Saturday, November 04, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [32]

The final "factor" regarding Srebrenica, in Johnstone's "analysis":


She doesn't even wait until the actual text to begin lying this time; contrary to what she assert in this title, the mass executions at Srebrenica bore quite a bit of evidence of prior planning and systematic execution. If Johnstone can come up with a convincing reason why a Bosnian Serb force intent on a rapid, retaliatory raid into the outskirts of Srebrenica just happened to have bulldozers handy, I'd love to hear it.

"Much is made of the facct that when they captured Srebrenica, the Serb forces filtered the men of military age from women and children, who were offered safe passage."

Her definition of "safe passage" certainly differs from mine, even without the endemic rape. She does not have another word to say regarding the treatment of the women, children, and elderly civilians of Srebrenica; not where they were sent or under what conditions. More to the point--she does not mention how many of them ever saw their loved ones again. While snidely asking for satellite pictures of slaughters-in-progress and crunching numbers with suspect data, Johnstone never considers that if one really wanted to know if thousands of Muslim men were killed at Srebrenica, one could merely ask the people who knew them and miss them the most.

"This was often mentioned as something particularly sinister."

It takes a particularly calloused and empty soul to write such a sentence, given that even if she is right about the massacre, such a move would have seemed incredibly "sinister" and terrifying to the people going through it. How could it not?

"However, one thing should be obvious: one does not commit "genocide" by sparing women and children."

One thing IS obvious: Diana Johnstone does not understand what genocide is. She is divorced from reality, decency, and common sense.

"The men were singled out partly because the Serbs could exchange Muslim POWs for Serb POWs."

Civilians--even of military age--are not POWs. It is interesting that Johnstone--who doubts everything, even eyewitness testimony--is so certain about Bosnian Serb intentions and plans. Not only does she always know what they were thinking and planning, she never has any doubt as to motive.

She does go on to admit--in the most roundabout way possible--that Muslim men of military age were massacred; by soldiers looking for revenge against Oric and his troops, and to "eliminate easily a part of the enemy's war army." She concludes this blase admission with:

"The Serbs themselves do not deny that crimes were committed."

Some do, some don't.

"Part of a plan of genocide? For this there is no evidence whatsoever."

By her own admission, women, children, and elderly members of one ethnic group were evicted from the region, while the military-aged men were rounded up and killed as prisoners. That's her defense of Serb actions at Srebrenica. And, somehow, she has parsed the entymology of the word "genocide" so as to convince herself that the above scenario doesn't qualify.


She closes this short section with the accusation that the fall of Srebrenica was a clever Muslim trap, laid by the Izetbegovic government, which knew that the vengeful Serb army wouldn't resist the temptation to commit a huge atrocity, thereby soliciting worldwide condemnation. And who was the biggest victim of this devious plot by those shifty Muslims? Why, Slobodan Milosevic, of course.


Shaina said...

*Long Post ahead!*

analysis of Johnstone's Srebrenica argument was well done.

It seems as if genocide denial is somewhat akin to the stages of grief; and now that we've passed the "denial" stage (not denial that the event was genocide, but denial that killings occured) we've now moved into the "justification" stage. Or, that the killing of the men was somehow justified.

Besides the presence of tractors and bulldozers, which indicates planning as oppose to random killings, some other factors which point away from "spontaneous" killings:

1. The logistics it takes to remove some 60,000 people perminantly from their homes.

2. The use of UN uniforms by members of the VRS to trick the Bosniaks to surrender. (Certainly implies a level of planning and callousness not associated with a "justified" revenge.

3. The "state plan" to create a Greater Serbia State, and the importance of Srebrenica (as a town right next to the Drina) was in implimenting that town.

4. Along the same line, the fact that Srebrenica had been under siege for 3 years in an attempt to overrun the town by the VRS forces. Also, the fact that towns around Srebrenica were already ethnically cleansed of their Muslim population, which of course, forced many of them
into Srebrenica in the first place. (Of course in Johnstone's world, the ABiH were the aggresors, so she conviently ignores this factor).

5. US military officials warned of a possiblity of a genocide. In 1993 Lt(?) Rex Dudley was in Srebrenica, and he sent a cable out warning of the possibility of a genocide in the VRS troops overtook the town.

6. And perhaps most damaging, evidence and statements from VRS officials themselves on the logistics and minute planning of the massacre.

7. The claim of justified revenge also ignores the evidence of ABiH crimes in the area.
I've never denied that certain soldiers and commanders in the Srebrenica area committed war crimes; and that there were Serb civilians who were victims of war crimes. There is obviously, no justification or excuse for the killing of civilians/non-combatants; but what the justifiers seem to ignore:
1. While it is clear that some members of the ABiH committed war crimes, it is also just as clear that the RS sources and ultra-nationalist Serb apologists have overexaggerated and embellished the number of deaths.
2. From almost all sources, including Serb sources,and the Bratunac Brigade's own listing of their military casualties, most of the deaths were of men of military age, a significant number of whom died in combat.
Yet, all of the deaths are listed as victims of "Muslim terror"
And a spokesman for Bratunac Veterans, is still citing the long since disproved "371 civilian deaths in Kravica" as evidence of "Muslim aggression."
3. Most importantly, it ignores the differences between war crimes & genocide, but quanitatively and qualitatively. Of course, for the families of the victims, the pain is immense, and everyone, deserves to have his/her pain/loss recognized.
However, when looking at it from a historical/legal perspective and overview, there is a major difference between crimes committed by individuals and rogue soldiers; and a planned, top-down state produced plan to commit genocide.

This article by a Belgrade based Human Rights Watch researcher makes many good points on the very subject:

But, even if one accepts the worst about the Srebrenica forces; I'm not sure how one can jump to the conclusion that because members of the ABiH committed war crimes, that justified what happened in 1995. That is a moral netherworld that I find hard to occupy.

Claiming that Srebrenica was an act of justified revenge involves ignoring all of the above evidence of planning, and premeditation, as well as three years of history.
Something, no doubt, Johnstone does not seem to have too much qualm about.

I've been reading through some of the Srebrenica transcripts, including the current 'mega-trial' and justification seems to be to be the defense de jour.
Actually, reading some of the transcripts, it would not be surprising if one thought that Naser Oric was on trial for the Srebrenica massacre, given how much the defense mentions his name.
One of the defense lawyers even questioned a Dutchbat witness on Oric's blackmarket, shady activities. I'm not sure what relevance, that had to the case. Unless of course the defense was arguing that since Naser Oric ran the blackmarket in Srebrenica, that somehow justified the massacre in 1995.
While, it is well documented that Oric was involved in blackmarket/mafia criminal activities, that has nothing to do with the case! And certainly has nothing to do with 8,000 dead men & boys.
I found the entire question incredibly distateful and not the least bit relevant.
Although, if the defense had to rely on such tactics, it seems to show that their actual defense is weak.

Owen said...

Thanks, Kirk and Shaina. The level of the woman's deceit is unforgiveable, whatever her motives.

Shaina said...

It is nice to see anonymous contrubute such valuable and intelligent comments.