Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Five [17]


3. THE TRIUMPH OF HATRED [continued]

Just about everyone, it seems, was a propagandist for NATO--even Professor Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, chair of Holocaust studies at Harvard. His call for a thorough overhaul of Serbian culture is presented as if he were an important policy maker instead of an academic giving his point of view. In a chapter full of quotes pulled helter-skelter from out of context in order to create a portrait of monolithic Western opinion on the matter, the three paragraphs she dedicates to his comments are perhaps the unintentional highlight, revealing just how wide she threw her net in an effort to garner enough quotes to fill her quota.

Then Johnstone returns to her favorite sport--boxing with strawmen. Western exposes of Serb military tactics and reports of Bosnia-style concentration camps are examples of Western observers who

"...passed along to the public any wild tale portraying the Serbs as monsters."

even though the quotes she present do no such thing. This is a revealing slip--she is so wrapped up in condemning entire groups of individuals on the basis of their supposed collective identity that she cannot avoid taking the comments of others in the same light. So, therefore, denunciations of actions by the political leadership in Belgrade and of the Serb military forces become, in her mind, attacks on all Serbs. Her analysis of the situation is hampered by her own tribalist, anti-individualist mentality.

Again, I could start a fairly active blog devoted to little else but NATO hypocrisies, blunders, and missteps in the former Yugoslavia; if Johnstone were interested in an honest assessment of the West's muddled handling of the crises of the 1990s I might be more inclined to rebut some of her insinuations. But that is all they are--she gathers disparate information and presents it as "evidence" without ever articulating what it might be evidence for. Initial reports of atrocities were often inaccurate and distorted, it is true. It would not have been very hard to follow up on some of the more extreme claims repeated by some Western observers. She does no such thing.

And what about all those thousands of Albanian refugees? Wouldn't their testimony be of some use in interpreting events at the time? Don't be silly--as we shall see in the next post, they were too filled with insane hatred to be trusted.

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