not the "Muslim Army" but that Bosnia is a state consisting of a multitude of ethnicities and religions.

C. He relies on nothing but RS sources/propaganda to write his books.

Excellent analysis so far; I am looking forward to reading more.

Kirk Johnson said...

You are absolutely spot-on. The hypocrisy in her arguements is breathtaking--condemning the use of Holocaust imagery in one paragraph, and then tarring modern-day Croats and Germans with the Nazi brush in the next. I really wonder about the motivations of these people--can they really believe what they are saying?

Thanks for your comments. I hope to make more progress soon. Unfortunately, I have to return this copy of the book next week, and then I'm out of the country for a week. THEN I'll get another copy and continue.

I'm determined to make it all the way through.

Shaina said...

I would assume that they really believe what they write, as I said before the problem is not the very generalized theoretical questions that they raise about US/NATO; the problem is how they analyze the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The problem lies in their "analysis" of the wars. They are so blinded by their anti US/NATO and pro Milosevic view that they are incapable of being objective.
Or,at the very least, not relying on the Karadzic era RS propaganda media as their primary source.
Facts & common sense don't seem to mean much when it stands in the way of overgeneralizations, stereotypes and theories.

shameless self promotion here:
I have added a three part analysis of the genocide in Srebrenica/genocide justification on my blog. It is not as focused as your analysis; but it looks at the claim that the attack on Srebrenica was not genocide, but an act of 'revenge' for Bosniak war crimes; and that because Mladic didn't kill the women & kids-genocide wasn't genocide.

The first part looks at the attack on Srebrenica as part of the larger ethnic cleansing plan of the Bosniaks in Eastern Bosnia.

The second part specifically looks at the claim that the attack was motivated by revenge for Bosniak war crimes. Of course, certain Bosniak troops in Srebrenica without a doubt committed war crimes against civilians; but the genocide justifiers ignore the difference between war crimes & genocide. They also tend to overexaggerate Bosniak war crimes, while at the same time, ignoring Serbian war crimes.

The third section looks at the attack on July 1995, and how Mladic had the intent to destroy etc.

As I said before, it is a very generalized analysis.