Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter One [15]

The next four and a half pages continue the trend of seeing everything that happened in Bosnia through the prism of Western/EU/NATO/US actions and interference; the magnitude and influence of foreign actors in the former Yugoslavia is consistantly exaggerated, while the entire shared body of knowledge concerning actions taken in Belgrage and among the SDS leadership is completely ignored.

At the same time, the threat of Islam looms ever greater. We read about "Izetbegovic's Muslim forces," not the Army of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Bosnia's extremely secular Muslims were somehow ripe for Islamic theocracy, at their neighbor's expense. The Bosnian leadership were rich, capitalist tools, heirs to the privilage (and, implicitly, the duplicity and cruelty) of their Ottoman-era ancestors. As it turns out, the Bosnian government was led by a pro-American, fundamentalist, neo-Ottoman elite. She has plenty to say about the leadership of the SDA; not so much about he Muslim population as a whole; being that they are nothing but traitorous Serbs and Croats led astray by religion and foreign privilage, perhaps they are not worthy of our consideration.

Like most conspiracy theorists, Johnstone tends to get bogged down in minutiae and decontextualized facts. She goes on to claim that US support for this imagined Islamic government in Bosnia (no explanation as to what form this "support" took during the period from the breakout of the war until the fall of 1995) was a crucial element in developing a strong US presence in the Central Asian republics AND in strengthening "the crucial strategic US-Israeli-Turkish alliance in the Middle East."

That last one really comes out of left field, since Israeli rhetoric and state actions--such as selling arms to Serbia--don't reflect such a reality; neither does the fact that the Israeli punditry was remarkably pro-Serb during much of the war. Not that Israel was a major player during the conflict--'support' for Serbia mostly took the form of favorable statements by a number of pundits and a handful of politicians, and a tendancy to look the other way when small, covert arms deals were made. Then again, that pretty much summarizes US 'support' for Bosnia for the first three-plus years of the conflict, and that doesn't stop Johnstone from conneting the dots and portraying the SDA in Sarajevo as crafty tools of the American empire.

1 comment:

Shaina said...

Kirk, I have been really enjoying your posts and I hope to have a more substantial comment later.

I have never been able to understand the logic (and I suppose that is because there isn't one) about a Islamic Fundamentialist-NATO-Bosnian-US massive conspiracy to take down socialist Yugoslavia. Especially when
1. The west had spent a considerable amount of money supporting Yugoslavia.
2. NATO and Islamic fundamentalists are not exactly natural allies

I've read Michael Parenti (sp) "To Kill A Nation." Like Johnstone he starts out with a resonable claim (we don't intervene in humanitarian disasters for humanitarian reasons alone). But, then he goes on cite a wide variety of conspiracy theories: NATO deliberately targeted "Communist landmarks." and my personal favorite: The Republika Srpska was a pariah state not because they harbored war criminals, but because it was made up of socialists who didn't back down from confronting western capitalists(!).
To back his claim he relies on some rather dubious sources Socialists websites, e-mails. As well as taking quotes completely out of context from more mainstream sources. As well as taking RS sources as fact, while doubting the validity of "western" sources.

Keep up the good work.